The Gambia Ports Authority should act urgently to safe lives and time. It has been a while now since people began raising concern about the faulty ramp of the ferry terminal and the bad condition of the ferries at the Banjul-Barra ferry crossing point.
If trucks are used to bring down the terminal ramp for the ferries to be able to anchor and out of the three ferries – Barra, Johe and Kanilai; only one – Kanilai is working, then the problem is now grave. The number of people and goods that are transported by ferries daily through the terminal should be able to maintain the terminal in good shape and keep the ferries plying as normal.
The Deputy Director of Gambia Ports Authority has said that nature is nature, and went to the extend of making reference to the earthquake in Japan.
Is the problem of the ferry terminal a natural disaster?
The problem with the two ferries and the ramp cannot be described as a natural disaster. The GPA authorities should take good care of the ferries by making sure that all the ferries are in good condition to transport people and goods.
The ferry service is not only an income generating avenue but can also safe lives of people who may resort to taking risk by going boarding small canoes to cross with heavy luggage without life jackets for safety.
Knowing that there is no bridge between Barra and Banjul, it is only through the ferry that students, business people, transporters and so on can move between Banjul and Barra.
The GPA should consider the risk involve in allowing desperate travelers to board the small canoes without life jackets, especially those who cannot swim including old people, physically disabled and children.
The ferry has given comfort to many travelers between Banjul and Barra. Thank God the spare parts for the ferries are already imported, the engineers and technicians should not waste any time to bring the ferries back on the seas.
Business people, students and civil servants coming from Barra, other parts of the north bank to Banjul or vice versa cannot wait for a ferry for more than an hour when they should report to their various destinations on time. And using trucks to bring down the ramp is abnormal, hence there is need to work on it. Refuting of public complaints will solve not any problem. The solution is to act responsibly and urgently. The ferries are at the service of the public, then they have a right to complain and they deserve to listened to so as to know their feelings and address their problems for the common good.