Friday, November 21, 2014

Deplorable ferry services

Yesterday while Yaya Jammeh was announcing his intent to seek funding for a second airport (perhaps near his home village of Kanilai), the general public was being denied afternoon ferry service between the capital city of Banjul and Barra - a service that links the two halves of the country.

The ferry services, run by the Gambia Ports Authority have been intermittent at best.  We have reported on the dangers of these ferries and attempts by the regime to replace them that only made matters worse.

Two inappropriately designed ferries named "Kansala" and "Aljamdu" are berthing at the Banjul port whose ownership is still murky.  The ferry deals which were negotiated in Greece have ended up in limbo with the regime still tight-lipped about the legal status of the two vessels.  Meanwhile,  Gambians are faced with the daily inconvenience and hazardous challenges of using decrepit and dangerous vessels that we've described as "floating coffins".

The replacement of these ferries commands top national priority over a second airport, a suggestion that is anything but a pipe dream designed to divert the attention of Gambians from the most pressing issues facing the country.  A second airport is not financially feasible and thus unjustified.  What we need are new replacement ferries at all the major crossings, especially Banjul - Barra and Yelli Tenda - Bamba Tenda ferry crossing.