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‘Gambia will shine as beacon across the Commonwealth’

Jan 25, 2022, 10:40 AM | Article By: Adama Tine

The secretary general of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland in an exclusive interview with The Point at the Coco Ocean Hotel on Thursday, revealed that The Gambia will shine as beacon across the commonwealth after its return from former President Jammeh’s withdrawal in 2013. 

 

“As secretary-general of the Commonwealth family of 54 nations representing 2.5 billion people, 60 percent under the age of 30, all of whom are committed to the values expressed in our charter, values of tolerance, respect and understanding; human rights; freedom of expression; peace, justice and the rule of law. These values are underpinned and brought alive by democracy,” she said.

She added that The Gambia is a special friend as four years ago, she re-joined the Commonwealth. “It felt like a beloved brother or sister, a prodigal son coming back home.” 

 “Our world faces profound and serious challenges, but I truly believe that The Gambia will shine like a beacon across the Commonwealth just as the Commonwealth will shine like a beacon across the world; because at a time when democracy is under strain in many parts of our world, democracy in the Gambia is getting stronger,” she pointed out.

“I hope the example of The Gambia’s journey will not only provide a strong foundation for The Gambia’s future, but will also help to heal injured democratic process in other places.”

According to her, The Gambia since 1965 has been a member but left in 2013 after former President Jammeh’s withdrawal. “So coming back, after the first election of President Barrow was a great joy because The Gambia has always been a much loved member of the Commonwealth and therefore the leaving was sad but the return in 2018 was wonderful.”

She added that: “I am very pleased to see a smooth and peaceful transition and democracy at work in The Gambia and it was wonderful to listen to President Barrow’s inaugural speech particularly the fact that he commended all those who put themselves forward to lead Gambia.”

“I was also overwhelmed when he indicated that he wished to be the president of all Gambians and not only those that voted for him. He also outlined five main areas that really reflect the issues that are of importance to the rest of the Commonwealth.”

The Commonwealth SG further posited that one of the areas Barrow talked about and amazed her was when he mentioned the need to look at technology, energy and the whole issue of climate change; about women, young people as well as the need to transform The Gambia.

At the inauguration, she pointed out President Barrow talked about concentrating on unity among Gambians. He talked about support and making sure that the Gambian population all have an equal future and also the commitment to transform Gambia to be the greater beacon that everyone would be proud of and those are huge aspirations to hear from him.

On Gambia-Commonwealth present relationship, she said Gambia as we speak has a very strong relationship with the Commonwealth and as a result, before the December 4th elections, over 130 Gambian officials were trained by the Commonwealth on Performance Management.

“We are determined to assist The Gambia to fulfil its aspirations in terms of the implementation of the rule of law, good practice, good governance, transparency and clarity as President Barrow envisages to make them priority.”

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