BY LAMIN FATTY
Commuters and passengers using the Basse and Wuli crossing point are expressing their concern and the difficulties they encounter since the ferry that plies this river crossing has not been operating for almost three weeks now.
When this reporter visited the said Basse crossing over the weekend, he found that the only ferry that transports passengers and vehicles was not operating. The same is also reported for the one at Fatoto.
Alpha Omar Jallow, a businessman and resident of Basse, asked why the ferry stops operational whenever there is flooding. “It is now getting to 3 weeks since the ferry has stopped operating,” he disclosed.
Mr. Jallow also revealed that he and his colleagues always find it very difficult to cross with their goods to the other side of the river bank in small boats, adding that it is cumbersome, time consuming and above all very risky and expensive.
He urged the concerned authorities to address this perennial problem once and for all as the state of affairs is negatively impacting on their economic activities.
Haja Halima Dukureh said the people from Wuli who have patients to take to the Basse district hospital are the most unfortunate since they are being compelled to use the small boats in order to cross the river to the other side as the ferry is not working.
“I really sympathize with the patients and their escorts who have to endure this trouble of travelling by boats. I’m therefore urging the Government to critically look into this issue of ferries in the Gambia which many people depend on to go to different destinations,” she said.
Also expressing his concern on behalf of the patients, a senior health worker at Baja Kunda Health center said it is very sad and inhuman for the patients to be transported on canoes just to find themselves on another ambulance. This, he added, can have negative consequences on the patients whose conditions may be precarious.
This reporter’s attempt to talk to the ferry staff was unsuccessful as they are said to be on break until the flood waters recede. Efforts to talk to the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) on the issue could not also materialize.