Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

CHANGE AGENTS THE GAMBIA – A NEW NGO FOR CIVIC EDUCATION, CIVIC ACTION AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

October 12, 2017

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bertil Harding Highway 

Fajara

Kanifing Municipality

The Gambia

Monday, 2nd October 2017

The Founding Board of Change Agents The Gambia (CAG) announces the formation of Change Agents The Gambia.

Mission

Our mission is to work as agents of change, to cause a greater and more informed participation of all people in civic matters and to promote democracy and youth development.

We seek to do this through civic education, civic action, training and mentoring.

Vision

We are guided by a vision of The Gambia where:

 

  • Citizens make informed decisions, to elect political leaders, not on the basis of tribe, religion, gender or other discriminatory basis, but on the basis of competence and integrity.
  • The rights and freedoms of peoples are respected and upheld and people speak out against injustice.
  • Political leaders and representatives and public servants are held accountable.
  • Laws, policies and decision of political leaders and Government officials are transparent, free from bias and promote the common good.
  • Our diverse people live in peace, unity and mutual respect, working together towards a better life for all.
  • The Gambia plays her rightful role within regional and global communities and collaborates meaningfully with her development partners.

 

Values

As Change Agents, we believe in:

 

1 Accountability We are servant leaders. We believe that to lead is to serve and to serve is to be accountable. We will hold ourselves, our leaders, and all others accountable.
2 Brotherhood United by our belief in the brotherhood of man, and the legacy we seek to leave in common to future generations, we cherish our diversity,  will work for the good of all, and treat one another with respect  and courtesy.
3 Equality

 

We believe in equal opportunity and equal treatment of all people. We reject discrimination on any basis.
4 Justice and Human Rights We believe in the fundamental human rights and liberties and in justice. In our quest for peace and prosperity, we strive to stand up for what is right, seeking justice and fair treatment for all, in the firm belief that without justice there can be no peace.
5 Integrity We believe in honesty, fair play and trustworthiness. We will not put our individual interest above the common interest and will strive to be free from conflicts of interest.
6 Excellence We believe in excellence. We strive to continually improve our skills and competencies. We will be disciplined and diligent in all we do.
7 Humility We recognise that people are differently gifted. We will develop and use our God-given talents for the good of all. We will also recognise and value the talents of others, encouraging them to develop and use those talents for the common good so that in union we may build a prosperous nation.

 

The Gambia is a constitutional democracy. It operates under a constitution which limits the powers of government and guarantees fundamental rights to all people. The fundamental elements of constitutional government are majority rule, individual and minority rights, and the rule of law. The founding board of directors firmly believes that civic education, coupled with the crucial empowerment of our youth, by arming them with the competencies they need to be productive members of society and tomorrow’s leaders, will greatly enhance the democratisation process and contribute to national development.

Founding Members of the Board of Directors

 

  1. Mr. Philip Saine – Chairperson
  2. Rev. Fr. Peter Lopez – Vice Chairperson
  3. Yadi Njie Eribo
  4. Pastor John Njie
  5. Anna Jones
  6. Imam Baba Leigh
  7. Mr. Harona Drammeh
  8. Mr. Gaye Sowe
  9. Margaret Keita – Founder and Executive Director

 

Margaret Keita

Founder and Executive Director

 

GAMBIAN DIASPORA PETITIONED IEC FOR VOTING RIGHTS

October 5, 2017

Election ballots

Gambians in the Diaspora have issued a petition urging The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission to commence the process of enfranchising Gambians living abroad. The petition is available in the link below and consists of five points around the registration and voting process for Gambians abroad.

https://www.change.org/p/voting-rights-of-gambians-living-abroad-petition-making-it-a-reality/nftexp/ex5/control/224634011?recruiter=224634011&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=share_page&utm_content=ex5%3Acontrol

Voting Rights of Gambians Living Abroad Petition: Making it a Reality
After enduring twenty-two (22) years of dictatorship under the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh, the people of the Republic of The Gambia voted for a new president, President Adama Barrow, to lead the nation-rebuilding process of the New Gambia. Gambians living abroad played a key role in the struggle for justice and good governance that culminated in the formation of a coalition of seven political parties, which contested and won the presidential election that brought an end to Jammeh’s rule on 1st December 2016.

