#Article (Archive)

Govt’s “illegal” possession of property renders medical mission stalled

Mar 10, 2020, 11:51 AM

Press release

The Gambia, March 8, 2020 — In the late 1990s Global Hearts of Medical Missions (Global HoMM) began providing medical care to The Gambia, including remote and rural villages, through mobile clinics.

Over the years, this U.S.-based non-governmental humanitarian organisation has provided medical, vision, dental, and community care to more than 5,000 patients per year in towns, villages including Pakalingding, Kwinella, Tubakuta, Bonto, Payema, Abuko, and Brikama.

The organisation, established in The Gambia to provide long-term medical care through a local health center in Bijilo, improved the lives of individual citizens as well as their families and communities and the larger Gambia overall — until 2010, when it was abruptly shut down by the past government and its property being occupied by “The Green Boys.”

With the election of President Adama Barrow in 2016, Global HoMM was encouraged to return which it did in March 2018. But all was not well. The Green Boys had been removed but the Anti-Crime Unit of The Gambia Police Force was occupying the property. Despite having legal ownership of the property, Global HoMM was thwarted in every attempt to regain possession, and eventually sought redress in the courts in March 2019. In September 2019 judgment was passed in favour of the organisation, providing them with a “Writ of Possession.” However, five months later Global HoMM has yet to be given possession of the property.

In the meantime, not ideally, Global HoMM continues to provide health services.  A Vision Care Mission was held in February at Brikama District Hospital where nearly 250 people were screened, treated. Over 1000 individuals in the Brikama and Kembujeh communities also received medical care.

It is apparent, according to the medical director of Global HoMM, Dr. Gabou Mendy, that the law and the constitution are being violated by the very institutions/persons tasked with upholding both. A news article published in Foroyaa Newspaper February 26 noted that the Anti-Crime Unit is slated to vacate the premises within six weeks, approximately the first week of April. No reason, it explained, had been given as to why the property is about to be vacated and Global HoMM’s concern is that the property is being unlawfully planned for alternative motive(s).

Global HoMM demand possession of its property situated at Bijilo in order to resume plans for a medical center, health education complex, rehabilitation/wellness center and public health research for the people of The Gambia.  Undue stall of the planning process and resource mobilisation is ongoing with each added day of non-compliance with the judgment of the court.

The Bijilo property should be vacated as soon as possible so that Global HoMM could continue its humanitarian mission in The Gambia and in rural and remote communities.