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 Stop The Chinese Company Destroying Our Future
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Momodou



Denmark
8490 Posts

Posted - 15 May 2017 :  19:32:02  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Building The New Gambia
By Madi Jobarteh
Stop The Chinese Company Destroying Our Future in Gunjur!


A severe national security threat is unfolding in Gunjur, the hometown of the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow. There is a Chinese company engaged in fishmeal production, which dumps its waste and dead fish along the coastline and neighboring communities. The factory releases intense bad odour making people sick as well as destroying our fish reserves and polluting the waters. This is a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Gunjur, Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Yet this company called Golden Leaf Factory continues to operate unchecked by the Government since last year until today, four months into the administration of Adama Barrow. Why?

Two Chinese, Robin and Jojo run the factory without any Gambian partners and under no check by any authority. They produce fishmeal or fish oil, which is made out of fish and used to feed poultry, pigs and other farmed fish. According to FAO fishmeal production is a major contributor to over-fishing and prevents fish from replenishing themselves thereby causing the collapse of local fisheries. This is because the fish used for fishmeal are small fishes like the ones our fishermen catch in Gunjur, Kartong, Tanji, Bakau or Banjul. After almost depleting their fish resources in China, now Chinese fishmeal companies have turned to West Africa and South America causing havoc in countries like Senegal, Chile and Peru. Experts have noted that fishmeal is a source of terrible environmental damage and human suffering.

So far Golden Leaf Factory is engaged in overfishing in Gunjur and Kartong and destroying the coastline as well as the Bolongfehyoto wildlife reserve. The bad and dangerous odour the factory releases into the community is unbearable. Experts have noted that the factory right now threatens the productivity of sea grass, which marine turtles feed on. They also threaten the mangrove ecosystem because of the chemical waste they dump. This factory is therefore a threat to tourism and the economy of the Gambia. What is even more disheartening is that the fish they catch is not used for human consumption. Rather they use it to make fishmeal for animals all the way in China! But they are ready to destroy our lives all the way in the Gambia.

Who gave this company license to operate in the Gambia in the first place? Was there any social and environmental impact assessments done before they were awarded the license? Why would the responsible and relevant agencies of the government sit down to allow such abuse of the lives and future of the Gambia to take place with impunity?

Were is the National Assembly, the Ministries of Fisheries and Water Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the NEA, NDMA, GIEPA and GTB and indeed the Police? All these agencies have a direct responsibility and stake in any activity that negatively impacts on the lives, livelihoods and future of the Gambia. Yet they all sit there watching a foreign company plunder our lives and livelihoods for free! What about GCCI? Are they not aware of this practice by this company and what actions have they taken to ensure decent and responsible practices by businesses in the country?

I therefore call on the Speaker of the National Assembly Mariam Denton and her deputy Momodou Sanneh and the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow and the Monitory Leader Samba Jallow and indeed all National Assembly Members to institute a parliamentary enquiry into this matter. Failure to do so, the National Assembly would be failing in their sacred duty to the Gambia. This matter is 100% within the powers and authority of the National Assembly to address and they must address it now. Golden Leaf Factory is destroying our lives and livelihoods with impunity!

I call on Chief Servant Adama Barrow to demand his relevant ministries and state agencies to act on this matter with urgency. The ocean is a major source of life and livelihood for the communities of Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Tourism alone account for 21.9% of our GDP and providing 18.8% of jobs in the country hence the ocean is a precious product of this industry that must be protected. Thus any threat to the ocean affects thousands of Gambians for employment and for food. Why therefore would this company be given license to damage our future and lives with impunity?

The Gambia Government and indeed all African governments must be wary of Chinese companies. This is because the Chinese have proven to the world and Africa in particular that they do not care about human rights, human life and human health in their quest to greedily consume resources around the world. Chinese companies have engaged in unscrupulous and dangerous business practices even in China, how about in faraway tiny Gambia? China has a population of 1.3 billion people and a land size of 9.5 million square kilometers. The Gambia has a population of only 2 million and a land size of 11 thousand square kilometers. Hence what China can afford and waste the Gambia cannot afford that. Therefore we must not allow any foreign company especially from China to come to the Gambia to damage the lives and future of our people. If this is what GIEPA considers to be foreign investment then they are dangerously mistaken!

Whichever government agency gave license to this company must be exposed and held to account. It is clear that they have failed to do an impact assessment or merely ignored the results of such assessment if they did. Secondly this agency has failed to monitor this Chinese company in order to protect the vital interests of the Gambia. This company must not have been allowed to operate in the country at all. They must be closed down! Now.

