13 November 2012

Gambia: The Streets in Banjul a Major Concern BCC's Role Questioned

It is not unusual for people to hear the general public complaining of the poor condition of many streets in the Gambian capital, the city of Banjul.

People from different works of life have frequently been complaining of transport difficulty travelling in and out of the city. This has mainly been attributed to the poor conditions of the streets leading many commercial vehicle drivers to abandon the city.

Such complaints encouraged this reporter to walk along different streets on Monday to talk to concerned people.

This reporter spoke to drivers, vehicle owners, traders, students, social workers among others and all of them expressed the hardship they face in the city.

Drivers and vehicle owners said due to the poor condition of the streets they find it very challenging in choosing the streets they should use while entering and leaving the city. The condition of the streets they said causes frequent damages to their vehicle causing extra expenditure on maintenance.

The workers said the poor condition of the streets causes many of them to be late for work as transports become scarce because of the hesitation to drive to Banjul.

Many students said since school buses are not available for them in many of the schools in the city they are finding it hard to go to school and reach home on time even though they are on the highway on time.

Traders said the poor condition of the streets is harmful to them as the dust they inhale could cause illness. One woman among them said she has to spend D30.00 daily to buy peak milk to protect herself from the dust as that is the only means she has to protect herself.

Adding their voices the push carts users said that due to the poor condition of the streets the baggage they carry used to fall down and as a result some would be damaged causing then economic loss as some owners of these baggage claim for damages.

This they said reduces their income as their payments usually cut down to replace any damage.

Commuters said the poor condition of the road makes travelling to the city very burdensome.

Some youths who were found sitting and relaxing at Ecowas Avenue (Buckle Street) said they all travel from the Kombos to the city looking for something to earn legally for the sake of their families. However they said the situation of the streets in Banjul does not favour them as they find it difficult to get transport to go home late in the evening. They said they are labourers who load and unload trucks but were quick to add that they were found relaxing because they had nothing to do for the day even though they had some family responsibilities they have to fulfill. These youths claimed to be Gambian nationals from different regions of the country.

This reporter visited the Banjul City Council to speak to the authorities to get their version but were told that the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Council was bereaved and was not at work. Both the Mayor and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) were said to be out for a meeting. After the arrival of the Mayor this reporter was told by a security officer that the Mayor was very busy and could not grant him interview.

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