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Interim Committee set up to run GNOC

Jan 10, 2014, 9:34 AM | Article By: Lamin Cham

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, yesterday formally inaugurated an interim committee to run the affairs of the Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC, as well as coordinate the organization of this year’s May Day sports.

Addressing the committee which comprises personnel from government ministries, trade unions and individuals, Mr Jammeh said the inauguration is the culmination of a long and laborious process his ministry and the National Sports Council had taken to bring sanity to a dispute among the GNOC family, which has affected the running and image of Gambian sports.

“For far too long a time, I sought a negotiated settlement to this impasse to no avail, because certain people have chosen to disregard the dictates of the constitution and mandate of the Government to run all sports in this country .

‘‘We have earlier made it clear through press releases that we as a government do not recognize the body that called itself the GNOC, and as such they cannot represent Gambia in sports missions here and abroad, and today’s ceremony is part of that process to sideline this body and get along with work by this new committee, who are willing and I would love to call them a ‘coalition of the willing’, to serve in the progress and development of sports,’’ he said.

He added: ‘‘Your task is to run all GNOC matters on behalf of The Gambia, as well as coordinate this year’s May Day Sports until a full-fledged board is available.

The May Day sports belongs to workers most of whom come from government departments and that is why we bring together a wide spectrum of representatives from the workers union, among others, to organize the May Day Sports.’’

The minister said his ministry has experience in organizing sports events such as the youth camp, the NAYCONF and with the nature of the composition of this new body, it would have no trouble in organizing May Day Sports.

On where the committee would be based since the GNOC bureau members are still using Olympic House, Jammeh said this new body will operate from the Independence Stadium until the decision comes for them to move to Olympic House, which he said belongs to Gambian sports and not to any individual.

Travel Ban

The minister was asked about a supposed travel ban imposed on the GNOC bureau members, and he replied that the travel ban was meant to prevent anybody from representing The Gambia in any sports, unless it is sanctioned by the ministry of youth and sports, the regulatory body of all sports in the country.

‘‘We do not want to violate anyone’s right to travel, but one cannot do so as representative of the Gambian sports unless authorized and recognized by the government,’’ he said.

The membership of the new interim committee is as follows:

A representative of the Ministries of Youth and Sports, Interior, Defence, Trade, the National Sports Council, Chamber ofCommerce, PMO, Workers Union and the following individuals: Ebou Faye Independence Stadium, Churchil Falai Baldeh, retired MP, Tombong Saidy- AMRA, Aminata Sowe, a banker andAminata Dibba , Ministry of Justice.

Contacted to comment on this development, the secretary general of the GNOC Peter Prom said they have to wait until they have full knowledge and information on what has transpired before responding.