I therefore call on all Gambians to rise up against this Chinese company and put pressure on the government to expose the truth about the license, the kind of business, the operations and management of this company. What has the Gambia benefited from them? How much money are they making in the Gambia? What damages have done so far? We need to know these issues and make sure they repair all the damages they caused and then close them down. Golden Leaf Factory poses a clear and direct threat to national security.

Gambian journalists should rush down to Gunjur and Kartong and report to us on matters that directly affect our lives. News is not only in Banjul and Serre Kunda. How come such a dangerous environmental, social and economic disaster is taking place in Gunjur since last year yet our journalists could not give it the publicity it deserves! Wake up Gambian Journalists!

Rise up Gambians and do not let our country to continue as usual since Independence. We deserve a better Gambia. We deserve better leadership and good government that is open, efficient and responsive to our needs, in the present and in the future.

#CloseDownGoldenLeafFactory

God Bless The Gambia.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone

Momodou



Denmark
8490 Posts

Posted - 22 May 2017 :  12:40:41  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
‘‘Golden Leaf Factory is an Environmental Hazard’’ – Gunjur Native Complains to Foroyaa

By Louise Jobe
Foroyaa: May 19, 2017


http://www.foroyaa.gm/archives/15703

A native of Gunjur has complained bitterly to this medium about the activities of a company operating in that community. The company is said to be engaged in fish and other feed meal processing and production, but that they dump all waste emanating from the production of such feed meals indiscriminately, along the coastline and sometimes even on the road, linking Gunjur and Kartong.

This reporter visited the said factory to ascertain the facts and inform the readership accordingly. According to this reporter, the strong odour of rotten fish is what greets anyone who goes to visit the area, not to talk about the pollution it is causing to the mangrove swamp close by. It has been disclosed to this reporter that the factory is run by two Chinese nationals going by the names Rogin and Jojo.

At the gate of the factory, this reporter found seven container trucks, fully loaded with fish, waiting to discharge the cargo; that all the fish was rotten and the filthy smelly water from these trucks can be seen spilling towards the coast line on the beach close by.

This reporter made attempts to talk to the proprietors but to no avail. Inside the factory one could see Chinese workers adequately protecting themselves with heavy clothing whilst their Gambian counterparts had nothing to protect them from the vevy foul odour.

One fisherman who was contacted said, the rotten fish that is dumped in the sea, is brought back by waves on the beach. These, according to our reporter, could be seen lying on the beaches used as the landing sites of boats, thereby causing a lot of discomfort to people around the beach.

Mr. Seedy Touray who runs a lodge complained that the foul odour and pollution caused by this factory is so serious that the health of an entire community is at risk. Mr. Touray strongly calls on the government especially the minister in charge of fisheries, to visit and see for themselves the degree of harm caused by the operation of this factory.

‘‘We would like to inform the authorities to look into our concerns as regard the serious pollution caused by this Chinese factory. Sometimes some rotten fish will be taken to the bush, to be dumped by the roadside towards Kartong village. The factory is therefore a threat to lives and livelihoods, tourism, the mangroves, the ecosystem and animals,’’ Mr. Touray said.

One Mustapha Manneh of Kartong village revealed to this reporter of a planned demonstration by the community of Kartong, on Saturday, to protest against the malpractices of the said factory that pose a serious health and environmental risk for the communities of both Gunjur and Kartong.

Many people who spoke to this reporter claim that even to eat, sleep or recreate is a problem. Some complain of difficulty to eat in nearby restaurants because of the foul smell.



A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
8490 Posts

Posted - 23 May 2017 :  12:02:52  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Golden Lead denies dumping fish

Foroyaa: May 22, 2017


http://www.foroyaa.gm/archives/15727

Ms Jojo Huang of Golden Lead told Foroyaa on Saturday that it is incorrect to say that their company dumps fish in the sea or anywhere, whether in Gunjur or elsewhere. She emphasized that their company is in no way responsible for the spoilt fish on the beaches and roadsides of Gunjur. Ms Jojo Huang, the daughter of the proprietor, made these statements when she visited Foroyaa’s offices to clarify the position of their company. She was accompanied by Mr Bakary Darboe of the same company.

