BAC CEO Affirms Legality of Government Property Demolition Amidst Controversy

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By Louise Jobe

In an exclusive interview on January 9, 2024, Brikama Area Council’s Public Relations Officer, Lamin Singhateh, staunchly defended the legality of the demolition of government properties within the Brikama market area. Singhateh clarified that the Council, acting on the directive of the Governor of West Coast Region, had undertaken the demolition as part of “Operation Clean the Road” to relocate vulnerable vendors.

Singhateh asserted that the Brikama Area Council had secured approval for the affected properties in August 2020, dispelling claims of unauthorized demolitions. He refuted allegations stemming from a letter dated December 27, 2023, purportedly from the Governor, accusing the council of unauthorized actions.

“It has been observed that the Brikama Area Council has demolished government properties without prior approval from the Ministry of Local Government and Lands,” the Governor’s letter stated.

Addressing queries on the utilization of the newly built market, Singhateh explained that the Governor had instructed the Council not to allocate shops in the new market. He disclosed plans to form a committee responsible for issuing shops to vendors.

In response to questions about Council sittings, Singhateh confirmed three emergency sittings in November and December, citing the Local Government Act’s provision for at least two sittings each month. He clarified that as of January 2024, no Council sitting had occurred.

Regarding staff salaries, Singhateh assured that the new payment structure, effective January 2024, would cover all arrears for November and December 2023. He addressed the suspension of the Director of Finance and the termination of the Director’s son, emphasizing that the decision on the CEO rests with the Local Government Service Commission.

The controversy surrounding the Brikama Area Council continues to unfold as stakeholders await further developments from the ongoing disputes and decisions by the Local Government Service Commission.