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Who is to Blame?

Sep 3, 2009, 7:43 AM

We are dismayed by the reported arrest in Spain of six purported Gambian boxers en route to Italy for a boxing championship. The six Gambians are a part of a 17-man delegation that was supposed to travel together but was later split up into two groups. Obviously, one of the groups comprising 11 persons made it successfully to Milan, Italy.  But the other group of six persons was apprehended in Madrid while on a three-hour transit despite they produce the requisite documents confirming its eligibility for the boxing championship.

On the surface, the story smacks of visa racketeering. But it is unwise to rush to such a conclusion, at least for now, despite the tainted record of the Gambia Amateur Association in such matters. It had earlier in the year been enmeshed in a visa scam that led to the ignominious exit of its former executive council. It is now a case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging it - once you lose your reputation, others will taunt you with it. It is doubly embarrassing that the head of the delegation is among the arrested persons.

Could it be that the Spanish authorities are doubtful of the credentials of the Gambian boxers because of what happened earlier in the year? But why would the present executive council not learn from the shame and humiliation of its predecessor? Could it be that it is human nature to assume that misfortune is for the other person? Did the Spaniards act on a tip-off?

It is all speculation for now until the facts are known. The Gambia Government should step into the matter right away to figure out what went wrong. If the six detained Gambians are eligible to participate in the boxing championship, then the Spanish authorities should be prevailed upon to release them. On the other hand, if there is some foul play, those who are behind it should be punished for smearing the image of the country.

"Who may deceive a lover"