Gunjur VDC dissolved by Brikama Area Council
Through a unanimous agreement in an emergency meeting held at the chambers of the Brikama Area Council (BAC) on 9th May 2018, a resolution has been passed to dessolve the Gunjur Village Development Committee (VDC) as per section 96 (1) of the Local Government Act 2002, according to a letter from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Brikama Area Council.
It is unclear what resulted in the decision by BAC to desolve the Gunjur VDC which came on the hills of a long running succession issue with regards to the VDC. VDC led by Demba Jobe Touray was replaced by an interim committee for failing to turn up at the 17th September 2017 AGM.
The VDC which was heavily criticised for their inability to stage a single AGM since coming to power, was also accused of financial misappropriation which led to calls for the removal of the entire executive committee of the VDC.
VDC members failed to show up at AGM
The VDC’s failure to organise an AGM to report on their activities during the past five years prompted Alkali Giki Darboe to summon the VDC and urged them to call an AGM and report on their finances and other activities of the VDC during the term under review.
However, the members of Gunjur Village Development committee failed to show up for the Annual General Meeting slated for Sunday 17 September, 2017. The VDC members’ failure to attend the AGM followed a visit to the Alkali to appeal to him to cancel the AGM. Bajiki Darboe lamented: "VDC members came to my house on Saturday with an appeal for me to cancel the AGM. But I insisted that it must hold as scheduled. Their reasons for failing to attend the AGM was that there will be too much argument. A lot of efforts have been made in the past years to ensure the VDC face the Village and present an activity report which will include all their financial transactions, but to no avail. The VDC was insisting that their financial report isn't ready". The former businessman turned village head, maintained:
"Even recently when we had a meeting with the VDC, they appealed that we should give them three months to finish preparing their financial report. But I insisted that the meeting should go on as scheduled. Something that could not be prepared in three years cannot be prepared in three months. I am shocked and disappointed by the act and the attitude of the VDC. They have let everyone down" he said. The AGM went ahead, albeit with the absent VDC members which attracted a wide array of villagers, including youth groups, the Council of Elders and the Alkali. Speaking at that AGM, former Secretary General Office of the president, Madi Jatta made a push for the selection of an interim committee since the current VDC Executives refused to hold an AGM compounded with the expiration of their mandate. Mr Jatta further declared: "I think what we should do now is to write four letters which will include a disclaimer against them. The Alkali and the councillors are here, they can take it to the Area Council for them to intervene and make sure the VDC does a proper handing over ceremony". The Health sub-committee of the former VDC led by Foday Karl Darboe presented their activity and financial report to the gathering. It was widely believed the the VDC was not able to report on their activities and financial dealings due to suspected financial misappropriation especially at Gunjur beach where in excess of D100,000 is collected monthly as revenue for the VDC. A meeting of the stakeholders was subsequently held at the Alkalo's residence to set up an interim committee to steer the affairs of the VDC until a new committee could be put together.
Despite the selection of an interim committee to steer the affairs of Gunjur VDC, some members of the old VDC hung onto to their positions and were executing the affairs of the VDC to the outrage of the campaigners of change of the leadership of the VDC to pave way for a more transparent and accountable VDC for a progressive Gunjur.
This created an impasse which led to the Brikama Area Council to take action and unanimously agreed and passed a resolution to dissolve the VDC.
According to the Local Government Act 2002, the Village Development Commitee is selected from two representatives of each Kabilo and two representatives from Community Based Organisations (CBO's) which must be a male and female.