GOOD MORNING MR. PRESIDENT: Investors, philanthropists coming into the country should have background check

Oct 4, 2021, 12:27 PM

Mr. President, it was so disheartening to read reports in the newspapers that a British national who claimed he is a philanthropist was arrested last week by operatives of the country’s narcotic agency with skunk cannabis.

This has indeed raised an alarm and it should be a cause for concern for the government. In as much as we welcome investors and philanthropists to the country and invest heavily in all sectors of the country’s economy, we should do a background check on them. The country’s security apparatus, especially the State Intelligence Service (SIS) should monitor the activities that these people are doing in the country.

Mr. President, it’s reported that the skunk cannabis is even more dangerous than the cannabis sativa. Beside, preliminary analysis by narcotic officers showed the presence of three different types of cannabis such as cannabis sativa, cannabis ruderalis which is the skunk and hybrid which is a combination of both. The principal suspect has been in the country for some years now. Therefore, who knows for how many years he has been doing this illegal business? And how many young people might have bought this skunk cannabis from the suspect?

Mr. President, no one needs to tell you that drugs and its related activities also pose a threat to national security. In fact, it has also the potential of increasing the crime rate in the country especially among young people. In fact, there are reports that the country could be used as a route for drug dealers. We therefore commended officers of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency-The Gambia for another breakthrough. This clearly indicates that the agency’s officers are taking the lead in ensuring that the country is free from drugs and other clandestine activities. We hope that the suspect will be arraigned in court as soon as possible if investigations into the case are completed.

Mr. President, another threat that our continent is facing is terrorism and its related activities. It’s high time we put strong mechanisms in place. As technology is advancing, our government should also put up CCTV’s cameras at strategic locations in the country. This will help minimise crimes and where they occur, it will help security officers investigating such matters to easily arrest the perpetrators. 

Mr. President, another issue that needs the attention of your government is house rent. Compound owners and of course agents are making this as a lucrative business in the country. In some places within the Greater Banjul Area (GBA), a room and parlour is D3000, while two bedrooms is D6000 and three bedrooms is about D7000 or even more. How can a civil servant who’s paid D5000 or even less monthly cope with this situation coupled with other family needs. Let’s say the individual is renting a room and a parlour which is about D3000 or in some places. The person also has a wife and kid at school. Therefore, what can that D5000 solve?

Mr. President, what you need to prioritise at the moment is salary restructuring. Civil servants should be paid enough or we risk losing most of the talented ones to the private sector or international organisations. Good salaries for civil servants will also help fight corruption within public institutions. Although we know that your government did increase 50% of salaries in 2019, but more is needed next year as you promised early this year

Mr. President, finally as you have concluded your constitutional requirement tour, we hope that the pressing issues that have been highlighted by Gambians especially in the rural areas would be immediately addressed especially on the issue of water shortage some communities in the country encounter with lack of  electricity. You should improve the distribution of fertilisers, good roads and public transport. Hospitals and health centres should be supplied with enough drugs which will be controlled.

NAWEC should be assisted financially to meet its challenges in both electricity and water supply.

Still in the urban areas Banjul drainage system should be looked into.

KMC roads in Latirkunda Sabiji and Bundung and their environs should be rehabilitated.

Good day!

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