Fajara, 16 September 2017 His Excellency, Mr. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia will travel to New York to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. This will be the first time that President Barrow will be participating in the UNGA Summit since coming into office. This would accord him the opportunity to address the General Assembly and participate in the general debates, while members of his delegation attend other high level sessions. President Barrow will also meet with Gambians during his visit. The President and delegation will depart Banjul International Airport tomorrow, Sunday, 17 September 2017 at 10:00 am. Those invited to see him off are requested to be at the airport half an hour before departure for the usual ceremonies.
Fajara, 13 September 2017 President Adama Barrow today received a team from International Medical Services (IMS), an Israeli group sepcialised in providing health care services in Africa. IMS President OvadiaYardena said his group was committed to promoting health tourism in The Gambia, and was set to build a 220 million Euro modern 350-bed hospital. He said the hospital would likely result in other African countries reaching out to The Gambia for health care services, and would provide other development avenues. Elaborating on the investment model, Mr Yardena said the hospital would be 100 percent funded by MS, including engineering, procurement and construction. The financing loan is to have a five–year grace period and would be paid between 15 to17 years after 10 years of operation. The project contract would include provision for upgrading some of the existing state hospitals and health facilities. President Barrow was taken through a slide presentation of the full hospital plan, its components, and the hotel and residential areas for staff and families of patients with modern medical equipment and technology. When completed, it will provide for women and children, and 50 VIP rooms. It is anticipated that it will also cater for a theatre and other modern monitoring facilities. The Permanent Secretary for Investment at the Office of the President, Yankuba Saidy, said investment in the health sector is a priority for the Barrow administration. He said the investment plan will include skills and transfer of knowledge to Gambian counterparts. Mr Saidy described the project as one of world class standard in providing health care services. The Gambian government is expected to identify a seven–hectare parcel of land for the project. The project is also expected to attract other companies to establish offices in The Gambia due to proximity with the United Kingdom. IMS shared its experience operating similar projects in other African countries, including Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. During the team’s stay in The Gambia, it will visit Royal Victoria teaching Hospital and other health facilities, and meet health and other officials.
PRESS RELEASE Fajara, The Gambia, 12 September 2017 President Adama Barrow today launched the Gambian government’s Security Sector Reform project. President Barrow said: “When my administration was sworn in last January, it was clear to us that we were taking over a security sector that had been deeply politicised and not responsive to the needs of our people.” The reforms initiated are to ensure an effective and accountable security sector under democratic control with full respect for human rights, the rule of law, and fundamental principles of good governance. President Barrow noted the importance of reforming and transforming the country’s security sector into a functional and effective one that delivers for the good of the Gambian people. “The security sector reform process will enable us to once again take charge of our own security and destiny.” The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, commended the government’s initiative to embark on this important political process, and renewed the UN’s commitment to support this endeavour along with other partners. He explained that the security sector reform process ought to be inclusive and participatory, with the aim of making justice and security institutions accessible and responsive to the needs and rights of all Gambians. ECOWAS Ambassador to The Gambia Vabah Gayflor said ECOWAS was proud of President Barrow and the efforts of his administration in the restoration of democracy in The Gambia. She added that The Gambia could not afford to fail, and that when its security sector reform is implemented, it would serve as the security sector reform template to follow in Africa. She concluded that there was a lot of work to be done with limited resources, and urged partners to fulfill their promise to The Gambia. EU Ambassador Attila Lajos said security sector reform in The Gambia faced deep-seated challenges after 22 years of a repressive regime. He added that the country’s stability was important, and reforming the security sector was a key priority to stabilising its democracy and making The Gambia a human rights champion. He noted that coordination and timely sequencing by the partners was of paramount importance. Interior Minister Mai Fatty said President Barrow had set the tone for the future of the security sector when he launched the National Security Council. Minister Fatty stressed that the reform process would lead to the emergence of a professional, ethical and competent security sector. He noted that building an effective governance policy was a complex task but that the government would achieve its objectives and do everything to keep the country safe, stable and at peace. “We will position our country to confront the security challenges of the 21st century and serve the needs of a democratic society,” The new National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Momodou Badjie, said a well organised security sector is important for economic development and democratic growth. He noted the challenges in the security sector and called on stakeholders to focus on institutional andorganisational reforms. Mr Badjie noted the importance of balancing defence and the needs of the country, while working with various structures of society. