Following reports that work had ceased at the site in Bijilo, it is clear that the $100 million (D5 billion) Immo-Gam five-star hotel will not be completed in time for the OIC Summit in Banjul in December.
“The summit is slated for the 16th and 17th December 2023, and preparatory work for the summit is progressing as planned,” according to Ndey Kumba Demba, the Director of Brand and Promotion at the Banjul OIC Secretariat.
This is the situation since the co-partner of the Gambia government for the construction of the hotel, Abdoulie Cham, the Senegalese entrepreneur, is involved in a civil suit with one Aisha Fatty at the courts.
According to the senior OIC secretariat official, work on the earthworks related to building the hotel resumed on 25th February 2023, after a team of experts from Turkey and Senegal.
They continued work on the foundation and structural works. Before that, the heavy machinery and equipment needed for construction had been fully mobilized.
Currently, ongoing works include work on the foundation to ensure a solid foundation and support for the structure; she went on.
“Work continues to progress,” according to Ms. Demba, who continued:
“It is important to note that the hotel will not be done (ready) at the time of the summit. Other plans have been put in place for the accommodation needs for the summit. The Gambia is a tourism destination with many hotels to host guests coming for the summit,” she told TAT.
She added: “Except for the hotel, all priority projects identified for the summit are either completed or nearing completion.”
She pointed out that the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center and the Very Very Important Persons (VVIP) Lounge at the Banjul International Airport are completed, while Phase 1 of the Bertil Harding Highway is nearing complexion.
However, the TAT reporter visited the site on 10th August 2023 but was not allowed to take photos of the site by a paramilitary police officer guarding the place.
There was no visible work ongoing by construction machinery nor workers of the construction company or any signs to indicate that work is continuing.
The reporter observed that most of the Rhum Palm trees located at the site had been felled, including the buildings formerly occupied by the police Anti-Crine Unit (ACU) based there.