Deputy Mayor condemns Police and SLRA action
The Deputy Mayor of the Freetown City Council (FCC), Her Worship Mary Hannah Jaiah, has taken umbrage at the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) for what she described as, “The unlawful demolition of the Garage Hall and Entertainment Complex on Bai Bureh Road at Grassfield in Kissy in the east of Freetown.
The Deputy Mayor, who is also Councilor for Ward 360 in Constituency 101, condemned the actions of the two institutions during a recent news conference organized by the Management of Garage Hall and Entertainment Complex.
Addressing the conference, Deputy Mayor Madam Mary Hannah Jaiah lamented that the demolition of the complex was a great loss that would culminate in huge setback to the Grassfield community.
She recalled that prior to the construction of the complex on the land and its demarcation as ‘Right of way,’ the land was used as a dumping ground and was an eyesore to both the Grassfield community and passers-by.
She said the management of the complex was always ready and willing to provide its hall to the community for public meetings or any social gatherings free of cost, noting that it was based on an agreement between the management of the Garage and the SLRA for the latter to handover the ‘Right of way’ when and as the need arose.
She challenged that the said demolition was not mandated by any court, adding that the action was not only a loss to the community and constituents, but also a big shame to the two institutions that took the action.
The Deputy Mayor also noted that there had never been a complaint from the SLP or SLRA in relation to criminal activities being committed in the Garage that would prompt such action.
In his remarks, the Manager of the Garage, Mr. Jocelyn Abu said the actions of the Police and the SLRA have cause a loss of over thirty jobs to young Sierra Leoneans, while noting that the Government’s intension of empowering indigenous business people as enshrined in the Local Content Policy stands contrary to the actions of the SLP and the SLRA.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Garage, Mr. Mohamed Poto Kalokoh, said the Garage is a legal business entity approved by the SLRA since 2009 and valued at Eight Hundred Million Leones (Le 800,000,000.00).
He explained that time without number his business had faced several attacks from police Officers of Kissy “D” Division and Assistant Inspector General of Police East Mr. Memunatu Conteh Jalloh.
Mr. Mohamed Pato Kalokoh said he was calling on human rights and civil society organizations, the Government and well meaning individuals to intervene on his behalf in order to do justice to him in the matter.
Reacting to the criticisms against them, the Operations Officer at the Kissy Police Station, Assistant Superintendent of Police Christopher O. Bucknor said the Police had only carried out legal instructions from the SLRA.
He stated that they have also received a lot of complaints from the Grassfield community regarding the noise and filth that the Garage daily subjects them to.
By Raymond Bai Kamara
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