Monday, February 26, 2024

‘My canteen is no more, and my source of income has stopped’ — Ventors in Brikama market speak on impact of govt’s demolition exercise on businesses

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

Following the recent demolitions of canteens by the National Road Authorities, with the backing of the police, many market women and vendors in the Brikama market have expressed frustration and hopelessness about where to sell their commodities and make a living.

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The Brikama market is hugely affected by the demolition. A large chunk of shops from the Bus Stop towards the Brikama Area Council, where hundreds of people earn their living, were all demolished, leaving most of them no place to sell their goods.

Speaking to The Fatu Network, Awa Bah, a woman in her late 50s said the demolition of her canteen has taken a toll on her family. She explained that her canteen is where she gets her children’s school fees, food, and other necessities in the house. But since her canteen has been demolished, all these things drastically reduced.

“For me, I don’t know what to do now. My canteen is no more, and my source of income has stopped. I don’t have any place to go after this demolition. I do come here every day just to secretly sell my goods, but I can’t even do that peacefully. We run anytime we see the police coming,” she said.

She called on the government and the Brikama Area Council to help them.

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Sainabou Sey, a pancake vendor, said that her husband is no more, and she has been taking care of her four children from the proceed from her pancakes. She explained that she didn’t know what to do since she didn’t have any place to sell her pancakes.

“My husband died a year ago, and I have been the one taking care of my children and paying rent since the demise of my husband. Everything that I have, I have it from here. Now I have no place to go and sell my pancakes. Anytime I come here, the police chase me away. Even today, two paramilitary police came here and asked me to leave. I am calling on the president to understand the plight of women and help us. This is not politics,” she said.

Binta Mballow and Awa Manneh, both former canteen owners in the market, explained similar sentiments. Binta, who shares the shop with her husband, said they can’t afford three meals now as they used to due to the demolition of their canteen.

Ebrima Touray sells second-hand clothes, and his place has been demolished too. He left his place in the market and currently sells somewhere far from the market. He told The Fatu Network that since he moved to the new place, his commodity hardly sells.

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“Since I came here, I have not sold more than three clothes in a day. I am a family man with two wives. My place was demolished and the government or the Brikama Area Council didn’t give me any place to continue selling my clothes,” he said.

So many people commended the National Road Authorities for the road clearance but raised eyebrows over the demolitions of over a hundred canteens in the Brikama market.

The Chairman of the Brikama Area Council, Yankuba Darboe, last week said that his council has passed a resolution to take legal action against the National Road Authority and the Police over the demolitions.

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