Minister James Gomez

By Awa B. Bah

The Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly matters, on Tuesday 26th March 2019, faced deputies at the national assembly complex in Banjul.

The Minister was before deputies to orally respond to questions on matters under his purview from Lawmakers, and for which due notices were given during the first ordinary session of the National Assembly in the 2019 Legislative year.

Responding to questions from deputies, Minister Gomez said portable water remains a challenge in Sami and the surroundings in the Central River Region (CRR); that the community of Dobo, Changai Toro, Changai Wolof and Banni, will have access to safe drinking water in 2019. He informed deputies that all the boreholes for the communities have been sunk and overhead tanks have been ordered to arrive as early as this month; that foundation for the overhead tanks are presently under construction in the beneficiary communities, and that by end July 2019, all works in these communities related to water supply, would have been completed and made available and accessible for the people. Gomez said the provision of portable water is placed on project by project basis; that the project has twenty nine boreholes spread throughout the country; that his Ministry is mapping out the availability of water countrywide, with plans for other communities. He said they are working with partners to map out communities with high demand for portable water and their technical team will advise them on how to distribute and make this vital resource available for the citizenry.

On the mechanisms put in place in case the boreholes have future problems, Gomez said his Ministry takes the insurance of the boreholes into consideration by ensuring their security for five years; that after this period the responsibility of the boreholes is passed to the community. Gomez said the beneficiary communities have been urged open a community savings account, where they would be saving funds in order to solve the problems of the borehole, should it arise.

Gomez said they are working with partners such as the African Development Bank and the Japanese to finalize the project; that the French government is interested in providing resources for water in the country; that there are hopes that most vulnerable communities will benefit from this project. He further said that cattle drinking points, remain a priority in these projects; that water for human consumption is key but cattle and small ruminants also face the same problem, and the boreholes will provide drinking ponds for cattle and small ruminants.

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