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NEWS : Local News  

APC Broke Ose Sweeps Lumley Beach in Sierra Leone
By Bampia J. Bundu
Oct 9, 2008, 17:22
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The Lumley Beach area was yesterday Wednesday 8th October 2008 brought under a state of panic, grief and horror when hundreds of well armed military and police personnel including the Metropolitan Police of the Freetown City Council stormed and barricaded the entire area before commencing massive demolition of all the Beach Bar structures.

Armed Police and Military personnel who barricaded the Lumley Beach vicinity during the Broke Ose exercise

This came merely two days after Beach Bar Owners situated along the Lumley Beach area raised concerns over a warning letter that was issued to them by the National Tourist Board with directives from the Tourism and Culture Ministry cautioning them to cease operations.

Some of the demolished structures at Lumley Beach

Few days ago, the Beach Bar Owners, under an umbrella body called the B12 Group, expressed shocks over the issue.

They allege that there is no effective policy on the part of the government that aims at beautifying or developing the area.

They also raised concerns that the demolition will have adverse effect on the employment situation, investment and services customers enjoyed at these bars after a hard day’s work.

The demolition exercise was witnessed by government officials from the Lands Ministry, Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Tourism Ministry and the Freetown City Council amongst others.

The demolition exercise itself was carried out by hired youths from different communities around the city who indiscriminately demolished structures worth millions of Leones.

Following the emotionally griped scene with all sorts of comments, both negative and positive, this medium was prompted to get the views of some of the affected persons, whose various comments ranging from lose of confidence to invest in the country to scathing comments about the ruling government.

The Proprietor of Sea View Beach Bar, Mr. Humarr Kargbo says he is not surprise over the act, adding that it is just a repetition of history.

"This act reminisces those dark days when these beaches were used for all sorts of criminal and indiscriminate unlawful practices," he said in a cold voice, adding, "such acts run contrary to President Koroma’s call for meaningful development in the country."

He alleges that the government is chasing away investors instead of encouraging them.

"This is a violation of our human rights as Sierra Leonean investors," he said.

Harriatu Turay of the Harris Beach Bar expressed dismay that City Council Officials recently collected the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand leones from them as taxes with assurances that their structures are not going to be demolished.

"This is indeed a shame on the part of the council to have assured us that our structures were not going to be demolished knowing the same to be false," she said in tears.

She accused the government of being selfish and wicked as "there are no plans in place to develop these areas."

Enforcement Officer, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Mr. Thomas Smith told the Awareness Times that the exercise was done in compliance with instructions from the government to demolish what he described as illegal structures along the beach areas.

Responding to whether there are plans by the Tourism Ministry to develop these areas, he responded thus: "I don’t know whether or not there are plans to develop these areas, my orders are to demolish and that is strictly what I am doing," he disclosed.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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