Good Morning Mr. President: New Year’s resolutions

Monday, January 08, 2018

Mr. President, as this is our first edition of “Good Morning Mr. President” in the 2018, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and members of your government a happy, prosperous, health, peaceful and successful New Year.

Mr. President, during your New Year’s message, you identified the following five thematic areas as your presidential priorities during your tenure of office; Energy and Infrastructure, Agriculture, Health, Education and Youth Empowerment and Tourism. These are very important areas that the country needs in its strive towards development and it’s pleasing that your government has identified them as priorities.

Mr. President, the increment on Transport allowances of civil servants was a move in the right direction as transportation in the country still remains a nightmare for workers. This increment should be made across the board including those in the provinces as it serves as motivation for workers.

The Ministry of Finance’s new policy to cut down expenditures on fuel of government, ministers and permanent secretaries’ vehicles and to have only one official vehicle should be commended as this will help reduce the expenditures of government. It shouldn’t stop on fuel alone but also on official travelling of government personnel outside the country. Number of delegates travelling with the president should also be reduced to minimise cost.

Mr President, about 60% of the population of the Gambia are youths and their number one hobby is sports. It was very disappointing not to hear Sport named in your thematic areas mentioned in your New Year’s message. Sport is not just pleasure but also an investment and Sports bring unity and peace. We are appealing to your government to take into the sports of the country and to engage the private sector, GSM companies, Gambia National lottery, the business sector to invest in sport so that it can be developed, be more popular and successful.

Mr President, another important area that needs serious attention is the security of the country. There should be as many checkpoints as possible and patrolling during the night time to help curb criminals around our borders and in towns as the level of arm robbery and stealing in the country nowadays is at an alarming rate. The security should be boosted and well equipped in terms of transportation, mobiles, reflectors, helmets, life jackets, touches etc. to make their work easy by as we are now seeing security men being attacked in the country.

Mr. President, the killing of 13 people in the Senegalese Region of Casamance on Friday Jan. 13, by unidentified men is sign of security threat for both The Gambia and Senegal; therefore more collaborated effort is needed. It is reported that some their bodies those killed were decapitated, making it humanly unacceptable. It should also serve as an eye-opener among different security apparatus in the country to make sure that such things do not happen in New Gambia.

Mr. President, it is unfortunate that drugs such as cannabis trafficking is on increase in the country. The arrest by the personnel of the Drug Enforcement Agency has given weight to the fact that cannabis is still a problem in the country. Security should therefore be re-enforced to put this menace at bay. 

Mr. President, the Agricultural sector should also be boosted as the food prices are hiking in the market. More rice cultivation, vegetable gardening, groundnut and cotton cultivations should be encouraged.

We all agreed that the energy crisis in the country is improving but more need to be done to end this long term inherited electricity and water crisis in the country. We want to remind you that the target time promised to solve this problem is February 2018 and its fast approaching.

Mr. President, the Health and Education sectors are still lacking behind. Doctors, nurses, lectures and teachers need to be motivated. Some learning institutions, health centers and hospitals are in very poor state and should be upgraded and equipped. We need more specialist doctors as technical assistants from friendly countries to help reduce the rate of patients being referred or sent for overseas treatment as mostly many patients couldn’t afford the bills.

Good Day