The departure of seasoned journalist Sheriff Bojang who is regarded and undoubtedly considered as one of the most prolific writers in the country has ever produced is a great and big loss to The Standard newspaper. This is a paper that has been widely tipped to become the best paper in the not-so-distant future as the country’s media space widens.
Now, with Sheriff gone, the question that many are inclined to pose is the integrity, objectivity and balance of the paper. Whether the paper’s young set writers will make their own mark and live up to expectation. Already, in Bakau and elsewhere, some readers of your Monday’s edition have raised concerns and are talking about it. We are worried that the basic principles upon which the paper has been established would be compromised. We fear The Standard will evolve into a pro-government paper.
We are terrified the vox pop and other critical pieces would eventually not be allowed to pass through the paper. Our hopes are diminishing; that The Standard which is expected and supposed to be setting standards in Gambian journalism would kill our hopes and dreams in a country that is right on course to creating a space for freedom of expression and high standards critical thinking within? We can only hope that you prove us all doubters wrong.
Finally, I hope, since hope is the best comfort of our imperfect human condition that The Standard and its young prolific and promising writers, would remember the wise words of Alex Moritt that “Oil may run out, liquidity may dry up, but as long as ink flows freely, the next chapter of life will continue to be written.” To add to that, we must all strive in our own and collecting ways in making sure the ‘ink flows freely.’
After all, what is journalism without objectivity? If it means anything at all, it means the freedom to strike a balance on both the government and opposition sides of the chessboard. Good luck The Standard! Long live The Gambian media.
Edrissa Bendtner Jammeh
Thumbs up to Ecowas governments
Please kindly allow me space to share with Gambians through your medium that the Ecowas Maritime Common Tariff has taken effect from January 1. This development is finally coming after the Ecowas Authority of Heads of State and Governments held an extraordinary session in October 2013, in Dakar, Senegal where a document was signed. Now that it has taken effect, it means that there will be no need for frequent seizure of domestic goods by the customs, under the guise of contraband related.
All the Ecowas customs will now operate as a single union with uniform duties and trade policies! The Gambia as a signatory will benefit hugely on the sharing ratio. Though many of our maritime stakeholders had bared their minds on the project, the bottom line requires all tiers of the government to act speedily for the sake of our economy! For instance, the Manufacturers Association of The Gambia must become more effective and efficient in terms of promoting local production of goods for export. There is need for them work closely with the government to expand the country’s export base. Also, the government should try to meet up with international standards of maritime trading processes and policies to generate more growth and employment in the industry. The onus now rests on all tiers of government to do more on basic social infrastructure as the supporting base for the success of the Ecowas Common Maritime Tariff. More public awareness campaign should be done to generate the interest of local exporters of goods and services from The Gambia to other West African countries.