Who told Golden Lead company to lay the pipe?
The Golden Lead Import & Export Trade Co. Ltd in 2014 erected a fish meal processing plant at the Gunjur beach with limited environmental guidelines. The National Environment Agency (NEA) under the then dictatorship government of Yayah Jammeh was a toothless outfit that could not even follow their own environmental guidelines allowed the company to establish. Since the company started production, they have been exporting fish meal products to China not for human consumption but for animal consumption while depriving The Gambians population of nutritious fish products. Is this the best method Gambian fish stock can be used for? One would think that due to the nature this company was established in The Gambia under a dictatorship rule, the new government elected into power in December 2016 would look into the matter and review what was done by the previous government. This is what should have been done because the existence of this company has been a persistent source of division among the people of Gunjur with one side believing that the company is an investor that is good for the people of Gunjur while the other side believes there can be investors though those investors must fulfill their social responsibilities that will also contribute to the socio-economic development of Gunjur, its people and Gambia as a whole.
We must be willing to discriminate between good and bad investors by looking at the environmental practices they intend to practice and hold them accountable every step of the way. No host country should allow any foreign or domestic company to practice any method of manufacturing that could be harmful to our environment. The practice of erecting a waste pipe at the beach that sends fish meal waste back into the sea has been discouraged by the NEA and the company refused to remove it until the waste pipe was recently removed from the ocean by youths in Gunjur when an ultimatum to receive the pipe was ignored. It is possible that the NEA is acting on the orders of The Gambia government due to intervention by some government officials.
A Chinese flag at Gunjur Beach.
The intervention was a public knowledge when the government announced last year that a settlement with Golden Lead was reached without contacting the aggrieved parties of the Golden Lead’s operation in Gunjur. It is the responsibility of the NEA to ensure that their orders are followed properly. They had given an order that was never followed and there were no consequences for their action. We know our politicians and the state machinery individuals have been sidestepping the chance to defend the laws of The Gambia and adhere to regional and multilateral treaties The Gambia has entered into. Now less than a month ago since the waste pipe was removed from the ocean, there is an official letter circulating with NEA letter head giving the go ahead for Golden Lead to reinsert pipes into the ocean so they can start discharging the waste! The NEA needs to clear the air whether this letter was an official document or forged. If it was not forged, the body needs to come forward and explain its stance on this matter quickly to the people of Gunjur and Gambia as a whole.
If this practice was not OK before why is it OK now? I know that it is just human nature to ignore or play “I don’t care” attitude towards something that is wrong in your area but not directly affecting you! This Golden Lead matter is a Gunjur issue and it should be a national issue as well because it is a threat to the Tourism industry and anything that is a threat to this sector ought to be an equal threat to our coastline from Kartong to Banjul. It should concern every Gambian that a small family company from China can establish in Gunjur and disregard Gambian laws and do what they want without any adverse consequences. Gambia is a sovereign country NOT owned by China, so why is it that this Chinese flag is being flown on a pole held by a military dressed style Chinese national like The Gambia has just been conquered in a battle? Is this the picture, our government wants to convey? To me personally it is an affront to the territorial integrity of The Gambia and her people. I have never seen any foreign national anything like she is demonstrating in this picture and it is an insulting and disrespectful to every Gambian as no Gambian will go to China and do such a thing.
This struggle will continue though domestic and international avenues until our voices and pleas are heard. Who advised her that it was a good idea to raise her flag like that in a public space not covered by normal diplomatic privileges? Where was the HOST nation’s flag? I was very disappointed by these Gambians at this pipe laying event whether they are from Gunjur or other parts of the country for aiding and abetting this company in their disregard for our national sovereignty and flagrant violation of our environmental regulations. Did anyone of them notice what was going on around them? Gambian leaders and nationals must respect their country before THEY can expect other people to respect The Gambia. We are required to respect and adhere to the laws of the host country and that is no less expected of anyone within the territorial borders of the Gambia. The president’s office has been very quiet about this matter and it is past time for his intervention to the situation.
We respect the diplomatic relations with The ROC though that needs to be based on mutual respect for each other’s laws. No one should expect this company to police itself by expecting them to submit a quarterly water analysis report to Department of Water Resources.
Our entire coastline is in jeopardy if foreign visitors cannot use the water to swim, surf and other things if that water is contaminated in anyway and that danger will come quicker if Sanyang and later Tanji also have a fishmeal processing plant. All opinions are my own.
Article courtesy of WIGOIA
Original post can be found here: