Development Should Not Be A Curse For People
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Wednesday 22 July | Yero S. Bah
The community of Jambanjelly in Kombo South on Tuesday held a meeting with authorities from GAMWORKS over concerns of floods as a result of poor drainage system on the stretch of the Jambanjelly-Jabang highway that passes through the settlemet. Residents of Jambanjelly living along the highway have had their homes damaged by flood water due to lack of proper dranage system since the commencement of this year’s rainy season.
According to Buba Drammeh, Secretary General of the Jambanjelly Village Development Committee, the meeting was not organized to castigate GAMWORKS but to have one-to-one discussions on the floods and drainage challenges posed by the highway in the community and seek a way forward in solving the issues at hand in the Kombo South village.
Mr Drammeh explained that, they have been engaging Gamworks for years and nothing has been done so far to address their challenges such as the poor drainage system, floods and the houses that are damaged by the floods due to the road that was constructed three years ago. “I think development should not be curse for the communities it is intended for.”
Sally Bojang, Chairwoman of the VDC bemoaned the negative impact the road have had on the community which continues to be a challenge for the village since the road was constructed as they have not been in peace. “I am appealing to Gamworks to address these road problems; we are tired of these challenges.”
She urged GAMWORKS to dig out channels where water can empty and water outlets so that the rain water can get to the rice fields peacefully.
For Bubacarr Jammeh, a native of Jambanjelly said that, one development should not be a curse to another person saying it will be shameful if another meeting should be organized over the same issue for next year adding such convergence have been happening for years now and nothing is done about it.
He charged GAMWORKS to put certain measures in place to remedy the situation immediately.
According to Ousman Barrow, GAMWORKS did not honour the road conditions and agreements signed between them and the villagers claiming that the villagers were in complete compliance of the road contract. He said the agreements were for the residents along the road to give up their homes in return for compensations such that GAMWORKS will build all the demolished homes for the affected.
He added that, GAMWORKS changed the original road plan and that alteration was never communicated to the villagers in Jambanjelly saying he was disappointed by the project. “Gamworks never fulfilled their part of the contract” , Barrow pointed out.
Some of the flood victims have claimed that, the floods caused by the poor dranage system of the highway created enmity between the people in the community adding that the flood usually gets into their bedrooms anytime it rains. “We are always on the alert and awake anytime the rains start in Jambanjelly”, explained by some of the victims.
Babucarr Dibba, a Senior Program Manager at GAMWORKS explained the concept of the contract of the road to the community of Jambanjelly that the road was a $20 million project and his office even requested extra funds from government but was never met noting that GAMWORKS did everything possible to have the road project completed with the budget allocations. He said that, GAMWORKS does not have the funds to execute projects but it is government that disburses funds for them to do execution.
Mr. Dibba noted that, they could only execute projects within the budget and timeline adding that most of payments were affected from Jeddah in Saudia Arabia saying delays of the payments always slows down their work as an institution.
He promised that, from today’s meeting he will prepare his report and push it to his Director immediately for possible intervention in order to solve some of the challenges that need urgent remedy.
However, Mr Dibba refuted claims that GAMWORKS had misused the funds saying his institution has no direct control of the funds but the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is responsible of the funds. He however, promised the community of Jambanjelly that GAMWORKS will do their best to remedy the situation especially for the damaged homes, drainage systems and other issues caused by the road saying at the moment all that is needed is to find solutions.