chairman of the Association of Wood Exporters and Forest Users in The Gambia
(AWEFU), Lamin Barrow, has urged various political candidates in the Upper
River Region (URR) not to use their association’s name for their political
advantage during the campaign.
Mr. Lamin Barrow made this condemnation during a press conference held over the weekend at his office in Churchill’s Town.
The press conference was equally attended by various members of the said association across the country.
The purpose of the press conference was to update the media about the stance of the association and its contribution to the development of this country as well as how they dislike the attitude of some politicians in using the name of the association as a political tool to gain advantage.
Mr. Barrow also told the media about the role and responsibilities of their association and how the association operates in this country, which he said is in partnership with the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Environment.
According to Mr. Barrow the association was formed in 2001 with more than five hundred timber dealers countrywide.
Mr. Barrow went on to challenge the members of the association to be law abiding and operate in accordance with the rules and regulations of the association and respect the law of the forest.
He said: “We are aware of the on-going misinformation by some politicians using our association’s name as a campaign tool which is wrong and it has to be stopped.”
“I am not denying any member of the association to be part of any political party because every Gambian has the right to belong to any political party but our association is a non-political organisation and our rules have to be respected,” Mr. Barrow warned.
According to him, the timber dealers association has created jobs for many Gambian youths which he argued is part of youth empowerment.
He further stated that the association underwent a tedious period during the former regime but was able to survive and made headways.
Mr. Barrow also dilated on major challenges his association is being faced with in the business industry, saying that the ban of transportation of logs business has hampered our businesses.
He added that many timber logs are lying in the bushes and whereas owners have spent millions of dalasis to buy them but they cannot access them.
He used the opportunity to call on the government to consider the youths who are highly affected by unemployment.
He acknowledged that his association cannot do anything without approval from government, noting that negotiations are on-going.