Speaking to The Standard yesterday afternoon, publisher Sheriff Bojang said. “On a Friday in mid-September, 2012, while I was holding our weekly training session, three men from the National Intelligence Agency – one of them my friend, another my brother-in-law – came to our offices at Sait Matty Junction, Bakau, to deliver the instruction ordering us to cease operations with immediate effect. No reasons were given. The paper was closed before for eight months when we started back in 2010. But this one came at a most unpropitious time for the company when we had just started breaking even and after having invested huge resources and efforts in the development and sustenance of the business.
“Well, it took 15 months to be allowed to bounce back. There is a Fula proverb that ‘to get lost is to learn the way’. I think we have learnt our way now. We do not bear anyone a grudge for what happened. We are just thankful to the one God, Allah, to President Jammeh, Mr Amadou Samba, Secretary General Sabally, GRTS’ Lamin Manga and all those people too many to mention here, in government and civil society, and curiously, even in the high echelons of the APRC, who championed our cause, voluntarily, even without our solicitation.
“Our readers and ultimately advertisers, value us because they have come to realise that we respect them by giving them balanced, fair, objective and accurate information and allow them to make up their own minds on whatever the issue is.”
Asked about the delay in the resumption of publications since its unbanning two months ago, Mr Bojang elucidated: “It’s like starting all over again. We had to reset everything again because of the inordinate long period of closure. I had to raise capital to replace machinery, refurbish the office, do the paper works and recruit new staff. We wanted to avoid falling into that start, stop, start, stop rhythm of publication. It’s not good for general business confidence and resources are haemorrhaged without being adequately replenished. That’s why we had to wait till we achieved a certain degree of coordinationn. We are not there yet, but we will be there soon, God willing.”