Archive for the ‘News’ Category

PRESIDENT BARROW MEETS SCANDINAVIAN INVESTORS, AS PATRIOTIC GAMBIAN DIAPORANS ANSWER TO THE PRESIDENT’S CALL

May 16, 2017

A delegation of Gambians living in Norway and their Norwegian and Bulgarian partners interested in investing in the Gambia, called on His Excellency President Adam Barrow on Friday morning.  In her introduction, The Minister of Trade, Regional Integration, Industry and Employment – MOTRIE, Honourable Dr. ISatou Touray said the visiting team was on a scoping mission but added they were pleased with what they had discovered in the country.

Gambian Resident in Norway and activist, Ndey Jobarteh said the Gambia did not exploit the Scandinavian opportunities and it is time to engage the Norwegians.  She briefed the President of the activities they did to prepare the visiting team and the immediate actions, taken during the visit to support the health, energy sectors amongst others. She expressed the urgency to work on bilateral relations with Norway and the plan to work with Norwegian government.

Another Norwegian born Gambian, Mr. Mamadi Ceesay, Managing Director of Nutrition, by a Norwegian Gambian organization – Norga said they sell the best of two worlds, that is The Gambia and Norway.  He further divulged their plans to work on a Norwegian model to encourage The Gambia to work with specialists so that it can eventually sustain its own development.   Their plan includes to create jobs for one thousand youths throughout the country as they work towards their target of five thousand youths.

Mr. Omar Badjie of the Ministry of trade gave a brief of the engagements of the Norwegian and Bulgarian delegation with the different sectors.  He reports that the team was impressed with the potential found in the Gambia, after visiting the Hospital has immediately committed to send 2 containers to support the hospital but also Biomedical engineers to provide technical support in the operation and maintenance of the machines.  They also pledged to provide generator for the immediate needs of NAWEC while they work with the Ministry of Energy on long term renewable energy sources for rural Gambia.   Other sectors of interest are  Tourism, Construction and Agriculture including plans the revived the groundnut milling plant at Denton Bridge (Saroo.)

In his response H.E. President Barrow said he was pleased and proud that Gambians are answering his call to rebuilding The Gambia.  He asserted that the past twenty-two years was difficult and it was risky to be political candidate.  The President appreciated the efforts of Gambians and how they compromised everything for the change to take place.  He therefore called for all to worked hard for the change to reflect on the people.  The President commended the Gambians in Norway as Ambassadors for their country, and said all Gambians are now free to return home.  He reiterated that they fought for the change based on the principles of democracy, and he said with democracy, there will be respect for human rights and rule of law.  He appreciated the efforts by the Ministry of trade working with the other relevant ministries to reduce the bureaucracy which led to signing of Memoradum of Understanding with the partners. Time is important and his government is ready to do business.

President Barrow informed them of the challenges inherited including what he described as “a broken economy and the former government worked on ‘pay as you go’ taking soft loans for three months to fix things and went back to the same cycle.”  On the structural changes at his office, President Barrow shared the changes they have done to decongest the office of the president by reassigning the different portfolios to the right line ministries.  He elaborated on the targets set in the various sectors, top on the agenda is for the energy to have short term measures in the first six months and have a long term solution to solve the energy crises.  On tourism, they plan to have a year round tourism and will market The Gambia and bring back the Scandinavians who used to be one of our main targets for the tourism sector.   President Barrow concluded that when there is development, then democracy will thrive forever and called on all to join in nation building.

The visiting team included Mr. Ba Jabbie of Norga, Gambian Activists in Norway, Ndey Jobarteh and Neneh Bojang, a legal practitioner and other Norwegian and Bulgarian investors.

For More information on the engagements of H.E. President Adama Barrow, you are invited to follow him on Facebook/Barrow PORG and on Twitter: @BarrowPresident and on the website: www.statehouse.gm

GAMBIA’S STATE HOUSE EXPLAINS PRESIDENT’S TO CONGO

April 17, 2017

President Barrow with his host Sasso Nguesso of Congo

A Media Release from the Office of the President, State House, Banjul, The Gambia PR/C/153/(ABS), 16th April, 2017, explained President Adama Barrow’s recent visit to Congo, as a friendly visit.

