There is absolutely no doubt that most Gambians are quite happy to hear that the local Organisation of Islamic Corporation (OIC) secretariat has finally begun awarding contracts for the construction of the much talked about “20 new roads” projects as well as the (Very Very Important (VVP) lounge at the Airport in readiness for the OIC summit slated to be hosted by the Gambia in 2022.
However, we have been told that both the construction of the Bertil Harding highway and the VVP lounge will last for a minimum of 14 and 12 months respectively. Therefore, assuming that both projects commence in October, then it is quite obvious that they would not be completed before the end of 2022, which is beyond the date of the proposed conference, if indeed it is to take place as scheduled in 2022.
Also, apart from those two projects, nothing else has so far been said about the rest of the “20 new roads” and the “five star hotel” which had been prominent components of the proposed summit. In fact with regards to the hotel, there is evidence that the government is presently locked up in a battle for possession of its proposed sight with the original owners; the Global Home Medical Mission (GHOMM), who claim to have had it returned to them by the high court and therefore they are not ready to allow the government to take it away from them.
Whatever the case, it appears that both the government and the OIC Secretariat are not telling us the whole truth with regards to the correct situation of the OIC summit. It is certainly not possible to complete any of these projects before the end of 2022 and as such, assuming that they are condition-precedent for the holding of the summit, then there is no way that it can take place in 2022. It would either be rescheduled for the second time or cancelled altogether.
Whatever the case however, most Gambians are hoping and praying that the construction of the projects go ahead as planned, as that is what interests the majority of the general public much more than the holding of the summit.
“All that we want is to see those roads constructed in order to help ease the horrible traffic congestion in the Greater Banjul Area, and we don’t care whether or not the OIC summit takes place,” said one distraught motorist.