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Juffureh-Albreda residents decry jetty abandonment

Jan 9, 2020, 3:44 PM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

Residents of Juffureh and Albreda communities have expressed concern over the abandonment of the collapsed jetty at Juffureh/Albreda in North Bank Region.

The members of Juffureh and Albreda Youth Society (JAYS) said it was worrisome that concerned authorities are aware about the collapse of the jetty over the past years but haven’t done anything to arrest the situation despite the importance of Juffureh/Albreda and Kunta Kinteh Island to the country’s historical past.

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

More so, the area is the first identified UNESCO World Heritage Site in The Gambia as related to Kunta Kinteh Island and other European settlements as most of them were found around Juffureh/Albreda.

Many tourists have cancelled their visit to Kunta Kinteh Island because of the collapsed jetty as they found it risky and unsafe to access boat to the island.

Since government is showing no concern on this issue and for safety purposes, the JAYS has constructed a step/ladder for people to use as a still jet-way to access in/out of the boat at the harbour.

Expressing their concern over the situation, Sisawo Jatta, VDC chairman for Albreda, on behalf of the alkalos of the two communities said they have written letters to the concerned authorities over the issue but nothing has been done except empty promises.

“Since we cannot continue waiting on empty promises from the government hence it’s identified as a menace in the community where even tourists cancelling their trip to the island. As communities we took it upon ourselves to do a step/ladder from the little money generated from the tourists in the month of December 2019,” Sisawo said.

Lamin Trawally, a sub-committee member of JAYS and a senior tourist guide of Juffureh and Albreda reiterated that most of the tourists cancelled their trips because they felt the ladder was not quite safe for them to climb.

He quickly noted that when bigger boat from Banjul arrives in Juffureh, it is always frightening while passengers alight and board. According to him, they cannot use normal passage.  “The boat has to bring its head to the edge of dock where a ladder or jet-way like step will be placed for people to climb in/out of the boat,” he explained.

He added that “it is completely unsafe when the river is wavy, windy or stormy.”

The senior tour guide called on authorities concerned to do something over the issue as they a have huge role to play; saying “what they collect from the boat owners every year is too much and JAYS is not collecting anything from boat owners except D25 which they pay when going to the island. Meanwhile Gambia Maritime and other institutions are collecting thousands from them annually,” he laments.

Dembo Jabang, a boat handler, disclosed that over 2,500 tourists visited Juffureh/Albreda and Kunta Kinteh Island last month and “as usual, the number is already growing this month while more and more tourists are expected every month.”

Since tourists always want to see something new, he disclosed that there are many potentials that are yet to develop in these two communities and “if potentials in the communities are exploited, it will keep the youths in the communities and discourage them from venturing into perilous journey – ‘backway.’