MONROVIA: The national head office of the Community Watch Forum of Liberia (CWFL) on GSA Road in Paynesville was a scene of agony and distress on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, when several members of the organization including its leadership were disgracefully evicted from the premises after occupying the facility for over two years.
Community Watch Forum is a local vigilantes group recognized and supported by state security mainly the Liberia National Police (LNP), to raise alarm on criminal activities across the country.
The organization which has branches in the rest of the 14 counties has been in existence for over 20 years. It was initially taken to court by the administrator of the property, Mr. Shem Tartu, for the arrears of one and the half years, amounting to over US$2,500.
The leadership of the Community Watch Forum of Liberia (CWFL) is said to have pleaded with Mr. Tartu for an ‘out of court settlement.
However, the administrator of the property, Mr. Tartu took a radical approach on Tuesday by evicting the organization on grounds that despite the compromise reached between the two parties for an ‘out of court’ settlement, the leadership of the CWFL and its sponsor, the Liberia National Police (LNP) has failed to settle the arrears.
He disclosed that the hierarchy of the LNP in 2019 entered into the lease agreement with him (Tartu) to lease the property for use by the CWFL only paid for the first year (2019) and that countless visitations and contacts were made to the LNP leadership over the past fourteen months to have the arrears settled have proven futile.
According to him, he exercised maximum patience trusting the LNP to meet its side of the bargain but opined that he was obliged to invoke the eviction action while further negotiations continue as to how he would collect his arrears following the departure of the CWFL from his premises.
Speaking earlier in a frustrated mood, the National Chairman of the Community Watch Forum of Liberia Mr. I. Nyenati Kaffey squarely blamed the leadership of the Liberia National Police for the disgraceful manner in which his organization was thrown out of their national headquarters.
Mr. Kaffey narrated that as an aid to the police and other security apparatus in the prevention, and curbing of crimes and tracking down of criminals across the country; his organization relationship with mainly the LNP leadership has been very cordial until now when the current leadership of the LNP has decided to disengage by reneging on its commitment to settle rental for its (CWFL) headquarters.
After enumerating the accomplishments made in recent times in curbing crimes and tracking down and turning over perpetrators of criminal activities to the LNP and immigration officers across the country, Mr. Kaffey noted that with the LNP leadership now exhibiting postures of discord and dissonance it was about time the CWFL stands on its own in soliciting support to remain vibrant to assist state security in providing security for the people, since the police cannot be in every community at the same time.
He alleged that the relationship between the CWFL and the LNP has attracted support from international donors over the years but disclosed that such assistance has been channel only through the leadership of the LNP while the CWFL is yet to reap its dividends. “As of now we are going to pursue and solicit donors’ assistance by ourselves void of the LNP to remain viable,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, the Spokesman of the LNP, Mr. Moses Carter, has acknowledged that the LNP is in arrears with Mr. Tartu for the headquarters of the CWFL and indicated that his organization has been making frantic efforts to settle the arrears. He said budgetary constraints was a major impediment but reaffirmed the commitment of the LNP’s leadership to supporting the work of the CWFL.