Aug 7, 2010, 10:36 PM
The Minister of Forestry and Environment Hon. Jatto Sillah, accompanied by Taiwanese Ambassador to The Gambia Richard Shih, on Monday embarked on a nationwide tour of forestry stations in the country.
Minister Sillah is also accompanied by Mr. Lamin Nyabally, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Forestry, FAO country representative Babagana Amadu, the Director of Forestry, Abdoulie Sanneh and other technical forestry officers.
Speaking at a meeting held at the Niumi National Park, Mr. Abou Njie, the Deputy Governor of North Bank Region described the tour as timely, noting that it would avail the Minister and the delegation to see for themselves what is on the ground and other issues affecting the park.
He informed the delegation that Niumi National Park is in good shape and that he would not allow any intruder to destroy the park, which he described as very significant in the socio-economic developments of our forest.
Lamin Sanyang, the Park Manager also buttressed on some of the constraints affecting the staff, which he said, include mobility, dumping site and staff quarters, as well as fencing the areas.
Sanyang used the occasion to appeal to the Ministry of Forestry and Environment to look into the issues and see possible solutions to them.
Speaking at the meeting, Hon. Jatto Sillah stated that it is not a familiarisation tour, but instead one geared towards familiarising themselves with the current activities at the forestry station sites and other areas of concern.
He described the tour as one of the most important tours, simply because it will actually enable him and the donors to know the issues affecting most of the forestry station in the various regions.
According to Minister Sillah, the ultimate aim is to see how best the ministry will improve most of the conditions affecting the national forest stations. He used the opportunity to appeal to all Gambians to participate fully in the management of the forest, particularly the private sector.
For his part, Richard Shih, Taiwanese Ambassador to The Gambia commended the management of the forestry and the environment under the leadership of Minister Sillah for co-ordinating the tour and their hard work in making it a success story.
He further expressed gratitude to Gambians for their hospitality, noting that The Gambia is a country worth to be loved by all, in the sense that the nature of its environment is very friendly. He urged Gambians to work hand-in-hand for the protection of the flora and fauna.
FAO representative Babagana Amadu expressed similar sentiments, noting that it will enable them know what is happening as far as the forestry and environment ministry is concerned.
Also, speaking at the meeting, the Technical Adviser to Parks and Wildlife from Zambia Dr. Saiwana underscored the significance of the tour, noting that plans are underway to restructure the parks and wildlife, and thus the need to know issues affecting some of the parks.
He also emphasised that plans were in the offing to improve the standards of the parks.
Among the areas visited were Dasillami Saltmine, Njaba Kunda, Baobolong Wetland and Reserve, Illiasa, Kaur Forestry Station, PIWAMP project site.
Some of the chiefs, who spoke at the gathering appealed to the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, to assist their regional staff with mobilities to enable them deliver effectively.