“What is happening in West Point for the past few days with respect to the recurrence of flood and erosion is our own doing, because people refused to adhere to advice given them months ago,” District #7 Representative Solomon Claudius George told the Daily Observer yesterday.
Representative George disclosed that about nine months after a very serious flood, which resulted in erosion of land in both West Point and New Kru Town, a tripartite meeting was held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs between officials from the Ministry, the National Legislature and West
Point Commissioner Sampson J. Nyan. According to Rep. George, during the discussions, the Commissioner’s office was mandated to ensure that people do not rebuild on areas that were affected, and it was expected to be so.
“But if you give permit to people to go and build again in a no-go-zone, then people will come to government again for help when flood destroys their homes; but government told you before not to go there. What I am saying is that somebody in government is giving a pass and, because of little money, put government in trouble. Government needs to investigate Commissioner Nyan to find out exactly what is happening, to ascertain whether the current areas now sucked into the ocean were the no-go areas.”
Rep. George maintained that the government does not presently have the money to carry out the exercise of relocation of people from West Point. He disclosed that suggestions were made to the government some time ago, that if the need arises for the relocation of West Pointers, it must be done with respect.
“And that is, we must not be sleeping at night and you come over there to wake us up with guns to kick us out. The government needs to build a low cost housing estate for the people where accounts would be opened for payment of the rent. Right now government has financial constraint; we are financially aching. We say a big sorry for the incident, but we are saying people must stop being stubborn. Learn to go by the rules and when government warns you against something, do not violate.”
Meanwhile, our reporter who toured the community Sunday night discovered that many houses were swept away by the sea and subsequent erosion, with the sea only inches away from the only driveable road in that township; while houses including a church building and a football field located on the Kru Beach have been washed away.
Sheriff Njai, a Gambian national and head of a household of over 20 people, said he and his family spent a sleepless night on the street, while unaffected neighbours aided some of them. “We are going to Johnsonville where my uncle is building a school and we will be there until it is complete,” said Mohammed Suabu Swaray, Njai’s nephew.