August 22, 2019
By Elizabeth A. Kaine
Traders occupying one of the oldest markets in Freetown, King Jimmy, have expressed grave concern over the deplorable condition of the market, noting that foodstuffs sold to consumers are being placed in an unhealthy environment, which poses serious health hazard to the public.
King Jimmy market is a historical edifice in the country, as it used to be the last place of departure for freed slaves.
Hawa Conteh, Vice Chairlady of the market, stated that the rains are seriously disturbing them due to the fact that the market is unroofed.
She stated that though Freetown City Council has been collecting market dues from traders, they have refused to roof the market and make it confortable.
“You know we are neighbours to FCC and over the years they have been coming here to collect dues from us without doing what is expected of them. This is a serious concern and I’m really disappointed in them,” she said.
She said for the past ten years, FCC has been promising to construct the market but to no avail, adding that the market lacks pipe borne water and stores.
She said traders are forced to return home with their goods after the usual trade fare every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“Even though the country’s mayor, Yvonne Aki Sawyer, has come to our rescue this time around by providing us with sticks and other items to cover the market, but such is not sustainable. The wind has taken off the tarpaulin from the rickety structure constructed by some youth. This market needs to be taken care of,” she said.
She recalled that during political campaign, politicians made all sorts of promises that they would refurbish the facilities, but to no avail.
She appealed to the government to come to their aid and help the mayor to construct their market as they are paying dues to Freetown City Council.
She said all the slabs at the market have been broken and the goods are place on the bare floor.
“We are appealing to the council to construct the market facility. Let every authority concern hear our cry and come to our aid. We have been crying for far too long now,” she noted.
Mariama Mansaray, a trader with over 15 years’ experience trading at the market, said the market is drastically losing it purpose.
She noted that for the past three years the market has been neglected by the authorities, and that traders have no good structure to display their wares which are brought mainly from the provinces.
She stated the absence of good structure and proper storage facility has negative impact on them and their businesses, adding that sales of foodstuff in the market have dropped drastically.
“We are pleading with the government and our mother- the Mayor of Freetown- to come to our aid and give us good facility to do our businesses. This trading is the only way we can survive, but we want to do it in healthy environment,” she said.
Bintu Foday, a frequenter at the market said sanitation at the markets should be of paramount concern to traders.
Foday, who looks dejected and frustrated, pointed out that business women do not have to wait on government to clean the market, saying that in as much as there were not enough tables to display their goods, that shouldn’t warrant them to display them on the bare floor.
“If King Jimmy market traders continue selling their goods in this manner there is a possibility for them to lose more customers. It is not the government that is losing customers. That is why they have to come together to clean the marker regularly. If they continue displaying this foodstuff on the floor there is every possibility for us to be infected with cholera, more so in the raining season,” she said.