GOOD MORNING MR. PRESIDENT: The issue of caste in Gambia

Monday, June 03, 2019

Mr. President, the ongoing fight over caste in the Upper River Region (URR), (Koina village) needs urgent attention.

Last week Saturday incident is reported to have sparked a wave of panic in the region, after colossal destruction of properties in a violent protest.

At least 23 people have so far been arrested by security in the region and 10 others sustained injuries from the clash.

Mr. President, peace and stability are very important in promoting economic development of individuals and society. Hence, no one needs to remind you of the significance of peace and stability. Most especially in The Gambia, it is a fact that the country is still in transition.

Mr. President, please be reminded that the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) that your government developed and put in place can never be achieved in the absence of peace and stability.

Mr. President, just recently, The Gambia recorded the world’s largest improvement in peace, moving up 35 places in the latest ranking of Global Peace Index, from 111th in 2017 to 76th today.  This massive achievement now means that The Gambia is ranked, for the first time, amongst the 15 most peaceful countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the ongoing so-called caste problem in URR must be put to rest with immediate effect and those found wanting must be brought to justice.

This recent achievement that the country recorded in the Global Peace Index cannot be derailed by any community or individual in the name of caste system.

Mr. President, according to the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, all citizens are equal and no one is better than the other. Therefore, no one should be discriminated based on his or her tribe, race or whatsoever.

Mr. President, addressing the ongoing caste scuffle at Koina village and URR in particular should be the top priority of your government before it leads to undesired situation.

We believe that if appropriate measures were taken when similar clashes occurred last year at Koina and Diabugu Batapa villages in the Sandu District, the latest incident wouldn’t have repeated itself.

Mr. President,  the issues of ‘Maslaha syndrome’ needs to be thrown away when dealing with such kind of sensitive issues, which of course have the potentials of jeopardizing the peace and stability that the country is known for.

We hope that those that are entrusted to conduct the investigation will leave up to expectations. All those that are involved in the clash should be prosecuted so that it can serve as deterrent. We also have to commend the security personnel for putting the situation under control.

Bird strikes at the airport

Mr. President, the ongoing bird strikes at the Banjul International Airport needs immediate measures to end it once and for all.

No one needs to remind you that the country only has one airport and that we cannot afford to be declared unsafe for flying planes. 

Mr. President your government cannot deny the fact that they are aware of the dumpsite around the airport.

We need to graduate from the habit of always addressing issues when it happened. If actions such as clearing the dumpsite around the airport were taken before this day, the bird strikes would have not happened at such magnitude. It is a good move that a task-force committee has been identified to look into these issues. Again, attitudinal change, particularly from the community, is paramount.

Finally, Mr. President, the anti-littering law should be implemented, and people found wanting be prosecuted for violating the law.

The Brikama Area Council should also endeavour to identify a designated dumping site where the community can throw their wastes.

Good day, Mr. President!