Archive for the ‘News’ Category

GAMBIA: ON LOANS, DEBTS, PUBLIC ENTERPRISES & GOVERNANCE HALIFA SALLAH’S CONTRIBUTION AT THE ADJOURNMENT DEBATE

August 27, 2017

Halifa Sallah National Assembly Member for Serekunda Constituency

Honourable Speaker, we have finally gathered here to give solemn expression to the constitutional provision which asserts that sovereignty resides in the people. And, when governments derive their authority from the people, they must utilise it only, to promote their general welfare and prosperity.

We are here to promote the general welfare and the prosperity of The Gambian people and that’s the spirit we should direct every word and action in this National Assembly.

This is a transitional government, inherited an order with the mandate to build another order. A new Gambia that the President said the people want and deserved.
Conscience must guide us, truth must guide us, good faith must guide us and the national interest must guide us.

It is important to bear in mind that unless you understand the challenges of a country, you cannot actually provide the policies, the plans, the programs, the projects to address them.
Right here, we’ve been given an emergency development policy funding showing that we are in an emergency situation. And, what we were told is that public enterprises that should provide dividends to government non-taxable revenue like NAWEC owes nine billion. They are in crisis and we are told that part of the money been taken as loan would have to be utilise to try to change those institutions and make them viable.

And, I heard the Minister when questioned by one of the members, would you privatise or invite private investment into this public enterprise? He (Minister) said not now, because they are not viable. But we must take tax payers money to make them viable. And, then do what? Afterwards privatise them, so that the people will continue to pay the loans and others will benefit. Is that the direction?
If that’s the direction, then that is not the direction that I stand for and if they’ve failures, is not my failure. It’s the failure of those who have failed to learn from history. 1988/89 we know what happened here GPMB was collapsing, first 83 million, 30.7 million injected into GPMB, by 1992 prospectors to privatise it to 20 million dalasis CCDB because of the bad debt of 72 million put in 1987/89 126 million.

How did it end up? AMRC. When they check over it was 110 million bad debts, only 20 million could be recovered and Meridian Bank took the 20 million and the rest to AMRC.
Is that where we are moving? Because the Minister told me here right on my face that the ERP was successful, were GPMB could only purchase 2200 of groundnuts in 1991. And, some members here are saying a ‘successful agricultural programme, when in 1994 the cooperative union collapsed owing millions from Gambia Commercial Development Bank. And, they had to establish the Macaulay Commission, commission of enquiry and the coup d’état came.

Is that were we are heading to? So, it is important for us to know that this is not the time to romanticize; it is a time to be calculative. We need to find out how are we going to ensure that food sufficiency is guarantee, to remove the farmers from poverty.
What I hear people saying ‘well why don’t we get investors to take over the land? Where will people work when they’re removed from the land? Is that the development policy that will save our people from poverty?

What we are saying is that their family farms require fertiliser, seed, farming implements so that they produce and remove themselves from poverty. If that fails to happen, if you fail, that is not my failure, because that’s not my direction. My direction is to create a cooperative bank that will help those farmers, family farms to own their land, not to become like the Kafuta one, working for somebody else from the cattle to the giraffe.

I see those women who come to my street, coming from the Kombos every single day at 05:00 am in the morning and then go back by 02:00pm selling on the ground their vegetables with prizes, which cannot be bought. How do you save those women? By empowering them, by creating the market opportunity so that they will not have to come to that street and disrupt the traffic. They are not the problem; we have not been providing solutions for them such as a marketing strategy, where you go to their farms and buy their produces, process them or market them that are the challenges.

We do not have the solutions yet, I said here there’s no development blue-print. And, the majority leader copiously quoting from a national development plan the very president of the republic said it is yet to come to fruition, maybe this coming month before the end or two weeks after that. There is still need for a national development plan encompassing all the sectors, indicating the direction of the government so that ultimately, you have the strategic plans of the ministries, which becomes more concrete to the programmes and projects, which are time bound to be able to address the aspirations of the youths. That’s how a government works and it should be a consultative exercise, which ever consultant prepare all this, should call all of us, we validate it, have an input to. It should have started six months ago, but now that it had not this is the time to move on and to move on with sincerity and modesty.

