By Omar Bah
Afraid of being left homeless, the Penn family in Banjul who are among several families affected by the port expansion project, has urged the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) to extend tomorrow (March 11) deadline eviction order.
The family also expressed concern over the GPA’s failure to allocate them land at the identified site in Bakau Katchikally where affected families evicted by the Banjul port expansion project are relocated.
The family accordingly wrote to the GPA, to give it three months to allow them to find a place and relocate.
In their letter seen by The Standard, the family explained their ordeal: “We the family of the late Babou Bunn Penn have received a notice letter to vacate our former residence purchased by the GPA under the port expansion project by the 11th of March 2023. We respect and honor your notice, but due to our inability to complete construction of our newly acquired family land, currently under construction, we appeal for extension of the notice for a period of three months to enable us complete the construction and move in. Due to the late allocation of plots by the GPA at Bakau Kachikally layout, we had to purchase a plot of land by ourselves and the construction of the house there is yet to be completed.”
When contacted for comments, GPA spokesperson Yankuba Manneh said it is not the GPA’s wish to bring discomfort to anyone but it is pressed with capacity problems and has to do something urgently about it.
“We have given them notice since January 2020 – three years ago, and we have paid all their compensation. So, we have reached a point where we cannot take any more delay because we have our potential investors coming very soon and they have to find these things done,” he said. “We have already notified Nawec and they will come and cut off the electricity on the expiry date,” Manneh added.
He said the plots of lands to be allocated to the affected families have been marked and the demarcation will be done soon.
“We have handed all the families their letters of allocation and we are waiting on the ministry of finance to do the demarcation very soon,” he said.
Manneh said out of generosity, the GPA has also allocated D250, 000 to each compound owner for onward delivery to occupants in their houses.