Although the right of every Gambian, resident at home or abroad, to vote in general elections is guaranteed in the Constitution of The Republic of The Gambia, the government under former President Jammeh failed to demonstrate the commitment and support that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) required to discharge its mandate to register Gambians living abroad to vote, as prescribed under Section 11 of the Elections Act of The Republic of The Gambia. As a result, a large number of Gambians living abroad have been disenfranchised and denied the right to fully participate in the affairs of their country. The Gambia has now entered a new challenging phase, which all well-meaning Gambians, friends of The Gambia and the country’s development partners hope will set the foundation for a truly democratic country that fully subscribes to the universally accepted principles of good governance and transparency, to deliver peace and prosperity to the people of The Gambia. In this regard, the enfranchisement of Gambians living abroad is not only a right but a necessity for the consolidation of the democratic gains of the New Gambia. Like our Senegalese counterparts, Gambians living abroad should be allowed, without undue burden, to take part in elections at home.

Our Demands
We the undersigned respectfully demand of the IEC of The Republic of The Gambia to discharge, with absolute urgency, its constitutional duty to register Gambians living abroad to take part in the upcoming constitutional referendum and subsequent elections, in accordance with the Constitution and Section 11 of the Elections Act of The Gambia. Specifically:
1. We ask the IEC to announce a timeline for the registration of Gambians living abroad;
2. We ask the IEC to clearly spell out the registration process for Gambians living abroad;
3. We ask the IEC to announce the registration centres abroad, where Gambians living abroad shall be registered;
4. We ask the IEC to clearly spell out what documents Gambians living abroad would need in order to be registered to vote; and
5. We ask the IEC to clearly spell out how Gambians living abroad shall vote in elections and how votes cast outside the country shall be counted.

GAMBIA POLITICO – ONE GAMBIA ONE TRIBE!

September 19, 2017

Author: Yanks Dabo

By Yanks Dabo

Do not get angry against or hate the tribe of the bigot, who attacked your tribe. For he does not speak for his tribe, but speaks only for his rotten persona!

So measure your response appropriately; in order that you don’t attack all of his tribe – some of whom may have more love for you and your tribe than him and their tribe. And do not follow him into the error of misrepresenting yourself, as the spokesperson of your tribe.

Simply because none among the many of us -Gambian Facebookers and Social Media goons – have ever been nominated or selected or elected spokespersons of any one tribe of The Gambia. So none of us speak for any one tribe, as a whole!

So direct your polemics at the pretender bigot and expose him for who he is, which is him being a bigot without any trait of the tribe or tribes he pretends to be defending!

But whilst responding, take solace in the following wisdom: appreciate that, we were born into our tribes and not the other way round. They existed before anyone of us and will be here after us!

Therefore none of the Gambian tribes’ existence depend on anyone’s representation, protection or defence on Facebook or social media. They will not extinct because of anyone’s insolence attacks on Facebook! Neither will any of the Facebook insolence, affect every member of anyone tribe of The Gambia.

So have no fear of their tribalism and understand that none of the Gambian tribes are at risk of an existential threat of extinction from Facebook bigots and insolents.

Those who lack the discipline to the extent of resorting to insolence or vitriols against other tribes; should be shunned or blocked – one important tool inserted on Facebook – in order to deprive them of that space and time, they crave for to spew their garbage against our tribes.

We should not allow them to drag us into the mud of the back and forth, to misrepresent the banter into tribal warfare. When it is a battle between two or few nonentities of our Gambian tribes.

So let’s not pretend or be fooled that we can represent or speak for everyone of our Gambian tribes. The only person chosen to do that and to lead all of our tribes in The Gambia; is the President of The Gambia: President Adama Barrow. He speaks for all of them and not any of us on Facebook!

HELLO MR PRESIDENT…HAS GPA DECIDED?

September 19, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

Development is like a chain. Every link is important; and when one link is weak, it weakens the entire chain. If there is one broken link in the chain, it will have a domino effect which will end up causing a lot of unpleasant consequences.

