November 27, 2021

“BRIKAMA AREA COUNCIL SHOULD WAKE UP” #OCCUPYBAC

Written by Bakary Fatty #OccupyBAC

Ever since the political dust gently settled down, many people virtually forgot or are care-less about the

assertive pontifications projected by our political aspirants on their beautiful manifestoes during the

campaign trail.

Well, I don’t forget. I could still vividly remember the promises made by our chairman (B.A.C). Of course,

he had beautiful plans on how to make Brikama market great again: admirable, neat and economically

vibrant. He also wants to do something about the poor road networks especially the feeder roads linking

the market to the rest of Brikama. Waste management system was another plan on his manifesto. What

a tremendous facelift if implemented.

Well, one needs not to be a rocket scientist or a student of quantum physics to grasps some basic facts;

neither do you need a weather man to tell you where the wind is blowing. Some basic things are clearly

written on the walls.

I can’t get a word to describe the current precarious situation of Brikama market. Calling it pathetic or

disheartening is an understatement: it’s plain shocking.

The reason why am more particular about the market is not anything peculiar but because of the revenue

it creates for the council. I keep wondering where all the millions of revenues collected from the vast

business entities go to. Of course, not forgetting the daily D5 Dalasis collected from young girls selling

pure water and even from the wheelbarrow porters in the market. Calling a spade, a farm implements

doesn’t describe it, it can’t be even called a garden fork BUT only a spade, period! If the huge revenue

collected from Brikama market cannot make Brikama market a conducive and a healthy place, then

something is obviously wrong somewhere. Any interested observer might wonder if it is a case of

misplaced priorities or poorly defined strategic thinking.

What is even more frustrating and heart aching is when it rains for just two minutes; the gutters are turned

into disgusting eye shore emitting highly obnoxious odour which permeates the environment. The

drainage cavities are virtually all blocked, slurry amassed, thus rendering our footpaths impassable. It is

apparent that the waste bins are not strategically located for easy collection and the waste is not sorted

out.

There has to be a technology to desegregate waste into organic, inorganic or toxic before disposal to allow

for proper management. Sometimes vendors do a general cleaning of their area of the market, I want to

tell them ‘congratulation’. I can’t cast the blame on the junior officer who collects tax (duties) daily or the

sellers in the market, but I have to blame the custodian of the market.

From my own viewpoint, the conditions of this great market are NOT quite different from its previous

status. Each time it rains, people keep galloping and limping like horses and frogs on pieces of stepping

stones just to avoid muddy stagnant waters found at all nooks and cranny of the market. Sometimes I felt

like cancelling my purpose of going to the market but to go to the chairman’s office and tell him ‘Sir what’s

your real plan for our market, after almost more than a year in office?’

When I compared and contrast the modus-operandi and modus-Vivendi of Kanifing Municipal council and

my own Brikama Area council, I do not only get tongue-tied, but also bemuse with the huge disparity.

Leadership is summarised in one keyword which is ACTION.

As a leader of our noble council, your only difference from the rest of us is your capacity to make

DECISIONS and the opportunity you are privileged with to make ACTION. Mr. Chairman, the only

difference that distinguished you from any Tom Dick and Harry is the onus that it is with you; nothing else.

Always remember THE PEOPLE who confidently casted their marbles in your metallic ballot drums, while

they sit patiently, wishing and praying that you will ultimately become a knight in a shining armour to

salvage them from their unbearable conditions. I can’t really tell why things are so slow in transforming

the market, but you and the Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the council have to work closely. If there are

corrupt officers in your council, sack them. But remember; discipline cannot discipline discipline, if

discipline is NOT discipline. Be the change you want to see first as Mahatma Ghandi rightly put it.

Of course, I can imagine the enormous challenges you might be confronted with, because even in the

house of masquerades, human reside. If there are staff in your mist who wish nothing but to back pedal

your progress, relieve them. Most importantly, if there are pentagonal pegs occupying octagonal holes in

your noble council, I can tell you without an iota of doubt that we are NOT moving fraction of an inch to

sustainable progress. In fact, the latter is the most paramount, simply because for any organisation to

attain its goals; the human resource should possess the prerequisite level of competence, ingenuity, skill

and attitude to steer the wheel of that very organisation. Mr. Chairman, I wouldn’t just highlight the

deplorable nature of our precious market without advancing my little ideas on HOW to mitigate the

challenges and move forward.

I understand clearly the nature of the market because I criss-crossed there daily and also observe with

keen precision. Looking at the market from the Engineers’ and Planners’ microscope, it has a major

Engineering and planning errors, yes it does. A market can’t be plan like Joko night club where people

come in, dance and go home. A market is a SYSTEM of interwoven activities. There is a term in principles

of planning called ‘ZONING’ where every section of the market has it specify function and purpose and

nothing else. Let me give a quick example. If Nfamara Fofana comes to buy a book and a pen in the market,

he should not bump into Musukuta Nyaranding Maraneh who came to buy fresh tilapia fish for her

husband since they came for a completely different purpose. Even in an organisation, there is usually

zoning of offices like record office, account office, human resource office, public relation office, facilities

office, internal audit etc. Now let’s assume all these offices are in one main hall, what will happen? That’s

a similar behaviour you see in our unplanned market.

Because the market is not zone, so everybody has to be searching like a retire police detective spotting

what he or she wants to buy.

Some people might argue to say that the market is too small and over populated that is why nothing can

be properly organised. However, I want to debunk that theory and build my argument from a different

spectrum. Our market is not well PLANNED and it lacks a SYSTEM. The best time to do that is NOW. Yes,

now, I mean. Looking at the growth rate of West Coast Region is alarming; it’s a growth pole rapidly

growing which can be closely associated with the current menace in the market. Therefore, planning the

entire orientation of the market from its genesis to revelation is quintessential.

Market policies and regulations need to be enforced without fear, favour or ill will. The allocation of selling

spot needs to be revisited. Since one will just wake up one morning and see a desperate business man

erecting an ugly canteen at one corner of the market without taking precursory measures. Usually they

don’t care whether they are building on gutters and drainage cavities meant for water to pass.

There are government residential quarters in the market too, which I believe when moved can create

market expansion. The various entrances and foot paths in the market should have specify dimensions,

putting into perspective architectural anthropometric and frequently monitored; but it will be difficult to

maintain that if some officers take bribes from business men to allocate them places meant for passage

of customers, water or waste collection trucks.

Building a fish market in the heart of an already congested and polluted market was a monumental

mistake and still serves as a painful scourge than a blessing. I wonder whether the feasibility studies and

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done properly (OK someone might be thinking WHERE WERE

YOU when it was built) because nothing smells more hazardously even from miles away, than that fish

market. It needs to be moved for the market to make good use of itself.

It’s indeed a piety to see cleaners from the area council to be cleaning without protective gargets to safe

themselves from the harmful waste. Mr Chairman, you have to protect and motivate your staff if you want

to get the best of them.

PHOTOS FROM THE PEACEFUL PROTEST

 

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