By Madiba Singhateh 

The Task Force Against Forest Fires on Tuesday May 7th 2019, visited the Bamboo Forest Park barely days after the visit of a high powered Government delegation.

The delegation included Forest Park officials and the Chief of Foni Bintang Karanai Momodou Jobarteh, former Governor of the Lower River Region Salieu Puye and Seeku Janko of the All Farmers Platform.

The delegation openly expressed displeasure with the encroachment of the Forests but more so with the bulldozing of the country’s unique bamboo forest park.

The delegation also observed immense encroachment activity that is going on especially around the bamboo forest park along the Jambuur road. The delegation expressed total disappointment over the violation and plundering that is going on within the Forest.

Former Governor Puye who represented the Traditional Healers Association, expressed concerns on how forest is being exploited; that it is time for the authorities to reinforce the efforts of the nation’s only botanical garden to save our forest species which are already endangered.

‘‘As we can all see, this good forest of mainly bamboo, has been here since 1952, and was initiated to preserve the nation’s bamboo species, and this is important for our country,’’ he said.

He however lamented the rampant plundering and encroachment by individuals and Estate Developers in cutting down and buying land in these areas, is endangering the country’s forest species. Puye said the indiscriminate cutting of trees will make the country to lose it’s forest cover, when most countries now preserve their forest for future generations. He said Government has to look into the dealings of Estate Developers and stop them from buying reserve lands and forest parks.

On his part Mommdou Lamin Jobarteh, the Chief of Foni Bintan Karanai, said their visit is to assess the damage done to the bamboo forest park; that they are totally dissatisfied with what has happened to this unique park, at a time when the World is faced with global warming and a depleting climate. Jobarteh said such a park that has existed for years, should not have been plundered by a single individual’s interest, at the expense of generations yet unborn; that the Task Force will join hands with the Ministry of Forestry to fight against forest pillage.

Chief Jorbateh said those who are involved in such pillaging of the country’s natural resources, must stop and leave the area as state owned property; that people should stop the selling and buying of communal and other lands; that the Department of Physical Planning should do their job as the designated authority responsible for designating lands to people; that they should know where to allocate and give lands to people.

It could be recalled that last week, a vast area of bamboo strip of forest was bulldozed by one Modou Jammeh who said the Land was given to him by his uncle Kebba Bojang. However, this medium is still trying to reach Modou Jammeh for comment, to no avail.

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