He said the road had served as a major barrier to tourism and development in the community and that if someone had decided to use the Waterloo axis, in the Western Rural district, it would be too long apart from the hassle of going through traffic congestions.
He said most tourists who wanted to avoid the traffic would obviously want to use the Lumley axis but that the roads were very terrible.
“Lumley to Tokeh is the shorter of the two roads leading to Tokeh. We are pleading with the government to come to our aid and address this issue just as they have done in the construction of the Wellington Masiaka highway. Tourism is one of our major sources of income and one that creates employment for the youth and I am one of the beneficiaries. I am an employee at one of the hotels in the community but the road network is undermining tourism in our community,” he added.
Bangura stated that if there was any health emergency the person would definitely lose their lives, noting that especially pregnant women could not access ambulance services because of the road network and the only available referral was at Cottage Hospital in town.
He said the terrible road condition was affecting the delivery of justice in that part of the country, adding that they were under the Adonkia Police Division, adding that the community people had raised some money to build a police post which construction was almost being completed. He confirmed: “the project to construct a police station in Tokeh is 95% funded by us. The only thing we got help for was documentation by Land Ministry but everything else was funded by the people and hand-outs from tourists visiting the community.”
He also mentioned that there was no electricity supply in the community and that investment would never thrive well in any community that lacked electricity supply.
General Manager of one of the hotels, Vinod Kumar Bahuguna, told AYV that among the countries that he had visited Sierra Leone had one of the best beaches.
“The foods in this country are not internationally recognized but the beaches in this country are really attracting tourists, most especially this Tokeh beach, which is a white sandy and very beautiful beach.”
Kumar Bahuguna continued that there was some amount of sand mining going on in that area that could destroy the beach and called for security to look into that. He said the ministry of tourism and the environment protection agency, EPA, must try and provide security for tourism along the beaches.
Deputy director of field operations at EPA, Syl-Brians Kamara responded by saying that the issue of sand mining had been designated to council and that it was an activity controlled by local councils, noting that the EPA also had a role to play in supporting the councils to tackle sand mining.
He explained that they had also involved the police to arrest culprits but there was no law under which they could be prosecuted, adding that EPA had lawyers who were working on the laws to ensure they wield the power to arrest and prosecute.
Police Constable 10061 Sandy Tamba, at the Tokeh police post, Goderich Division, confirmed that there were instances of sand mining going on but that there were no police station in the community. He lauded the effort of the people to build and own a police post.