By Muhammed Sailu Bah
Young people who were operating beach bars for the tourists between
Bijilo and Brufut on the Tourism Development Area (TDA) are calling on
the authorities to reverse the recent decision that ordered for the
demolition of their structures along the beach.This appeal is coming in the wake of the demolition exercise carried
out on Saturday, 13 June 2015, by the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard),
in close collaboration with the Department of Physical Planning under
the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, removing all the
structures or beach bars in the said area.
When this reporter visited the said area yesterday to find out how the
exercise ended and what impact it has on the said operators, he was
told that many young people who were self-employed have now been
affected and rendered jobless by the demolition which razed their
structures to the ground. The owners of the demolished structures were
seen busy picking up the dismantled and broken pieces of wooden
boards, planks, furniture, iron rods, etc. left strewn on the beach.
Speaking to Alieu Jallow, one of the young men working in the
demolished beach bars, he said this move by the authorities has now
left him without a legitimate means of earning income to support
himself and his family.
Jallow said more than one hundred young people have been benefiting
from beach bars through the income they earn as owners, workers or
customers bringing in tourists. “Young people who are unemployed and
do not want to engage in crime often come to the beach to earn a
living through the services of the beach bars,” he said, adding “if
the government had weighed the advantages and disadvantages before
demolishing the bars they would not have done so as it does not serve
the interest of many young people.”
He revealed that more than 15 structures have been demolished and
which include the White Vision Bar, Villagers’ Bar, Bambo, Ocean Blue,
Pelican, Jamaican, Sibis, Taste of Ocean, to name a few.
“All these beach bars are owned by young Gambians who are sponsored by
their tourist friends to engage and earn income for doing a decent work,” he
Lamin Darboe, another worker, said “the government is trying to
discourage young people from travelling to Europe through the ‘Back
way’ (irregular migration) and yet they are preventing those who have
decided to stay from doing work at home to earn a living. This is a
Darboe said the beach bars have been playing a very important role in
serving as rendezvous for prospective sponsors of individuals and
communities needing help from philanthropists. “The scholarships for
many students and the services and facilities benefiting numerous
schools and communities have emanated from links developed by young
people working in or frequenting beach bars,” he revealed.
He said the incident has devastated many of them as their only source
of earning is now denied them.
“Most of us are dependables who are supporting large families at home
as well as the education of our siblings and children,” he added.
Basirou Bojang, a beach bar operator, said their operations are not
only benefiting the young people working at the beach but also fruit
sellers, including the women in the local markets who supply them the
“We are also contributing positively in sustaining the environment at
the beach by planting trees, such as coconut trees, oranges and
even flowers to beautify the place,” he added.
According to Mr. Bojang, they were given a very short notice by the
authorities and that there was no time for a dialogue to resolve the
“The demolition team did not even allow us to remove our materials and
furniture which were destroyed in the exercise,” he said.
He appealed to the government to help them as young people to continue
with their businesses.
By Muhammed Sailu Bah