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City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Modern slavery




By Aicha

Slavery has many faces and the only way to abolish it is by revealing them.

We must bring them out in the light so they will burst in the sun like trolls.

Maybe you are not familiar with the word troll so I will give you a short explanation before I continue.

A troll is a mythical figure, living in the deep forests, preferably in a cave in the mountains.

Trolls are ugly and evil, they are said to have big ears and noses, small peering eyes, lots of body hair and a long tail.


Trolls are almost in the shape of humans but when they turn around you will see their tail which they try to hide.

They try to fool humans that the trolls are coming with good intentions and they don’t show their true nature until it’s too late.


A troll is never out during daylight, if it is exposed by sunlight it will burst.

See this as a parallell to realistic ”trolls” who does their business in the dark, these ”trolls” hate transparency and they are prepared to do anything in their might to keep their secrets safe.

Can you see where I am heading?


Last week I wrote about bribery and corruption and I had decided to write about a completely different subject this week but then I read about GTB, Guaranty Trust Bank, and I changed my mind.

So here I am, speaking about modern ”trolls”, evil businessmen and modern slavery.



OBS! Before I continue I will warn you that the following part is written in a sarcastic manner!


Guaranty Trust Bank, wow, what a nice name!

I’m sure it is chosen to give people the impression that they are trustworthy, even more trustworthy than other banks in the Gambia.

So what should we trust – that they are sure to make a huge profit that will not be shared with anyone else but those who are on the top?


Should we trust that the employees will not have a pay rise for several years so the bank manager and his buddies will be sure to get their pay rise?

Well,it’s not hard to see that it is easier to help one bank manager to fill his accounts instead of hundreds of employees.


He must have felt extremly offended when eight of the staff asked if they could have a discussion about their problems.

They were not showing any sympathy at all towards the poor troubled bank manager who doesn’t know where he should begin to invest all the money that he has fooled…….oh, sorry…….well earned after his hard work.


The employees must understand that bank managers and others who are on the top have a great responsability so they deserve expensive cars, exclusive houses, fancy clothes, delicious food, vacations abroad etc.

They can’t be troubled with meagre problems like school fees for the employees children, expensive food prices and so on.


We must protect our busy and troubled people on the top of the society because if they would be forced to look down on those who are really struggling to make ends meet they would have problems sleeping at night.

Oh, we can’t have that, can we?


Oh dear, oh dear, and the impudent employees who wrote to the management of GTB to ask for a meeting where they could discuss a solution they got what they deserved.

Of course they lost their jobs because if they would have had a discussion and even managed to get better working conditions and payment it would have been less money left for the management and we can’t have it like that, can we?


What if more people would come and ask for the same thing?

Oh dear, oh dear, that would mean that the wealth of the men in top must be shared and we can’t have it like that, can we?


They are used to be wealthy so it would be really hard for them to change.

When I think about this I can’t sleep at night!


I really hope that you didn’t misunderstand me and got upset because you thought I defended the management of Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB.

Sometimes it is easier to approach a problem with a bit of humour even if the problem in itself is not humouristic at all.


It is giving the thought a healthy distance for a while and is also giving us the opportunity to show that we have rumbled those who thought they could fool us forever.

The management of GTB has threatened that they will sack around 100 of the staffs who has demanded that their collegues will get their jobs back.


These 100 staffs has been on a sit-down strike since July 20 and I’m giving them the warmest applaud ever!

It takes courage to do this in the Gambia where it is really hard to get a qualified job.

The management of Guaranty Trust Bank says that they have so many applicants for jobs in that bank so they don’t care if they lose these ones, there are plenty that would be grateful for having a job there instead.


Guaranty Trust Bank gives their staff the guaranty that they can trust there will be no pay rises, no health insurance and absolutely no improved working conditions, but if you still are up for a job in that bank you are welcome sending in your application.


Those of you who are prepared to sell your soul to GTB for least money will get the job.


Labour Act, Labour laws and Labour office – are these for protecting the labourers or are they a control system in disguise?

There are a lot of powerful and beautiful words written by people who believed in them – or did they write fairy tales?


Did they write about how it COULD be in the best of worlds so people would believe that there actually are someone who believes in the rights of the labourers?

The corrupt system I have written about before has reached in here too and made the laws soft as jellyfish.


It seems as if some high and mighty manager of some sort is not satisfied with the laws he can be in contact with the Labour Office, open his wallet and bribe away all his problems.

