Pictures from the demolition at the Brikma Central Market
Press Release from the Brikama Area Council
The Brikama Area Council (BAC) expresses its dismay, disappointment, and condemnation
over the actions of the Gambia Police Force, the National Road Authority (NRA), and the Department of Physical Planning for their unauthorized demolition of the market stalls in and around the Brikama Central Market from 8 November 2023 to date in the name of Operation Clear the Roads.
The BAC maintains that it is only the BAC that has the legal authority empowered by Sections 193 and 194 of the Constitution of the Gambia 1997 and Section 48 of the Local Governments Act 2002, which enjoins the council to “exercise all Political and Executive powers and Functions” in the region and further enjoins it with the legal authority to
establish, erect, demolish, control, and manage markets in the region.
Thus, the Council maintains that none of the aforementioned stakeholders, being the GPF, NRA, and Physical Planning, have any legal authority to exercise such powers over its markets without its blessings or an order of the court of law. The council states that the said operation had no such blessing from it nor any court of law.
As such, BAC condemns the actions of the said stakeholders at the Brikama Central Market from 8 November 2023 to date without any consultation, engagement, or notification of the BAC. The BAC does not and will never condone, neither endorse nor sanction any such destruction of its markets in the name of any task force or operation.
The Council has thus engaged its legal representatives to take all necessary legal actions to put a stop to the ongoing destruction of its markets by the said stakeholders, as well as to seek any appropriate redress for the same, in order to deter the future recurrence of the same.
The Council believes that task forces of such nature belong to the era of dictatorship in the history of this country, and are inappropriate in a democratic system, as they do not conform to the principle of the rule of law, which accords everyone with reasonable notice and an opportunity to challenge any arbitrary decision to the court before their implementation.
However, Task Forces of this kind, which accuse, judge, and execute at the same spot, without affording its victims the opportunity for legal redress, is incompatible with the rule of law, Gambian constitution, and should be a thing of the past.
BAC seizes the opportunity to commiserate its profound sadness to many of its affected
residents and market vendors by the activities of the said taskforce.
Additionally, the Council underscores the devastating impact of the ongoing market demolition on the livelihoods of numerous impoverished Gambians. Residents and vendors,
primarily from the West Coast region, heavily rely on the Brikama Central Market as their sole source of income.
The Council expresses deep concern over the excessive use of force, with heavy weaponry displayed during the operation, a practice condemned for its adverse effects on civilians. This harsh approach contradicts the democratic principles and the rule of law, further intensifying the Council’s commitment to legal action to halt the
destruction and seek redress for affected individuals.