It was in 2011, more than three years ago that President Jammeh, as part of celebrations marking the 17th Anniversary of the July, 22nd Revolution, commissioned two new ferries that were supposed to take over service at the Banjul/Barra crossing. The two ferries, “Aljamdu” and “Kansala”, were acquired by Government at the tune of €6, 345, 000 (342 million dalasi at today’s exchange rates).
The ferries are still not operational but are parked in Gambian waters, rusting away. Instead, the Gambia Ports Authority indicated in their report to the National Assembly that because the ramp was unsuitable the ferries could not resume operation.
In 2012 the government proceeded, with Taiwanese financial support, to rehabilitate two of the old ferries. One has already been rehabilitated while the other is in dry dock. Hence only one ferry is operating at the moment causing a lot of delay in crossing and forcing a lot of passengers to use canoes. Commuters between Barra and Banjul suffer immensely.
There is no reason why an essential public service that generates substantial revenue is yet to be put in order. The woes of the ferries have resulted to a drop in revenue from 142 million dalasi in 2011 to 132 million dalasi in 2012.
Foroyaa will find out from the GPA management what plans they have for the new ferries and the ramps.