By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Andrea Jarju APRC’s candidate in the forthcoming Local Government Elections for Portuguese town ward said the youth of the country are less budgeted for by Area Councils over the past years. The young aspiring councilor said he has served as Chairman for the Banjul South Youth Committee for so many years and witnessed the constraints face by young people in accessing funds from the City Council. Jarju made these remarks at a debate organized by GRTS in collaboration with the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, at the Banjul City Council Chambers recently.
The aspiring Councilor said young people find it very difficult to access funds, because they lack good representatives.Andrea said Councilors who are supposed to represent young people are selected based on party or personal relationships; that if elected, he will ensure full youth representation in order to get their fair share of ‘our’ tax revenue; that among his priorities when elected are, the removal of the dumpsite at the main Banjul garage, cleaning of the drainage pipes and waterways and the revitalization of sport and culture and alleviating youth unemployment.
Essa Faye, the PPP candidate and incumbent Councilor for Portuguese town ward, disagreed with what APRC’s Andrea Jarju said that young people find it difficult to access Council funds. Faye said Council always provides funds for the youth of Banjul, when it is necessary.
On his plans to develop his ward, Faye said for him it will be a continuation of what he has been doing; that these are the rehabilitation of the drainage system within his ward under the Community Infrastructure Livelihood Project (CLIP), which he said was funded by the International development Bank (IDB), through Gamworks.
“I will continue with the work I started, by rehabilitating the drainage system and ensuring that refuse collection is effective and efficient in my ward”, he remarked.
Faye said there are projects that are already approved by Council for building a multipurpose youth center, and car parks among other things.
Alhagie Mansery Njie, the PDOIS candidate on his part said if elected, he will ensure an effective, efficient, responsive and transparent Council. “I will ensure that all funds that come into the Council’s coffers are accounted for”, he said.
Njie said part of his plan is to ensure the availability of a youth center; that he will push hard for the rehabilitation of the main drainage system in Grant Street.
Abdoulie Gaye, the UDP candidate said, education, health and infrastructure are lagging in Banjul, and that if elected he will ensure that all these are available for his people.
He said he has been involved in many community service initiatives even before vying for the councillorship position.
Gaye said all the projects the former councilor was executing were based on personal interest.