‘Government Killing Us, Not The Virus’ – Red Light Marketers


Paynnesville – Marketers of the commercial hub of Red Light in Paynesville City have condemned the government action of shutting down the market and breaking down their market stalls.

The marketers, speaking to FrontPageAfrica recently, expressed disappointment in the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) for breaking down their market tables and not providing any alternatives for them to earn their livilohood.

Sarah Barclay, 42, who told FPA that she had gone to the Red Light market to sell in order make ends meet, saw her stall already broken.

“Government is killing us, not the virus. If you will lock down the city and say no one should come out and you have no plan of feeding the people how do you expect us to survive in these troubling times? How are we going to eat when our tables are gone and the police is chasing us to flog us for coming to our business areas,” she said.

Sarah sells cans of sardines, luncheon meat, and spaghetti among others imported foods. Now, she’s afraid that because she’s unable to make sales, her family will feed on her goods as the government lock down to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic continues.

“If even we plan to eat the goods, how will we get money to buy rice? And you know rice is our stable food; if we eat all my market within 21 days how will I get money to start again?” She asked.

Meanwhile, some marketers who are younger than Sarah have planned to react against the PCC for breaking their stalls.

“They don’t know how we struggled to build our tables and in less than a minute they are all destroyed but we will react and we will not disclose our plans to any journalists as to what we will do next,” exclaimed an angry Mark Kuoh, a petty trader.

Another marketer, who claims to be a victim of the PCC demolition exercise, Dauoda Kamara, alleged that the “government is fighting its own citizens and not the virus”.

“How can you say you fighting virus and you taking bread from the table of your people? Already, you don’t have plans for the country or to improve the lives of your people but you are here breaking down our tables and making us hungry while you and your boys enjoying on our expense,” Kamara said.

Despite complaints from marketers, the Public Relations Officer of the city corporation Jeremiah Diggen said the action is to give the market a new look.

“Our action is intended to give the Red Light market a face-lift. We only broke down makeshift structures along the main street of Red light,” said Diggen.

“The breaking down of these makeshift structures is in line with our city ordinance.”

Diggen added that street selling has, for a long time, impeded the free movement of pedestrians and motorists in the commercial district of Red Light.

“By breaking these makeshift structures, our waste management team will now have easy access [to the area] while cleaning the market. This measure is also intended to protect the very street sellers who are at risk of being knockdown by cars,” he said.

Diggen also added: “We are working with our community development and PR teams to engage the residents of Paynesville to observe the COVID-19 health protocols. We have engaged in intense awareness in the 56 communities of our City. Since the Coronavirus doesn’t have a vaccine, we are encouraging our people to keep following the preventive measures like washing hands, social distancing in order to stay safe.

He disclosed that the PCC environmental teams have fumigated several communities, adding, “Before doing this, we informed the community leadership through our community development teams.”