…Over 1,000 fishmongers lose livelihood
August 27, 2015 By Regina Pratt
Over one thousand fishmongers in the Tambakula wharf in Aberdeen, west of Freetown, have lost their livelihoods after makeshift structures they had erected were demolished by the police acting on instructions from the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
The ministry has embarked on massive demolition exercise in the Aberdeen creek, with Tambakula wharf being one of the affected communities.
Residents of Tambakula were badly hit by the Ebola virus early this year when the sprawling community was quarantined for 42 days. If the economic impact was bad on the community, the demolition of shacks belonging to over a thousand fishmongers would further exacerbate the situation.
According to Deputy Harbour Master at the wharf, Baba Kamara, they were in utter shock and disbelief when youths, accompanied by police officers, invaded the fishing community and started demolishing their makeshift structures.
Kamara told Concord Times that when they sent a delegation to acting Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Kaddie Sesay, all she could tell them was that they should quit the wharf.
“We begged that they allow our boats to land so that fishmongers could buy fish and carry on with their daily business, but the minister replied that no business of any kind should be carried out on the wharf,” revealed Kamara.
The deputy harbour master lamented that they had suffered for more than a year as a result of the Ebola outbreak and that the demolition would only add to their suffering.
He said the wharf had existed for the past fifty years and that the structures were built in order that they could provide security for their boats.
The fishermen have appealed that the authorities relocate them to a nearby wharf called Coffee Wharf.
“This demolition has caused a lot of embarrassment. We are totally disappointed and frustrated as we have nowhere to continue our business,” said the deputy habour master.
“We are all breadwinners of our respective families and they largely depend on us for their survival. The government should consider our appeal and have compassion for us as we are peaceful citizens,” he added.
Meanwhile, as the aggrieved fishermen and fishmongers protested peacefully yesterday around the Aberdeen roundabout, Superintendent of Police Thomas M. Lahai, of the Aberdeen Police Division, told them to disperse because the gathering was unlawful.
“I should have arrested all of you because you have no authority to stage any protest,” Superintendent Lahai told the protesters.