|Sergeant Bayo and his extortion note in Kaur today|
The narration below is by Karamba Touray, an active member of the opposition to the dictatorship in The Gambia. Please read on -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The last two weeks has given me added perspective on how decadent and corrosive some Gambians with a little bit of authority have become. Allah provided the good people of my village Demfaye in CRR a forty foot container of assorted materials for a school project we have been working on .
As a 100% donated consignment we sought a duty waiver through the department of education as is routine. When the container arrived two Friday's ago , the villagers and their school principal came to collect the container. As final step to complete waiver granting process , they were told the permanent secretary at the department a Mr Bouye had to sign off on the document after the endorsement of the Regional Education Officer in CRR.
Mr Bouye refused to sign the waiver on the grounds that the shipping manifest did not designate the name of Demfaye Basic School first and then followed by the name of the principal who is overseeing the school enhancement project. It was explained to him that school/ principal or principal / school meant the same thing and since the container already arrived in Banjul the manifest could not be amended from the shipping company here in America without significant cost or delay. He hung on that technicality and held up the container at the port of Banjul for more than a week resulting in the container incurring charges significantly beyond the means of the villagers. At one point during this ordeal they waited at his office for six hours only for him to see them briefly dismissing them with his refusal.
It was not until yesterday evening December 11 more than two weeks after the arrival of the container that the villagers finally loaded there consignment in two trucks and headed to Demfaye on the south bank road. They drove through the night and spent the night in jenoi in Jarra . They crossed the river at farrafeni early this morning to complete the journey. Then they were stopped at a routine check point in Kaur manned by two police officers. As at the previous stops they showed the paper work .
One of the police who identified himself as Sergeant Bayo took the license of both drivers and demanded he and his partner be given D3000 for them to proceed . He delayed for more than an hour and when he concluded the drivers were not going to pay, he formalized his extortion attempt by writing this rediculous note on a torn piece of paper you see accompanying his picture obligating these honest and law abiding drivers to go back to him in Kaur after they drop the load in Demfaye.
I called him this morning and demanded he return the licenses he illegally confiscated and I also told him he wasn't going to get a butut from the drivers. I also intend to file a citizens complaint to his superiors at the department of the interior requesting the matter be investigated and appropriate action be taken . As citizens we must stand against bureaucratic tyrants who use the little power they have to obstruct the good efforts of ordinary citizens .
Why should government officials pose deliberate and obtuse hindrances to ordinary people trying to make their communities better. I appeal to every Gambian of conscience to not give in to police and security service shakedowns and take affirmative action . My friends and neighbors deserve to be treated as law abiding citizens . I insist this miscreant wearing a policeman's uniform named Sergeant Bayo and his accomplice be removed from their position pending a full investigation to protect the public from their criminal behavior. Here he is from his extortion check point this morning hounding our volunteers who were up more than 36 hours