Monrovia — President George Manneh Weah has dedicated yet another modern market hall in Paynesville, describing Liberian marketers who are predominantly women as reliable engines of growth and strong pillars of national transformation.
He said Liberian market women bear the brunt of family life in molding future leaders and contributing significantly to economic growth and therefore must be supported to the fullest in order to reach their potentials.
Speaking to crowds of residents in Paynesville Thursday, June 6, 2019 at the dedication of a new market complex he funded and built, President Weah said he was glad to keep and fulfill his promise to the marketers of Duport Road who were enduring difficult times marketing their goods and services.
"You know, my mother who was selling down Waterside in the late 1970s and later began building churches in refugee camps, one day set me down and asked, 'What will you do for my market women? Please, don't forget market women," the Liberian Leader said, adding that he has since taken the advice and developed fond love for marketers even while he was playing professional football.
President Weah said long before he became Senator of Montserrado County, he had taken interest in trying to build market halls, and each time he passed by the Duport Road Market which was then in tatters and conspicuously situated on the fringes on a major community road, he thought about doing something worthwhile about it.
"One day while passing by the market, riding with current Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, I made a stop but did not get down from my car," the President provided the context how the new Duport Road Market structure evolved. "I sent Koijee to talk to the marketers and what their expectation was. Later and even as I won the Montserrado senatorial elections, I moved in and ensured that this market hall that was called 'Bend Down Market' because its roof was too low and falling in was given a facelift."
He said as Senator of Montserrado County then, he took special interest in advocating for and achieving the construction of new market buildings around the county, including refurbishing the Duport Road General Market.
"Elected as President, I still believe that, despite initial intervention to give the market an appreciable facelift, I needed to improve the structure once and for all particularly in keeping with my promise during the presidential campaign," the President said further.
"I am glad today that I have fulfilled my promise to you," he said referring to hundreds of euphoric marketers and crowds of citizens who turned out to grace the dedication of the Duport Road General Market. "All this I have done at my personal expense and ingenuity but this is credited to my Government because I head it."
"You now have a beautiful market, and proud of it and happy that you are happy," President Weah said, adding, "This is why we need peace, harmony and stability. With peace we can do much for our people and country."
Let me not be punished for developing Liberia
The Liberian leader said: "In the last one year and half, my government and I have been able to take paved roads where they weren't existent; we took new market buildings where they were absent; we have done much over the short time to turn out bad conditions , which of course are not our making."
"We met the hardship and inherited all the bad conditions and without making excuses, we are solving them. We don't deserve to be punished for taking roads to once forgotten communities; for paying exam fees for people who can't afford; for declaring free tuition in public schools for young people; for building military hospital; we don't deserve to be punished for decriminalizing free speech; for being too tolerant, and for planning to connect this country with paved roads."
Free Speech Abusers Won't Enjoy Impunity
The Liberian leader said the time is coming soon when those who insult national leaders, incite public violence, make reckless comments about others and disrupt the peace would not go with impunity.
He said many people are abusing the right to free speech and free press and it was time to put a check to that.
He warned: "Our country is a country of law. People have all the rights to speak out, criticize government or anyone but that right comes with responsibility. Very soon, those who take to public platforms and go beyond the bounds of free speech and insult me and incite the public to violence will be held in consistent with the laws."
President Weah said Liberia's law and tradition forbids reckless vulgarity but promote respect for one another, particularly elders and leaders.
"You can say whatever you want to, but be warned that cusses, insults and incitement of violence will never again be permitted under my administration," the President asserted, adding that much of the unlawful and untraditional attitudes exhibited in the country were tolerated so much for long and it was time to handle them within the confine of the law.
He called on Liberians to go about their normal duties and chores even on Friday and all other days because his Government will protect protesters and non-protesters as well.