OPINION: Coronavirus keeping backway chancers at bay

Written by Saul Sarr

Back way

When Adama Barrow, former London department store security guard, ascended to the presidency, many thought irregular migration locally called “Backway” would be a thing of the past, but apparently not. It is alive and kicking with added new players.

These chancers who embarked on the journey or planning to do so are usually half-educated young adults who don’t know how to get a passport let alone secure a visa. They have no chance of securing visas. So, their only hope of getting to Europe, a continent they thought would solve their worldly problems is through the “backway”.

No amount of sensitisation seemed to work to dissuade them from embarking on this journey. In fact, they have bluffed that not even the angel of death in sight can stop them proceeding to Europe. Recently though, their bluff was called out by Mister C. Millions wasted on sensitisation to dissuade young people without success. Who would’ve thought that a virulent bug would achieve the impossible by keeping these boys at bay?

Lately “Backway boys” would depart coastal towns in Gambia or neighbouring countries with fishing boats for Italy or Spain, a departure from the traditional Libya route.

Italy is their main port of entry into Europe. That country is the second most affected in the world after China with about thirty thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Conscious of the fact that Italy has other priorities (topping the list coronavirus) than rescuing boats carrying economic migrants, “Backway boys” decided to put their voyage on hold. Actually on cool ice for now, and for some forever even when the pandemic subsides.

Governments tried and failed to convince them about the dangers of the journey as did Artists, Footballers, TV presenters, but Mr C did effortlessly.