On Thursday, the High Court granted Gunjur plaintiffs an injunction against Golden Lead over the Chinese proposed expansion of their factory’s operations into a plot of land in front of the company’s premises.
The land has been used by Gunjur local women for vegetable gardening for over two decades.
The court granted the injunction following a consent hearing earlier this morning. The decision to grant the plaintiffs prayers means Golden Lead or its agents cannot enter the land without prior approval.
Full judgment on the consent terms will be delivered at a hearing on 20th October 2021. The plaintiffs are represented on pro bono by Barrister Lamin J. Darbo, while Lawyer Lamin S. Camara represents golden Lead.
Powerless Gambia Government on Golden Lead curse
The Chinese built Golden in Gunjur to meet exploding global demand for fishmeal – a lucrative golden powder made by pulverizing and cooking fish. Exported to the United States, Europe, and Asia, fishmeal is used as a protein-rich supplement in the booming industry of fish farming or aquaculture.
The residents of Gunjur were told that Golden Lead would bring jobs, a fish market, and a newly paved, three-mile road through the heart of town. Instead, fishermen desperately trying to land catches at Golden Lead end up discarding them at sea or in the bush after being rejected by the Chinese. The result is a pollution of the beach and the Gunjur laguna and critical deregulation of the traditional local fish market supply.
Yet, The Gambia government seems to close its eyes on all excesses of Golden Lead in Gunjur in return for the Chinese government favors. Golden Lead is another outpost of the ambitious Chinese economic and geopolitical agenda known as the Belt and Road Initiative, chanted by President Adama Barrow after visiting Beijing. In 2017, China canceled $14m (£10m) in Gambian debt and invested $33m (£23.8m) to develop agriculture and fisheries, including Golden Lead and two other fish-processing plants along the 50-mile (80km) Gambian coast.
In Gunjur, Golden Lead has since begun an expansion spree encroaching towards the sea.
On Wednesday 26th May 2021, The Chinese resumed expansion works at Gunjur beach, despite a “Stop Notice” from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and a pending injunction filed by a concerned environmental group to prevent the company from ever-expanding its operations beyond its current premises.
NEA delivered notice to Golden Lead on 10th March 2021 to stop all ongoing extension works and evacuate all equipment and personnel on-site.
According to the said “Stop Notice,” the decision of the environment body to order for the stopping of all extension works at the Fishmeal plant was as a result of Golden Lead’s failure to apply for and obtain approval for the extension of the Fishmeal plant as per Regulation 29 of the Environment Impact Assessment Regulation 2014.
With Gunjur Online