ON GOVERNMENT PAYSCALE
Honourable Speaker, it is very clear, if we look at the grades, one less than 1000, two to four less than 2000, 5 to 6 less than 3000 a month, 7 to 9 less than 5000 a month, the highest grades are between 5000 and 8000 a month, that is the salary scale of the country and when the president spoke to us they talking about staff audit. And, from the staff audit, maybe they will have to increase salaries. The very people who will be pushed out are Gambians who need to survive. What are you going to do? Package them and throw them into the Ocean? Whose responsibility it is to provide for every Gambian? That’s not the way to think.

There’s no excess baggage. Anywhere, government`s responsibility is to provide for everyone. And, if the trend continues, the trends I see, then we are yet to talk about moving towards a New Gambia, which is inclusive, the New Gambia cannot isolate anyone, and the New Gambia must be inclusive.

It must provide for everyone and we have seen the industrial sector contributes just 13% to GDP and that is the basis of employment. What are we going to do with the GGC? What is its capacity? Who told us what is it producing? How much oil? If we imports over 600,000,000 million worth of oil, if GGC can produce that, we are putting 600,000,000 in to our national economy.

If we produce 200,000 tons of rice, we are putting into our economy 1.9 billion. So, we need to see all these sectors, where we importing and look at the distortion in terms of import-export. We have come to a point where in terms of import in 2014 the deposit was 11.7 billion, and 2015, 12 billion. How do we deal with the deposit? We must enhance production that is what a plan is all about. That’s what we need to think about, what we do to expand import substitution so that we provide for ourselves that is the task.

ICT, we are told that in all the five regions, there are seven centres that were meant to connect schools and connect communities to ICT programmes. Have we been told anything about that? Nothing. And, people claim that there’s a development plan. Where is it? not yet, that’s why we are saying it is not yet, because you need to plan for that.

In 201, there was an agreement between company’s and government so that in terms of the landing, there will be co-operation. We need to look at each sector, the Minister told us that as far as airplanes are concerned, 471 million will be earn from selling them.

Why can we not have a national courier? If we want to go to Senegal, sometimes how many days on road? We are told four airplanes what are we going to do with them? Sell them? At least that seems to be the intention, 471 million. Why can’t we, if they are viable transform them into national careers? If not sell, them and buy what can provide national courier servicer. So essentially, what I am saying Honourable Speaker is we must start to settle down and know that we have a long way ahead.

We are just scrolling, we need to stand and then walk for money and yes many things I could have said but essentially, I don’t have the time, but I want everyone to reflect on what is happening in Venezuela right now, what has happened in Libya, what is happening in South Sudan.

It is not military might that create security in a country, is not what create peace in a country and many of you are praising rightly the President of Senegal, but let me tell you that it was a team work headed by the President of Liberia, President sir-leaf.

Without her, we will not have the peace we have today. Let me tell you that ECOMIG forces can threaten, but if ECOMIG forces brought down their weapons and aeroplanes storming the State House and Kanilai, do you know how many weapons were deposited in those places? Your army would have disintegrated, your security forces would have disintegrated, the whole society disintegrated. Who will control what, so let us all move to One Gambia, One Nation, One People that is our destiny, that’s our liberation.

Source (Kexx Sanneh)

PRESIDENT BARROW LAUNCHES NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

August 21, 2017

REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
PRIVATE Office of The President
State House
Banjul
THE GAMBIA _____________________________________________________________________________

21 August, 2017

PR/C/214/(ABS)

President Barrow launches the National Security Council

Fajara, 21 August 2017-President Adama Barrow today launched a 7 member National Security Council (NSC) at a ceremony held at his office.

President Barrow urged the Council members to work together and complement their efforts. He emphasized the unity of purposed amongst the members in serving one government for a strong, safe and secure nation. The Gambian leader said with coordination and corporation, the different units of the armed and security forces could overcome potential from being real threats, nationally and globally to guarantee the security of all Gambians. President Barrow urged the various security units to take up their responsibilities to protect the country. “Let us through our Gambia Police Force and related services enforce our laws and deter the criminals. Let us through our State Intelligence Service based on informed analysis, provide advice to policy makers to enable them make informed policy options, take decisions and enhance strategic interventions.”

President Barrow underscored the importance of having structures in place and said he had confidence in the team to provide him with proper advise to make informed decisions on security matters. He further linked the importance of peace and security to socio-economic development.

