The chairman of the Association of Forest Users in The Gambia, Lamin Barrow, has called on the government of The Gambia and Senegal to come to a discussion table to amicably resolve the timber saga between the two neighbouring countries.
He made this statement in an interview with this reporter recently at his office.
According to Chairman Barrow, “there are lots of timber issues going on between the two countries. In fact, it’s among the issues hindering the business between the countries. What we want is for The Gambia government to dialogue with the Senegalese government to ensure that the timber saga is addressed for the benefit of both countries.”
Since the change of government in 2016, dozens of Gambian trucks loaded with timber have been intercepted by Senegalese authorities especially those at the Bwiam Military Checkpoint, mounted by the Senegalese forces. The Senegalese forces believe the woods are being smuggled from Cassamance.
According to Chairman Barrow, the timber business is not functioning as expected because of the continued closure of the business borders by the two governments. He said: “When there is closure of borders every time, that doesn’t help The Gambia and even the Senegalese government as well as the timber associations of both countries.”
“We want the government to meet with their Senegalese counterpart including the timber dealers of both countries to discuss on issues affecting the business. In fact, it’s part of our plan to ensure that we have a joint-tree-planting exercise where the Senegalese timber dealers and the Gambia timber dealers would meet every year during the rainy season to do afforestation to replace the lost trees.”