By MUHAMMED SAILU BAH The Mayor of the Banjul City Council last Friday convened a meeting with the police, head of Banjul taxi park and representatives of Transport Union to discuss issues concerning the big Lorries parked on the main roads of Banjul for days causing traffic obstructions. Apartfrom the road obstruction that the said lorries are causing in the streets of the capital city more so Banjul South Constituency, it also causes rubbish to compile beneath them (parked Lorries) which is a health hazard to the community. Another issue of concern was the road conditions in the city. The meeting was held at the Mayor’s Chambers in the Banjul City Council. During the discussion, the head of the drivers and garages and representatives of the Transport Union explained their constraints to the City Council thus urging them to intervene. Samba Jobe, Operation Officer Gambia Transport Corporation said the parking of Lorries on the major roads around the Banjul South constituency is due to lack of space in the city. He explained that most of these Lorries come to Banjul to collect goods and services at the wharves while others queue to use the ferry to cross to Barra. He further said the delay at the Ferry crossing point in Banjul causes them to wait for days just to be able to cross. Mr. Jobe cited this as a major constraint, “Most of these lorries that are parked around the major roads are those lorries that are queuing to cross with the Ferry,” he lamented. Similar Comments were reiterated by Mr Manlafi Camara National Transport Field Coordinator. He lamented that the garage that is allocated at Abuko is too far for Lorries to be parking until their turn come, then they come back to collect their merchandise from Banjul. Omar Ceesay head of the main Banjul taxi park also said that the main problem drivers are facing is the poor road condition along Primet Street, which he said is causing lots of drivers to divert route and ply other areas within the Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region. He further said that vehicle drivers lay their complaints to him as the head, some even do it violently, using foul languages due to the poor condition of the roads. He said drivers find it very difficult to come to Banjul because of the damages they incur on their vehicles. “A lot of commercial vehicle owners have warned their drivers not to go to Banjul anymore due to the condition of the roads,” he disclosed. He said he has been trying to find a better solution to the problem, suggesting the Lasso Wharf – Box Bar road to be completed up to Allen Street, noting that drivers will find it very easy to find their way out without any problem. He urged the city council to intervene in trying to solve these problems. He also commended the City Council through the leadership of Bah in responding to some of their needs. Musa Jeng, a resident around the main garage, and also a member of the garage head, decried the blockage of the drainage system. This according to him is due to the rubbish that are dumped in it. He also cited the small plastic pots that some vendors use to sell black tea ‘CAFÉ TOUBA’, which he said are scattered everywhere. This he continues, is causing problems to residents living around the taxi park noting that when it rains, the rubbish will cause blockages making it difficult for water to pass through thereby causing floods. He also reiterated the poor road conditions, especially Primet Street, and called on the council to help in its maintenance. ASP Kebba Bojang, Station Officer, Banjul, called for the revitalization of the old system on the control of the Lorries in order to stop them from parking on the highways of Banjul causing traffic obstructions. He explains that during those days, when he was a junior officer in the Police Force, there was proper control of Lorries entering in and out of the City. He lamented the unavailability of traffic sign boards which he said makes vehicles to park anywhere. He added that sign boards make the work of the police very easy. ASP Ismaila Sallah Banjul Traffic Police Department also emphasized on the importance of sign boards on the work of the police. He further urged the Transport Corporation to commit themselves in solving these problems. Lala Camara Deputy Commissioner Banjul Division representing the IGP said the police are not just there to arrest, but also to contribute efficiently in nation building. She also said it is important for all stakeholders to be committed to solve these problems. She said during cleansing exercises the police participate fully in clearing the business areas in the City up to the Gambia Ports Authority but lamented that none of the lorry drivers takes part in the activity. “We should all work on maintaining the cleanliness of the city, and as well try to find ways and means in order to avoid traffic obstructions,” noted the Deputy Commissioner, Banjul Division. She also assured the commitment of the police towards this course. The Mayor of Banjul, on his part said the parking of Lorries along the highways causes a great obstruction to the traffic. He also said the parking of Lorries with heavy container loads causes the Banjul roads to have short span. Mayor Bah also said the parking of Lorries on the roads has negative impact on the environment in the city, such as causing damages on the road, littering and traffic obstruction. “Therefore these problems need to be addressed as Banjul is the only capital city in the Gambia and each and everyone has a role to play in developing it,” Mayor Bah asserted. He further said there is a land that is allocated by the government to the City Council around Bond Road to be used as a multi-purpose garage for Lorries to be parked. “We will be finding ways and means of building it, and I believe this will solve the problems of Lorries parking on the highways or roads in the city causing obstructions” he disclosed. This idea was embraced by all stakeholders at the Meeting. Mayor Bah also said for Primet Street, they are working on having a temporal measure for the time being for vehicles to use. He said the council through the help of the National Disaster Management Agency under the President’s Office will fill all portholes and craters along the Primet Street for vehicles to use. He added that the City Council will also work with the Ministry of Works for the completion of the Box Bar- Lasso wharf road up to Allen Street for commercial vehicle to be using. On the sign boards, Mayor Bah said, the council in close collaboration with stakeholders will work on having traffic sign boards to help the work of the police. He further said that, Monday 17 August, the Council in close collaboration with stakeholders will make an assessment of the identified land and see how best a temporal measure can be implemented for Lorries to use for parking before the final construction of the said land. He also called for attitudinal change for the development of the city, noting that everyone has a role to play. He explained that Primet Street is a muddy area and that is why council in close collaboration with the Works Ministry is finding ways for a lasting solution. He added the usage of the city roads by heavy Lorries causes damages to the roads in the City. City Council officials present at the meeting were, Mustapha Batchilly, Chief Executive Officer Banjul City Council, Sandigie Njie, Public Relation Officer Banjul City Council and Head of the City Council Security Unit.]]>
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