Heads of Government unanimously accepted The Gambia’s application to return to
the Commonwealth, effective February 8, 2018, according to Foreign Affairs
The Gambia had been a member of the Commonwealth since 1965, but quits the organisation in 2013 following former President Jammeh’s unilateral decision to withdraw the country’s membership, which the ministry described as regrettable.
The minister of Foreign Affairs, Ousainou Darboe, reflects on the very day that the country was withdrawn from the Commonwealth by the former President Jammeh, saying its consequences had had far reaching effects on our nation.
“It diminished The Gambia’s voice on pertinent issues at the global platform such as Climate Change, economic development and South-South Cooperation, which are vital to the development of this country,” he said.
He therefore dedicated what he called ‘a great moment’ to the young people of The Gambia.
Minister Dorboe further expressed optimism that The Gambia Judiciary will once more be able to recruit judges from other Commonwealth countries, enjoy immigration privileges in the United Kingdom, which he said were suspended in November 2015 under British Nationality (The Gambia) Order 2015, and also be able to actively participate in the commonwealth games and other sporting events.
“We also hope to tap into the trade and investment opportunities that the Commonwealth offers so that The Gambia can expand its economy and effectively participate in the global marketplace,” he said.
Meanwhile, the press statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad says the government of The Gambia recognises the role of the Commonwealth as an intergovernmental champion of small states, advocating for their special needs. It provides policy advice on political, economic and social developmental issues.
“Therefore, The Gambia is ready to regain its former glory on the international stage and reiterates its commitment to the fundamental values of the Commonwealth Charter.”
“It is the fervent desire of this government that our membership to the Commonwealth will usher in an era of socio-economic development to compliment the government’s ongoing efforts, especially for women and youth.
British High Commissioner to The Gambia, Sharon Wardle said that welcomes the move, saying it’s a sign of commitment to good governance, democracy and human rights.
Lindiwe Maleleka, political officer, Governance and Peace Directorate of Commonwealth Secretariat, pointed out that, since The Gambia left the Commonwealth, the heads of government of Commonwealth expressed regret for The Gambia’s leaving.
She, however, confirmed that all the 52 states have unanimously endorsed the Gambia’s return to Commonwealth’. She disclosed that The Gambia will now be invited to the upcoming Commonwealth meeting of heads of government in London.