“Niumi Hands ” continues to cry in agony while it laments in distress over the poor delivery of ferry services. Niuminkas are fed up with the sluggish attitude towards ferry service delivery despite the extortion of millions from our poor people.
On Sunday, 19 March 2023, a ferry departed from Barra with a full load of people, vehicles, and other valuables, but only arrived at Banjul at 7 am the following morning. This excruciating journey did not only send waves of fear among Niuminkas who were either onboard the ferry or had relatives and loved ones therein but also led to the loss of life of a patient who was being referred to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. This is unacceptable for many reasons as would be highlighted during the next course of action as would be agreed by members of the Association.
While we vent our frustration as regards the situation and the line of action to take to amplify the voices of our people and have our cries listened to and our plights carried out, some members of our Executive were summoned for questioning.
, the President of the Association, Alpha M.K. Lowe, was at the Barra Police Station to respond to questions. He had a fruitful tete-a-tete with the leadership of the Station. The police high command at the Station intimated that they got information regarding a planned protest for Saturday but could not get further details. As people in charge of protecting lives and property, they thought it wise to engage the leadership of Niumi Hands to further understand the matter. They also emphasized that intentions for such protest may be genuine but outsiders may capitalize on it to cause havoc.
In his response, the Niumi Hands President commended the police for being proactive while highlighting that we are a group of responsible people who are aware of our rights, privileges as well as responsibilities as citizens of this country. He stressed that our people are utterly frustrated by the poor delivery of ferry services and as their representatives and leaders, we will always be there to amplify their voices so long as it is within the remits of the laws of the land. He cited that Section 6 of the Niumi Hands Constitution clearly states the purpose for which the association is formed, and expresses our mandate as an Executive. He also highlighted that freedom of speech, conscience, association, assembly, and movement are constitutionally guaranteed rights (S.25) albeit protocols laid down by the Public Order Act (S.5).
He added that armed with our mandate, moral duty, and legal safeguards, the body is resolved to advancing the welfare of its members and the people of Niumi while holding public officials to account.
Finally, the President and members of the Executive told the police that the discussion among our members is still ongoing and once a decision is made, necessary actions will be taken within the confines of the rule of law.
The Executive wishes to reassure all Niuminkas that it will continue to advance the welfare of its members without fear or favor