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James Islands Under Rehabilitation

Jun 5, 2009, 9:09 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

Construction process is underway at James Island situated in Juffureh, Upper Nuimi District of the North Bank Region.The construction process is part of efforts to rescue the Island which was used as a point of shipping slaves from the region into the wilderness during the Trans Atlantic slave trade era.

The project is funded by the Prince Clause Funds for Culture and Development in the Netherlands and the US embassy in Banjul.The rehabilitation process, which is expected to last for almost one year, seeks to reshape its shores from erosion.

The project will also include the construction of a replica of the slave trade, but that used to be on the Island.

Briefing journalists during the visit to James Island on the implementation of the project recently, Mr Baba Ceesay, Director of Cultural Heritage at the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), described the development as a good initiative. He stated that the Island was on the verge of the ruin. Mr. Ceesay went on to explained that James Island has been very vulnerable with its fragile structures, adding that the key aim of the project is to consolidate the structures of the Island with a view to continue serving both the present and future generations.

According to him, the area also meant to minimise the effect of the sea wave on the structures, which is one of the contibuting factors to its deteriorating situation.

Speaking earlier, Robert Heinz, Consular officer at the US embassy in The Gambia said that funding for this project is part of a grant from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Projects. This, he revealed that due to the Island's decrepit situation, they decided to use part of the fund to preserve it from further deterioration. He described James Island as an important site that is good for preservation.The US diplomat expressed hope that more interventions in the future would go a long way in saving it from exinction.

James Island and its related sites has been inscribed in the world heritage list of the convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and Natural heritage inscription on the list confirms its execeptional universal value which deserve protection for the benefit of all humanity.