Truck Drivers Decry Poor Garage Conditions

By Louise Jobe

Abuko truck garage

Drivers and the management of the Abuko truck garage, have complained to this medium on the way and manner that Omar Ceesay, the former Transport Union PRO and his union, have been handling them. According to the drivers, they have been tasked to pay dues to the coffers of the union for better services in return, and this is not happening. All those who spoke to this medium decried lack of toilet facilities, the muddy condition of the garage when it rains and the unfair treatment meted on them when it comes to loading their vehicles.

This reporter has been to the garage and interviewed some of the people mandated with the responsibilities of the garage, about the concerns raised by the truck drivers. Speaking to this reporter Mr. Sheikh Mbake who is mandated to coordinate the affairs of the union, said they organized a transparent election supervised by the head of the IEC. Mr. Mbake said the union has collected a lot of money from them though duty payment and they also give tips if trucks are loaded from Banjul; that this tip is sometimes paid in CFA by foreign vehicles. Mr. Mbake said a lot of money is put in the coffers of the Union. He explained that he did not know what has happened to this money because the garage suffers from acute shortage of social amenities like toilets.

Mr. Abdou Choi an elderly driver, complained the garage becomes very muddy when it rains and they find it very difficult to park because they get stuck in the mud. Mr. choi indicated that this is why some of them park their trucks outside the garage.

Mr. Choi said they are also asked to lineup in Banjul to load and they are usually asked to carry about 70 to 75 tones which, he said is not good for their vehicles and for the road as well; that trucks coming from other African countries such as Senegal, are not asked to join the queue, but come in the country to off load and load.

He concluded by saying that the association issues different types of receipts and this is confusing to the drivers because they do not know which one of the receipts is legal or illegal; that the association should explain to them.

This reporter tried to contact Mr. Omar Ceesay to hear from his side of the story but could not get him due to his busy schedule.