Jun 11, 2009, 7:20 AM
Sir or Madam,
It is a great honour for me to write you the short recommendation in the following areas: Economy, National Assembly, Agriculture, Constitution and Security Forces.
Firstly, I would like to congratulate His Excellency President of the third Republic of The Gambia Mr. Adama Barrrow for the trust which Gambians bestowed on him by overwhelming electing him on 2nd December 2016 to the highest office in our dear motherland.
Additionally, I commend him for demonstrating in his inauguration speech that he is the President for all Gambians regardless of their tribal or political affiliations; one Gambia one people. Our expectation of the Coalition Government is huge.
Furthermore, by commissioning this “Think Tank” a kind of which has never existed in the history of our country, demonstrates great wisdom from President Barrow. It gives equal opportunity to every Gambian that nation building is our shared responsibility.
Hopefully this Agency would serve as a platform for Gambians at all levels to share ideas, common interests and visions for economic development initiatives. We cannot all be politicians or participate in the political process. But providing a channel of communication between politicians and masses of peoples would enable the citizens to transmit their opinions to authorities which will surely cement the relationship between both sides. I hoped this agency will be a permanent institution to serve that purpose.
My recommendation for economic development in The Gambia:
There are many economy resources in The Gambia including human resources. However, with the lack of employment and job opportunities in the country many of these human resources especially among the youths are fruitless due to migrating to the West and United States of America.
1: My recommendation is: the Coalition Government should introduce ‘volunteering semester tax’ at least $300 to encourage every Gambian who is currently living in Europe and America to pay this as their contribution to the national development fund.
2: The Coalition must ensure there is sustainable economic plan which will encourage Gambian intellectuals, experts, and engineers to return and invest their knowledge and experience for nation building.
My recommendation for national assembly reform:
1: The Coalition Government should ensure that the Presidential decree which allows him to nominate members to the national assembly is increased from five nominated members to twenty nominated members. This nomination should include members of the Gambian Supreme Islamic Council, Christian Council, district chiefs, members from business community, major land owners, and from spiritual institutions like Marabouts.
My recommendation for constitution reforms:
1: The new Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia should include a fixed two-five year term limit for Presidency. It must abolish the requirement for a school certificate for any citizens who might want to run for the highest office in the land, whether it’s presidential or national assembly elections as well as Gambians who hold dual nationality.
To build the nation should not only be confined to those with certificates of education but it should extend to anyone with genuine political ideas with social and economic skills and have a desire for national development. There are many successful business men and women in The Gambia who have never been to school, however they managed to build successful business empires for their families and communities.
1: The Coalition Government should ensure there are economic plans for food security in the republic of The Gambia which will enable sustainable economy development. To achieve these goals agriculture will play a crucial role. Thus land reforms laws are urgently needed such as all forming lands must cease to be privately owned rather it should belong to the government. This would enable the government to invite investors both from within the country and overseas. It must be individuals who are equipped with a variety of farming experience in the area of agriculture. Those new regulations will enable the government to contract the land by lease to those individuals and companies for a particular period of time including a minimum amount of product they should produce. If they fail to deliver to the Government expectations, they can cease the lease and give the contract to someone else.
1: The new Government must ensure that Republic of The Gambia Constitution is redrafted and is in line with the 1997 Constitution. All UN necessary amendments done by the former President Jammeh and his regime should be removed from it and it should be respected by all citizens.
1: The new Government should exercise all their power and influence to ensure they earn the trust, loyalty, respect and command of all security forces in the country. Additionally, they can consider changing the name of the National Intelligent Agency (NIA) to a different name perhaps GIS Gambia Intelligent Services, as well as to relocate their headquarters to different location in the capital city of Banjul. Unfortunately in my opinion, I think the current NIA is a symbol of torture, oppression and it is allegedly associated with many abuses of human rights in The Gambia.
Finally, the current headquarters of NIA should become the Gambia history museum.
In conclusion, Gambia is a secular country, the country is known as a republic of The Gambia, not Islamic Republic of The Gambia. And I think it is essential to our national identity to remain at its former name as well as to consider rejoining with the Commonwealth.
My best wishes to the President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Mr Adama Barrow, and his entire Coalition Government. May Allah bless you and make it easy for you to succeed in all your endeavours.
ALHAJI YAYA SILLAH
Author and the Chairman of Back to School Foundation
UK +44 7984388418