On its 13th, the Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia, SJAG, honoured 14 who made it during its 3rd Edition of the National Sports Awards on June 2, 2011 at a Libyan Hotel in Banjul, Jerma Beach.
Among the recipients of awards of various categories, was sports journalist Lamin A. Darboe, who died in a ferry accident on November 20, 2010. Darboe was honoured posthumously “for his unflinching services to the SJAG of which he was the Treasurer and his contribution towards the development of sports in general.The former Sports Editor of the Foroyaa newspaper depart this life when his car accidentally plunged into the river while on board the ferry, at the Barra Ferry Terminal, a small town situated seven miles north of the capital, Banjul.
The late LAD was also a teacher and a final year student of The Gambia College. He was laid to rest on November 22 at the Old Jeshwang Cemetery in the Kanifing Municipality, two days after his body was recovered from the River Gambia.
So far, the circumstances leading to his death remain unclear. He was said to have parked his car into the ferry but was asked to move forth by an unnamed ferry official in order to create space to accommodate more vehicles. However, his car plunged into the water and gets drowned, he tried to fight for his life as he was reported to have wave for help on two occasions but there was little or no rescue efforts at the time to save him.
It’s still unclear whether there was a barrier at the edge of the ferry to stop the car from skidding off the ferry. The Gambia Ports Authority, the GPA, which is responsible for the ferry services said there was a barrier, however, news reports at the time quoted unnamed eyewitnesses as saying “there was no barrier to stop the car from slipping off the ferry”.
A Commission of Inquiry was launched to investigate the incident, but so far, its findings remain unknown to the public.
In May 2011, the erstwhile President of the Gambia Press Union, Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh in her reflection on departed journalists on World Press Freedom Day, said: “The Union seizes this opportunity to once again remind the Gambia Port Authority and other responsible State Agencies to ensure that findings into Darboe’s death are made public.”
The situation that led to Darboe’s death needs much to be desired, nonetheless, it is expected to serve as an eye-opener for the GPA to step up efforts to ensure the safety and security of passengers and properties of those plying the seven-mile waterway between Banjul and Barra on a daily basis.
This year’s award categories and winners include Player of the year - Lamin Sarjo Samateh of Samger; Coach of the year - Lamin Sarr National U20 Coach; Referee of the year - Dikory Jawo; Tennis player of the year - Basuruwa Conteh; Paralympics player of the year - Isatou Nyang; Sports personality of the year - Peter Gomez, Proprietor West Coast Radio; Best company in support of sports - Africell GSM Company; Broadcaster of the year - Amadou Wuyeh Manga, Unique FM; Writer of the year - Cherno Omar Bobb, The Point newspaper; and Photojournalist of the year - Abdoulie Fatty.
The SJAG also honoured Senegal trio El-Haji Diouf, Khalilou Fadiga and Alasan Ndoure for their heroic contributions to African and World Football. They played a huge part in Senegal’s 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup campaign.
- Author: Modou S. Joof, News Editor-The Voice Newspaper