CDS in his remarks thanked President Barrow for the confidence bestowed on them and congratulated his colleagues. He said the National Security Council would provide oversight advise and guide the President to execute their functions at a time when faced with security challenges. He said the council would fill the vacuum in the 3 levels of the security structure in maintaining peace and security and lay the foundation for Socio-economic development. He pledged that they would provide candid security advise and analysis. He enjoined his colleagues to work as a team to promote peace and development.

The members of the NSC are minister of Interior, Mai Ahmed Fatty, Inspector General of Police, Landing Kinteh, Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Masaneh Kinteh, Director of State Intelligent Service, Ousman Sowe Navy Commander, Momodou Madani Senghore Brigadier General, Mamat Cham and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defense, Assan Tangara.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Speaker of the National Assemblly, Honorable Maraim Jack – Denton, Secretary General Dawda Fadera, Foreign Affairs Minister, Honourable Ousainou Darbo and other senior officials.

End

PRESIDENT BARROW SWEARS IN NEW JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSIONERS

August 20, 2017

PRESIDENT BARROW

REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
PRIVATE Office of The President
State House
Banjul
THE GAMBIA _____________________________________________________________________________

17th August , 2017

PR/C/213/(ABS)

President Barrow swears in two new Judicial Service commissioners

Fajara 17 August 2017- President Adama Barrow has sworn in two new members of The Gambia’s Judicial Service Commission. Former National Assembly member Lamin Ceesay of Jarumeh Koto and veteran agronomist Bolong L.K. Jatta of Busumbala both took the oath at a swearing-in ceremony in the Office of the President today.

Constituting the membership of the commission and getting it fully operational is part of the institutional reforms underway to improve efficiency in the Gambian Judiciary.

Messrs Jatta and Ceesay told journalists after the ceremony that they would work diligently along with other members to contribute to sound reform of the Gambian Judiciary. They expressed their appreciation for the trust bestowed on them, and optimism that the appointment of qualified Gambian judges would restore confidence in the country’s judicial system.

Chief Justice Hassan Abubacarr Jallow said the new members of the Judicial Service Commission brought a wealth of community experience to the work of the body, and strengthened it immensely. He expressed confidence in their ability to discharge their responsibilities with professionalism and integrity.

The Judiciary Service Commission is responsible for recommending appointments of judges and magistrates. It also advises the President and the government on measures to improve efficiency.

The appointments were based on section 145(1)(e) and section 145(1)(f) of The Gambia’s 1997 Constitution.

The Secretary General and head of the Gambian Civil Service, Mr Dawda Fadera, and senior officials from the Judiciary and the Office of the President witnessed the ceremony.

End

Contact:

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press & Public Relations
Office of the President, State House, Banjul
Email:absissoho@op.gov.gm
dpprop2017@gmail.com
Tel: +220 9957592
Twitter: @BarrowPresident
Twitter:@AmieBSissoho
Facebook: Barrow PORG
Website: statehouse.gov.gm

THE DOYEN IN GAMBIAN POLITICS HALIFA SALLAH IN OSLO

August 2, 2017

Halifa Sallah at Oslo Airport

The doyen in Gambian politics Halifa Sallah has landed safely at Oslo’s main international airport Gardermoen late yesternight and was warmly welcomed. Mr. Sallah who is the national assembly member for Serekunda constituency and adviser to president Barrow is on an Europe tour to meet Gambians and well-wishers in the diaspora. In Norway he is expected to meet with politicians, technocrats and experts in various fields. His engagement begins today wednesday August 2nd , a day in which he is scheduled to visit a waste management or recycling plant in Oslo  this morning. The Gambia has a huge waste or rubbish disposal problem which has resulted to serious environmental hazards affecting residents close to the main dumpsite at Bakoteh. The lack of proper measures geared towards finding a lasting  solution to the problem created unease between the municipality, central government and residents. Therefore Halifa Sallah’s visit to the rubbish cycling plant in Oslo will avail him the opportunity to have first hand information which he can share with relevant authorities back home as a politician and law maker.

Tomorrow Thursday August 3rd, the veterant politician is scheduled to have a seminar with the diaspora youth  at 1500hr. He would joined two other panelists to have a qualitative dialogue on the theme “Engaging Culture and Identity”. This seminar will take place at the Nordic Black Theatre down town Oslo. Before the seminar on Thursday he would have a meeting with leaders of the Norwegian  Red party in the morning at 9:30, and Oslo City Council at 12:30.

