Sanyang, Tujereng ready to defend their lands

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

People in the coastal settlements of Sanyang and Tujereng have expressed their resolve to defend their lands at all cost, claiming that the land in the centre of dispute between EJ Investments and The Gambia Tourism Board was their ancestral lands.

This came following a GTBoard media dispatch where it made certain claims against EJ Investments in relation to estates in Sanyang and Tujereng.

The area, according to GTBoard’s media dispatch, is a reserve zone for tourism development area. It further stated that TDA in the West Coast stretches from Kotu Bridge to Kartong measuring 800 meters inland, from the high water mark.

This vast reserve area, the release added, was leased to Central Government in 1969 by the Kombo North Authority for a period of 51 years and was subsequently extended to 99 years by the State Lands Act of 1991. Currently, the lease is under the custody of GTBoard as per the GTBoard Act 2011 part IX (46).

Speaking to journalists during a press conference held on Friday at Sanyang , Lamin Bojang, former member of the Coastal Management Committee, said regarding the TDA, they have done a lot of sensitisation along the coast on the issue, saying GTBoard is making claims against communities and investors without proper consultation, which he said, is unprofessional.

“What they could have done was to make consultation and if they have notice that a particular spot is been encroached upon by the community or an investor, the best would have been to call their attention.”

He stated that majority of the properties along the coast are owned by none Gambians, pointing out that it is time for “us to start encouraging our young Gambian investors, rather than discouraging them.”

“I think the whole of the Department of Physical Planning and Department of Survey can’t lose their institutional memories on the issue of the TDA because they were all members of the Coastal Management Committee in which I served.”

Bojang thus challenged GTBoard to come to the communities rather than sitting in their offices making unfounded claims against land owners and investors.

Also speaking, Karamo Bojang, a member of the community, acknowledged that they sold the land in question to EJ Investments and this was done through consultation with the Department of Physical Planning.

 “And the place we sold to EJ Investments is completely out of the TDA. If the GTBoard is sitting in their offices saying this area is under TDA, it is not true and let us not use our offices to back others and damage others.”

The property development entity, he further stated, is doing property development and also helping the poor.

“So we advice EJ Investments customers that they are free to buy lands from the estate company and any land they bought from them is secure,” he added.

Elsewhere, residents in Tujereng said they are ready for anything regarding their lands along the area, pointing out that the land they sold to EJ Investments would not be taken away from them because it is their ancestral lands.

“We inherited those lands from our grand- parents well before the coming of tourism in this country”.

Haruna Bojang, a brother to the alkalo of Tujereng, also spoke at the ceremony, noting that they got information that GTBoard claiming the land in question to be part of TDA, which he said, is not true.

Author: Njie Baldeh