The release states:

“President Barrow made Friendly visit to Brazaville, Republic of Congo.

His Excellency President Adama Barrow, accompanied by some senior government officials, made a two day friendly visit to the Republic of Congo to cement the friendly and brotherly relations between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Congo. The visit was at the invitation of his Congolese counterpart.

Upon arrival at the airport, he was received by his host, His Excellency, President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Gambians living in Brazaville and Kinshasa were also at the airport to welcome President Barrow.

During an interview with journalists upon arrival, the Gambian leader said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relations with his African counterpart. On the state of affairs in The Gambia, President Barrow told them it was on the basis of democratic principles that he vied for the elections and it was on the same principles that the National Assembly elections was also conducted. He further stated that the election was about change in The Gambia and it was well organized. Responding on the reasons for his earlier visit to France, he informed them that it was at the invitation of the French President, Francois Hollande.

During the visit, the two Heads of State expressed joy in the excellent friendly and brotherly relations which exist between them and called for it to be re-enforced between people of the two countries.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso renewed his congratulations to the Gambian people for the successful legislative election and commended its organization. He further commended the efforts to promote peace, democracy and social cohesion in The Gambia.

President Barrow on his part took the opportunity to thank President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his government for their role in consolidating democracy, peace and economic development of the Republic of Congo. H. E Mr. Adama Barrow commended the role and actions taken by President Denis Sassou Nguesso, as Chairman of the AU committee on the resolution of the crisis in Libya and wished him a successful mandate. He also thanked his host for sending a strong delegation to his inauguration earlier in February.

The two Heads of State expressed concern on the persistent crises in African countries such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Central Africa Republic. They pledged to work together to promote dialogue to guarantee peace and stability. The Heads of State affirmed their commitment to realize the 2063 Agenda which calls for the transformation of the Continent and the construction of “the Africa we want”. They took note of the importance of regional integration for the realization of the development objectives of the continent.
On global affairs, they renewed their commitment to fight terrorism, which threatens peace and security and retards development efforts. To that effect, they expressed solidarity with all countries affected by the barbaric and violent acts of terrorist groups, and equally determined to support the International community in its efforts against this evil phenomenon.

The two Heads of State equally reaffirmed their position as Africans on the proposed reform of the Security Council of the United Nations and on other matters of interest to Africa.

Representatives of the Gambian community comprising elders and youths in Brazaville and neighbouring Kinshasha, also took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the Gambian leader. They were led by the Gambian Honorary Consular in Congo, Haji Tunkara. They expressed joy for the election of President Barrow as well as the recently concluded National Assembly elections in The Gambia.

During the visit President Sassou Nguesso also hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Gambian Head of State, witnessed by senior Congolese government officials and diplomats.

At the end of the visit, H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow thanked the President, government and the People of Congo for the brotherly reception and honor accorded to him and his delegation.

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relations

For: Secretary General
CC: ​Media Houses
Web Manager – State House Website”

HALIFA SALLAH’S THREE YEARS PRESIDENTIAL TERM FIXATION

April 14, 2017

Is either the constitutional term of 5 years or Halifa Sallah’s term of 3 years!

Hon. Halifa Sallah and his media Cheer-Leaders (mainly US-based Pa Nderry Mbai and his Freedomnewspaper) continue to distract Gambians and Friends of The Gambia from the urgent tasks of nation-building and peace-building that faces post-Jammeh Gambia.

On the issue of “Barrow’s 3-Year Mandate” it has been said that Halifa Sallah is in “TOTALLY IN DENIAL”. I Agree.

And, I would add, Halifa is also being utterly HYPOCRITICAL for a man who has made “Constitution, Constitution, Constitution” his MANTRA over the last 30 years.

So, let us state it concisely and clearly for Hon Halifa Sallah:

  1. The “3-Year Presidential Mandate” was a private contract between parties who have now fallen out and disengaged on the just concluded NAM elections issue. The reasons why the Coalition contract between the parties fell apart is a private matter between the parties. The public were never a party to that private contract – nor did the public validate that contract through a referendum as required by the constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.
  1. Section 63(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia states that “the term of office of an elected president shall … be for a term of five years”.

