All Rates to be Paid to GTA, Not KMC

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Says Solicitor-General

The Solicitor General and Legal Secretary at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Dr Henry D.R. Carrol, has said all hotels, motels and restaurants within the Tourism Development Area (TDA) should “rightly and lawfully pay their rates to the Gambia Tourism Authority (GTA) and not the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC)”.

Dr Carrol made this statement at a one-day workshop on the Harmonization of State Land Laws (SLLs) - “The Grey Areas” – organized recently by the GTA at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.

“‘The Grey Areas’ Act empowers the Gambia Tourism Authority to issue demand notes to all hotels, motels, restaurants etc within the Tourist Development Areas (TDA) for the payment of rates to the aforesaid authority,” stated the Gambian Solicitor General and Legal Secretary.

He also noted that under the Local Government Act, hotels and restaurants “are traditionally supposed to pay rates to the Kanifing Municipal Council”.

However, he added, the malaise presently taking place in the payment of rates  “is that all hotels, motels, restaurants, etc which are situated within KSMD are receiving two (2) demand notes for payment of rates from both parties – the GTA and the KMC”.

Dr Carrol said that this situation has created a confusing scenario, adding that the correct answer to this important legal question is that the businesses concerned should rightly and lawfully pay their rates to GTA and not KMC.

In his remarks, the Director General of The Gambia Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Ousman Kaliba Senghore, said the purpose of the workshop was to address the urgent needs of the concerned parties and to draft regulations required under the GTA Act, to be formulated and passed, in order to give legal backing to the procedures put in place by the GTA as well as to better complement and support the work of the Gambia Tourism Authority

Mr. Senghore disclosed that the problematic area in their day-to-day work is the issue of the TDA administration.

He added that the management of the GTA believes that there ought to be clearly defined mechanisms and procedures for all the allocations and that there should be better management for lands for tourism and its related investments.

He added that “Regulations or Control” of the tourism industry is principally the responsibility of The Gambia Tourism Authority, adding that several other government departments are also involved in administering relevant or related legislation.

Mr. Nicolas Williams, the General Manager of Kololi Beach Hotel, Mr. Momodou Sarr, the Executive Director of National Environmental Agency, and Mr. Alieu Secka, the president of The Gambia Hoteliers, and senior officials from various government departments attended the workshop.

Author: By Pa Modou B.O. Bojang & Ebrima Gillen
Source: The Point