by Sanna Camara, Media Officer, State House
A delegation of Banjulians, comprising representatives at the Local Councils, National Assembly, civil society, community groups on Tuesday, 11th February 2020, paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, President Adama Barrow at the State House.
The delegation of more than forty people, among several other requests, called for street lighting, industries, town hall, youth capacity-building schemes and more infrastructure that will help revive the capital city’s past glory as administrative capital of The Gambia.
“The cleanliness of Banjul today is unrivalled for a very long time, especially for Half-Die,” Assembly Member Fatoumatta Njie told the President. She expressed her impression with the ongoing works in the city, trusting that more of such are in store for Banjul if the President is given the support he needs.
Muhammed Ndow added his voice to the call for street lights in the city, so as to rid the inhabitants of darkness at night. Lights will better illuminate the ongoing works on roads, sewage and drainage systems, he fondly said.
To the Banjulians, there still exists more land space for the construction of office buildings in Banjul, which can further change the face of the city as the capital of The Gambia.
So far, the ongoing works have created great impacts on Banjulians that so many who wanted to sell their landed properties so they can settle outside the city are rethinking such proposals.
However, they are worried that the sea port expansion plan in the city will affect so many residences and make several areas inhabitable.
They want the development of swampy lands into housing schemes that will expand settlement opportunities for them.
“Lights are a necessity just as trees in the city. It is important to have a town hall in Banjul so that conferences can be hosted and artists can perform in the city,” said Aji, Louise Jobe, a woman in her 60s. She added that establishment of a youth centre and the revival of “Saroo” will greatly help create jobs and build capacity for the youths.
Saroo was famous for value addition of groundnuts as the country’s main cash crop in the 70s and 80s. Factories were set up to process groundnuts into finished goods like cooking oil and its husks converted into briquettes.
Factories were also set up to process fish from the city’s waters and cold stores existed to help preserve raw food stuffs.
At one time, turbines were used to generate electricity that supplied all of Banjul and parts of Bakau. Now Banjulians want these to be revived and more.
The President, who recalled fun memories of his youthful days in the city was elated. He said Banjul as a capital should be a true reflection of the state of The Gambia, hence his government attaches great importance to its transformation.
President Barrow takes lot of pride in being the first opposition candidate to win against an incumbent President, which was unprecedented in 52 years of the city’s electoral history.
In 1978, he came to Banjul as a pupil to march in the independence celebration and listened to country’s first President address the students. In 2018, he was addressing students as President at the same grounds with former President among the audience, because it was destined to be.
He will hence remain steadfast in executing his mandate as expected by electorates and will continue to focus on constructing his legacy in office.
Basiru Ndow, an official of President Barrow’s newly registered NPP, said the President’s performance in office has already surpassed expectations as enshrined in his campaign manifesto when he ran for office in 2016.
The delegation was accompanied to the State House by Ministers of Finance, Mambury Njie, Transport and Works, Bai Lamin Jobe and Fisheries, Mr. James F. Gomez, who are all Banjulians and among a third of the Cabinet composition of President Barrow’s government.