This raises the following questions:

1.Why should Halifa sign a 3-year Presidential term agreement that he, Halifa himself, now ACKNOWLEDGES as being Unconstitutional? Halifa never misses an opportunity to chide anyone for even the most minor infringement of the Constitution. Halifa should now take his own medicine – and chide himself (and stop fanning political bickering just to try and convince the public that he was the good guy and the others were the bad guys. As with Mel-B here in London this week, the marriage is dead and the washing of dirty linen in public is unedifying. Just accept that the marriage is dead – and move on!). What is more, Halifa is flogging a dead horse on the “Coalition” issue – because the public have already decided by voting 4 seats (7%) for PDOIS – and 31 seats (58%) for UDP.

2. Why should the Barrow government embark on a fundamental constitutional change – and the required referendum – just to shorten this President’s term to three years when the Barrow government feels that there are more important matters of nation building to attend to in the next five years?

3.Why should Lawyer Darboe’s UDP waste valuable time on a “3-year Presidential term” amendment that needs an expensive and time-consuming nationwide referendum when there is so much work to be done?

4.What about after the 3-years? Will Gambians have to amend the Constitution again to return to a 5-year presidential term – and have a referendum again to approve that 5-year amendment?

THE UDP, PRESIDENT BARROW AND MOST GAMBIANS HAVE MOVED ONTO MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS OF CONCERN TO THE MAJORITY OF GAMBIANS – MATTERS SUCH AS HOW TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

As in the children’s story of “The Boy Who Always Cried ‘WOLF’”, Halifa Sallah and Pa Nderry Mbai run the risk of being ignored – when they do actually sometimes have important messages. But I suppose they are BOTH PROFESSIONAL “WOLF-CRIERS” and will continue to do so!

Long Live Freedom of Speech!

(But not for my opponents, as Halifa’s FOROYAA would have it. In 25 years of reading Gambian media, I have never read a PDOIS/HALIFA-contradicting opinion in FOROYAA. Please correct me if I am wrong).

Dida Halake,

Notting Hill,

London, UK.

GAMBIAN MUSIC MAESTRO, EMMANUEL MENDY ESTABLISHES SENGAMBIAN CHOIR IN AMERICA

April 13, 2017

Emmanuel Mendy on the left

By Tijan Masanneh Ceesay

Gambian born Music sensation, Emmanuel Mendy has added another cap to his already outstanding music career. Mendy an acclaimed Music teacher and soloist in the Lone Star State of Texas has been hailed by his compatriots for using his musical talents to unify the Senegambian community in the United States of America. A Choir member quipped that this initiative is by far the best thing to happen amongst Senegambians in the Diaspora for according to him, ‘ The two most important things that binds us as one people is God and our culture.” Therefore for Emman to conceptualize this initiative is beyond commendable,” he concluded.

Our correspondent in the United States sat down with Mendy and compiled the following on this rare talent. Just who is this star by way of Serrekunda? Read on;

Emmanuel Mendy is a choral director, vocal performer, music educator and composer. He was born in The Gambia in West Africa, where he discovered his passion for music. Emmanuel joined his local church senior choir at the tender age of 13 where he sang tenor and was the percussionist playing the local drums, a role he would hold for 11 years. Emman

uel also attended St. Augustine’s High School in The Gambia, where he played guitar in the school music band.Emmanuel had an opportunity to travel to the USA to pursue his educational aspirations, which landed him in Texas, where he auditioned and gained admission to Navarro College in Corsicana. While at Navarro College, Emmanuel performed and sang solos in all the three choirs of the school; Choral ensemble, Chamber singers and Show choir. He also performed major roles in Navarro college musicals including Oklahoma, Mame and Greece. During each of his 2 years of music studies at Navarro, Emmanuel was also selected to represent the college at the Texas Music Education Association (TMEA) All-state choir.

