What is a $25000 fine to a company that makes millions of dollars a year through illegal fishing in the West African waters? Golden lead company case has indeed potrayed an image that The Gambian Government is not really anxious about protecting our environment. It is a well known fact that The Gambia depends mostly on Agriculture and tourism. Supplementing tourism is the beautiful oceans we have in our possession. What becomes of us if our oceans are contaminated by a Chinese company illegally fishing from our seas not for human consumption but for animal consumption? A source of income and food for thousands of Gambians is at stake because our so called “New Government” is failing to take our environment and well being of Gambians into consideration by not taking the right measures to settle this issue.
Stirring up a conspiracy theory is inevitable but it is worthy putting into consideration that more than 70% of China’s boats in West Africa operate in the Senegalese, Mauritanian, guinea and Gambian seas. This makes China’s distant fishing industry the largest in West Africa with over 400 fleets and 74 fleets illegally operating in waters prohibited as exposed by Green peace. Even China’s ministry admitted that it makes more than 340 million euros a year from West Africa. A UN report goes a long way In highlighting the fact that there is 50% over fishing in the coasts of West Africa leaving inhabitants exploited.
Taking this into consideration, a $25000 out of court settlement between the Gambian Government and Golden lead company for withholding information about management of waste, discharging substance of waste water into the sea, polluting the environment, and failure to keep record of their company activities to this extent is unjustifiable. Is $25000 enough to restore the environment to its normal state? I doubt. Channelling of waste into the sea not only causes casualties to our environment, wellbeing and food but also to the economy of the country all at the expense of a company illegally fishing to feed animals, is this what our new government stands for?
Further allegations have been made against Golden lead Company that instead of purchasing fish from Gambian fishermen, it instead goes out of line by buying fish from Senegalese fishermen In CFA instead of Gambian Dalasi. How ironic is the fact that in our own seas, we have two different poachers, then how does the Gambia benefit from Golden lead investment if they’re not even buying fish from Gambians themselves? Once asked to shed light on this issue, the marketing manager of golden lead simply refused to make any comments, fishy right?
We as Gambians surrender all our rights to the New Government and in return, we expect nothing but for them to preserve it and make sure exploitative oriented institutions don’t take advantage of us and the limited resources we have. Golden lead company should be called shut down for the sole benefit of The Gambia, its people and environment. As a result I call upon all Gambians to help in the fight against this exploitation and I call upon the “New Government” to respect our rights and preserve our environment because of the simple fact that no right is greater than the other, if former president Jammeh violated our rights to speech and various other rights, whats the difference is our right to health and wellbeing is endangered by our new government failing to take the right steps towards justice?