By Nelson Manneh
It has come to the notice of this paper that people are leaving the urban settlement to rural Gambia or other parts of the sub region. This reporter, on Tuesday, 10 January, 2017 visited the Gambia Transport Services Company (GTSC) and the Banjul Barra Ferry crossing points to find out the situation.
Upon arrival at the GTSC, it was observed that many people were trying to secure a place in buses.
Speaking to Foroyaa, the General Manager of GTSC, Mr. Habibou Drammeh, said the movement of people on the ground is normal like before, and compares it to the situation when ‘tobaski’ or ‘koriteh’ approaches. The GTSC Manager said they have not experienced any serious movement as at now.
Mariama Faal, a passenger at the GTSC bus stop said her husband in America called her last week and told her to move with the children to their village in the Upper River Region (URR). She said the village where she is going to is just few kilometres away from the border and her husband told her that if anything happens they can easily move to Senegal. Madam Faal expresses concern on the education of her children, noting that one of her children is in grade nine and classes are not holding which may affect the outcome of his result. “My children are attending a private school and the school is very expensive, we pay almost ten thousand dalasis per child per term excluding other expenses,’’ she lamented.
Visiting the Banjul Barra Ferry crossing point, this reporter observed that many people are crossing from Banjul. It was also observed that when the ferry arrived at the Banjul terminal, passengers rushed in to secure a place and it takes nothing less than 30 minutes to settle down before moving to the other side of the river. The number of passengers in Barra preparing to cross the river to Banjul was not many when compared to Banjul; the ferry was not full when it departed.
Speaking to Foroyaa, one Sering Drammeh, a businessman residing in Banjul, said all his relatives and family members are in Dakar, Senegal and due to this political situation he is also going back home until things settle down. He said the current political situation is not encouraging at all and their business is not moving at all. “You sit for a whole day and nobody will ask you for the prices of your materials not to talk of buying it. “The reason for this entire situation is that African leaders like power too much, they never think of leaving as far as they are there and they fail to understand that it is because of the people that they are there; and if people decide you leave you should do so, I value my life than any other thing,’’ Drammeh lamented. Mr. Drammeh said now the exchange rate for the CFA has increased from D380 to D410. He added that even to see CFA is a problem.
Maimuna Touray, a student of the Gambia Telecommunication and Multi Media Institute (GTMI), said classes are not held and it seems like the students have boycotted classes. She said their tutorial fee is very expensive for such to happen. ‘’The outgoing government should look at the condition of every individual and analyse things in a positive manner that will favour all of us, some of us are from poor background and our parents manage to pay for us,’’ Touray lamented.