By Sarjo Camara-Singateh
Bai Emil Touray the former president of the Gambia Press Union was accorded a farewell dinner at a local hotel recently. The dinner came in the wake of Touray’s completion of his two term mandated as the President at the helm of the Union
In his address to the gathering, Touray expressed gratitude to his advisers Demba Ali Jawo, Aisha Dabo and Sam Sarr, for guiding him through these difficult times; that GPU was operating under difficult circumstances; but that nonetheless, they succeeded in expunging some of the bad laws that hindered the operation of journalists in the country; that because of their dedication, his former executive was able to register these gains.
He said that he has no doubt, that his successors will deliver as expected.
Demba Ali Jawo who was also a former member of the GPU, said the Union was operating under difficult circumstances; that despite this, the past executive was able to make it through. ‘‘Emil was the luckiest GPU president,’’ Jawo said; that during his time as president, there was no money to operate and the circumstances surrounding the profession was unacceptable. Jawo, said he knew Emil during the time when journalists were not forthcoming to be members of the Union. He described him as a man of his own words and a revolutionary in his own right.
Jawo acknowledged the contribution made by Emil and his executive as enormous; that even though part of their tenure found him in Senegal, he understands what it takes to be a journalists in the country, in those days.
Sheriff Bojang, the president elect of the GPU, applauded Emil’s courage in risking his life and that of his family’s, during the past dictatorship Government.
“We were all away when you decided to stay,” Bojang said; that Emil could had the opportunity to develop himself, but choose to stay humble and carry on the job selflessly; that Emil is a man of conviction and dedication who chose humanity, over wealth and personal possession.
Mr. Pap Saine described Emil as a hardworking leader whose tenure in the country coincided with the period journalists were arrested and persecuted.
Saine recalled the time he was in jail Emil, as journalists. He said Emil is a strong man and deserves the gathering.
“It is the first time of its kind we accord a farewell dinner to a GPU president, since 1978,” said Saikou Jammeh.
Saikou said Emil devoted selfless work to the Union during its hard moments, under the authoritative regime of former President Yaha Jammeh.
In attendance were media Chiefs, GPU Executive members, MAJA management and GPU’s affiliate members.