President Barrow Visits Banjul Ferry, Canoe Terminals

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Amid Public Concerns

Information received from State House in Banjul on 16th of April 2024, indicate that President Adama Barrow made an unannounced visit to the Banjul Port Shipyard and container and canoe terminals on Tuesday afternoon.

The visit, according to the information, was to get updates on the ferry maintenance amidst concerns about the difficulties that commuters are experiencing at the ferry crossing in Banjul. 

President Barrow first apologized to ferry users and the public for the lack of services due to the breakdown of both ‘Kunta Kinteh’ and ‘Kanilai’ ferries, which he described as an unfortunate emergency blamed on lack of scheduled maintenance and poor planning; thus affecting national and international commuters.

Shipyard engineer Musa Darboe and senior officials of the ferries and GPA, informed the President on the progress of work, and showed him the ‘Kunta Kinteh’ ferry under repair. They told the president that they might complete the work earlier than the anticipated six-week schedule.  

Having listened to their briefings, President Barrow concluded that the lack of a proper maintenance and poor planning contributed to the unfortunate situation that commuters now experience. The President encouraged the workers to increase the number of workers to fast-track the work. He acknowledged that running and maintaining the ferries is expensive but said it is an essential social service with high overheads.  

“Tomorrow, a contract will be signed for two new ferries and we expect them to be delivered in eighteen months,” the President said.

Meanwhile, he called for the support of technicians and urged the public to be patient as his Government is taking necessary measures to address the problem. President Barrow advised the team of technicians to understand the situation’s urgency and reiterated his empathy for the people using the ferries.   

At the canoe terminal, the President commended boatmen and security officials for maintaining calm and security in the area.

“Continue to keep calm. We all want peace. People are making noise because they are affected. So we should apologize to Gambians,” President Barrow told the gathering.

On the sideline of the visit, President Barrow stopped at the weighing scale for trucks, where he was informed about the digitalisation of the single window under the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and the container terminal at the ports. The officials updated the President on the Single Window’s improved services and increased revenue collection.   

Meanwhile, women at the canoe terminal used the opportunity to appeal to President Barrow for proper stalls at the beach to enhance their small enterprises.   

On his part, the Minister of Information Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, joined the President on the unannounced visit to Banjul and reiterated the President’s concerns about the stress that ferry travelers endure.