May 13, 2008, 6:24 AM
According to the tariff, Senegalese registered trucks entering The Gambia should pay CFA 400,000 (equivalent to D28,000) before they are let in.
In reaction to this new measure, Senegalese transport union has decided to boycott the Gambian route or crossing through The Gambia.
On the other hand, in the northern part, at the Farafenni-Kerr Ayip border crossing from The Gambia, vehicles are not allowed to enter Senegal, while on the Gambian side only small private vehicles are allowed to enter.
Meanwhile, all Senegalese truck drivers are taking the road through Tambacounda to go to Dakar, which is a very long journey.
The Point newspaper has contacted both Gambian and Senegalese authorities to shed light on these reports, but they have declined to comment.
It is our view that the two governments, if need be at the level of heads of state, should meet urgently to thrash out any problem or misunderstanding arising from the actions of the transport unions of both countries.
It is very essential for us to point out that The Gambia and Senegal are condemned by geography to live together; the two nations are like a room and parlour divided by the colonialists.
Even a husband and wife do sometimes clash or have problems, and such skirmishes are to be solved amicably.
Differences are, therefore, expected to occur between governments, but it is always better to jaw-jaw than to war-war, through mutual respect and love.
We should not allow bad blood to run through us; dialogue is always the way, hence it is very vital that we go down that lane to find solutions to our problems.
We sincerely believe that the two heads of state should meet every six months to discuss matters pertinent to our trade and socio-economic relations, as well as to promote peace and tranquility between the two nations.
Also, we should always endeavour to apply the ECOWAS protocols on the free movement of people and goods.
We should also avoid anything that will cause disunity. Gambia and Senegal should be an example of African unity.
For several years, commercial vehicles from both countries have not been finding it easy to enter each other’s territory.
This does not promote trade and economic development for both countries. Therefore, the transport unions of the two countries should work amicably to thrash out this problem.
The Gambia and Senegal share many things in common, ranging from blood relations to religion, culture, and common membership of regional and international organisations such as OMVG, ECOWAS, AU, and UN.
The Senegambia Secretariat should be active in creating awareness and promoting sound bilateral ties.
“To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war.“