Letter to the MD, Gambia Ports Authority

117

Dear sir,

With much worry and concern, I write to draw your attention to the precarious state of both Banjul and Barra ferry terminals.

These two ferry anchoring points are aging and wretched and can potentially cause what I referred to as human induced calamity.

As a native of Nuimi, I am alive to a number of terminal accidents, as well as the unwarrantedly costly delays necessitated mostly by the inability of the ferry to anchor, because the ramp was stiff and could not be lowered by itself unless helped by a heavy-loaded truck.

More often than not these these accidents are fatal.

So many and property have been perished at these terminals due to sheer negligence.

And what is so disheartening is that most of those incidents could have been averted, had proper managerial actions were taken.

For how long should our people loss their lives and property in what could obviously be avoided?

In this letter, I challenge you and your management to conduct a site tour on these two anchoring points and you will be taken aback.

You will find out that all the metal supporting ferry anchoring are adversely corroded and eroded and some once upright metals fallen.

The two iron robes connected to the two big rectangular metal boxes of either side keeping the ramp balanced seem rusted and weakened.

Cement blocks are now placed on top of these rectangular metal boxes as a form of support. Very worrying situation at sight!

We ( Nuiminkas and all other users) need a permanent solution to this increaseingly looming problem.

Maintenance, in my view, is no longer the solution. These terminals need replacement, considering the years they have served. Our lives are co

stlier and more precious than some police stations. Invest in the terminals to save our lives and keep the revenue generation continual for The Gambia.

As of Wednesday 11th to Saturday 14th September, 2019, there had been only one ferry plying.

In fact, I was told by a regular distraught passenger that this is the situation they have been enduring and barely a month will go by when Kanilai ferry is not grounded for service.

“We are suffering nowadays, especially some of us whose livelihoods depend on the ferry,” she sobbed.

It is apparent that Banjul-Barra is the biggest and busiest crossing point in the country. One reason underpinning this claim is the commercial benefits my people reap, especially the women folk.

They ply the ferry on a quotation basis to sell their products in Banjul major market to be able to support their families.

What can you or the government of The Gambia do about the plight of my people? The suffering of our people, particularly the downtrodden has exceedingly gone beyond patience.

As we decry the status quo at the terminals, we respectfully ask the government of The Gambia through your office to purchase a new ferry to complement the Kunta Kinteh and as well, boost the economic base of my people, while at the same time continually generate revenue for the state.

Provision of additional ferry will, as a matter of fact, elongate the expected life-span of Kunta Kinteh ferry.

We do hope that the sound and tone of the beating drum of our concern will goad you into action; an action of positive change.

While we anticipate that change, I have generously given you a caveat and precautionary step to take. We are disadvantaged and do not want to be victims of your making circumstances in any way.

Yankuba Manneh
Essau