Gambia: Anger and Concern greet Visa Refusals as the United States & Europe Profit at the Expense of Poor Applicants.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Marina Parade



For the attention of the Honourable Minister, Ousainou Darboe

I was left distressed and flabbergasted as to reasons why the United States Embassy in Banjul chose to refuse bright school-going Gambian kids mere visas to partake in a global competition of a robotics nature. The cruel actions taken by Embassy officials denying those kids of barely teenage ages the chance to attend a gathering of such magnitude has come to define the whole visa process Western diplomats assigned to the country have used for years in sending signals to shore up power. I do not care for the explanation of the American consular, nor will I fall for baseless reasoning on this and every other case found to be detestable, thus indefensible.

From an expertise analytical viewpoint – The issue here and all such recent offerings has come to signify US bargaining chip in furtherance of its foreign policy objectives. In simple terms, America is after something from the Gambia government, but clearly negotiations aren’t met as they’d wanted. I recognise cruel intentions on the part of the State Department as to rationale behind such a move. Fellow Gambians – Foresight has allowed me to analyse and conclude that the United States government through its embassy in Banjul is conniving to send diplomatic signals, the intimidating kind, to the ‘Barrow’ government playing up strength in bargain positioning. Folks, America is forcing the hand of the Gambia government to accept a costly demand which can only be described as unacceptable. And that demand largely hinges on deportation orders ascribed on all persons of Gambian origin being held by US immigration department and in prisons. As captured by local press, the embassy came out throwing ‘carrots’ for Gambia to accept deportees from US in exchange for warmer ties and financial benefit. How unethical, and pathetic too.  

Let me make it abundantly clear that the diaspora is watching this space with great concern. And I will not hesitate to thank the Foreign Ministry in standing firm protecting its constituency abroad. A vital national interest is determinant on this and all such demands from Western governments in motion. The pattern is uncanny on coercive diplomatic moves the United States has gotten away with, for decades, bullying lesser enhanced states in furtherance of its national interest. If ever in doubt just look at the delaying tactics Gambia government officials are met with in securing visas on foreign travels. Make no mistake the deportation orders are illegal under international law. Let Foreign Minister Darboe be assured of diaspora support & fraternity at all times, encouraging push-back against bullying tactics. Similarly, the President and his government deserve noteworthy praise for recent successes across the spectrum, and for diplomatic manoeuvres and contributions to African progress through multilateral means at ECOWAS, the African Union, and through United Nations systems respectively.

The American government need to recognise trends, changes in polarity, emerging international order, in that the world has moved on from the old norms. And that exorbitant visa fees thrown on applicants’ way will never be understood. The ‘West’ continues to milk millions out of ordinary applicants through visa fees, otherwise unrefunded. Britain is charging close to D100,000 all those seeking to reunite with other-halves; a similar cost is attached by other embassies. This is unacceptable given jurisdiction or otherwise: It is along those lines that I wish to commend & send profound gratitude and appreciations to the Peoples’ Republic of China through ambassador Jiming. I call on government to prioritise Banjul-Beijing ties thereby by deepening economic cooperation & linkages in a broad range of areas for mutual interest. The same policy should apply to Banjul-Moscow ties and to our friends in the Arab world. 

The writer encourages his country folks to exercise patience, and to cooperate with one another for the interest of the nation. The Gambian people need to recognise a new century of African renaissance and wise up to it, of an emergent educated elite who second-guess and pre-empt foreign intentions. A confident people in decision-making skills, to excel in negotiations and contract makings. America and Europe must open eyes to the realities of a new-world in which the old ways of bullying-tactics won’t stand, thus obsolete. It is along such thinking that Tanzania‘s President John Magufuli ordered the suspension of new mining licenses to foreign firms, stating that expired licenses will not be renewed; accuses foreign companies of tax evasion.

Written By Gibril Saine, LONDON

Editors note: The views expressed by the author does not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. Thanks for your attention.

Join The Conversation