The difficulties of the National Water and Electricity Company [NAWEC] is causing a lot of trouble for many sectors. Take for instance the Gambia Ports Authority. The problem of NAWEC has actually compounded the ineptitude of Gambia Ports Authority. People are being told at the Ferry Terminal in Banjul that there is no electricity; and as such, they cannot issue tickets. How inept!

The amount of money that GPA is collecting every single day – both from passengers and vehicles – is such that they can certainly have a standby generator, knowing that NAWEC are erratic. It is indeed very inconvenient for people to board the ferry from Banjul and are expected to buy the ticket in Barra.

The number of people who will be at that side trying to buy tickets alone will be overwhelming. If the people who will come from Banjul are also to buy the tickets from there, one can imagine how congested that place will be.

Some of these things are simply a question of prioritizing the priorities. Why can’t GPA buy standby generators for emergencies like this. I think these people can – should – do better. The ferry crossing points are great revenue generators for government and thus, every effort must be made to ensure quality service delivery. The citizens of this country deserve better.

I also know that the other crossing points at Farafenni and other parts of the country are nothing to write home about. Passengers suffer immeasurably at these crossing points.  Public servants must understand that we deserve better. If there weren’t passengers, they’d have had to pack up and go home. It is high time we started putting measures in place which will ensure that whoever does not deliver is removed and replaced. Appointments must be based on merit and nothing else. We certainly have competent people who can deliver.

Mr President, we have given you the mandate to manage the affairs of our nation, and as such, anyone who does not deliver can be removed. You are not under any obligation to appoint or retain anyone if s/he does not deliver.

Do something about Gambia Ports Authority ASAP!

Have a Good Day Mr President….

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

WHAT THE BARROW GOVERNMENT IS DOING WRONG

September 18, 2017

PRESIDENT BARROW

It is said “unreasonable demands often breathe bile into impotent rage, which soon turns rancid and bitter”. Thus, making one conclude that one is swimming against tempestuous waves of conspiracy. Anyone that defy your standpoint becomes a sellout. Unfortunately, being antiestablishment in new Gambian has become a swag-whether it is rooted on reasonable or unreasonable intent and purpose. On the other hand, celebrating the new government’s gains boxed as opportunistic. Honesty, however, instils no matter one’s proposition one must align himself or herself with factual truth even if it tests your person. Same is legit in holding a government accountable.

Dictatorship has been laid to rest with our concerted effort and desire to have a voice in how we are governed and by who. The Barrow leadership is everything that Jammeh never was. Does that make it perfect? Certainly not. Therefore, to help it perfect its imperfections, we must reasonably hold it to account by pointing out its omissions and substantiating our objection with corrective alternatives. For instance, even Foday Jawla who lays his life for the leadership without a second thought agrees it is fitting to replace the Jammeh cronies still on taxpayers’ cheques. In a nutshell, regime change must be complimented by systematic unfolding of system change. Without a complete system change desk on both institutional and practice changes the leadership efforts to achieve its goals will remain elusive. Evidence to my claim is plastered vividly on the ongoing commission of enquiry into Goloh Ajumah’s financial undercurrents. Goloh Ajumah was assisted to loot us by some public and private sector Gambians without any physical coercion. None so far has told the commission that s/he was physically forced to assist in the looting even after Goloh Ajumah left the country. If such person remains in the system, what guarantees do the Barrow leadership has to assure us that s/he will not continue to milk our national coffers?

The other area that the leadership needs to heavily invest in is cutting on unnecessary government expenditures. According to what they are telling us, they inherited empty coffers from Goloh yet some of them fly more than birds in the air. The huge entourage that travels with the leadership on government expenses must be scaled down to save us some Bututs. Fatou Camara has equally highlighted that GG vehicles frequent our streets far more than the cabbies. Such vehicles don’t run on water and what even makes it worse is great proportion of those journeys are not official. I still recollect Balfour Ankomah’s article “A Stranger in Banjul” published in New African Magazine many moons ago. He could not hide his dismay on how the Jawara leadership comfortably watched appalling state of Banjul given its size without much ado.

