Exactly one month three days after the Indian Government donated five badly needed fire trucks to the Liberian National Fire Service (LNFS), the trucks remained grounded at the Freeport of Monrovia.
The LNFS is the government’s institution responsible to fight fire outbreak within the country, but it has been near non-functional for the past months due to the lack of fire trucks.
Information available to this paper indicates that the trucks have remained parked at the AMP Terminal yard since they were handed over to President George Weah on February 3, 2020 by the Government and people of India.
Sources within the corridors of the Fire Department say LNFS don’t have money to clear the trucks from the port and there are fears that the trucks could be accruing storage fees.
Another source told this paper that the trucks were relocated to a parking lot within the AMP’s compound at the port, awaiting authorities to clear it.
Efforts to contact authorities at the LNFS on Thursday March 5, proves futile as this paper was told that both the Director Mr. Alex Dixon and his Deputy for Administration Gabriel Mah are out of the country. The Orange mobile number of the Communication Director at the LNFS was said to be off or out of coverage area.
However, AMP Terminal Communication Consultant, Mr. Charles Snetter confirmed Thursday that the fire trucks are still parked at the AMP Terminal compound but denied that they were there because of fees payment.
He explained that the delayed in clearance is due to the lack of proper documentation. Mr. Snetter further explained that both the shipping agency and the receiving institution were yet to make available the documents as it relates to clearance.
“The truck are still at the port, and AMP Terminal can’t do anything without the documentations,” Mr. Snetter said via mobile phone Thursday.He says AMP Terminal has been making efforts to ensure that the authorities get the trucks out of the port but they are yet to produce the shipping documents and that is where they are at the moment.
Mr. Snetter also told this paper that apparently the receiving agency had thought that by President Weah going to personally receive the trucks would have meant that they would have been immediately driven out of the port and delivered to the fire department.
It could be recalled that on Monday February 3, the Government and people of India donated five fire trucks to the LNFS which has been without a functioning fire truck for months.
The LNFS lost its only functional fire truck to angry crowd about four months ago in “Black Gina”, a community located in Jacob Town, a suburb of Paynesville, simply because fire fighters failed to rescue a burning house in the community.
Meanwhile, sources at the LNSF say the apparent lack of effort on the part of authorities to seek the release of the trucks could also be attributed to the lack of gasoline allotment for the fire department for the past months.-Writes Othello B. Garblah