Gambia: Be Mindful Of China’s Rape

I beg you to take note and publish the below statement. This letter is meant to be for the support of the Gambian people as it is of high importance that Gambia don’t sell out their values to foreign countries.

The Chinese fish factory at Gunjur and Kartong has been well described in numerous media, like Greenpeace, local newspapers, media within the EU etc.

The factory at Gunjur has been accused of polluting of the sea causing the death of thousands of fish which were washed ashore making the disaster visible.

There are more than 70 Chinese trawlers fishing in Gambian waters. Nobody is controlling them for license and/or what kind of catch they take on board. A short time ago Senegal control boats arrested 7 Chinese trawlers, who were fishing illegally in Senegal waters. It seems that the Gambia does not have the means to control high seas. The Gambia’s territorial waters extends 200 nautical miles (about 370 kilometres) from the coast line and out into the sea.

But – sadly enough – the local Gambian and Senegalese fishermen are delivering fish to the Chinese factories. The Chinese pay better than the local consumers. Therefore the local fishermen are contributing to overfishing. For these boats it may happen that the fish is dead before reaching the factory and will be thrown overboard. In other cases the factory may not be able to handle all the fish brought to them that is why the fish is thrown away somewhere in the vicinity.

The Gambia’s Fisheries Minister, James Gomez has now ordered that 10% of the catch must be for the local market. That means 90% still goes to the Chinese factories. This is just not good enough.

This is all very shortsighted. After few years the fish will be gone and the Chinese will leave. Meanwhile, the tourists have left long time earlier. Nobody can live in the odour of stinking fish.

The tourist did not spend money only for sight-seeing etc., but coming to the Gambia all many to see the difficulties of the people and started collecting money in their home countries in order to send it to schools, hospitals or for scholarships. They even build hospitals and schools. Many containers of all kind of goods were shipped to Gambia and distributed by the same people to schools, hospitals etc. This was all done privately. This kind of human helping hand will be gone.

President Adama Barrow has signed different agreements with China. Hopefully this will end because many other African nations who were dealing with China have all got raped.

At this moment another Chinese fish factory is being build at the coast of Sanyang, just 10 kilometres north of Gunjur.

It can be expected that the same thing will happen on this place like the other places where the Chinese have build their factories. But this factory is not operational yet. There is time to stop this adverse development.

Your newspaper comes in here. It must be anticipated that also politicians read newspapers.

I  would have liked to enclose a map with the position of the new fishmeal factory at Sanyang and some pictures showing the beautiful beach which now probably soon will be destroyed. Unfortunately, your set up system for Contact Us do not have this ability.

With best regards

Gunther Petersen


One Comment

  1. Let’s blame ourselves for this situation. I’m not sure under whose watch this wanton and blatant destruction started, but regardless, I think the new government had more than enough time to address this issue. So questions have to be asked about their seeming inability or unwillingness to tackle this problem.

    The Chinese have a duty to operate their business responsibly, no doubt, but at the end of the day, they are neither responsible for policy making in The Gambia, nor implementation, and that’s why I don’t subscribe to this Chinese bashing.

    They simply take advantage of our laxity, weaknesses and corruption to pursue their own national development objectives, and I’m pretty sure that protection of Gambia’s resources and environment is not the highest on their list of priorities, given their vociferous hunger for raw materials to feed their ever expanding economy. They are simply doing what they had to do, and the less costly it is for them, the better for their economy.

    The responsibility to protect our resources and environment is primarily ours and if we fail to do this, others will take advantage of us.We must all rise up to the challenge collectively by holding our officials accountable and responsible for any damages to our environment and reckless negligence in the management of our resources.

    Let’s use the coming local government elections to send a clear message to parties in government, if this situation is not addressed to our satisfaction by the time we go to the polls.

    If we don’t, then we should be prepared to be taken for granted by politicians and their parties for a long time to come. New Gambia should not settle for business as usual.

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