The failure of the previous government to establish the Lands Commission in the country had made it very difficult for hard working average Gambians to register his or her piece of property. There was too much bureaucratic, subsequent to too many people to talk to, files and processes. Each department within the Local Government ministry has set of rules and system of registration of property, and above all the service fees. As it stands now, it can take up to two years or more before all these procedures are completed. I think this should be unacceptable in this new administration. Gambians are being urged to exercise patience with the new administration, but there are backlog of cases that could have been settle within a week. With the new government in place, we are expecting better and faster service to the citizens, but this is not happening.
Furthermore, when President Adama Barrow took over the reign of power, he urged Gambians in diaspora to come back home and contribute towards nation building. While many highly praised him, but others have raised a few eyebrows. I am particularly becoming increasingly frustrated about the rationality of that statement. Did he fails to understand the real predicament obstructing many Gambians from returning home? We expect him to know better that most of the compounds owned by diaspora community were demolished by Yaya Jammeh without no compensations. As a result, most of them have no place of their own. The typical examples were properties previously located at Batokunko, Tujereng and many diverse places. We had expected the minister responsible for lands to make a statement on what the Government intends to do. Surprisingly; this has never happened, and there is no indication that this will ever happen during President Barrow’s tenure of office. There is a widespread of rumour that this Government is intensely concerns about the injustices meted out to them while in opposition rather than concerns of wider populace. Many are of the view that expectations are high, but there is nothing wrong if the Government proclaims their desire for the future. This is more likely to give glimmer of hope to those affected individuals that one day their concerns would be addressed. Now that many are urging the Government to persuade various departments within the Local Government and Lands to speed up the transfer of compound documents to their new owners. Will they listen? This is a million dollar question!! Over the years, this has been an underlying hindrance and there is no suggestion that this would be resolved sooner. I still cannot understand why such a simple task can take years to accomplish in a small country like the Gambia. Here in the west, there are datelines for such registrations, but in the Gambia, up till now you must continue chasing unscrupulous officers.
Moreover, there is no indication that this Government will ever establish Land Commission. PDOIS was an advocate to establishment of well-organized Land Commission in the Country. Regrettably, now that they had decided not to join the Government they helped to construct. This will always remain a mystery in the hearts and minds of every Gambians. Will they ever continue to support such Commission? I am enthusiastically waiting for their responses.
Finally, what is the overarching vision of National Land Commission? Amongst others, to attain optimum efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and management of public and other lands through a vigorous land service delivery. This will assist the Government to manage public lands meritoriously so as to ensure easy and secure access for all types of land uses and contribute to socio-economic development. The establishment of Land Commission will no doubt enable the new Government to co-operate with other bodies to instil order and discipline into the land market through curbing the incidence of land infringement, unapproved development schemes, multiple or illegal land sales, land speculation and other forms of land racketeering that were common during the previous Government.