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Prompted by Banta Ba user "Me" who asked how from Germany he could join GTS. The following may help.
In October 2010 my mother died leaving my father confused as to what he should now do after 50 years of very close marriage. In the first place he came out to Gambia from November 09 to February 10 and liked it so much he decided to extend his visiy and after to come and live in Gambia with us.
Peter has been the membership secretary of GTS in the UK and without that UK link, we have decided to stop (at least for the present) GTS membership as it has been for the last 12 years.
We are currently re working the GTS site to reflect the new direction of GTS after I resigned the chairmanship of GETSUK shortly after my mother's death.
That resignation needs some explantion to GTS & GETS supporters.
My resignation was partly because of my mother's death and my need to care for my step father, but also because of what I felt was a lack of confidence in me from some GETS Trustees over continued accusations of dishonesty from a former Gambian employee, (who himself had been caught red handed being dishonest - his dismissal followed his refusal to validate his claims of dishonesty against me.)
Since his dismissal, he has periodically continued his claims and made threats to have me deported from Gambia over the evidence he claims to have against me, but refuses to divulge. In my usual way I have reported on the GTS and GETS websites such incidents of administrator problems and his demands that the charity remove all references to him, I felt left others exposed to being exploited and cheated by this individual, as we had been. Had his former employer reported the problems they had with him, we would probably not have employed him.
The UK trustees wanted all references removed from the GETSuk site and this was done - however it was so against my principles of openness that despite the threats of deportation I would have preferred it had been left there.
My resignation was partly to protect the charities interests in Gambia because if I was deported it is possible that with me as chairmnan the charities assets as well as my assets could have been frozen and or possibly confiscated, but as the trustees gave in to his blackmailing demands my resignation was ultimately more about their lack of confidence in me.
My departure has given me the time to concentrate on tourist support and their support of Gambians - The GTS BASICS.
We have now finished GTS Kololi our accommodation lodge for visitors, opened our new GTS Kololi Bar and Restaurant on the same site and we are now starting development of a forest Eco Lodge close to 'Giboro' one of the border crossing points with southern Senegal, in the village of Jenu Kunda that desperately needs development and the resources that tourist development can bring.
The structure of GTS has changed and we now provide our visitor support to the tourists and volunteers who come and stay at GTS Kololi or eat and drink at the bar and restaurant - membership is no longer as relevant so we have dropped it, we are still happy to discuss peoples interests and problems in The Gambia and offer this as a service over a meal or drink bought by the enquirer at our restaurant, by appointment.
We will still carry out services such as obtaining copy documents where the originals are held in Gambia and copies are available - but these services will now be charged to cover actual expenses and time actually taken.
Since 1997, GTS has promoted sustainable tourism in Gambia and attempted to maintain continuous employment of staff and develop business opportunities to support Gambians wishing to work and support charitable projects with the proceeds of their efforts, we will continue to do this, provide employment, training and opportunities.
Your support by coming to stay at GTS Kololi as well as visiting our NEW GTS Kololi Bar and Restautrant will help - but we still need volunteers to help us with the new ECO Lodge project as well as placements in schools and clinics.
GTS is heading towards offering charity vacations where vistors come to enjoy Gambia but put something back in a sustainable way to support the future of development through tourists.
As always thank you all for your support and loyalty to the ideas of GTS, that has held it all together over the good and bad times for almost 15 years and hopefully at least another 15 years when - if God is willing I will be 80. Inshallah.4AKJ