Letters : Focusing on wildlife, disasters and environment

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Dear Editor,

The Fisheries portfolio should move back to the Ministry of Environment as it used to be in the past. This will help us to effectively manage our fisheries resources, protect our marine and coastal environment as well as ensure environmental procedures including EIA are followed as per National Environment Management Act, 1994.

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The Ministry of Trade and GIEPA must ensure that foreign investors apply for environmental approval on investments that have potential impacts on the environment and the livelihood of our citizens before issuing them operational licenses. In the event they failed to do that , the National Environment Agency has the mandate to close any investment that are not in conformity with our natural resources management acts/regulations.

Engaging the public especially the local communities whose livelihood are affected by a particular investment is one of the key steps in the EIA process as their voice matters and their interest should be defended at all costs. Communities should be compensated for any damages to their properties, or potential loss of income as a result of the presence of a project.

If we can’t provide and help the poor people, please, please let us not rob them their meager resources they depend upon for their livelihood. Unfortunately, it’s always our Government offering licenses to wrong investors to overexploit our natural resources without due consideration to the poor and vulnerable population. It is when the the rivers are dry and the forest all gone when we will realize that we cannot eat money! What is happening in The Gambia under the watchful eyes of our Government and experts is totally unacceptable. What has happened to our good environmental laws, the International Conventions and Regional agreements we signed? How are we implementing the outcome of COP meetings??

Foreign nation does not need our fisheries resources more than our fellow citizens, so why giving out our resources just like that for a chicken change???

Famara Drammeh
Wild life and Environment expert

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