Omar Ceesay, President of Gambia Transport Union (GTU)
By Buba Gagigo
The Gambia Transport Union (GTU) has announced that its president, Omar Ceesay, has helped to secure the release of 17 Gambian trucks and one Guinea-Bissau truck that were impounded in Guinea-Bissau.
“The General Transport Union hereby happily announces the release of Seventeen (17) Gambian Trucks and one (1 ) Guinea-Bissau Truck. Earlier in August 2023, the General Transport Union received information that some of our members transporting logs from Guinea-Bissau bound for the Gambia were intercepted by authorities of Guinea-Bissau.
“Upon receiving this information, our able president, Mr. Omar Ceesay invited the drivers affected by this situation to gather first-hand information. During the discussions together with their vehicle owners, it was discovered that a total number of Twenty (20) vehicles were being intercepted in Guinea-Bissau. Among the vehicles intercepted, Seventeen (17) of them are Gambian registered vehicles, Two (2) Senegalese registered vehicles, and one (1) Bissau Guinean registered vehicle,” the union said.
The Union was informed that the vehicles and logs were impounded together, and the case was sent to the Bissau Guinea courts for determination. The courts may forfeit the vehicles and logs to the state.
“To this effect, the Union quickly engaged the Gambian Embassy in Guinea-Bissau through the Deputy Head of Mission H.E. Lamin Camara informing him about the matter.
Equally, our counterpart Transport Union in Guinea-Bissau was also engaged,” the Union said.
The union disclosed that it sent a fact-finding delegation, led by its president, Mr. Omar Ceesay, to Guinea-Bissau on Sunday, September 3, 2023, that consulted with Gambian diplomats and trade unionists in Guinea-Bissau.
“The delegation consulted with The Gambian Embassy in Bissau and Transport Unionists in Bissau. It was revealed that the matter was under a Court process, which is quite threatening to the livelihoods of many. For this reason, The Gambia Government through the Office of the President was involved on the 5th of September 2023 for intervention,” they said.
The Union Statement stated that the Government responded quickly on September 7, 2023, by sending a high-level ministerial delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Mamadou Tangara and Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment Minister Baboucarr O. Joof to Guinea-Bissau to negotiate the release of the affected vehicles.
“Thanks to the efforts of the Ministerial delegation, we are pleased to be informed that an agreement has been made with the Guinea-Bissau government for the release of the vehicles whilst a decision is made on the fate of the logs. The affected Gambian vehicles were released and safely arrived in The Gambia on the 22nd of September 2023.
“The GTU wishes to seize this opportunity to express profound gratitude to the Gambia Government through the Office of the President, The Chief of Staff, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Gambians Abroad, The Ministry of Trade Industry Regional Integration and Employment, Ministry of Transport Works and Infrastructures and The Gambian Embassy in Guinea-Bissau, as well as the Government of Bissau Guinea for their cooperation. Special thanks to H.E President Adama Barrow for his quick and timely intervention,” they concluded.