Liberia: Police Charge 3 Entertainment Centers

The Liberia National Police detachment in Pleebo, Marland County has charged and sent to court three proprietors of entertainment centers in the county for alleged breach of the 6PM lockdown imposed by President George Manneh Weah to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Soma Syela of Exodus Entertainment Center; Mabel Wahah of New Light Entertainment Center and Judy Thomas of the New Dawn Entertainment Center were respectively charged on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, due to alleged obstruction of government functions and disorderly conduct in line with Article 78.3 and 12. 1 respectively of the Penal Law of Liberia. Pleebo District Police Commander, Lavisious Toe, said the three proprietors were charged based on complaints from local authorities in the district.

Commander Toe noted that authorities on the ground had complained that owners of entertainment center have been in the constant habit of operating after the 6pm lockdown in total disregard of health regulations.

He said although the three club owners are not the only violators of the 6pm lockdown, but their forwarding to court will serve as a deterrence to other business owners who have been in similar habit of violating government's stay home or and 6pm mandate.

The Police commander stressed that the mandate from the government is aimed at preventing spread of the virus, so citizens across the country should abide by such precautionary measure.

"Since the curfew, some clubs and business owners have been in total violation of the mandate though we have been polite to them and they can't listen to us; I think the court hall is the best place for them because we can't fight them neither beat them." He said.

"Now we have 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, and we don't care; when we don't take time, it will continue to go higher because we don't want to abide by simple mandate. You see lab technicians and all have been tested positive; why more about you and myself, so the best thing we need to do as citizens, let observe all the preventive measures, like washing our hands regularly, observe social distance, wearing of nose and face masks and to keep off the streets after 6pm because we don't know who is a carrier of the virus." Commander Toe commended local authorities of the district for the level of cooperation with the Police in the wake of health regulations announced by the government.

"We still get more to do in the district; we have had several meetings with the local authorities and we are prepared to arrest any violator of the 6pm order; so when you are in the streets doing the day, please observe your time."

He added that more check points will be erected to keep in check motorcyclists and commuters moving about without face or nose masks. Meanwhile, the owner of one of the entertainment centers, who was sent to court Soma Syela, said it is true that their clubs are usually opened after 6pm but it is to allow customers to buy and go home.

According to him, he doesn't encourage customers to violate the 6pm order but it is all about helping themselves as business people, while pleading with government for mercy.

The three violators are currently at the Pleebo Magisterial court, awaiting trial.

By Patrick Mensah, Maryland County-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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