By: Ramatoulie Jawo
The Mayor of the city of Banjul, Mrs. Rohey Malick Lowe, responding to comments made by President Barrow at his Meet the People’s tour meeting held in Banjul, that GamWorks, should hand over the keys to the new Banjul City Council office complex to the Local Government Minister for onward delivery to BCC, said she already has the keys to the building, and will inaugurate it.
“I already have the keys to that building because that project has been completed for a while now. We are not talking about that project anymore. The reason the building has not been inaugurated is that I am not yet ready to open the building. I am working on and waiting for something. That is why I didn’t inaugurate the building yet.” The Mayor said in an interview with PaNderry Touray.
The mayor, in the same interview, also shed some light on the sources of funding for the office complex, contradicting the President’s claim that 90% of the cost was underwritten by the Central Government.
“Saying that the project is a government project? Mr. President, that building, the government did not contribute a dime to it. The project is a World Bank project. So, I think the people around you misled you, and it is especially important for them to be telling you how issues are going so that you will know exactly what is happening,” she said.
Mayor Lowe said the keys are not for the President, which is why GamWorks handed over the keys to her.
“GamWorks knows their responsibilities, that’s why when the construction was completed, they handed over the keys to me because they know that I was the one who signed the contract at their office.
“I want you [President Barrow] to know that I am the one who will inaugurate the new office complex by the grace of God because the project is for the Banjulians, and counterpart contribution money is from Banjul,” She emphasized.
Mayor Lowe believes that the president made a mistake when he said the government built the office complex for BCC. She disclosed that the project is funded by the World Bank and the Council brought their counterpart contribution to the table. The Gambia government she claimed didn’t contribute a butut to the project.
“I went with the CEO and other senior management of Banjul City Council to meet Mr. Cham at Gamworks where we signed the contract. After singing the contract, we dug the foundation and construction started in earnest.”
The Mayor took umbrage at what she calls the threatening nature of the President’s comments. She cautions that there is life after the Presidency, just as there is life after Mayorship. That access to power is a cautionary tale for all.
“That is a very big disappointment, to say you have power, money, uniformed men. That doesn’t mean you will stand with authority, especially against people who gave you respect, to threaten them. I saw the way he was issuing commands to the Deputy Mayor, but I’d like to remind the President that it doesn’t work that way. I would like to let my brother know that there is an aftermath to the presidency, just like there is one to the Mayorship. So, let us be careful in our utterances.”
It could be recalled that during his meet the people’s tour meeting in Banjul, President Adama Barrow said 90 percent of the money that was spent in building the new Banjul City Council Complex was from his government and urge BCC to invite them for the inauguration. The president went further to ask the contractor, Gamworks, to hand over the keys to the building to his Local Government Minister.