By Ndey Sowe
As part of his Ministry’s policy to visit tourism facilities under his Ministry across the country, Hamat Bah, the Minister of Tourism and Culture together with stakeholders promised to build an eco-lodge at Fort Bullen in Barra.
Bah said the North Bank Region (NBR) has a big stake in tourism and culture.
“We need to do something as a Government and we need to change the way we facilitate tourism and all its activities including the environment because of the importance of our tourism products. I urge Alkalos and communities to preserve and protect their environment. But I must add that it is the job of Government and stakeholders in the tourism sector, to provide the necessary structures,’’ Bah said.
Abdoulie Hydara, the Director of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) indicated that after one month, the foundation stone of an Eco Lodge will be laid in Barra; that after the construction of the lodge, residents of Barra will benefit most.
During the visit to Berending sacred pool, tourism stakeholder on tour with the Minister promised the people of building a perimeter fence of 500 to 300 square meters at the site, to protect its valuable history.
Hassoum Cessay, the Director of the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) said the site was visited before to know their problems and challenges; that it was promised from that visit that a perimeter fence will be built to preserve the site’s history for tourism development.
During the Minister’s tour party’s visit to Juffureh and Albreda and to the Kunta Kinteh Island, Saikou Cham, a Chief said good road infrastructure and access to electricity and water among other things, is good for a tourism product like theirs. He urged the Minister to preserve what they own as well as build a five star hotel with all its social amenities at the site, for tourists to stay during their visits.
Omar Darboe, the National Asembly Member for Jokadou Constituency in the Upper Niumi District said without a good road infrastructure, electricity and access to the internet, tourism sites in the provinces will be difficult to develop. He lamented the poor road condition to the old ‘‘slave house’’ in Albreda known as the ‘‘Kunda Kinteh Island’’, as a major factor hindering access and development of the site and urged all stakeholders to look towards the success of tourism and culture in the Gambia especially within the provinces where most of the historic sites are located.
The Minister of Tourism and Culture at the end of the tour in Jufureh and Albreda promised the people in these communities that his Ministry will focus on the preservation of tourism and culture in order to bring development to them.
Other speakers include Babucarr Jatta, the Chairperson of Albreda Youth Society, the Alkalo of Albreda Kebba Sirra Jatta and others.
Juffureh and Albreda are two important historical villages in the Gambia. Jufure which is the birth place of Kunta Kinteh, is also the place where he was kidnapped before being shipped to the US.