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Gambia-UK ties: Ensure more fruitful cooperation

Feb 15, 2017, 10:24 AM

We welcome the British foreign secretary Boris Johnson for his visit to The Gambia.  For many years, we have not received a high-profile British personality such as Mr Johnson. 

We hope his visit will foster our relationship, which has existed since Britain was our colonial master. 

Mr Johnson’s visit to The Gambia is highly welcomed, to restore the excellent relations we had during the first republic. 

His visit will open a big opportunity for the two countries to explore areas of mutual interest, especially in the fields of trade and economic ties, health, education scholarships and tourism sector.

These are needed to be revamped to assist the new government in reforming the army and the police by giving them training and equipment. 

“This is the first recorded visit to The Gambia by a foreign secretary,” a press release announcing the coming of Mr Johnson said. 

Lord David Triesman was then the Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  He was in The Gambia during the 7th Summit of African Union Heads of States and Government in July 2006. 

We should open a new page for all sides to play key roles for the socio-economic development of our countries. 

Britain, as a great nation and partner to The Gambia, should also assist in terms of education since English is our official language.

Sports, particularly football, which many Gambians support, need support.

The Gambia government in turn should promote tourism since 50 per cent of our tourists are British. We should give them all the necessary facilities to encourage and promote tourism.

There should be more incentives to reduce the tax burden on the people, as well as electricity tariff for hotels in the country, since we are competing with neighbouring countries.

In the health sector, we need efficient equipment and manpower to bring effective service delivery to the sector.

UK also should speed up our re-entry into the Commonwealth, since we were isolated due to our withdrawal from the body, which caused a serious harm to our nation.

Also, Britain as our ex-colonial master, should help us to find solution to our electricity constraints, which has lasted more than three decades.

All genuine Gambians wishing to travel to the UK for business, holiday, and education should be given a visa.  Gambians with valid papers should be given access. 

Also Gambians residing in the UK for many years without crime should be given residence permit, so they will contribute their quota to the development of both countries.

British and Gambians should love each other, assist each other and respect each other because they are bonded in common values. 

“ I am a believer in cooperation.”

Franco Modigliani