United States decision to impose a visa ban on Gambian officials after they refuse to cooperate on the case of 2,000 would-be deportees has sparked a series of reactions in and outside the country. Since the news broke out, it has left many people wondering why Gambian authorities continue to remain silent while there is an ongoing disinformation campaign blaming the US for the predicament of those awaiting deportation.
“Even though we lament the possible deportation of 2,000 Gambians tothe country where their rights will be violated, we want to believe that there is more to this than immigration,” Pasamba Jow of the US-based Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA) told this reporter.
Local news media in US reported last week that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson tabled a motion before Members of Congress imposing a visa ban on countries that refuse to endorse the deportation of their nationals living illegally in America. The tiny West African nation was part of the countries contravening the rules and was slapped with targeted sanctions.
DUGA’s spokesperson said they have been calling on the US to impose targeted sanctions against President Jammeh and his close allies for blatant violations of human rights. “We hope that any punishment of the regime will be premised on that,” he stated.
While Banjul is yet to issue an official statement, supporters of the regime are busy storming social media and putting the blame on Washington.
However, former Gambian plenipotentiary to US and Canada Essa Bokkar Sey said the matter could have been handled better by Gambia.“Certainly they (govt) have failed Gambians in the diaspora,” said ex-Gambian diplomat Sey in an exchange with this reporter.
Sey made it clear that authorities in Banjul were aware of the case of 2,000 would-be deportees almost a year ago. “If Yahya Jammeh claims not to have known, then he should fire the entire ministry of foreign affairs beginning with the minister herself, ” he said.
The irony, in this case, he said, is that President Jammeh cannot ignore the voting rights of Gambians abroad and then claim to care for them. “Jammeh and surrogates keep saying Gambians in the diaspora are “apologists” of the Western world while his daughter is studying in New York and his wife shopping at Tysons Mall in Washington DC.”
He blasted President Jammeh’s claim to have approved for Austria to deport far more than what US want to send back to Gambia.
Sey faulted “inept so called diplomats” for misinforming thecPresidency. “Jammeh reacted in a bad way now Gambians are the ones suffering the consequences.”
A New York-based Gambian diplomat, who requested his anonymity to be preserved, confided to us that talks are going into high gear to find a solution to theproblem. He downplayed the visa ban and the deportation awaiting some Gambians.”It will be resolved sooner than you might expect. I don’t want to get into the details but trust me it’s going to be okay.”
Over these past months, Gambia was at loggerheads with US Homeland Security department over the pending case of illegal immigrants whose fate was uncertain. The coming days will determine all the possible outcomes of a matter that continues to generate headlines…
Written by Abdoulie JOHN