Brikama vendors told to vacate

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
A multitude of vendors and shopkeepers at the old Brikama Car Park have been told to vacate.

According to reports reaching the Daily Observer, the management of Brikama Area Council had asked the vendors to relocate to the former Brikama Craft Market; a move the market people fear would harm their businesses.

Lama Jallow, a mobile telephone businessman, on Monday, informed the Daily Observer that the council had given him “only two day’s ultimatum to vacate” the place; failing which, he said, his place would be demolished.

He argued that he does not want to relocate his business to the old craft market where, he said, there were no constructed buildings.

"In fact that place is not favourable for business," a frustrated looking Mr Jallow said.
Abdoulie Ndure, another businessman, complained that the relocation would have serious effects on his business, as he had only two days to vacate the place; something he believes is unfair.

A third victim of the relocation, Mr Yusupha Faye, a mobile repairer, said: "We are appealing to the management of Brikama Area Council to give us more time so that we can put ourselves together."

He then suggested that the authority allow them to stay put until after the fasting period. Mr Faye further appealed to the council to put into consideration the fact that they had just completed payment of their taxes and that they had not used even a quarter of what their payment was worth.

He revealed that they had received information from undisclosed sources that the place they have been asked to relocate their businesses to is in fact a “property belonging to a particular family”.

A measured response
Reacting to the development, Mr Sereign Modou Joof, public relations officer of Brikama Area Council, said: "As far as BAC is concerned, the issue of relocating the vendors had been on course since 2006".

He revealed that they intend to establish a fish storage facility at the disputed site; a project which Mr Joof said was the  product of a grant given to the government of The Gambia by the Japanese government.

PRO Joof further disclosed that the BAC management, in conjunction with the Department of State for Fisheries and Water Resources, as well as the affected vendors, had had several meetings over the issue.

He said that during one such meeting, all the retailers had agreed to adhere to the council’s decision for them to be relocated.

"The project we intend to establish is not a BAC project; rather, it is a Gambia Government project," PRO Joof noted, adding that in July  this year, the council distributed a press release giving a month’s notice for the retailers to vacate the place, "but none of them answered to that”.

Mr Joof then concluded with an appeal to the affected vendors to take the decision in good faith, noting that BAC did not mean to bring harm on neither the businessmen and women nor do they intend to drag their businesses into the mud.

Author: by Amadou Jallow