A similar grey area that needs fixing by the Barrow leadership is setting its priorities right. A classic example is the Tourism Ministry. What kind of Tourism is Hon Bah selling to the Chinese? Please don’t tell me it is health or conference Tourism. Can any sane Gambian foresee Chinese coming as tourists to Banjul? Added up to this is the unreasonable relocation of the Ministry of Interior. One could have understood if the Ministry was under potential threat at its former location or the whole of the quadrangle. Then it would have been advisable to disperse the ministries to avert one major attack on all of them given their proximity. Since Gambia is not expose to any targeted potential terror threat what is the logic and financial gain of relocating the Ministry?

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

GAMBIA MEDICAL TOURISM: A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

September 17, 2017

Ousainou Darboe, President Barrow and Chinese diplomat. Photo credit: Mantankara Konko

Gambian President Adama Barrow announced earlier this week that his government has entered into an agreement with Israeli company International Medical Services to build a €220 Million state of the art hospital in The Gambia. At this stage little is known about the agreement, however, it appears as though this is the type of investment that the country needs. Currently, many Gambians travel abroad for health services. According to IMS President Ovadia Yardena, her group is committed to promoting health tourism in The Gambia and will build a modern 350-bed hospital. Ms. Yardena has a good relationship with the Government of Equatorial Guinea.

On the IMS official website, it highlights their “long-standing activity” with the people of Equatorial Guinea. This led to the appointment of Ms. Yardena as an Honorary Consul of Equatorial Guinea for Israel. Equatorial Guinea is currently the country of refuge for former Dictator Yahya Jammeh and their President is one of the longest-serving Dictators in West Africa having taken power since 1979. This may be irrelevant to the subject matter but the involvement of an Israeli medical company IMS in The Gambia requires significant attention, especially from Gambian health professionals.

Medical tourism is when foreign nationals travel to other countries for cheaper, quality health services. These services range from cosmetic surgeries, low-cost dental services, and organ transplantation. These services are primarily provided by the private sector and payments are mostly out of pocket. Private healthcare providers have little incentive to consider population-wide based services, however, the general public must be served through public health interventions focused on the health needs of the entire population or population groups. Individual healthcare, population health, and public policy decisions must, therefore, be premised on best available evidence to avoid poor and inappropriate interventions. This article aims to highlight the pros and cons of health tourism and the involvement of Israel in this booming industry.

Pros of Medical Tourism
There are significant benefits in favor of medical tourism in The Gambia. Patients traveling to Gambia for treatment helps to clear backlogs in sending countries and eases pressure on the demand for health services in sending countries. New health services will now be available to Gambians that can afford it. Previously such services would have to be accessed abroad.

For receiving countries, it will create a new stream of revenue via private-public partnerships and helps to stimulate trickle-down economics by increasing the inward flow of foreign currency. The delivery of construction services for the €220 Million hospital will have a positive impact on the local economy especially if Gambian businesses can feature prominently in construction projects. Revenue generated can be used to improve public health services for the greater population.

Another advantage of health tourism is the importation of new medical technology. The presence of a state of the art hospital can help to provide best practice benchmarking for local health services. A state of the art medical facility will also attract the latest medical technology to The Gambia which could benefit the University and public health delivery.

A thriving health tourism industry will require experts to manage and run daily operations of the hospital. Although this is a private venture Gambian medical experts working abroad could be lured back home, thereby reversing the brain drain of the country’s medical professionals.

Cons of Medical Tourism
In receiving countries, medical tourism contributes to the creation of dual health delivery system, one for rich foreigners and one for poor locals. It leads also to draining of public sector funds and implementation of policies biased to commercial medicine. There are many risks around health tourism such as no congruent treatment and continuity and patient follow-ups. It opens up the possibility of illicit medical practices like illegal organ trade. There are many advantages and disadvantages but the most serious concern is that medical tourism encourages illicit organ trade in poor countries.

According to the WHO’s Veronica Riemer, “while most countries in the developed world have a legal system of oversight for organ transplantation, the fact remains that demand far outstrips supply. As a result, a black market has arisen in many poorer countries enabling those who can afford to buy organs to exploit those who are desperate enough to sell them. Sometimes, people travel to other countries specifically to buy organs they can’t find at home.”