She explained that the company, which employs 60 workers, don’t fish, they only buy fish that are brought to the factory for sale; and that the fish they buy are fresh and limited in quantity. The quantity she said is limited to what the factory can produce which are 3000 baskets per day. Any further supply beyond this will not be purchased and the supplier will have to return with their truck load of fish, she added. She added that they even have a sign board indicating that they confine themselves to the guidelines provided by the government.

She said all they do is to prepare fish meal which consists of the following process: cook the fish, extract oil and squeeze the fish to form a cake. The waste product is waste water, she added. The products are fish meal and fish oil, so therefore it is wrong to say they dump rotten fish, she explained.

In her view the multitude of fish lying on the beach are from fishing trawlers that make a big catch, select what they want and dump the rest (mainly bonga) which are then wash onto the shores. She asserted that the same could be found in Tanji.

Regarding the use of protective gears, while emphasizing that they treat all employees alike, she explained that while they are all supplied with protective gears, the employees are not keen in putting them on, whether Chinese or Gambian; but as from now on they will ensure compliance.

According to the water quality analysis done by the Water Quality Monitoring Laboratory in Abuko which was shown to Foroyaa by Ms Jojo Huang samples from the septic waste pipe and manhole at the septic are very concentrated and further treatment through dilution need to be done prior to disposal to avert future environmental hazard to the flora and fauna. Samples from engine room cooling outlet and cooling waste discharge are in conformity with the WHO standards for irrigation water purposes, she said. Sample from the borehole water is suitable for consumption as well as domestic use, according to her. Sample of sea water is suitable for recreational and fishing activities, she explained.

Ms Jojo Huang said that the reporter failed to approach them to get their side of the story but this is what the reporter said: “When I went to your Company on Wednesday 17th May, 2017, I was led by a security guard to a Chinese interpreter who directed me to the security shed where I was met by three other Chinese. When I introduced myself and requested for an interview I was told that I had to wait till another day. The security guard was then asked to lead me out of the premises.”

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
8490 Posts

Posted - 23 May 2017 :  12:05:44  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Gunjur fisher folks speak on the dumping of fish

Foroyaa: May 22, 2017


BY: Kebba AF Touray, reporting from Gunjur fishing center


Fisher folks in Gunjur have expressed their views on the large amount of fish found on its beaches and roadsides.

Musa Jammeh, a fisher folk at the center explained that the cause of fish dumping on the said beach was due to the following reasons:
1.The catch was high and the company could not purchase all the catches and as such, the remaining fish got rotten which was dumped in the sea by the fishermen.
2.The fishing boats were overloaded and a heavy storm caused wreckage of the boats and the fish were washed onto the shores.
3.Some took their fish from Tanji for sale at the fish meal but they were not bought because the mill had reached its capacity. When this happened they get irritated and dumped the fish on their way going back.

Jammeh said that the waste pipe that links the company to the sea is used for removing waste water from the fish processed by the company to sea. He opined that this does not cause any hazards either to the fishermen or the fish. He finally pointed out that the high cost of fuel and fishing gears are their major challenges and called on the government to offer a helping hand to them.

Salifu Keita, a middle age man at the fishing point revealed that the dumping was because six (6) fishing boats were over loaded and when hit by heavy storm and waves they were wrecked. He further stated that in the following morning, they assembled on the beach, dug holes and buried the rotten fish. He stated they faced two different challenges, which he added are both natural (heavy win) and artificial (night fishing) as their constraints and implored the government to make night fishing a thing of the past. He further urged the government to help them with the needed fishing gears.

On his part the president of Net fishing Association, Mr. Lamin Sarr, also stated that the fish dumped on the way was done by some fish supplying vehicles from Tanji and the boats that were wrecked by heavy storm and water waves, which washed them back on the beach. He refuted that the dumping of fish was done by the Chinese fishing company, indicating that they are here as fish processing and business entrepreneurs.

Lamin Jatta, an intermediate between the Chienese and the natives, attributed the cause as the failure of the company to purchase some fish as it had reached its capacity, which he said irritated some fishermen and has compelled them to dump their fish on the beach. He said that the company processes fish into fish meal and fish oil and explained that the fish meal is exported to China, whilst the fish oil is bought by foreign interested companies.

On the issue of the waste pipe, Jatta said that it removes waste water from the fishes processed by the company and believes it has government approval.

He stated that when the news broke out, the company has halted operations as intuitions such as NEA and Water Resources went to the company, took water for sampling and it (the company) now awaits the results of that process to resume operations, which he expects to be in two days.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
8490 Posts

Posted - 23 May 2017 :  12:54:52  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Building The New Gambia
By Madi Jobarteh

The Government and Golden Lead Factory are Responsible!


