Jul 26, 2012, 1:52 PM
The ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan, His Excellency Richard Shih, on Monday presented a cheque for $528,645 about D15 million to the Gambia Armed Forces.
According to the chief Taiwanese diplomat, the money is meant to support the renovation and rehabilitation works on soldiers’ residence at the Yundum Barracks.
Ambassador Shih said Taiwan would continue to support President Jammeh and the Gambian people in their development endeavours.
No meaningful development can take place in any country without the armed forces, he says, adding: “Taiwan will always be The Gambia’s development partner.”
He continued: “My duty here is also a very simple one; that is to handover the cheque for the renovation and rehabilitation works of the residence of the soldiers at the barracks and this will boost President Jammeh’s efforts at having a modern army.
“I will always look forward to working with the Gambia Armed Forces for this year and years ahead.”
He expressed satisfaction at the progress of the ongoing work at the barracks so far.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Harry Sambou, received the cheque from Ambassador Shih at a ceremony held at the Yundum Military Barracks.
PS Sambou described the day as a dream come true for them. He informed the gathering that it is President Jammeh’s wish and resolve to turn Yundum Barracks into the best barracks in the sub-region.
“This is yet another manifestation of your country’s magnanimity towards the Gambian people, in their quest to forge ahead towards progress and prosperity,” he said.
He acknowledged the previous support Taiwan had rendered to Yundum Barracks.
PS Sambou also acknowledged that progress had been made in the rehabilitation process in the barracks, meaning the funds allocated “are being used for their intended purposes”.
He assured the donor “the money presented will be fully utilized” for the intended purposes.
For his part, Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh, chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of The Gambia Armed Forces, described the day great for them.
“I am extremely happy and delighted at receiving the cheque for such an amount from the government of Taiwan, in fulfillment of the sponsorship package they prepared for the renovation of the accommodation blocks at the Yundum Barracks,” he said.
He was extremely happy, he said, and on behalf of His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, president and commander-in-chief of The Gambia Armed Forces and the entire armed forces of The Gambia, thanked the Taiwanese government for the generous gesture.
“We are all living witnesses to the support and encouragement the Republic of China on Taiwan continues to provide towards the developmental efforts of President Jammeh,” said CDS Kinteh.
The gesture, he says, goes to address the welfare and needs of the members of the Gambia Armed Forces.
The presentation ceremony was chaired by the public relations officer of the Gambia Armed Forces, Lieutenant Omar Bojang.
He spoke on the many supports rendered to The Gambia by the government of Taiwan, particularly in the health, education and agriculture sectors.
Lt Bojang said the donation had brought them joy, while acknowledging the precious gesture.
The renovation and rehabilitation of Yundum Barracks is crucial in the developmental agenda of the Gambia Armed Forces, he says.