Authorities challenged to reconstruct collapsed Juffureh jetty

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The official tour guides and other tourism stakeholders have expressed their concern over the collapsed jetty at Juffureh and challenged authorities to reconstruct a new one for safe landing of boats and safeguarding purposes. The collapsed jetty is making berthing very difficult for boats or yachts at Juffureh and tourists sailing on River Gambia to visit these historical villages of Juffureh and Albreda.

Official Tour Guides gathered at the National Centre for Arts and Culture for a refresher training on genuine interpretation of the destination’s historical cultural sites expressed their dismay over the authorities ‘lackadaisical’ approach to the jetty, which has finally collapsed after four years of inactivity over its reconstruction.

Juffureh and Albreda villages are one of the key places in the country’s cultural, historical sites; one is the birthplace of the renowned Kunta Kinteh and also a place he was captured and moved to Kunta Kinteh Island (formerly known as James Island) before he was sent to Goree Island and finally to the new world’s plantations. Also, it is where Alex Hailey – the author of the popular book ‘Roots’ who travelled all the way from United States of America traced his roots down to the villages Juffureh and Albreda in North Bank Region (NBR).

As part of their importance to the tourism sector and making things work in right direction without any hindrance, in 2015, director general of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) alongside the former director general of National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and former director general of Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and Gambia Ports Authority paid a visit to the Juffureh jetty for assessment. Then it was almost sunk. But since then, no efforts have been made until it finally collapsed and sunk.

The T-end Juffureh jetty which is the link to the Juffureh and Albreda through River Gambia is very important in the region especially for the use of not only the citizenry but also tourists who visit the village, as it houses one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in The Gambia. Also it is very critical to tourism products, most especially the celebration of the International Roots Homecoming Festival.

Commenting on the collapsed T-end Juffureh jetty, Hassoum Ceesay, acting Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture affirmed the importance of the jetty to not only the two villages but to tourism and as well the cultural heritage sites in the communities.

“The issue of this jetty in the two villages is a multi-million dalasi project which all the stakeholders – NCAC, GTBoard, MoTC, Ports, Ministry of Works among others are responsible,” he disclosed.

Taking into consideration the Ministry of Tourism and Culture preparation towards the celebration of the International Roots Festival in 2020, he said, the jetty is the link between the visitors and the island “as the country is preparing for the celebration of International Roots Homecoming Festival, the construction of the jetty is a big priority.”

DG Ceesay added that there are other products in Juffureh and Albreda which call for urgent attention aside of the reconstruction of the jetty; among these projects are the Juffureh/Albreda Revamp Project – a project involving all institutions under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture; the Slavery Museum and San Domingo among others.

In 2015, the officials that visited the jetty for assessment included the director of Technical Services from Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, who confirmed that the landing part of the jetty (almost sank then) had totally failed structurally, and therefore declared it “no longer a suitable place for a landing purpose; this is in regard to protection and safeguarding of people from making serious accident.”

Author: Yunus S. Saliu