After graduating with the Associates in Arts (AA) in Music (voice) degree, Emmanuel went on to pursue the Bachelor of Music (BM) degree at one of the top music schools in the USA, The University Of North Texas, where he earned a BM in General Choral and Instrumental music, with proficiencies in vocal performance and choral studies. While at UNT, Emmanuel studied voice under renowned American tenor Richard Croft, Dr. Jonathan Yarrington and Dr. Caitlin Mohr. He studied choral conducting with Dr. Allan McClung and sang in the Concert Choir under Dr. Allan McClung and Dr. Dwight Jilek. Emmanuel sang with the UNT Canticum Novum choir under Dr. Henry Gibbons and in the Grand Chorus under renowned choral director Dr. Jerry McCoy. Emmanuel also sang in few opera productions at UNT.

Emmanuel currently teaches voice at his residence in Texas and is regularly sought to perform at weddings, church concerts and other engagements. Because of his extensive vocal range, Emmanuel also sang tenor and baritone with St. Patrick Catholic church choir including a recording of the Mozart Requem, where he was the tenor soloist. Emanuel works with African singing groups and choirs such as the Gambia Christian Association (GCA) in Dallas Texas and the Gambia Christian Organization in Atlanta Georgia and volunteers as a high school and middle school teacher in Texas. He has conducted several choral workshops in The Gambia and has written several choral compositions in English and in some of the native languages from Senegambia. In January 2017, Emmanuel was invited to perform a clinic and lecture on African music history and African choral music performance practice at UNT College of music.

Emmanuel is very interested in discovering the best ways that proven vocal and cultural pedagogy and technique can be applied to traditional African music and other cultural music while preserving the unique quality, authenticity, style and cultural aesthetics of various types of music.

GAMBIANS IN MINNESOTA CELEBRATE THEIR COUNTRY’S 52ND INDEPENDENCE IN GRAND STYLE

March 24, 2017

President Mohammed Fatty and first Lady Chaku Ebrima Touray waiving to the crowd

By Lamin Sabally- Minneapolis

Gambians in Minnesota have turned out in their large numbers last Saturday March 4th to mark the country’s 52ND Independence Anniversary celebrations. Organized by the Leadership of the Gambian Association in Minnesota, the event was also attended by Presidents and executive members of sister West African Organizations in Minnesota and among them were, the Presidents of Ghana Association, Edmund Ocansey, Nigerian Association, Grace Mobosi, Mali Association, Musa Diawarra, Senegalese Association, Haddy Haidara accompanied by their executive members and families and representatives of the Minnesota Mandigo Liberian Association and friends of the Gambia. Also in attendance were members and the President of West African Collaborative in Minnesota- WAC- Lawyer Kwao Amegashie, which is s made up of the leadership of West African national organizations in Minnesota. Its mission is to bring West African communities and organizations in Minnesota together to collaborate, build capacity, and address shared needs and visions. 

The colorful and fun-packed event presented selected children from the community who posed as President, Vice President, cabinet ministers and security services to exactly mimic how official independence anniversaries are celebrated in the Gambia.

In welcoming the guests, Master of Ceremony, Lamin Gibba, who is also the Secretary General of the Gambia Association in Minnesota encouraged all Gambians to be fully engaged in the political discussions of the Gambia and be prepared to put our leaders to account at all times. New Gambia cannot afford another type of dictatorship; he emphasized, and called for participatory democracy in the new political dispensation.

Speaking to the jubilating crowd immediately after inspecting the guards of honor mounted by children soldiers, Muhammed Fatty who posed as junior president of the Gambia reechoed President Adama Barrow’s independence message that his government will embark on programs that will lead to sustainable development, good governance and fix the issue of youth unemployment. He said crime against Gambians committed in the last twenty-two years will be investigated and people found guilty of crimes will be dealt according to the law. Gambia has changed for good. Junior President Fatty noted that the people are fully conscious that they can put government in office as well as remove it. No government will ever be able to entrench itself against the will of the Gambian people. This is the lesson we must draw from the change that has been brought by the people.

Lamin Sabally, the President of the Gambian Association in Minnesota called for unity among all Gambians irrespective of their political affiliations and urged the community to continue to support the Association in order for it to fully realize its goals of promoting unity and cohesion. Sabally acknowledged the high-level presence of the presidents of the sister west African organizations in Minnesota and described it as show of their solidarity with the Gambia as demonstrated by the AU & ECOWAS leaders through their direct effective involvement with the peaceful resolution of the political impasse.