The Royal Society of Medicine highlights the “many risks accompany the inclusion of organ transplant packages among the medical procedures sold to international patients. These dangers are magnified in countries where kidneys are purchased in underground economies or black markets. In these settings, promoting organ transplant packages to international patients’ risks escalating the number of kidneys purchased from poor citizens. Growing demand for transplants prompts organ brokers to increase the number of kidneys bought from impoverished individuals and sold to international patients.”
According to the Royal Society of Medicine study, in the Philippines, poor organ donors sell their kidneys for as little as $2,000. Proponents of commercial organ transplantation argue that poor individuals should be allowed to profit from selling a kidney. However, several studies indicate that the money poor individuals expect to obtain from selling a kidney goes to debt collectors.

Israeli Connection
In 2014 the New York Times published a report headlined “Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desperate Kidney Patients to Costa Rica”. The demand for organ transplants is on the rise and this demand will follow hospitals that offer cheap organ transplantation. Many organ transplant experts and journalists highlight that Israel contributes significantly towards the highest receivers of organ transplants. They also have a thriving organ brokerage business with networks across the globe.
According to “a Times analysis of major trafficking cases since 2000 suggests that Israelis have played a disproportionate role. That is in part because of religious strictures regarding death and desecration that have kept deceased donation rates so low that some patients feel they must turn elsewhere. “When someone needs an organ transplant, they’ll do everything in their power,” said Meir Broder, a top legal adviser to Israel’s Ministry of Health.”

In South Africa, the Guardian reports that “Netcare, which also runs hospitals in Britain, took part in an international scam that allegedly saw poor Brazilians and Romanians paid $6,000 (£3,840) for their kidneys to be transplanted to wealthy Israelis.” It’s reported that kidneys “were initially sourced from Israeli citizens, but later Romanian and Brazilian citizens were recruited as their kidneys were obtainable at much lower cost than those of the Israeli suppliers.” This took place in “South Africa’s biggest private hospital group” which admitted to “receiving R3.8m (£342,000) from an illegal organ trafficking scam that included the removal of kidneys from five children.”

Conclusion
Although there is no reason to assume that IMS has or will conduct organ transplantation in The Gambia, significant evidence indicates a heavy Israeli presence in the illegal organ trade. The Gambia has a youthful population and an unemployment problem. This makes them an easy target for organ hunters who usually target young healthy people. It’s not uncommon to read of migrants exploited for their organs. According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, “selling purchased organs to medical tourists, organ transplant facilities and transplant procedures should be excluded from medical tourism initiatives. Including organ transplants among the procedures marketed to international patients risks undermining health equity and reducing the number of citizens who have access to organ transplantation.” Countries like Israel that conduct organ transplant have strict rules incorporated in their Organ Transplant Act. This helps to regularise the activities of organ transplant and deters illegal black market activities.

Could it be that the Government, Health and Tourism Ministry, in particular, are not aware of the pros and cons of health tourism? A thorough review of the impact could help the executive make an informed decision for The Gambian people. Health tourism should not be promoted to the disadvantage of public health services. It is possible to strike a balance, however, the dangers of exploitation and the health impact it can have on poor people who donate their organs due to financial constraints can be significant and poses a moral and ethical problem.

Most countries that practice organ transplantation only permit altruistic organ donations and ban commercial donations. This often leads to a black market prompting experts to recommend legislating and regulating commercial organ donations to eliminate the black market. What is certain is that the Gambia will need the right legislation and vigilant monitoring if organ transplantation will be permitted. For The Gambia to make this public-private venture a success, commercial organ transplantation should be excluded from health tourism packages. The government will also need to designate revenue generated from this venture toward improving the delivery of public health services.

Even with rigorous monitoring and the right legislation, there are concerns raised by the Guardian that Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent. This does not give confidence that Israeli Investors will play by the rules. After all, a €220 Million investment will be expected to generate significant profit.

By Yusef  Taylor, @FlexDan-YT

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)