Saturday, 19 September 2009

Coach's salary saga, Who is right, Gomez or Jatta?

By Yusupha Cham
Last week’s drama at the National Assembly of The Gambia, bringing the Youth and Sports minister, Sheriff Gomez, against Honourable Sidiata Jatta, member for Wuli West, brought to the fore an unusual but a highly debatable issue. The episode, which is reported to have taken much part of the time of the Honourable members of the House, was the result of the refusal of Minister Gomez to disclose the nature of the salary of the country’s senior national team coach, Belgian Paul Put.
The minister’s action, which, as you would have thought, angered the Wuli West parliamentarian, could be viewed as an insult to the dignity of the National Assembly.
Hon. Jatta’s comment, as published on Wednesday September 16 edition of The Point Newspaper, no doubt represents the views of majority of Gambian taxpayers’ as the minister has no basis, whatsoever, to deprive tax payers of their right to know how much of their money, where and to whom such money is going.
We are talking about National Assembly members here, elected representatives of the people; depriving them of such information raises quite a lot of questions. What was the minister trying to imply? Censorship on information of how their servant is paid from their hard earned money? Who is Paul Put after all, when the salary of the top servant of the land, President Yahya Jammeh, is no secret to Gambians? Or is there any dubious acts the ministry might have done while desperately struggling to secure the services of the foreign coach?
Contrary to Gomez’s assertion to the deputies that the issue of the coach’s salary should not be a subject of discussion at the Assembly as ‘‘it is personal’’, absolutely nothing is personal here. As a matter of fact, this brings to mind the question: is there any need for Gambia to secure the services of a foreign coach for the senior team which continue to defy expectation by not making any convincing headway at all, unlike their junior counterparts, the reigning African champions, The Baby Scorpions, who are on national record for flying the country’s flag high? How many trophies has Put secured for the nation since becoming head of the Gambian squad?
Public officials like Sheriff Gomez should endeavour to curtail their traditional trend of misbehavior of denying Gambians their right to information regarding important matters like this. It will only help develop and promote the game in a transparent manner for the betterment of all.
By the way, how much of our money are you getting at the end of the month, Sheriff Gomez? Don’t tell us it is personal too.

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