Dear Mr. President
In the spirit of national cohesiveness, genuine love and patriotism, I do appreciate the Government of Liberia for the preliminary step of public awareness regarding preventive measures necessary for the extermination of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
That being said, I feel conscientiously obliged to bring to your attention an impractical regulation instituted by your govt to place an injunction on poor Liberian sellers from selling in street corners of infested counties, and the demolition of structures (market kitchens) used by petty Liberian traders to sell their commodities, which occurred most recently in Monrovia.
While I do agree that gov’t’s fight against this Coronavirus pandemic is earnest, I besieged that it is also of vital economic prudence to take cognizance of our people source of income, livelihood and survivability.
Being a President, who originates from the slums, I assume that you are knowledgeable of the egregious suffering our people go through to provide food for their families and take care of basic necessities. I also assume that you are aware that these citizens who sell in street corners and congested areas have no other source of income, or means of surviving in the absence of doing their ‘from-hand-to-mouth’ businesses.
The prohibitive action places critical questions to mind:
1. How do we expect these poor Liberians earn a meal for their families?
2. Where are they to get money from?
3. Can they be blamed fairly if they violate to satisfy their quest of providing for their families?
Prohibiting them from trading WITHOUT empowerment of subsidies (money/food) is a recipe for escalating tension as they’ve been abandoned to battle the threat of DYING from STARVATION; which in turn will cause them to violate the injunction in their quest for providing for their families.
Our President, I’m in no way against keeping people away from the streets, but preventing citizens from selling on street corners and demolishing their structures is where I think there’s a problem.
Mr. President, countries that are practicing measures that share some degree of similarities with yours have instituted mechanisms to distribute food and/or finances to their citizens.
Not mentioning Western nations, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has embarked on distributing food to Rwandans, in a bid of keeping them away from the streets.
By that action, any retributive measures taken against anyone who violates is justifiable.
For ours, retribution taken against citizens who defiantly sell in street corners is unjustifiable because all humans have the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO LIFE!
These poor Liberian traders live when they eat, and they only eat when they sell.
Our President, with that understanding, I trust much to your benignity that your gov’t, our gov’t will give due consideration to the below earnest recommendations in the spirit with which I sent it:
1. LMA should have a database of marketers whose structures were demolished, and petty traders who sell in street corners; use the database to subsidize these poor Liberians, either with money or food.
2. Effective immediately reduce significantly, tariffs on essential commodities like DRUGS, RICE, DETERGENTS and other products to effectuate a fall in price of commodities.
3. Equip all public medical facilities with all necessary medical supplies, enough fuel for dynamos and operational funds in a descending order from bigger hospitals to clinics all over Liberia.
4. Coronavirus knows neither ruling party not opposition; invite all Opposition Leaders to a dialogue intended to brainstorm on solutions and execution of discovered solutions to eradicate or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 virus.
5. Impartially ensure health protocols set up to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic be respected and obeyed by everyone, irrespective of societal status.
6. Improve on COVID-19 pandemic awareness drive and have measures of prevention been played regularly by media outlets in all of the fifteen (15) political subdivisions in all Liberian vernaculars.
Mr. President, I’m of the convection that if my recommendation is given due consideration and expanded upon, and with the divine intervention of God, we as a Country will definitely gain ovation over this COVID-19 pandemic in the soonest possible time, and begin to confront other national challenges in unanimity!
PETER OMASCAR SANDERS
National Secretary General
ANC Communications, Public Affairs & Propaganda Committee