The guest speaker on the event Papa Faal, an author and renowned Civil Rights activist influentially appealed to Gambians to make their political leaders accountable at all times to prevent them from possessing absolute political powers that he said is a recipe of corruption and dictatorship. Faal, who was part of the botched December 30th attack on State House in an attempt forcibly dislodge former President Jammeh, implored Gambian electorate to elect leaders with three fundamental leadership core values in mind, Integrity, service before self and accountability. In a moving speech characterized by intermittent rapturous applause from his attentive audience, Faal, who is a US Navy veteran, said the Gambia’s peaceful political resolution, which included regional bodies like AU, and ECOWAS at the forefront of negotiations, with support from the UN and powerful western democracies is an indication that Africans are capable of solving their own problems without having to rely exclusively on western intervention. He suggested that the Gambia module should be replicated in all parts of Africa as an exemplary module to solve any political problem on the continent.

Assortment of Senegambia musical entertainment was supplied by Minnesota top DJ, Bless Jagne.

DOES THE COALITION STILL NEED A SPOKESPERSON

March 4, 2017

Coalition spokesperson: Halifa Sallah

The recent press conference of the spokesperson of the Gambia’s ruling coalition government, Mr. Halifa Sallah, on Thursday, 2nd March 2017, on behalf of the Coalition party members and somewhat against other Coalition members, begs one to question the wisdom of the Coalition government’s retention of that portfolio of a coalition spokesperson; after taking charge of the governance of the country, with a Minister for Communications and Information, as well as a Press Officer at the Office of the President. Much more, having a spokesperson for the coalition, who also doubles as the leader of one of its member parties, to be the impartial messenger to inform or clarify Coalition internal disputes to the press.

Halifa’s press conference, which he described as intended to clarify Coalition’s position on the upcoming parliamentary elections, had created much confusion, rancour and acrimony within the Coalition’s support base, that one could be forgiven for connoting other motives than just the mere clarifications claimed! It left many to blame other Coalition party members, i.e the UDP and NRP. Leaving their supporters despondent and cried foul play by Halifa’s depiction of their party’s position in the Coalition’s approach to the upcoming parliamentary elections. This has compelled many of these parties’ supporters to demand a response or clarification from their parties in response to Halifa’s supposed clarifications.

Quite simply, they felt betrayed by Mr. Sallah, who failed to realise that by being a Coalition spokesperson, he also doubles as a spokesperson for both the UDP and NRP. The veteran politician, quite simply could not remove his feet from the PDOIS shoes, to become an impartial representative or spokesperson for all the political parties to the Coalition. Consequently, he appeared to have represented the Coalition’s position, on the upcoming parliamentary elections, from the perspective of his party, PDOIS, vantage, rather than from the vantage of all parties in the coalition.

This left many to perceive divisions within the Coalition, agitating them to level blames, vilifications, etc, at their perceived instigators of the disintegration. These compelled the disaffected parties to react to the criticism from their perceived nemesis. Such an uproar ought not to have ensued as the reactions to the venerable spokesperson’s clarifications, had he done a good job at representing the whole coalition and not just one side of the story.

The venerable spokesperson would have also done a marvellous job had he de-escalated the rethoric from what he presented as fracas, had he mellowed it to a differing of opinions, or from what he presented as good and bad or right and wrong to alternative models or suggestions to the Coalition’s best chances of securing more seats in the National Assembly.

But the venerable spokesperson could not simplify the issues to less sophistication, leaving the Coalition’s supporters in a rumble. Simply because it would appear that the venerable spokesperson was out to sell his and his party’s agenda, which he explained quite eloquently, as the model adopted at the selection process of the presidential elections. That is for a Coalition backed independent National Assembly members. However, the alternative model advocated by UDP and NRP was not explained in much detail, except that “two parties within the Coalition gave reservations” to their model.

This lack of detail of the two competing models had left many to draw their own conclusions, that the UDP wants to opt out of the Coalition, because of their perception of being the majority party, or that Darboe wants everything for himself, etc. The most heartless of all even opined that UDP leader’s freedom was a detriment to the Coalition’s progress and that of the country.

