By: Alieu Jallow
The Brikama Area Council (BAC) has expressed its dismay and condemnation of the recent police demolition of the Brikama Central Market, describing the police, physical planning, and National Road Authority’s actions as unlawful.
“The BAC maintains that it is only the BAC that has the legal authority empowered by Sections 193 and 194 of the Constitution of the Gambia 1997 and Section 48 of the Local Governments Act 2002, which enjoins the council to “exercise all Political and Executive powers and Functions” in the region and further enjoins it with the legal authority to establish, erect, demolish, control, and manage markets in the region”.
Citing the above constitutional provision, the Council maintains that none of the aforementioned stakeholders, being the GPF, NRA, and Physical Planning, have any legal authority to exercise such powers over its markets without its blessings or an order of the court of law.
Similarly, BAC emphatically condemned the actions of the said stakeholders stressing they were never consulted, engaged or notified.
“The BAC does not and will never condone, neither endorse nor sanction any such destruction of its markets in the name of any task force or operation’’.
In the interest of its residents, the Council has restored to employ its legal measures to put a halt to the ongoing destruction of its markets by the said stakeholders, as well as to seek any appropriate redress for the same, in order to deter the future recurrence of the same.
The council seized the opportunity to commiserate its profound empathy with many of its affected residents and market vendors.
Additionally, the Council underscores the devastating impact of the ongoing market demolition on the livelihoods of numerous impoverished Gambians.
Residents and vendors, primarily from the West Coast region, heavily rely on the Brikama Central Market as their sole source of income. The Council expresses deep concern over the excessive use of force, with heavy weaponry displayed during the operation, a practice condemned for its adverse effects on civilians.
“This harsh approach contradicts the democratic principles and the rule of law, further intensifying the Council’s commitment to legal action to halt the destruction and seek redress for affected individuals’’.