On Friday morning August 4th Mr. Sallah is scheduled to visit the Norwegian parliament  to meet  with the  leader of foreign affairs and defense committee. On Friday evening at 18:00hrs he  will grace another seminar that is going to be also a qualitative dialogue with the Gambian diaspora community in Oslo on the theme ” National Reconciliation, Justice and Democratisation in the New Gambia” – The Gambia is experiencing a new era after 22 years of brutal dictatorship which has seriously weakened the country’s social fabric. This fragile fabric needs to be carefully strengthened in order avoid a civil catastrophy. Those who invited the national assembly member for Serekunda constituency are aware of the crucial role he played as spokesperson of the coalition that outed former president Jammeh, they are aware of the calmness and resolve he displayed during the tense political impasse prior January 19th 20017. This is why they felt it is very pertinent for Mr. Sallah to engage the whole Gambian community in Oslo of different background and different political affiliation in order to clear out assumptions and misconceptions surrounding the current affairs of our beloved country The Gambia. It is through such honest qualitative dialogue that runs across the board we can together help realize the agenda of one Gambia, one nation, one people.

From Oslo Honourable Sallah will travel to Stockholm on Saturday where he is expected to be engaged in a series of meetings with the Gambian community there as well. From Sweden he will travel to Denmark and then to Hamburg Germany which is expected to be the last stop of his Europe tour. Continue to visit this medium for updates on Halifa Sallah’s tour.

Written by Landing Nyassi , Oslo 02-08-2017

HELLO MR PRESIDENT… DISASTER RELIEF

July 12, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

In the Wolof Language they say, ‘xoddeeku balaa ngai laka le’, a crude translation of this will be ‘prevention is better than cure’. Every year, when the heavens open up, many Gambians are affected by floods or storms and their houses are destroyed. They lose a lot of their valuable belongings and are certainly traumatized. This is something that can be minimized, if not completely eradicated.

If we have the proper planning and get ready to preparation for the long term, we will ensure that the places that are prone to flooding would be identified and then measures taken to guarantee that we don’t just react; rather, we should plan ahead of the rains.

There is a Department for Physical Planning which is under the Ministry of Lands which needs to carry out a broad study of the land in the country and demarcate residential areas in a way that no houses will be constructed in sodden areas which will always cause houses to collapse. It is true that it is very difficult land for residential purposes and as such if someone acquires a land already, it will be very difficult to stop him/her from erecting his/her house there; especially those who have already struggled and put up buildings.

Of course such people may not want to leave their houses or stop constructing houses because they might have invested their lives’ savings in those lands or houses. But nothing compares to human life. We see in the developed world that when a disaster is about to happen governments evacuate residents, sometimes forcefully, just to ensure their safety. The first priority of a government is to protect its citizens, sometimes even from their own actions.

Our laws should therefore cater for such a contingency. For instance, where someone intends to build a house in a place that is known to be prone to flooding, government should have the power to stop such a person. If it does, then how, and how far can the government agencies go in enforcing this law? If this law is already present in our Constitution, then why is it not being implemented?

These are a few of the things we should start thinking about to reduce the number of disasters that are experienced by our people. I call on you to put in place measures which will reduce the damage caused by these disasters in our country.

Have a Good Day Mr President….

Tha Scribbler Bah

A concerned Citizen

BACK-WAY TO EUROPE: ONE OF THE GREATEST EXISTENTIAL THREATS TO AFRICA’S FUTURE!

July 7, 2017

Back -Way Migrants to Europe

By Yanks Darboe

On the 3rd of July 2017 to the 6th of July 2017, the African leaders met and spent 3 days at their annual AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. But as usual our boys and girls club of leaders gathered at their ghetto, discussed frivolous issues of no importance, ate, drank, laughed, had fun and returned home! As if all is well in the continent! Yet the continent is plodding to the edge of a cliff! Why have we, as a continent been so much cursed by god, with so many good for nothing sons and daughters we call leaders for years! I feel like exclaiming!

How can our leaders missed another opportunity of another year’s AU summit without any serious discussions or actionable plans on how to deal with the crisis of the Back-way migration to Europe, which is eroding our continent of its great potentials. Is it supposed to be a European problem alone!

For I cannot understand that the issue of back-way, had pervaded the European political discourse and even threatened to abruptly end the illustrious political careers of many European politicians – as well as the founding pillars of the European Unity – yet in Africa, our leaders pay oblivion to its existential threat to the future of our continent.