Good for him but bad for the labourers who thought they were protected by the laws.



This is making me feel sick, just as sick as another case I heard about and that actually concerns a young waiter I met some years ago at a restaurant in the Gambia.

I was there together with my darling and we had the nicest meal.


It was a wonderful evening and what made it even more wonderful was this great waiter who helped us at the table.

It was a nice and polite young man called Lamin and we began to have a conversation for a little while.

We came back to that restaurant two more evenings because we liked the food and were looking forward to meet ”our” waiter.


The last evening he told us that he was studying tourism and we told him that he was perfect for working in that area.

He was intelligent, polite, had a natural sense for how to interact with customers and so on.

We told him that we would pray for him and we wished him the best of luck for his future.



I had to go back to Sweden and after some weeks, when I spoke to my darling, he told me some bad news.

He had met our waiter, Lamin, at the market and they spoke for a while.

Lamin told that he had been sick in malaria for about two weeks and when he finally managed to get back to work he found out that he had lost it.


His boss told him that they didn’t believe that Lamin had been ill plus that they were not satisfied with his work.

All this could have been fair enough if it would have been true, but this was only something that his boss made up at the moment to justify her decision.


One of the evenings when my darling and I visited that restaurant we had noticed that some other young man were sitting in front of the female boss and on his body language I could see that he was flattering her a lot.

She pretended like she didn’t care but it can be hard to resist flattering.


This guy looked at Lamin, our waiter, from time to time and I can tell you that he didn’t have a kind look in his eyes.

Maybe you have found out who got the job that Lamin lost?


Yes, of course it was this guy who almost had his tongue in the boss’s ear.


We lost contact with Lamin but there are a lot of similar cases in the Gambia and the question is how long this system can remain?


As a labourer it is very easy to be fooled, especially if you are illiterate.

If the Labour Office and the laws are soft as jellyfish and can be neglected we have a system of modern slavery.

As long as people don’t know their rights and they can’t even search for them because of their illiteracy they will keep on being suppressed.


GTB had threatened to sack around 100 of the staffs and that is an act of a modern slave master.

How long will the people of the Gambia remain slaves?

Being a slave is also a matter of mentality because as long as you allow someone to suppress you this system will be maintained.


Remember that respect should never be mistaken for fear.

Respect is mutual and fear is what your slave master wants you to feel because then you are too afraid to protest.


You have been taught that your opionions doesn’t count, that you are wrong and your masters are right.

If you would ask some of the elders for advice would they tell you to trust your gut feeling when you feel that something is wrong?


No, as long as you accept a bad system it will remain.

I have always had a rebellic mind.

That wasn’t fun when I was young because I was always in trouble, but now as an adult I have found my voice and no one can tell me to keep quiet if I don’t want to.


As a young girl I was suppressed and it was awful.

I grew up in a family where it was normal to hit the children and to threat with different kinds of bad consequences if I didn’t obey.


There were never any explanation for why I should do or shouldn’t do something, there were only orders given and I was supposed to obey.

I hated this and I always tried to find out WHY but I was only told that nobody cared about my opinion so that made me feel that I was of no importance at all.

Maybe some of you have experienced the same as I have?


You have been taught, ever since you were a small child, that you should show respect and that respect was actually a fear because you wouldn’t dare to question anything.

You were taught to obey, that your opinion didn’t count and no one took time listen to you and to explain if there was something you didn’t understand.


As long as we accept this system it will also be possible for us to be suppressed because we haven’t been taught to be independent, that our opinions actually counts and that it is okay to ask questions.

Slave masters are more afraid than the slaves because they know that if the slaves will rise they are plenty and the masters has no possibilities to defend themselves.


As long as people are suppressed they will stay down, they will not question a bad system.

As long as people are illiterate they will not be able to search for information and answers for their questions.

Why do you think the colonialists had the best schools with the most qualified teachers for their own children and the worst for the natives?


They didn’t want you to know more than them because then you would become stronger and you are plenty.

An educated people is a strong people because education is the foundation for an evolving society.

The possibilities to be fooled are less when people know their rights or know how to find information about them.

Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, is a big and ugly troll that has to be dragged out in the sun so it will burst.


It is a shame, in our democracy, to let these modern slave masters keeping on with their dark business.

Let slavery be a dark memory from the past, believe in yourself, ask questions and demand for answers, be respectful but be never afraid!






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