General Membership Meeting - May 9th, 2010
Date: May 9, 2010
Bakary M. Jallow
Mamadou Salieu Jallow(Balla)
Yorro Wuyeh Sanyang
Cherno Baba Jallow
Momodou Billo Krubally(MB)
Amadou Basiru Jallow(Cherno Mbaila)
Mamadou Sellou Jallow
Pa Joof & Bakary M. Jallow
Cherno Baba Jallow
As customary, Yorro Wuyeh Sanyang opened the meeting thanking everybody for calling in. He said he was hoping for a bigger turn-out but was nonetheless pleased with the reception on the part of those who were able to participate and on the continuing progress of the Basse Association. He said he was appreciative of the patience of the general membership. He prayed that God guided us in the right way and provided us with the strength of perseverance.
Pa Joof urged everybody to continue their efforts; he said we were doing great as a society and he hoped that we would accomplish our goals for the community of Basse. He reported that some preliminary work had begun at the Basse central mosque, but then "we ran into some obstacles." (The Basse Association is on the verge of resolving some accountability and transparency concerns with members of the Basse central mosque.) Yorro Sanyang, the trouble shooter for this initiative, reported that he had been in contact with a number of people on the ground. He said he had spoken, on a number of occasions, to the BA representatives --- Dawda Sankareh, Abdourahman Jallow and Michael Secka. He had also talked to mosque committee chairman Alh. Korka Jallow and a mosque elder Alh. Yaya Jallow. He said the conversations had been very successful. Yorro added that he had also given directives to Pa Samba Johm, the Public Relations Officer for BA, and who is currently visiting home, to convene a meeting with Alh. Kaw Yero Cham, the Imam, the Alkalo, the rest of the mosque committee members and if possible, the Governor Omar Khan. He said the reasons for such a meeting were twofold: to resolve any outstanding misunderstandings and emphasize to the mosque committee the position of BA on matters of accountability and transparency.
Yorro also revealed that plans were at a finishing point on opening a bank account in Basse. (Currently, the Basse Association has its saving account with the Access Bank in Banjul.) He suggested that Abdourahman Jallow, Dawda Sankareh, and Filly Sabally, the BA rep in the Kombos, be co-signatories to the account. Yorro also suggested inviting the elders into the Basse Association as bona fide, paying members. He believed that such an initiative could encourage the elders to be more involved in the affairs of the BA and thereby minimizing any potential for mismanagement of resources. He said he was going to talk to Alh. Kaw Yero at length to get a fuller picture of the situation on the ground.
Haruna Farage urged for a clearer definition of mission objectives. He said we needed to be definitive on what was it that we wanted to help the mosque elders with. He reminded the meeting that the BA was an entity, independent of any outside influence. He said the scholarship project went very well, but in the case of the mosque project, "the objective was not clearly defined." He said if we wanted to provide help, say, for the women's section, we would need to approach the mosque committee and explain clearly to them what our set priorities were and then run the projects not as if we were outsiders but as, in equal measure, citizens of Basse.
Bakary M. Jallow asked who was in charge of the mosque. "It looks like we are dealing with different factions," he said. Pa Joof replied, saying that the Basse Association was still learning. "These are the issues we will be dealing with. It was when the funds were delivered and then these issues came up." Wuyeh shared Bakary's concerns. He said part of the solution would be to strengthen the Basse group of the association. We need to strengthen our committee."
Amadou B. Jallow agreed with Farage that the best way to proceed was to tell the mosque elders what the association wanted to do, give them clear and definitive terms. "If we compromise ourselves a lot, we can't make any headway," he warned. Majidi Jallow said he was looking at it from another angle. He suggested that the association get the mosque elders involved in the projects and hand them clear instructions. "Communication reduces tension. Let's get them involved .... if we dictate terms, it is not going to work. We can't work in isolation." Amadou replied: "We should not dictate, we can consult them, but we can't compromise on accountability."
Alagie Sey said it was important that people in Basse were on the same page with the association in terms of mission goals. He wished that Basse folks would read or find about the debate in this meeting. He said that that would help them understand the issues and bring them in harmony with the rest of the general membership. Mamadou Salieu Jallow stressed the need to give clear signals, guidelines. He said this ought to be a learning experience, and henceforth, we would do better.
Mamadou Salieu, as Financial Secretary, updated the meeting on the current financial standing of the association. He reported total amounts of contributions from each region: Mainland Europe (302 Euros); UK (240 Pounds); US (3,192 Dollars); The Gambia (2, 200 dalasis); Worldwide/Tanzania (240 dollars). Some miscellaneous individual contributions for Basse Nawetaan and the central mosque were also enumerated. For Basse Naweetan support, the sums of 510 Dollars and 100 Euros were respectively collected from individual members. Majidi asked why the different specifications on the spreadsheet as seen from the website. He suggested incorporating all the monies into a single account. Bakary explained that some individual BA members had donated for the Nawetaan project, hence the need to separate these contributions from the membership dues. Action item: Deputy Financial Secretary Alagie Sey to open an account for the Basse Association in the State of Maryland, USA.
