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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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The highest form of injustice by Emirate staff at
Dakar Blaise Diagne Airport against innocent Gambian students

Dear editor,

I write to inform that a Gambian student travelling to Indonesia for a two-year study was prevented from boarding his flight at the Dakar Blaise Diagne Airport (DSS) by the Emirates staff. The student was prevented passage by Emirates Airline staff because they said he needed a return air ticket.
I wish to use this medium to demand genuine and thorough explanation from Emirates as to what law or regulation, if any, they acted upon to prevent the student from boarding his flight.

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I found this decision by the Emirates staff as a highest form of injustice. This injustice gives rise to the fundamental question, which must be answered by Emirates: Why does he need to buy a return air ticket even though he is going for a two-year study programme?
He provided the staff all his school papers in English with the appropriate travel visa yet they insisted he needed a return air ticket. Similar cases have been meted out to Gambian students in Dakar. Why does this happen to Gambian students travelling abroad via Senegal when they have no other choice?
What power does Emirates have to demand a return air ticket from someone who has a valid visa and all other required papers. Why did Emirates sell him the air ticket in the first place if a return ticket was mandatory?
This is illegal in international law and in the laws of Indonesia where the student is going. I want to know if Emirates is acting on Senegalese laws or laws of the UAE? I have attached the air ticket of the affected student. I want a response from Emirates as soon as possible because the student is now stranded in Dakar, Senegal. If we don’t have an explanation, we will be forced to undertake a social media campaign to expose this form of injustice


Name and address withheld upon request

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Barrow shuns IMF warning, accepts $34m French loan. Why?

Dear editor,

Gambia has defied warnings and has accepted a US$34 million loan from France to consolidate the country’s democracy. Will The Gambia regret her actions?
When it comes to accepting funds, African leaders can stoop to any level and accept any terms – no matter the implications on the long or short run.

When the news first broke that France will be giving The Gambia a 30 million euro ($34 million) loan to “consolidate democracy and stability in the country”, international lenders – prominent among whom was the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised the country against accepting such an offer saying it will be detrimental for the West African country to borrow money to ‘ease the burden on debt stock’; but the country had shunned all warnings and accepted the loan with open arms.

There is no gainsaying that a large chunk of the loan may end up in personal bank accounts thus the eagerness to accept the funds despite the foreseeable dangers. Why else will a country go ahead to sign an agreement that is not in its best interest?
The financial aid came after the recent visit of French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to The Gambia. In a report made available to Reuters, the country hopes to spend 5 million euros for budgetary support, 20 million for drinking water projects and 5 million for agricultural projects.

A point in defence of The Gambia however is why the IMF or World Bank didn’t provide the funds for the country which claims to be in dire need of financial aid following the ousting of former leader Yahya Jammeh whom the current administration claims emptied the country’s entire treasury before leaving for exile in Guinea where he is currently engaged in farming.
Yahya Jammeh ruled the country for 22 years and in 2011 told the BBC during an interview that he “will deliver to the Gambian people and if [he had] to rule this country for one billion years, [he] will, if Allah says so.” He is currently facing charges for cases involving summary executions, disappearances, torture, rape and other crimes during his 22-year rule.

France’s interest in The Gambia is nothing new as they have been knocking on the door for a long time. What is surprising however is that The Gambia is an English colony which gained independence in 1965, but France has used the excuse of its closeness to Senegal (a French colony) to seek ties with the country.
Despite being Africa’s top producer of groundnut, the country’s debt stock reached a record high of 130 percent of gross domestic product as at 2017.
Only time will reveal the outcome of this new partnership as reports have it that French company are already having a strong presence in the country and bidding for government contracts. Could this loan be a ploy by the French to gain advantage in The Gambia?

Sebastiane Ebatamehi
Staff writer
The Africa Exponent

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