Environmental Advocate Denies Allegations, Stands Firm on Environmental Concerns

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By Madiba Singhateh, Hatab Nyan, and Louise Jobe

Environmentalist Lamin Jassey, a member of Gunjur Tourism and EcoTourism Association, has refuted recent claims suggesting that he was called in for questioning once again.

Jassey’s interrogation three weeks ago stemmed from a Facebook post he made on January 12, 2024.

In an exclusive interview with Foroyaa Radio, Jassey, who boasts over 15 years of experience of working in environmental conservation, expressed his deep passion for safeguarding the marine environment. He recounted the drastic effects observed since the introduction of a fishmeal factory in 2016, emphasizing the need to protect the livelihoods and well-being of local communities.

Jassey explained, “We were monitoring the supply chains to the fishmeal factory and those supplying local communities to ensure the sustainability of our environment and food sources, as guaranteed by our constitution.”

Concerns grew when Jassey noticed significant shifts in the supply chain during the ongoing fish season, particularly the landing of small juvenile fish at Gunjur beach landing site. Despite attempts to seek answers from fisheries officials, he faced resistance, prompting him to turn to social media as a platform to raise awareness.

He asserted, “This is the power we have as Gambians, and authorities in The Gambia may not favor social media, but for us, it is a tool that empowers us to make them listen to us.”

Jassey’s Facebook post called for immediate action to address the threat posed to small pelagic fish stocks. He rallied citizens, environmental activists, conservationists, journalists, and media houses to gather at Gunjur Fish Landing Site on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 10:00 am. The aim was to pose questions to those responsible for managing the landing site, including fisheries staff, the Center Management Committee, Golden Lead Fish Meal Factory, and Nascum and Lakums.

When asked about his encounter with the police, Jassey disclosed that he received calls informing him of their search for him. Subsequently, he voluntarily presented himself to the authorities in Gunjur, where discussions were held regarding the motives behind his activism. Jassey challenged the police to visit Gunjur beach and witness the unfolding situation firsthand, confident that the truth would prevail.

Expressing his discontent, Jassey concluded, “I was not happy about the whole issue, making noise about it. If I am not telling the truth, let them charge me.”