President Barrow Visits Ferry Terminal Amidst Concerns

State House, Banjul, 16 April 2024: H.E. President Adama Barrow made an unannounced visit to the Shipyard, GPA Container and Canoe terminals in Banjul on Tuesday afternoon. The visit was to get an update on the ferry maintenance amidst the concerns about the difficulties commuters are experiencing at the ferry crossing in Banjul.   
President Barrow apologised to Ferry users and the public for the lack of services due to the breakdown of both the Kunta Kinteh and Kanilai ferries, which he described as an unfortunate emergency blamed on lack of scheduled maintenance and poor planning, thus affecting national and international commuters.   
The Shipyard Engineer, Musa Darboe, and senior officials of the ferries and GPA informed the President of the work progress. He saw the Kunta Kinteh ferry under repair, and the engineers reported that they might complete the work earlier than the anticipated six weeks.  
Having listened to their briefings, President Barrow concluded that the lack of a proper maintenance plan contributed to the unfortunate situation people were experiencing.   
The President encouraged the workers to increase the number of workers to fast-track the work. He acknowledged that running and maintaining the ferries was expensive but also an essential social service with high overhead. The President announced, "Tomorrow, a contract will be signed for two new ferries, and we expect them to deliver them in 18 months."
Meanwhile, he called for the support of technicians and the public and urged them to be more patient as his Government is taking the necessary measures. President Barrow advised the team to understand the situation's urgency and reiterated his empathy for the people using the ferries.   
At the Canoe terminal, the President commended the boatmen and security officials for maintaining calm and security in the area. He asserted, "Continue to keep calm. We all want peace. People are making noise because they are affected. So we should apologise to Gambians."
On the sideline of the visit, President Barrow stopped at the weighing system, where he was informed about the digitalisation of the single window under the Gambia Revenue Authority-GRA and the container terminal at the ports. The Officials updated on Single Window's improved services and increased revenue collection.   
The women at the Canoe terminal used the opportunity to appeal to President Barrow for proper stalls at the beach to enhance their small enterprises.   
The Minister for Information, Dr Ismaila Ceesay, joined the President on the unannounced visit to Banjul and reiterated the President's concerns about the stress the ferry travellers were enduring.