By Alagie Manneh
The Minister of Environment Lamin Dibba and his deputy Lamin Jammeh have for the first time explained the circumstances that led the NEA-Golden Lead Company trial to be settled out of court.
In June, Golden Lead Company was dragged to a magistrates’ court by the country’s National Environment Agency.
The company was accused of environmental and sea pollution at amid concerns that the contamination with overfishing by Chinese vessels in Gambian waters is driving dozens of fish species into extinction.
But an out-of-court settlement was reached with the authorities.
“They have shown all indications that they will be cooperating, and now they would want this thing to be settled out of court and this is one of the processes now that led us to have the waste water treatment plant,” Minister Lamin Dibba told journalists at a press briefing designed to shed light on some of the environmental concerns of the of public.
“And the ecological assessment was conducted and we were satisfied with the results. That was the basis for withdrawing this [Golden Lead issue] from the courts,” he stated.
Explaining further, Mr Lamin Jammeh, the minister’s deputy, said the government at the time was “very concern” about the court issue since Golden Lead was employing a number of people.
“We also received a group of elders from Gunjur who visited the ministry to dissociate themselves from what the youths were doing, including the Alkalo,” he said.
As a ministry, Mr Jammeh said they were “considerate enough” to not only look at the environment but the plight of those people who were employed at the company.
“If the company is willing to cooperate, why don’t we go in for out of court settlement? We discussed with them and they are willing to cooperate within a time frame. This is what led to the setting up of the waste treatment plant,” Mr Jammeh said.