By Buba Gagigo
Alagie Sarr, the Project Officer of OIC Gambia, confirmed to Kerr Fatou that the previous commitment made by Abdoulie Thiam, the Chairman of IMMOGAM, regarding the completion of the OIC hotel within fifteen months, will not be realized as planned.
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Abdoulie Thiam, Chairman of IMMOGAM, had made the assurance during the ceremony of laying the hotel’s foundation stone, after signing the project with the Gambia in April 2021. He stated, “I guarantee the government that this hotel will be constructed within a period of only 15 months.”
Furthermore, President Barrow had also pledged during the foundation stone laying ceremony that his government would ensure timely delivery and completion of all essential infrastructure projects, involving contractors, consultants, and other stakeholders.
Kerr Fatou reached out to OIC Gambia for information on the delay in the hotel’s construction, which occurred one year after President Adama Barrow laid the foundation stone.
Alagie Sarr, Project Officer of OIC Gambia, has confirmed that the plans to finish the hotel in fifteen months have failed. He said, “To be honest, it cannot be finished in those fifteen months. That was just a projection. However, we are doing all our best to make sure we complete the project.”
Sarr was unable to give a specific date for when the hotel would be completed. He said, “Right now, I cannot be specific on that. We are expecting 46 skilled laborers from Turkey. Then we will have one hundred to three hundred laborers from Senegal, and then we will have local laborers too and expand.”
Mr. Sarr went on to expound on some of the challenges they faced that led to the delay in the project.
“As it is, we are on the artwork. It was promised to be a fifteen-month project, but that is a projection, the leasing of the land took time, after the approval of the plans also took some challenges. Also, mobilization of equipment, most of our materials are coming from Senegal. That also caused a delay to the project. We have a team coming from Turkey, they have secured visas now to come to the Gambia, but already they have a team of seven that are on the ground already. The project is going on right now as we speak,” Sarr said.
Mr. Sarr reported on the progress of the project, stating that the site cleaning had been completed and that a disposal area had been allocated to them in Jabang.
“After the site cleaning, we started the excavation. So, in this project we want the first and the last building around the gate, when you stand in front, we will see the beach. The houses are on different levels. We use the cut and fill system, we cut from down around the sea area then fill the front side so that we can have a different level. So, the excavation from the front area, we dug about five meters and the other side three point something. Already we started the diaphragm wall, which is the retaining wall. The retaining wall is almost eighty percent,” Alagie Sarr, Project Officer of OIC Gambia, told Kerr Fatou.
The hotel, when completed, is supposed to be one of the major infrastructure development projects for the OIC Heads of State and Government Summit to be hosted by The Gambia.
The construction of the Five-star hotel, estimated to be worth US$100 million, was part of the Gambia’s preparations to host the 2022 OIC Summit, which didn’t take place.