Lawmakers Demand Road Infrastructure, Compensation for Victims of Demolition

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By Kebba AF Touray

Gambian Lawmakers have called on the government to provide good road infrastructure and accelerate compensation for victims of a demolition exercise that left many houses and fences razed to the ground by the authorities .

The parliamentarians made this call on Thursday, 21 December 2023, seeking improvement of road infrastructure as well as compensation for victims of the ongoing demolition exercise.

They made the demand during the adjournment debate at the National Assembly, which brought an end to the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Sixth legislature in the 2023 legislative year.

Musa Badgie, the Member for TallindingKunjang said in the recent past, there has been demolition of properties for the construction of the road network from Old Jeshwang via Tallinding. He added that the construction project had not commenced up to the time of his intervention despite the promise given to them months ago that it was going to start.

“The properties of the people have been demolished. Just yesterday, in my engagement with the Minister, he assured me that now everything is in place and they will soon start. I want to urge the Ministry to expedite the process because it is long overdue. The road network is a problem in the swampy corridors of the Kanifing Municipality,” he said.

He stated that the people whose properties were demolished were not compensated and still not compensated. He explained that their residences are exposed because they do not have money to construct new fences or build new structures. He said the people are waiting for the compensation to build new houses and construct fences. He added that the affected people have all submitted the required documents, but the payments are still pending.

“These are poor people and they need to protect their properties. I urge the Minister to act on this matter very fast,” Honourable Badjie said.

Salif Jawo, the Member for Jokadu lamented that during the rainy season, his constituents were preoccupied with “Tesito” trying to maintain the bad roads in their areas instead of going to their farms. He explained that they fill bags of sand to fill the flood-prone areas. He explained that during the rainy season, some areas in his constituency were completely cut off due to the poor nature of the roads. He added that drivers avoid such places due to the dilapidated and terrible condition of the roads.

He said the lack of a good road network in the area is making access to the hospital in Kisima Jaw a mission impossible. He added that with the current road condition even if the hospital is eventually inaugurated, its purpose of serving the people will be a mere dream hanging in the air because it will be invisible.

“So I am appealing to the government to come to our aid and help us connect these laterite roads that were constructed in 1985 which is a total of 75 kilometres. This will make the situation a thing of the past by helping us with good road network in the area,” he said.

Member for Sami Honourable Alfusainey Ceesay talked about road accidents. He stated that the country has many security checkpoints, but frowned at how the drivers recklessly drive. He cited the recent fatal accident that happened in Jarumeh Koto claiming the life of seven and injuring eight others.

“This is a historic death situation in the country as the incident has claimed the lives of young school-going children who could be future leaders. This thing should be looked at to ensure that anyone found wanting will be seriously dealt with according to the law,” he said.

He decried that that Gambia’s health system has problems, adding that when the said tragic accident happened, there was no ambulance in Kuntaur and Karantaba to evacuate the children. He stated the health sector should be getting the resources needed to deliver quality service to the people.

Member for Upper Nuimi, Hon. Omar Darboe decried that The Gambia is on the verge of losing Kunta Kinteh Island if the necessary steps are not taken. He called on the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that the project meant to reclaim and rehabilitate Kunta Kinteh Island is implemented on or before the last quarter of 2024 as stipulated by the Minister of Finance during the budget speech.

“The island is in endangered satiation, and without the government’s intervention, the country may lose it. The Island is what many Gambians are using as their tourism product to market the Gambia,” he said.

Member for Banjul Central, Abdoulie Njai, said the Government needs to create job opportunities for young people to curb irregular migration. He stated that the Government has reported that there is 16 per cent inflation in the country and there has been an announcement of tax increment in 2024.

Follow our subsequent publications for more on the contributions of the lawmakers in the adjournment debate.