By Ndey Sowe
The National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North Ousman Sillah, has officially launched the Cooperative Passengers Guides at the former cooperative union headquarters in Kanifing, on the 28th of January, 2019.
According to officials, the members of the group are unemployed young men whose preoccupation is to offer services in providing commercial vehicles with passengers and get tips from the drivers in return.
Ousman Sillah said as a National Assembly Member, he is mandated by the people of Banjul North to serve the people of the country. “My responsibility goes beyond my constituency,” he said; that it has even gone beyond Gambians in the Diaspora, and it is his responsibility to represent the people of the Gambia and even beyond their demands. He said at times, he is escorted by these young men to easily have access to the commercial vehicles as well as at intersections to cross the road, which he said is a good gesture by them.
Sillah said these young people are not lazy, but rather they are hustlers. “They want to be somebody, responsible, and be dependable,” he noted. Sillah urged Government, NGOs, the Police, especially those on traffic, the private sector, drivers, as well as every Gambian, to support them.
Omar Bah, president of the Cooperative Passengers Guide speaking at the launch said the group is initiated to better organize themselves in their engagement as guides for passengers that board commercial vehicles mainly to Banjul; that the young men at the junction of the former Cooperative Union in Kanifing, have now resolved to formally constitute their group.
“We are not burglars and we are not thieves but workers,” he stressed. He further explained that this is their only source of livelihood and there is no other alternative for them to support and sustain themselves as well as their families; that they as youth should come together and work as a family to achieve what they want. “I am a full time driver but without the resources and a car, I cannot acquire one,” he said. He added that they are not thieves but hard workers who want to sustain themselves and their families. He called on Government and all stakeholders to help and support them in this journey they have started. He urged Gambians to recognize and respect their decision as passenger guides, along the high ways.
Ebrima Gaba Cham, Secretary General of the Gambia Workers Union, spoke at length on the initiative of the young men at the Cooperative Passengers Guides at the former cooperative union headquarters in Kanifing. Cham described the initiative as a good one, and commended the gesture of the NAM for Banjul North for his commitment and understanding towards these young men of the Gambia. He said these young men need to be organized to develop.
He said the Union will take proper measures to defend them, and help them in every way possible.