Transport leaders vow to drop differences


By Juldeh Njie Stakeholders from rival transport leaders from the Gambia National Transport Union and Gambia Transport Food and Agricultural Industrial Workers’ Union have indicated their intention to put their differences aside and form one umbrella body that would regulate the transport sector effective January. Over the past years, a deep rivalry emerged in the transport sector with various groups working in parallel lines each claiming to be the legitimate authority of the operators. Omar Touray, president of the Gambia Transport Food and Agricultural Industrial Workers’ Union, said there may be smaller groups calling themselves unions but the two main unions are ready to come together and form one body that will regulate the issue of transportation in the country. “I am very optimistic that by January everything will be sorted out between us,” Touray said in a Standard exclusive at Buffer Zone at a nationwide sensitisation tour organised by the police and the transport unions. Mr Touray said the challenges facing the sector require a united union because the transport sector is key in nation building. “If the sector crumbles, every other sector is bound to suffer,” he observed. “I know negotiations are never easy but we will put our house in order”, he noted. Omar Ceesay, president of the Gambia National Transport Union complemented this gesture by expressing a similar desire of his union to join a united body. He added: “We understand that the transportation sector is faced with lot of challenges especially the commercial transport, that is why we see the need to bring everyone on board in ensuring that it is regulated.” “We have lot of complaints from drivers and passengers that some operate on their own will without conforming to the rules. So we want to come up with a system that will enable drivers to have picking and dropping points,” Ceesay added. He continued: “We are committed to coming together to work for the interest of the Gambia. For now we are working on setting rules and regulations that will govern the transport sector.” Mr Ceesay said if they cannot come to terms, they will then go to congress for the drivers to elect a leader of their choice. “But I am 100% sure that it will not get to that point because both parties are ready to accommodate each other in the interest of the country.” However, Mr Ceesay criticized the Ministry of Transport for not being keen in uniting the unions.]]>