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Barrow Gov’t holds first retreat

May 8, 2017, 10:57 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

A three-day retreat for The Gambia’s Cabinet Ministers under the theme “Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue” held at the Coral Hotel (former Sheraton Hotel) on Friday at Brufut.

The retreat is organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in The Gambia.

Among the objectives are the achievements of more effective and holistic strategies for inclusive processes that advance governance in the country and identify key priorities for the government.

Speaking at the opening retreat, Secretary General and head of Civil Service Dawda F. Fadera, said the way forward is to create a national platform for dialogue, encouragement, understanding, commitment and unity around the agenda for the New Gambia.

He added that expectations are high and they are all looking forward to an interactive session, working together with facilitators, resource persons and distinguished rapporteurs to have something to bring back to the new Gambia.

A representative from the Economics Commission for Africa, Fatimah Denton, said that the meeting is important for the ECA as it offers a unique opportunity for the UN family and its strategic partner NEPAK to work collaboratively and deliver as one.

She added that for over 60 years, ECA has been involved in the economic and social development of Africa through industrialization and economics.

The United Nations Special Envoy for West Africa, Dr Muhammed Ibn Chambas, said that it is a great pleasure for him to be part of this three-day retreat in the new Gambia.

Dr Chambas added that the people of The Gambia now have the opportunity to shape and brighten and better future for all Gambians irrespective of their party, ethnicity, religion or language.

He stated that the world is impressed by the smooth transition of power in the country and that the jubilant crowd that followed President Adama Barrow from the airport shows that expectations are running high in the population.

Abdoulaye Dieye, of the United Nations Development Programme for Africa, said the will of the people is the only legitimate foundation for any government and that the protection of free expression should be the first object of any organisation.

Gambians, he added, have shown that people united will never be defeated and the people of The Gambia have already built a bridge to the future.

President Adama Barrow, in his opening remarks, said the retreat could not have come at a better time given that the new cabinet members and their technicians are working hard to finalize and align the vision contained in the Coalition 2016 election manifesto with the new national development blueprint.

“This workshop clearly provides us the unique opportunity to interact and enhance our ability to create a conducive environment in which we can hold inclusive and constructive conversations on how best to serve our people,” he said.

“We have inherited many challenges including a low performing public service, a lack of accountability as well as a lack of a credible policy direction that has, understandably, led to a growing frustration in the population, particularly among the youth,” he added.

“Clearly, we have come from a painful past, especially in the last two decades, in which we hurt each other in many different ways. While I strongly believe in the healing power of reconciliation and forgiveness, it is important to underscore the reality that justice must not only be served but in fact be seen to be done where necessary. However, what is urgently required of us is to unify the country around our transformative development agenda so that we can move speedily with our bilateral and multilateral partners to bring about socio-economic development for our people,” he continued.

Concluding he said: “Accountability will be a crucial start and a most important element is for the leadership to be exemplary in the management of natural resources.

“As such, we must demonstrate by our personal action a commitment to the highest standard of integrity and personal positive reform for the public to follow.

“The Gambia’s aspiration for inclusiveness that leaves no one behind and builds peaceful and strong communities across the country is vital to the success of our democracy.

“The Gambia cannot afford to leave its women and youths behind making it important that all collaborative efforts include and involve women equally, to achieve sustainable peace and development.”