HAS THE GOVERNMENT PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE IN COMMENCING OIC CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS?

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Demolition of fences to provide for the construction of OIC infrastructure caused friction and motivated people with grievances to demand for compensation. Their voices may have reached the right quarters when the state decided to stop the demolition activity for reason not yet revealed.

It is still uncertain to property owners whether the state is marking for time to continue the demolition or whether it has accepted the principle of payment of compensation on time. It is important for those who administer the state to recognise and uphold section 22 of the Constitution. According to subsection (1) paragraph (a) of this section, no property of any description shall be taken possession of compulsorily, and. no right over or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of The Gambia, except where the taking possession or acquisition is necessary in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning, or the development or utilisation of any property in such manner as to promote the public benefit.

However those whose properties are encroached upon are accorded the following rights, accorded by paragraph (c) of the same section:

Where property is taken possession of compulsorily provision is made by law applicable to that taking of possession or acquisition –

i)     for the prompt payment of adequate compensation; and

 (ii) securing to any person having an interest in or right over the property, a right of access to a court or other impartial and independent authority for the determination of his or her interest or right, the legality of the taking of possession or acquisition of the property, interest or right, and the amount of any compensation to which he or she is entitled, and for the purpose of obtaining prompt payment of that compensation.

Hence all aggrieved parties should convey their grievances to the state and should they fail to get satisfactory response they should seek redress from the courts.