Dec 2, 2009, 2:47 PM
The number of issues pertaining to land in The Gambia is growing day by day. We have poor coordination, false possession, and people charging high prices for what does not belong to them, to name but a few.
The land of The Gambia is for all of us, but lies have overcome its possession in recent times. The next question that must be asked is who to blame?
Do we lay the blame at the door of alkalos, surveyors, the Department of Physical Planning, or the Department of Lands and Surveys?
Whoever is to blame, the reality is that genuine people who wish to invest their hard earned money in a piece of property, are increasingly afraid to risk getting involved in land deals.It is hard to blame them. If you work hard and save money diligently, the last thing you want is for that money to be lost in a dubious land deal.
Unfortunately, the issue of land is becoming a problem in many parts of Southern Africa so we are not alone in our plight. This said, we should waste no time in addressing the problem. Land in The Gambia now is a burning issue, and people need help, as they are suffering.
We hear of demolitions with time ebbing away in the run up to the rains. What are people to do? If they receive a paltry compensation they cannot afford to buy a new house. If they have to build from scratch they will find themselves and their families without a roof over their heads when the rainy season strikes. We cannot allow this to happen to any of our people.
The buck stops with the government. They make the laws and introduce regulations that should ensure this kind of thing does not happen. If there is proper legislation introduced which covers every possible eventuality, it will ensure that no loophole exists to be exploited by anybody.
Along with this action, victims of demolitions must be compensated fully and relocated. Time is running out and the situation is worsening. If swift action is not taken, this terrible trend will worsen before it gets better.
Also prospective investors in land need to remind themselves of the importance of obtaining reliable confirmation and transfer documents from alkalos, and proper advice and guidance of lawyers.
Meanwhile, the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) should make land affordable to public servants, the majority of whom cannot afford D100,000 for an empty plot of land and the further cost of developing the land.
It would be easier for SSHFC to construct houses and then pass them to owners, as obtains in other countries.
“Men sooner forget the death of their fathers than the loss of their possessions.”