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Claims of border re-opening negotiations refuted

May 10, 2011, 1:50 PM

The Gambia National Transport Control Association (GNTCA) has refuted claims by Ousman Drammeh, President of the Gambia Transport, Food and Industrial Workers Union that he negotiated the re-opening of the border between the Gambia and Senegal, which was expected to happen as of midnight Monday.

Drammeh Sunday told journalists at a press conference held at Red Cross House that the border will be re-opened today, following what he called a successful discussion between the transport unions of the two countries held in Kerr Ayib in Senegal on Friday.

However, in a statement sent to this paper yesterday, Sheriff Dibba, Secretary General of the GNTCA described as "false and unfounded" the statement made by Ousman Drammeh.

According to the GNTCA Secretary General, Ousman Drammeh never attended any meeting held between his association and the Senegalese Transport Union regarding the border closure.

"He (Drammeh) forcefully attended the last meeting without any invitation," Dibba said, adding that the President of the Senegalese Transport Union told Drammeh during the meeting that the Senegalese had nothing to do with his (Drammeh's) union because they are not a union recognized by them.

"All the discussions were made between the delegation of the Gambia National Transport Control Association and the Senegalese Transport Union without the intervention of Ousman Drammeh and his Gambia Transport, Food and Industrial Workers Union," Sheriff Dibba stated.

He added that the statements made by Ousman Drammeh that he is the one who held a meeting with the Senegalese Transport Union to re-open the border are all 'false' and 'unfounded', because he did not speak in the meeting and no MOU was signed between the Senegalese Transport Union and Ousman Drammeh's union.

The Gambia National Transport Control Association called on Ousman Drammeh to tell the Gambian people the truth and stop making what it called, "unfounded statements on matters that do not involve him, just to gain cheap popularity and recognition."

The statement concluded by commending President Yahya Jammeh and his government for all that they have achieved.

The unofficial border issue, which remains the subject of most discussions in both countries, was closed nearly two months ago, leaving vehicles with Gambian registration numbers unable to cross over to the Senegalese side, and vehicles with a Senegalese registration numbers unable to cross the border to the Gambian side.

The situation has forced many Senegalese and Gambian personalities to leave their vehicles at the border, and join commercial transport, because of the closure of the frontier.