I ardently hope you will kindly allow me space in your news medium to share with you my worries about the spate of accidents on our roads, especially with the death of four people in car accidents over the weekend. In 2012, the police PRO, Cadet ASP David Kujabi disclosed that 805 road accidents were officially recorded compared to the 853 registered figures in 2011, indicating a slight decrease of 5.96%. Thanks to the efforts of the police with the deployment of mobile police officers at different traffic hubs, these figures dropped significantly in the first quarter of 2013 to 203 accidents only. However, around mid-January 2014, the first accident was officially reported. In early April, another one happened resulting in one casualty. Barely two weeks later, two separate accidents were recorded along Bertil Harding Highway and Sanyang respectively killing two people. Hard on the heels of that accident, a vehicle somersaulted on the Banjul-Serekunda highway. Mercifully, all three passengers escaped with minor bruises and injuries. As if that was not enough, a passenger ‘gele-gele’ vehicle collided with a another ‘gele-geleh’ vehicle, leaving a lot of passengers wounded around the KMC headquarters. I stand to be corrected but these figures, no matter the decrease, are unspeakably and undoubtedly worrisome. Accident occurrences whether due to drivers speaking on their mobile phones, texting, inebriation, over-speeding, recklessness or related activities should be reduced. I think there are enough human and material resources at the disposal of the police force to make our roads safer for all.
Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to advise and warn pedestrians, joggers, bicycle riders and those on motor bikes to do more to promote road safety in the interest of all.
In condemnation of visa regime, why Mutabaruka is right
Please allow me space in your great newspaper to add my voice to the chorus of frustrations and disappointments at the fact that Africans living in the diaspora and the Caribbean require visas to visit The Gambia.
It is with a deep sense of humility, disappointment and melancholy that I declare my support for Mutabaruka’s comments during the just-concluded Roots festival when he lamented the fact that the government requires our brothers and sisters living in the diaspora to have visas before they could come here. I read with keen interest and surprise in your Monday 12 May edition in which Mutabaruka said: “I don’t understand why we, people of African descent, trying to reconnect and come back to our roots have to go through the terrible ordeal of being required to have visas to enter this country, yet Europeans and Americans, them are just thieves that stole from us through slavery and colonialism [do not require visa]”.
Just when I thought I couldn’t be more heartbroken, he added: “I do not understand this at all. We children of slaves taken in ships to the Americas and the Caribbean who survived the belly of the ship and the white man’s whip in the plantations to come back in triumph to our motherland.”
After a long reflection on his words, I was able to arrive at a clearer comprehension and sense of his pain. This brings to mind the American writer Berkeley Rice whose book is titled, Enter Gambia: The Birth of an Improbable Nation. I see no justification to disagree with this description of the so-called ‘smiling coast’ nation which was supposed to be smiling and welcoming to all races with open arms. Instead, we welcome, divide and make distinction between and among those who visit our land. This is not The Gambia our brothers and sister whose forebears bore the brunt of slavery have a right to expect and deserve.
It seems our well known warmth towards and welcome of all is fading, at least at the airport where we require our own brothers and sisters to have visas to enter.