An Open Letter to the President of Big Brother Senegal
I beg most respectfully to seek your permission to write this letter to apprise you with a situation that is distasteful to the rank and file of the Gambian people, especially those young Gambians who are unemployed and praying every minute of the day for the opportunity to have a job to acquire the wherewithal to support themselves and their parents.
The Gambians who are friendly to Senegal and always speak well about their kindness are very embarrassed and put to shame and are unable to raise their heads and look into their eyes of their compatriots when rumour spread in all corners of the Gambia that the Senegalese have their fishing trawlers plying scot-free on the small territorial waters of the Gambia, catching the country’s fish.
And instead of landing the fish at the port of Banjul, the whole catch is taken to Dakar to increase Senegal exports and at the same time create jobs for the youth of Senegal. What is surprising is that the resource of the Gambia is taken by the Senegalese to stabilise and cater for the prosperity of young Senegalese, whereas the young people of the Gambia remain impoverished, hungry, jobless and tantalising. This is disappointing more so when the whole world has heard the cry of the Gambia in its appeal for help to solve its unemployment situation.
When Gambia and Senegal proclaim to the whole world of their commitment to sincere economic cooperation, the Gambians were very pleased with that pronouncement believing that Senegal will come with its vast experience and knowledge to help the Gambia in the work to eliminate its own unemployment.
But to our surprise, we discover that our fish that God has given us in our small territorial water, not even 10/12 miles in its width, the fish there is being lifted and taken away for the enjoyment of others.
Your Excellency, it had been our belief that big brother Senegal will come to our rescue anytime we find ourselves in trouble, economically, politically etc.
We will always turn to big brother Senegal. Now we are in doubt about signed economic cooperation between the two countries. For your information, recently, the minister of fisheries of the Gambia Hon. James Gomez on his visit to the Banjul fisheries industry was greeted with a solemn plea that the fish taken from Gambian waters to Senegal, if brought to the fisheries factory of Banjul, it will help to solve the unemployment problem of the country. This was said by the manager of the factory. The minister’s reply was people should wait and see what is going to happen in six months time.
Your Excellency, the uncontrolled, unguided and the massive lifting of fish from our waters at this rate will sooner end in the total depletion of fish. That will have a damaging effect on the economy and even the health of the people, for fish is very important part of our diet.
We are told Senegal has not sent trawlers to the Gambia without permission. The permission is the existence of an agreement of fishing signed between the Gambia and Senegal. This enables Senegal to train a handful of Gambian fisher folks.
More worrying is that the so-called agreement was pushed upon the Gambia on the heels of its emergence after a six week siege imposed on the Gambia by YAHYA JAMMEH. Within this period most Gambians did not have fresh air to breath, fresh food to eat and regular supply of water to drink. This was the lot of the Gambian people. The siege was later lifted by the Ecowas armed forces, led by Senegalese, Nigerian and Ghanaian soldiers. These were considered as our saviour and liberator. The aftermath was almost a psychological and mental problem for the Gambian people. It was at the heat of this very moment, the Gambia government was lured into this agreement which is hurting the economy of the Gambia and the social life of our country.
This agreement is considered by observers as a disguised form of demand of reparation by Senegal.
The agreement stipulates that Senegal will fish in waters of the Gambia continuously for a period of three /four months and all fish lifted will be taken to Dakar and Gambia’s own share in this agreement is to have only one load of fish of trawler every three month.
Mr President your friends in the Gambia believe that the complexity, implication and the full import of this agreement had not been brought to your knowledge.
I now advise that Mr President you renounce this agreement, withdraw all your trawlers from Gambian water and check the number of tons of fish lifted from the Gambia and pay the country that amount of money.
Long Live Senegal Long Live The Gambia.
Alhaige Ba Musa Trawally
A senior citizen Of the Gambia