Haruna asked if it was accurate that D2,200 had indeed been collected from the Basse end. Mamadou Sellou Jallow replied that 15 people from Basse had paid their dues (please see the 2010 excel spreadsheet right below 'Active Members - 2010' on the website). These payments were supposed to have been paid in 2009 but Pa Joof said they actually became effective in 2010, hence the need to have them on the 2010 list.
Yorro Sanyang said the association was also addressing payment issues from the Basse end. He said it was important to have honest and responsible people in Basse to take care of membership dues. He suggested strengthening the Basse base and urging the Basse elders to commit to the D100 annual membership fee with the Basse Association.
Haruna said he was doubtful of the commitment of others in Basse if they still didn't pay up their annual dues. He said it would be easy for some among the membership abroad to pay membership dues on behalf of others in Basse. But he said that wouldn't encourage commitment and dedication to the association and to its cause. Mamadou Sellou said people in Basse did indeed want to pay, but he reported that they didn't want their funds deposited in an account in Banjul when Basse should be the focal point --- where the projects will take place.
Chairman Bakary solicited fund-raising ideas from the membership. The suggestions:
Alagie Sey: Put fund-raising boxes with a BA logo at various vantage points in Basse, say the market, offices.
Amadou B. Jallow: printing t-shirts and selling them to the general membership.
Mamadou Salieu Jallow: advertising on the website
Mamadou Sellou Jallow: visiting your local mosque and soliciting donation on behalf of the Basse central mosque
MB Krubally: individual donations from the general membership. He cited that the executive members had occasionally donated to the association.
Cherno B. Jallow: donation letters to friends and family members. He reported that about 30 letters had been sent out to people in the US and Europe soliciting funds for the Basse mosque.
Yorro Sanyang said he had talked to some Imam in New York on funds for the Basse mosque and he said the Imam was very keen to help.
UK Membership: scanty
Bakary said he was very concerned about the meager membership from the UK. He wondered what the problem was. Mamadou Sellou said he had spoken to a lot of Basserians in the UK, but can't get them to get on board. He said he had been talking to Sulayman Jeng, Assi Jallow, the Kongira brothers and others to impress on them to join the association, but no response yet. He thought may be his acquaintanceship with them was too informal for him to make any headway. He suggested others try and call these individuals and see. He said Mamadou Salieu, who lives in Portsmouth, was too distant from the cluster of Basserians in the UK. "May be we need to have somebody in the middle of the boys ...someone who can at least get a grip on things." Bakary said he was going to try contacting the Njie brothers, Bory, Sada, Bokarr, others.
Basse Nawetaan project: update
MB Krubally, who deputized for an absent Sports and Culture Secretary Ousainou Krubally (he had to work), explained from Ousainou's email that he Ousainou, had come to terms with the Basse sports committee on reducing the number of teams in Basse from 32 to 16. He said it was important to maintain quality and standards. Twelve teams to be created out of the 32 would play qualifying rounds and the best six would join the original 10 Basse teams making it a 16-team Nawetaan competition.
He said he was suggesting disbursing D8,000 out of an original budget of D15,000 towards the Nawetaan project. He said the twelve teams had already begun registrations for the qualifying rounds (the fee is D500). The Nawetaan starts on the 15th of May. He also reported that for the Nawetaan proper, each team would be paying a registration fee of D1,000.
40 players have been selected to form a team to play in the Banjul divisional leagues. He said it was now a question of providing them with jerseys and other facilities. The training for the divisional team will begin immediately after the World Cup. The team would need three sets of jerseys for home and away matches. Ousainou said he had already shipped out four footballs and trophies to Basse.
Amadou B. Jallow suggested doing a fund-raiser out of the Nawetaan project. He said if the Nawetaan was going to be held at the High Level, which is not gated, then no funds would be made. "It would be unwise to spend all this money without getting anything in return." Cherno B. Jallow said he thought Basse already had a divisional team in the name of Waterman FC. Mamadou Sellou said that was true but that Waterman FC wasn't truly representative of Basse, and hence, the need to build a truly representative team. Cherno also wondered why the mini stadium wasn't going to be at the disposal of the would-be BA-sponsored Nawetaan. He also suggested that the Sports Secretary Ousainou Krubally communicate more with the rest of his colleagues on whatever actions/steps he was taking on the ground.
Ousman Kamara expressed concerns about accountability and transparency issues with the Basse Football Association given past incidents of alleged impropriety. He urged the BA to effect good supervisory tools and make it clear to the Basse football committee that accountability was expected of them.
MB Krubally told the meeting of plans to send some linen sheets to the Basse Health Center. He said the BA could now ship 10 boxes of linen sheets for the price of $500. He said he was going to talk to the BA rep in Basse to work on anticipatory strategies on the shipment. He also took the opportunity to urge the members to write on the website. "Let's make it a habit of commenting on each other's postings."
In closing, Yorro Sanyang thanked again the attending members, and urged them to keep an eye on the big picture. He stressed the need to strengthen the BA group in Basse. He said there was a lot of work that needed to be done on the ground. "I thank you all for coming to the meeting. I urge you to participate and come up with ideas."