One wonders when will they wake up from that slumber and get this into their feeble-heads that the back-way issue – if it’s a problem for Europe – is meant to be a crisis for Africa. Simply because, those leaving are not just emigrating but fleeing the continent. Secondly; they are not just migrants fleeing the continent, but the future potential: Doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, architects, lawyers, economists, politicians, cleaners, farmers, gardeners, pharmacists, engineers, astronauts, musicians, artists, poets, policemen, soldiers, fathers, mothers, etc; who continue to flee the continent in droves.

MOAS rescue 105 migrants in rubber dinghy October 4, 2014.
Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi/MOAS

When will our leaders realise that every boat that left our shores for Europe, through the back-way or the Mediterranean seas, becomes only a political problem for Europe, but for Africa it’s a depletion of an immeasurable proportion of our future! Some of which will never be recovered!

When will they realise that, if every one of our youths flee the continent, it will be a future-less continent, and they the leaders will die and leave none to inherit the continent. Yet the same leaders pretend to have visions for the future of the continent. One wonders, who they intend such visions for, if it’s not myopic visions. Those not envisaged to last beyond their reigns! If not, how do they expect those visions to be actualised without the continent’s future: doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, architects, lawyers, economists, politicians, cleaners, farmers, gardeners, pharmacists, engineers, astronauts, musicians, artists, poets, policemen, soldiers, fathers, mothers, etc.

The issue of back way seems a problem for Europe that is not losing anything from the crisis, except being gripped by the xenophobia of being swamped by migrants and depleting their resources!

However, for the continent that is losing everything from it seems oblivion to its existential threat to their future. Their leaders do not seem bothered or threatened by its escalation; neither do their parliamentarians, media practitioners and citizens. It seems our whole continent has been overtaken by slumber from the awareness of this apocalyptic crisis.

Yet, the reasons for the fleeing of these future leaders of Africa should itself be a shame for our current leaders! For they flee not for the want of it, but for the search of hope! Hope; which our feeble, greedy and incompetent leaders could not offer. Instead, all they continue to offer is despair and frustration, something which they continue to excel, even at the apogee of this crisis!

Therefore, the solution to this crisis has been misconceived by the Europeans for long! In the case of Africa, the back-way syndrome cannot be cured by the abandoning of migrants’ ships or dinghy boats to drown in the harsh and unforgivable Mediterranean seas, or forceful removal or deportation of these migrants home empty handed, or arbitrarily imprisoning of them in detention camps across Europe.

In my humble opinion, the crisis can only be appropriately addressed through drastic measures taken against the root of its source, which are the failures of our corrupt and inept leaders of Africa. Europe must confiscate all their looted funds and give it back to the migrants to return home and achieve their dreams; they have for their families and countries! Sell all of the innumerable luxurious properties across Europe belonging to our current and former leaders of the continent and use their proceeds to assist our migrants to return home and build the future of our continent!

Impose travel bans and financial sanctions on the leadership and family members of African nations, who neglect their citizens to the point of forcing them, to have no other hope than embarking on the dangerous and treacherous back way journey to Europe!

To be continued………….

JARRA BURENG IN DISTRESS – SEEKS YOUR KIND GENEROSITY!  

July 5, 2017

 

A heavy downpour of rain accompanied by heavy winds have caused unprecedented destruction of homes, food stocks and other properties in our hometown of Bureng in the Lower River Region of The Gambia.

In the immediate aftermath of this widespread destruction, the leadership and members of the Bureng Association USA, Inc mobilized and approved an interim emergency support of about $4500 (D200, 000). This amount will be disbursed in two tranches of D100, 000 each. The first amount will be disbursed immediately (not later than Monday), and the remaining balance will be disbursed soon, after further assessment of needs.

This is an interim measure and we are committed to doing more by the Grace of God. We have also launched a fundraising drive on GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/helpbureng to mobilize more resources to assist in this dire situation.

Finally, on behalf of our entire leadership team, we want to thank our members for their support to the Association.  By the same token, we wish to call upon all persons from Bureng who have yet to support this Association to immediately come and join.

From support during Ramadan, to helping the Arabic School and the Masjid Project, the Bureng Association USA, Inc in its short life (less than 2 years) has demonstrated high level commitment to helping the community of Bureng, especially now that natural disaster struck. We are stronger, when we are together.

your Sincerely,

Alieu SL Darboe
Secretary General
Bureng Association USA, Inc.