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City of Banjul
Sunday, May 19, 2024
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On the falling ferry system

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There are dramatically rising ferry repair costs on taxpayers’ shoulders day in and day out, while unreliable service delivery continues to be the order of the day.

Every day, thousands of employees, residents, and commuters who rely on our once robust ferry system are left struggling in fear. The government and authorities need to act urgently to improve our ferry system for the sake of commuters who rely on ferries to get to their homes, jobs, or medical appointments.

The Banjul Barra Ferry Crossing is part of our country’s highway system, providing a safe and reliable way for those who depend on it to travel between different parts of the bank. Therefore, we hold the authorities responsible for maintaining this critical infrastructure to enhance the movement of people who have no other choice but to use the ferries.

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The ferry system is now failing to meet this basic obligation, with numerous problems plaguing it.

Constant delays and breakdowns have become notorious for ruining our commuters’ days.

The impact on passengers includes arriving late to work, spending extra hours commuting, and feeling increasingly frustrated and anxious.

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This unsustainable situation directly results from poor planning by the authorities.

It should come as no surprise that the older ferries, some of which are in dire condition, force us to incur increasing maintenance costs as breakdowns occur more frequently, all while taxpayers foot the bill.

One might conclude that this problem is not the result of one or two decisions but of years of poor ferry service planning.

The authorities’ most urgent goal should be to agree on replacing the old ferries, a decision that could not only improve economic gains but also provide effective and safer service delivery.

Continuously recycling ferries is not a solution and must be stopped.

Possible solutions include:

Purchasing new ferries to replace the old ones once and for all. Considering the amount spent on buying ferry engines and all the attached maintenance costs, doing so will not only boost the economy but also restore confidence in the authorities.

Long-term plans may include considering more robust measures to build a bridge between Banjul and Barra. Although it has been mentioned many times without much commitment, if this dream is to become a reality, action must start now.

Commuters’ lives matter!

Alasan Jallow

Finland

Leadership qualities

We will continue to struggle because we believe that leadership revolves around our own self-interest, power, and control. This is the biggest misconception we have in our society, and it always manifests itself in our leaders, regardless of their level.

Leadership should be about having a vision and inspiring your people to achieve that vision. How one views leadership matters. Our lack of understanding of leadership is why people quickly become kufang and feel entitlement when they are in a leadership role.

There are too many people in our political sphere who are seeking leadership for their own personal interests, power, and control. In a society where leadership is seen as a means of self-enhancement, power, and control, development will be scarce.

We are not interested in collective power to preserve our dignity, but rather, in individual or kabudu power. This is the cause of all the dishonesty, hostility, and insults you see every day.

If I had to guess, I would say that 90% of those in leadership roles lack the necessary leadership qualities, and it is apparent in their communication and behavior. Leadership is not about kufang; it’s about having foresight and bringing out the best in others.

We are quick to say “dew sangam” for president or some other position without vetting their leadership skills. Being liked by others does not make one a good leader. We sometimes even champion folks who have proven to have a bad attitude to be in a leadership role. Without understanding the qualities of a good leader, we will continue to encounter leadership problems.

Momodou Ndow

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