Monday, December 31, 2018

On behalf of the Management, Editorial Board and the entire staff of The Point Newspaper, we extend to you, the First family, your government, the people of the Republic of The Gambia and our esteemed readership, fraternal greetings and a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Mr. President, the year just ending has witnessed your government’s modest yet impressive strides to improve the lot of the Gambian people in a fresh air of democracy, freedom and respect for the rule of law; ideals that were elusive to us for the 22 traumatic years that preceded your tenure. Therefore, we say congratulations and advise that you never waver on issues of human rights, freedom and democracy because their cumulative dividends are way too superior to dictatorships.

Mr. President, the last two months of the past year witnessed probably the most raucous exchanges between you and elements of the UDP - United Democratic Party; the very party you belonged to until your resignation in the prelude to the formation of the 2016 Grand Coalition as required by the circumstances. What continues to raise eyebrows among Gambians is the unmitigated belligerence that dominates the airwaves especially from within the UDP party hierarchy. Particularly worrisome is the verbal exchanges, real or imagined between you and your VP, Ousainou Darboe and the trading of verbal barbs among UDP elements who are almost at daggers-point. We advise that whatever differences there are, you immediately nip them in the bud and focus on the supreme national interest of The Gambia and its people who since independence in 1965, have seen little progress to keep them out of abject poverty. Working together with Vice President Darboe will bring stability and prosperity to our nation.

Mr. President, most Gambians have a lot of trust and confidence in you and please deliver to expectations. Your recent engagements with residents of the URR are a welcome development and within a short span, our rural folk will be witnessing the completion of these much-needed infrastructural projects. Certainly, good motorable roads, bridges, good schools and clinics are a sine qua non to our development paradigm and we encourage you to keep the momentum. Another aspect that your government should always keep an eye on is to maintain peace and fight criminals who are going around breaking houses and stealing household properties. The security personnel should be equipped and motivated to safeguard our country better in the coming year.    

Mr. President, central to good governance and democracy is discipline, good work ethics, patriotism, honesty and above all, fiscal discipline which has been lacking in our country for decades. The argument in town and around the world is that most of your Cabinet ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Directors spend more time airborne than their offices. Government officials should minimise their travels and control of fuel and cars to save money.

Mr. President, it’s also rumoured that the State was to buy an aircraft for your trips. If it’s true, please do not go for it, the State has enough problems hiring chartered flights for you talkless of a presidential jet. This will really ruin our economy. Either way, the cost is still expensive to our economy or so we advise that the technocrats weigh the options carefully and choose the better option.
Mr. President, we ask that you take stock of these major concerns and ensure that waste of our limited national resources is abated and those found wanting are punished to avoid recurrence.

We wish you a very successful New Year.

Good Day!