It’s disheartening to note that such an rancour or acrimony could ensued, as a result of the clarification of a spokesperson for the Coalition. This ought not to have happened had the spokesperson done a fair job for all the Coalition members.

Simply because it is not wrong for a party or parties in a Coalition to have a differing opinion or model or suggestion, about how the Coalition should contest a Parliamentary election. That quite simply ought to be expected. But when that message is twisted to give the impression that some parties in a Coalition, are interested in just their personal or party interests rather than the collective interest, such could give rise to unintended consequences.

The issue, is quite simply about two competing models of how the Coalition should contest the upcoming parliamentary elections. One advocated by the PDOIS and rest, whilst the other by the UDP and NRP. There is nothing wrong about either side subscribing to a different model. The only problem however seems to be how that was presented to the country by the spokesperson, which resulted in the real fracas.

This leads me to the question of my title, does the Coalition really need a spokesperson? I doubt very much that the Coalition do at present and furthermore I would disagree vehemently that that position continues to suit Halifa Sallah. I believe, if the Coalition requires a spokesperson, that position will now suit a person who will be neutral and can represent the position of all parties in the Coalition impartially, without fear or favour for any. Otherwise, I believe the President or his spokesperson should be ideal to speak for the Coalition as a government. Therefore, in the ensuing confusion after the Coalition’s spokesperson’s press conference, we need the President to come and settle the dust for us.

THREE DIED AT CELEBRATION. WAS IT A SECURITY MEASURED BLUNDER?

February 19, 2017

The musical jamboree of Gambia @52 two in one celebration dotted by match pass of the security forces, school children and civil societies submerged Gambians into a euphoric trance of reassuring peace, tranquillity, contentment and hopefulness.  Conversely, beneath all that glittering fanfare lays three deaths and dozens wounded as a result of gross security negligence and police inaptitude at the stadium. Dependable reports emanating from Banjul confirmed the three deaths and dozens wounded gracing Gambia @52 nationhood celebration.

An eye-witness who had a gold invitation card observed, “On arrival at the stadium, I saw a huge crowd of people and few paras at the gate. Some diplomats were even struggling with civilians to enter the stadium. At first I thought is this some kind of a security sabotage? My card was useless as I have to squeeze my way in.”

Another witness also lamented, “People were jumping from the pavilion as it was packed full and no access route to go for refreshment in the loo or outside. The presence of the paras were painfully dispersed. Some other youths were likewise seated at the top of the areal on the left-hand side of the covered pavilion. That was a serious security risk and a potential accident waiting to happen”.

As a former security officer who partook in several parades, crowd control and management, I was socked with the news of such security lapse. A contingent plan must have been drawn by the Commissioner of Operations to curb any contingency of huge crowd turn out. Standby and backup platoons must have been readied to support units deployed to control and manage the crowd at the stadium. President Barrow has pulled unprecedented crowds in the past and will continue to do so in many more occasions. So for the Commissioner of Operation to fail to provide adequate security personnel to manage and control the crowd at Gambia @52 two in one celebration is a gross neglect of duty and ineptitude.

The Hon Minister of Interior must investigate this gross security lapse and ineptitude of the police. President Barrow and his rainbow cabinet will not succeed if their efforts are continually thwarted by the security services. The SIS has also failed in letting a pocket of demonstrators slip into the stadium and manifest in the presence of all the delegates and diplomats at stadium. It is their constitutional rights to dissent but there should be a time and place for it. One of those demonstrators could have cause harm to the person of the president or any of the state guests. The space of change is slow and painful.

Another diaspora Gambian who travelled to witness the celebration revealed, “The only notable change is the executive and the cabinet. Other than that, everything remains unchanged”. Many believed that most of the security chiefs and heads of units are still loyal to Jammeh. “The success of the celebration is purely due the civilians love and loyalty to Barrow. They did not want anything to rob them of the joy of celebrating”, added another.

“Barrow has lofty dreams and great intention for the Gambia but his efforts will be continually thwarted by bad elements within the security services”, lamented one youth.

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK