They live just few meters away from where the country’s electric power is generated with transmission lines passing over their homes, yet they have no access to the national energy grid.
This situation prompted for the second time in less than a year, residents of Caldwell Township, Montserrado County to have protested here in demand of electricity, erecting roadblocks.
A chaotic scene erupted in Caldwell on Monday, December 3rd, when protesting residents under the banner, “Concern Citizens of Caldwell” as early as 4:00 in the morning erected roadblocks in the streets, leaving motorists stranded, as they chanted solidarity songs in unison and created traffic gridlock that lasted all daylong in the area.
The protest came nearly a year since the Liberia Electricity Corporation planted street light poles in the township in preparation for power distribution.
Police sprayed tear gas to disperse hundreds of angry protesters, who had gone to demand electricity from the Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation.A resident of Chea Chepoo community in the township, Smith Peters, narrates that it all started early Monday around 4:00 when angry protesters set up roadblocks in the township.
Peters says when police received information about the protest, they immediately arrived and chased angry protesters away, using tear gas, which affected some residents in his community.
Police Spokesman Moses Carter confirms the use of tear gas because he says the protesters were violent.Moses discloses that as a result of roadblocks erected by the protesters, a pregnant woman in labor pain on her way to hospital gave birth in the vehicle that was transporting her, but the baby did not survive.
Another angry resident, Arthur F. T. Teah claims they have made several engagements with the LEC Management over the lack of power supply, but to no avail.Teah accuses the entity of being insensitive to their plights, noting that lack of power in his community has negatively affected commercial activities there to the extent that many businesses are closed down.
“We have been in total darkness for over two years now, and that the LEC has not responded to our plights.”“Residents of other communities including those in some parts of Johnsonville, New Kru Town, and as far as St. Paul Bridge are enjoying electricity, but for us in Caldwell, the story is totally different, and so we are pleading with the LEC to connect us,” he says.
The route thru the township is one of the growing economic hubs of the government, because it connects the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) and the Mount Coffee Hydro in Louisiana with the Capital, Monrovia.
Another resident laments that though Caldwell provides access to these key services that generate revenue for government, they cannot access electricity.
A female resident, Martha Kollie says if government failed to quickly address their demand, they will regroup to stage a peaceful demonstration, this time at the Office of President Weah upon his return to the country.
By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne