By Yunus S Saliu
The rehabilitation of the Kunta Kinteh Island (James Island) Jetty, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Gambia, destroyed by the strong winds on the 31st of July 2022 is now completed.
The reconstruction of the James Island Jetty was funded by UNESCO following a notification report from the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the NCAC reflected on the jetty, he said July 31, 2022, strong winds destroyed the jetty leading to the Kunta Kinteh (former James Island) off Jufureh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
He said immediately it happened “the UNESCO World Heritage Centre was notified and a proposal for Emergency Support was made and sent off to Paris for support to repair the jetty.”
According to the plan and specs approved for the jetty, the contractor for the repair was given to Touray Construction Company Ltd who had undertaken the repair and completed the job within a duration period of 8 weeks started November 1 to December 30, 2022.
The team which comprised 22 people from the community of Albreda, Juffureh, and so on did the work under the supervision of the Contractor and NCAC staff.
“Damage to the jetty severely limited access to the Kunta Kinteh Island as visitors had to wait for the low tides to be able to reach the island, and this was not safe and comfortable. Conservation and preservation and visitations were indeed hampered,” the director general disclosed.
Expressing joy about the repaired jetty, DG Ceesay said the repaired jetty has restored full access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site during the height of The Gambia Tourist Season while NCAC staff attaches to the site now have regular access to the place. “More so, the new jetty has improved the aesthetics of the property.
Thanking UNESCO for the strong support, he said the communities of Albreda, Jufureh, Aljambu, and surrounding settlements benefitted from the repair work on the jetty, and twenty-one people enjoyed direct employment during the period of the two months of repairing the jetty.