The press release issued by Golden Lead fish factory on Monday May 22 has come as the latest insult to the intelligence and dignity of Gambians perpetrated by this company and condoned by our own government. In the press release the company tells us that they obtained their license through a transparent and official channel from GIEPA and the ministries of Fisheries and Trade. Yet until now none of these State agencies have come out to tell Gambians what is happening in Gunjur and what they are doing about it. But the company instead chose to deny and reject all responsibilities for actions emanating from their activity in Gunjur.

In the first place the company said their wastewater is stored in suck-aways and then collected by sewerage trucks. But this is contrary to the reality because the fact is they have pipes buried in the sand going from their factory into the ocean. They also deny that the wastewater is toxic because they claim it is pure water from the fish. This is also not true because the liquid waste is ‘effluent’ and waste in any form is never harmless. Therefore it is clear that this company has decided to misinform and mislead Gambians just to cover up their misconduct in our land.

The company again attempts to wash off their hands from the dumping of fish on the beach claiming they have ultra-modern equipment and invested more than 3 million US dollars. This is another attempt to mislead our people because regardless of the equipment or the amount of money they invested, the fact remains that we have never had this kind of situation in Gunjur until this company came into the scene. We have had fisher folks along the coastline for decades and centuries, yet we have never experienced this kind of carnage on our beaches. Rather we see how this company is now putting the blame on suppliers for the dumping of fish yet refusing to accept that those suppliers would not have been there if the company did not require them. The question they need to ask is what have they done to limit or prevent altogether such dumping if indeed they care about the ocean and our environment as they claimed in their misleading press release.

To add salt to injury, the company now tells us that this criminal misconduct is because there has not been social dialogue between the stakeholders in the Gunjur landing site. Who are the stakeholders? Did the company make any effort to engage any stakeholders especially the community? Have they listened to the community and take into account the concerns of the people? Is it not their responsible to engage the community to ensure that in their business activity, no damages are caused or they put in plans to prevent or clean the damage? Yet we see how this company is seeking to play with the minds of our people by bringing in open-ended and self-righteous statements.

As if that is not enough, the company went further to say that the "situation is triggered by external factors beyond the control of Golden Lead factory.” But the company did not say who or what are these external factors? This is yet another attempt to shift blame and responsibility from themselves and throw it out to unidentified elements. This is dishonest and criminal that tells us that this company does not mean well for the Gambia.

What does the company mean by this statement in their press release: “We call for the organization of the fisheries sector in the Gambia so that issues and challenges in the sector are addressed in the professional manner”? Are they saying that the Gambia Government is not taking the right steps to address the issues and challenges in this sector? What are those issues and challenges? By all indications they seem to be right there because if we could have a foreign company misconduct itself like this yet State agencies remain silent, then it means such a company can have the audacity to say whatever it wants to say. This is why Golden Lead factory is insulting Gambians. This is because our own Government agencies are doing nothing to deal with this issue.

Where is the EIA report for this company? How is NEA monitoring this company to ensure that its waste is not dumped into our ocean? It is disheartening to hear the NEA acknowledge that this company never had a treatment plant as required by the EIA recommendation. Yet NEA attempts to give excuse that they were not aware of the malpractices of the company in failing to treat its waste in the right manner. What is GIEPA doing to monitor this company to ensure that it is fulfilling its responsibilities as per its Export Processing Zone License? What are the ministries of Fisheries and Trade doing to ensure that the overall concerns, issues and challenges of the fisheries sector are addressed to make sure our local fisher folks enjoy their full rights and benefits from our ocean?

The presence of this company and its misconduct is the responsibility of the Gambia Government and the State must be seen to stand up to fulfill their duty to our country. This press release is full of misinformation, half-truths and outright lies aimed at misleading Gambians. I call on the people of Gunjur and Kartong to remain steadfast and united because the company is now attempting to confuse and mislead so as to bring division among our communities. Remember oppressors and exploiters always seek to divide and conquer the people. If the company wanted to have a dialogue, let it organize community meetings. Let it go to the Governor or the Alkalo or the VDC of Gunjur. But it cannot damage our environment yet tries to caste doubts and criticisms at our people when it is the company that is responsible for the damage.

Close Golden Lead Factory NOW!
God Bless the Gambia.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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