Monday, April 08, 2019

Mr. President, your counterpart and friend, President Macky Sall has been sworn in as the president of our neighbouring Senegal for a second term mandate.

We hope that this will avail the two countries the chance to fulfil the promises you made to the peoples of the two countries when you both signed last year’s joint communiqué especially in areas of security and infrastructure. The two countries should also try to promote good neighbourliness. Free movement of goods and people should also be promoted. The air ticket fares should also be revisited as it’s very expensive to travel by air between the two countries which is just about 25 minutes flying but costs D16,000.

Mr. President, there is a very hot debate in town surrounding the arrest, detention, bail, murder charge and sacking of John C.B. Mendy, a former orderly to former vice chairman of the 1994 Junta and a witness of the famous TRRC which is still ongoing. He currently works for GIA.

Mr. President, is it wise to charge a witness whilst the sittings are still going on and whilst waiting for the TRRC to submit its recommendations?

Despite the manner in which the witness presented himself in the sittings, it won’t be fair to charge him alone leaving other perpetrators free whilst waiting for the recommendations to be submitted at the end of the sittings.

The Attorney General and The Ministry of Justice also need to explain on what grounds they are asking his employer to sack him, whilst other alleged perpetrators are still working with The Gambia National Army and other security forces.

Mr. President, another issue of concern is the money spent on Janneh Commission; over D50 million. Looking at the Janneh Commission for example, though they did a great job, however, the money spent is also of concern. Your government should start looking at such expenditures as the country has other urgent priorities like electricity, roads, and transportation than spending such huge amounts on commissions.

Mr. President, your government should notice the important role journalists play in the development of the country and endeavour to nurture and foster a very good working relationship between your government and them.

Whilst thanking your government for reaching an agreement with the journalists’ body GPU over the credentials issue and scrutiny by the SIS, we still remind you of the need to abolish the draconian laws that still exist and the need to uphold the freedom of the press and the rule of law.

Finally Mr. President, Ramadan is around the corner, just less than a month more to go, as calendars indicate May 5th 2019. It is important for the minister of Trade to work with importers especially on the issue of price inflation and the scarcity of most commodities which is very rampant during the holy month of Ramadan. Shopkeepers should be warned.

NAWEC also needs to work on the electricity and water supply as these are very much needed during this period.

Good day.