By Sailu Bah Employees of the banned betting games businesses are renewing their appeal to the executive to rescind its decision and allow them to work again and support their families as the Gambia joins the rest of the world in commemorating workers day on 1 May.Today is exactly 59 days since an executive order was issued from the office of the president banning all the gaming and betting businesses in the Gambia from operating with immediate effect. This decision, however, has affected many families whose breadwinners who were working in these businesses were abruptly rendered unemployed and deprived of income to support their livelihoods. It is even reported that thousands of workers who depended on the operations of these game betting businesses around the country have been affected and majority of them are said to be women. Kadijatou Jallow, one of the former employees of Winner Betting Company, said since the ban she has been out of work and without income. She said it has been difficult for her to find another employment as jobs are scarce in the country. “I have been supporting my mother, a widow, in the upkeep of the family with the salary I was earning from this game betting company. I was supplementing the little income she earns from her petty trade as a street vendor. I was the only one working in the family since the death of my father a few years ago,” said Ms. Jallow. She also disclosed that the company she was working for has now opened another business in Guinea Bissau. “I’m appealing to the government if it is possible to reverse its decision and lift the ban for the sake of providing employment to Gambians and supporting poor families,” she appealed. Ms. Jallow further revealed that life is very difficult for her and the family as her source of income is now closed. Aja Darboe, an employee of Premium Game, another gaming business affected by the ban, also confirmed the hardship she and her family are experiencing now as a result of the closure. Ms. Darboe, who is in her early 20s and lives in Brikama, said she now sits at home without engaging in any decent job that she can earn income from to support herself and the family. “It is my parents who have to struggle alone now to ensure that the family survives,” she said. She said the job gave her respect in the neighbourhood and a sense of responsibility. Fatou jobe, a former employee of Gambia National Lottery, said she was the sole bread winner in an extended family and is appealing to government to consider their situation and intervene on their behalf. She said she has been working for the company for a decade and has risen from the position of a kiosk attendant to a senior member of staff. Alieu Jagne, a middle aged man, who revealed he was involved in game betting as a means of earning income to sustain his family, said the move is devastating as it leaves them with no legitimate means of survival. He said the ban was sudden and did not allow them time to adjust or find other ways of earning a living. “The reason that the government advanced that pupils absent themselves from school and spent their lunch money at game betting places can be easily addressed without resorting to a blanket banning of all gaming places as children bet in football games in video clubs. Adults are doing this openly in order to be able to feed their children and pay their schools fees, etc,” he explained. Efforts to reach the Director General of the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) to know what impact the ban has on the industry were not successful. Foroyaa will talk to Government officials to find out how this development has affected the tourism industry.]]>
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