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GOOD MORNING MR. PRESIDENT: On Gambia’s absence at UK-Africa Summit

Jan 27, 2020, 1:24 PM

Mr. President, last week on 20 January, The United Kingdom hosted its first Africa Summit with about 22 countries and 16 heads of state in London without linguistic divide. Traditional events such as the UK-Africa investment summit attract global interest but this time it kicked off regrettably without The Gambia. Previous events organised by countries such as the USA, India, Japan, France and China extended invitations to all African states to discuss trade, investments and politics and Gambia was never excluded.

Mr. President, the absence of The Gambia in this important UK-Africa investment summit has made the general public enquire from your government why Gambia was not present at the summit?

Was it an oversight or is the Gambia’s longtime relationship with the UK now on brink of relegation? Is it because the New Gambia has not fulfilled its obligations within the dictates of the Commonwealth’s values and principles or lack of foresight?

Mr. President, the country at this stage should be prepared to take advantage of the latest in a series of what is coming to be known as Africa-plus-one summit referring to the idea of several African countries plus one non-African country doing business.

Mr. President, the Turkish President RaceppTayibb Edergon is coming to The Gambia today for the first time for day’s visit and several experts and businessmen are accompanying him. You and members of your government should take the opportunity to review and strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries especially in the field of trade, infrastructure, energy, health, education, military cooperation, transport, health and other important areas.

Mr. President, last week, we wrote about the issues of permits and demonstrations in the country but then it seems like another part of the movie is unfolding.

The issue of denying political parties permit to hold their rallies will only cause more chaos in the country. Political parties who have met all the requirement of the IEC should be given chance to hold rallies in order to be able to sell their manifestos. There are many new political parties registered recently and they need to promote their political agendas too.

Mr. President, the playing field needs to be levelled so that we can all work towards achieving a peaceful election next year.

The IGP should avoid denying permits for days and then giving it at the last hour. Proper scrutinising always has to be done before reaching a conclusion to avoid confusions and confrontations.

Finally Mr. President, there has been news of a recent disease caused by the Coronavirus which has already killed about 45 people in China.

It is very important that the Health minister and health personnel be on the alert and get equipped response team on the standby. The populace needs to be educated and sensitised about this disease.

There should be very strict surveillance in our borders especially at the airport. It is necessary to check thoroughly those coming from Asia particularly China.

Prevention is better than cure.

Good day!

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