As part of activities marking The Gambia’s 50th independence anniversary, the minister of Lands and Regional Administration, Momodou Aki Bayo, on behalf of the President, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Saturday inaugurated the Basse-Sabi road and Basse bypass at a ceremony held in Basse, Upper River Region (URR). 

The Basse-Sabi road was named after Basirou Jawara, a business tycoon originally from Basse Sabi and the bypass was named after late Alhaji Banta Camara from Demba Kunda both of whom had contributed immensely towards the development of the region and the country at large.

The total road length is 28.85km of which 13km is in Senegal. 26.85km is double surface and 2km inside Basse town was constructed with interlocking pavement blocks. The road was constructed at a total contract sum of 10, 438,237.96, Euros funded by the European Commission.

The speaker of the National Assembly, Ministers  of Lands and Regional Administration; Transport, Works and Infrastructure; Information and Communication; Interior and Youth and Sports; official from the EU and the National Roads Authority; representatives from Ageroute Consultancy, as well as officials from the Senegalese construction company, CSE; families of the late Alhaji Banta Camara and Business tycoon Basirou Jawara and a cross section of the community witnessed the occasion.

In his inauguration statement, the minister of Lands and Regional Administration, Momodou Aki Bayo, hailed President Jammeh for his tireless efforts in ensuring that road network that used to be a constraint in the region becomes a thing of the past.

According to him, the Basse bypass and Sabi road are key regional roads that form transit especially of vehicle going to Gambia, Senegal and Mali among other countries, and that these roads will go a long way in enabling free movement of goods and services.

Minister Bayo told the gathering that the roads are part of President Jammeh’s continuous commitment and determination to develop the country to a silicon state. He commended the European Commission for their relentless support in the construction of roads in the country.

“As we celebrate these achievements, I thank President Jammeh for his determination and hard work towards the development of The Gambia,” he remarked.

The Lands and Regional Administration minister affirmed that naming the roads after Alh. Banta Camara and Basirou Jawara is befitting because their contributions towards national development are clearly manifested. Basirou Jawara, he added, has participated and continues to support government’s development endeavours.

The minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Bala Garba Jahumpa, equally thanked President Jammeh for the socio-economic developments since the advent of the 22nd July revolution in the country particularly in the rural Gambia.

He also believes the roads would go a long way in addressing the constraints and challenges that local dwellers were encountering in the region especially in the movement of goods and services.

Minister Jahumpa therefore urged the people of the region and the country at large to redouble their support to the APRC government with a view to ensure that the country meets other developed countries in terms of tangible infrastructural development.

He prayed to Allah to give him the wisdom to move the country to a silicon state and a world economic supper power status.

Willem Roodhart, the EU project manager in The Gambia said the inauguration of the roads is a milestone in the EU-The Gambia cooperation, in the Union’s support to the National Gambia’s Transport Plan, as it is the last road section completed under the corresponding financing agreement.

He however described the roads as very important for the large number of Gambians who have become regular users of the Basse-Sabi road, noting that this road provides an easy access to Wellingara town in Senegal and other towns of strong regional importance.

“Your presence to grace this inauguration ceremony is a demonstration of the importance you attach to the development of the infrastructure in this country. Therefore I will like to assure you that your recognition of the assistance and support provided by the European Union and its member states is highly appreciated,” Roodhart said to the top government officials present at the occasion.

According to him, it is no secret that the construction of roads needed large investments, which can be lost very fast if regular maintenance is not conducted. He said to assist the government in the maintenance of the road network, was the establishment of an operational and dedicated Road Fund.

“We are pleased to see that the NRA is now in a position to fulfill its core business,” he stated, adding that the establishment of the Road Fund, which was one of the government’s commitments, has seen tangible progress.

The governor of the region, Alhaji Omar Sompo Ceesay also thanked President Jammeh for identifying and honouring “these two noble gentlemen and citizens of URR, with these fantastic awards of naming after them, these great highways in the heart of Basse”.

He went on to say that this is another clear manifestation of President Jammeh’s wonderful leadership qualities in recognising and appreciating the exceptional individual contributions of these strong and sincere party militants of the APRC in URR.

He thus assured that the people of the region, more especially the Sarahuleh community, have renewed their commitment, sincerity and total allegiance to President Jammeh and the APRC and at the same time reassuring him of their continuous support at all times.

Speaking on behalf of the family of Basirou Jawara and the late Alh Banta Camara, Sainabou Jawara and Bintou Banta Camara respectively both thanked President Jammeh for renaming these important roads after their fathers.

by Momodou Jawo in Basse, URR/Daily Observer