EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Interstate commercial transport stakeholders have blame truck accidents on the ‘poor’ location the West African military forces in Bwiam town of Foni district in the West Coast Region.
The Economic Community of West Africa Mission In The Gambia (ECOMIC) mounts its checkpoint on the bend along the swamp belt of the South Bank highway. Their presence is a scenario of sub regional intervention to help in the restoration of good governance in the country which began in 2017.
Mamadi Baldeh who contacted our newsroom claimed damages of over one hundred thousand dalasi when his truck registered, BJL 8714 N fell off the highway in attempt to dive the blockage by the ECOMIC checkpoint. The truck was loaded five tons of merchandise bound for Guinea.
Out of twenty years driving experience, the truck driver who hails from Jimara Sanding Kunda, two kilometers away from Mankamang Kunda, the hometown of President Adama Barrow spent the last six years on interstate voyages.
“From January, I have delivered two trips of 75 tons to Guinea alone”, he said, adding that the routes to countries like Senegal, Mali and Bissau are very familiar.
The Bwiam police station, after visiting the scene on Thursday, issued a warning letter alleging that Mr Baldeh is responsible for the accident and may be summoned to court for “reckless driving”.
The police Public Relation Officer, ASP Lamin Njie said the issuance of a warning letter is part of the procedure in accident cases. He said it is to prepare the suspect for a possible court proceeding.
Ebou Laam who is a middleman in the ECOWAS interstate commercial transport sector also put blame on the location of the ECOMIC checkpoint. He said the current accident is third of its kind on the same spot in this year. The first was a ‘long vehicle’ truck from Senegal and the second was a Malian truck.
President of the Gambia National Transport Union, Omar Ceesay said their assessment suggested that the driver was not at fault. He did not rule out that the military ‘blockage’ on the road could be a key factor.
“If we find out that the checkpoint was the cause of the accident, then we will make a formal challenge of it through the right authorities.”
Commander Michael Larbi, Spokesperson of the Economic Community of West Africa States Mission In The Gambia said the position of a checkpoint is not in any case, done in a haphazard manner. It is an establishment of which “the local security authority (Gambian forces) are aware.
He dispelled the idea that the position of the checkpoint is a cause for concern. “If you have not been hearing of other accident, you cannot use one isolated incident as a basis to determine the location of the checkpoint. What about other drivers? Have they complained about that?”
In his view, a driver having a vehicle will definitely have his reasons why something happens; but that cannot be used as a basis to point fingers at the checkpoint.
In fact, “Even in areas where there are no checkpoints, accidents happen there”, he stated.
Possible Repair to Damages
Ebrima Jallow, a Guinean businessman to whom belongs the goods claimed loses equivalent to eighteen thousand dollars.
He noted that unless, the authorities have made some assessment and then give feedback, he is hopeless from any form of recovery from the damage. “As of this second day, since the accident occurred, no one have involved me in anything regarding my goods”, he said, feeling left out of any form of investigation into the scenario.
Where such a case is decided in favour of the driver, key partners like insurance company will play a crucial role. Prime Insurance Company whose policy the driver is holding assesses claims in case of accident, relying heavily on police reports.
“We work with our policy holders to investigate issues around the matter in consultation with the police” and then work on means to respond to all claims, says Abubacarr Touray who is responsible for claims at the insurance company.
Written By Ebrima Bah