10 January 2013

Liberia: Caldwell Residents Criticize Demolition Exercise

Demolition of makeshift structures along the newly constructed road in Caldwell Township, Montserrado County has begun with several private homes and business centers being affected. The exercise, which began last weekend, is being carried out by Township Commissioner Alexzine Howard in collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP).

The exercise is intended to clean up the Township and to ensure that proprietors of businesses pay either L$5,000.00 or US$50.00 as registration fees to the Commissioner's office.

But residents in sharp reaction told this paper that the demolition and registration fees collection exercise were done without prior notice. In addition, the Commissioner is accused of not consulting the residents before taking major decisions that affect their lives.

Alfred Konowa, a resident of lower Caldwell is one of those, who have frowned at the abrupt way in which the exercise was conducted, though he appreciates it. "The issue I have with the Commissioner is that she doesn't consult her people in the Township; she just gets up over the night and does anything she wants to", Alfred added.

Konowa continued: "We believe that Caldwell is getting a facelift; we all agree that some makeshift structures on the highway are bad off, she should have called the attention of the residents, but did not do it."

However, Commissioner Howard said the exercise was intended to give the Township a face lift, and also clear out structures believed to be haven for roaming criminals.

"What really we decide to break down was the criminals were roaming these places. People weren't sleeping at night because right on the main road, they had a liquor shop; I mean people breaking the sidewalk, breaking glass bottles; they take speakers and put it on the sidewalk without respect for people's right" she asserted.

Commenting on the compulsory payment of L$1,500 or L$3,000.00, Commissioner Howard admitted: "Of course, you have to pay when you are squatting, that's how government makes money; that's how we make money to run this Township, they have to pay."

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