By Madiba Singhateh
The quiet settlement of Ndangaan, in the outskirts of Banjul, yesterday, 18 April 2017, received a bicycle and wheelbarrow from the newly elected National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North, Ousman Sillah.
Ndangaan, which is situated behind the sanatorium near Bund Road, is a settlement comprising 35 households and inhabited by fishers and oyster collectors.
At the presentation ceremony attended by the members of the settlement, including the village head, Mr. Sillah said the items being donated are in fulfillment of a commitment he had made to the members of his campaign team after visiting the settlement before the recently concluded national assembly elections.
Mr. Sillah told the villagers that he and his team came there during the campaign period and explained the role of a National Assembly Member and the importance of their participation in the elections.
“I told you that the constitutional role of a NAM is to make laws and scrutinise and approve the work of state institutions as an oversight. I told you that the decision to vote for anyone is yours but that you must make a wise choice,” he added.
The Banjul North NAM said they have not promised them anything at the time but had taken note of the concerns they raised.
“You explained some of the challenges you encounter which include the lack of mobility and other simple means of transporting items. You talked about the need to have a community owned bicycle and wheelbarrow which we could have purchased for you right away. But because this would have amounted to an inducement or buying your votes, we decided to wait until after the elections, regardless of whether we win or not,” said the Banjul North NAM.
Mr. Sillah said the purpose of the bicycle as explained by the village head is to help them facilitate errands to buy items such as candles, sugar, etc., at the nearest shops in Banjul which is more than 3 kilometres away from Ndangaan and that the wheelbarrow is needed to be transporting heavy items like a bag of rice from the main Banjul-Serekunda highway to the settlement.
He said this presentation is just symbolic and a token but added that more will follow as he will be responding to the immediate, medium and long term needs identified by the community as and when he has the means to do so.
In receiving the two items, Joseph Jatta, the village head, expressed his profound appreciation on behalf of the community. He described the donation of the items as timely.
“These two items are not small at all as they are invaluable and coming to address an urgent need to facilitate mobility of community members,” he said.
Mr. Jatta added that they have other needs such as electricity, access route and cold storage facilities to preserve their catch and oysters and would want the NAM to assist them in this regard.