Apr 9, 2015, 9:51 AM
21 reinstated Gambian ambassadors to various countries yesterday met with
President Adama Barrow, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International
Cooperation Gambians Abroad, ahead of their departure to their various
missions, after attending the country’s 52nd independence anniversary
celebration and inauguration of President Adama Barrow.
Speaking on the occasion, President Barrow said all the ambassadors are welcomed to the new Gambia, after 22 years of APRC rule.
He said The Gambia has changed from a dictatorship to a democracy.
With that positive change, The Gambia has a lot of goodwill around the world and they happened to be the ambassadors representing The Gambia around the world at this crucial time.
“We came to government not to have anything personal against anybody. The government has changed, but The Gambia has to continue working under the Gambia Government, and you ambassadors are part of that. You were appointed by the APRC under Jammeh’s government and you have the right to work under the government,” Barrow continued.
President Barrow further stated that his government would encourage the ambassadors to continue doing the good job they were doing for the past years, and to work even harder because The Gambia is a young democracy, and all hands must be on deck to move the country forward.
He reiterated that The Gambia has come out from a very difficult time, and the Gambia government became a complete liability, as the country was isolated under the previous regime.
The country should have benefited a lot, but because of the previous government, which were not respecting democratic principles; but some of the ambassadors took the bull by the horn and called on Jammeh to step down, even though it was a risky move.
Also speaking at the meeting was Ousainou Darboe, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, who thanked the ambassadors for their courtesy call on President Barrow, because it would help him to familiarise himself with his ambassadors.
Minister Darboe added that the constitutional responsibilities of shaping and implementing the foreign policy of the country rests clearly on the shoulders of the President, and the rest of them are delegated to function within that foreign policy.
“It is, therefore, very important that the President knows and familiarizes himself with those ambassadors who are entrusted with the responsibilities of implementing Gambia’s foreign policy, because they are the one representing Gambians aboard.”
Lamin Faati, permanent secretary 2 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said there is a new government in place, and it was important for the diplomats to use the opportunity to meet the new minister.
He recalled that during the impasse, the ambassadors put pressure on the former government to relinquish power.
“They were invited to come and attend the inauguration of President Barrow, as well as the Independence festivities.
“As ministry of Foreign Affairs, we decided for them to have an interaction with the minister, since they are at the forefront of diplomacy and foreign policy.”
Also speaking was Dembo Badjie, dean of Gambian diplomats and the country’s ambassador to the Peoples’ Republic of China.
Badjie said some months back the ambassadors articulated their views on the prevailing circumstances in the country at the time, because they felt that diplomacy is about image.
He said on 2 December 2016, The Gambia was on the world map for all the right reasons and, again on 9 December, the country was on the world map for all the wrong reasons.
“As the representatives of the country abroad we felt that it is our professional duty to speak out on the issues and ask the former government to step down, and to ensure the peaceful transfer of power to the president-elect at the time, Adama Barrow, in accordance with the will of the Gambian people.”
He thanked the government for reinstating them in their positions, after the decision was made by the former president for their jobs to be terminated.
He assured the new Gambian authorities that they would “remain resolutely committed to supporting the new government, and would continue to do our job professionally in the best interest of the Government of The Gambia and Gambians.”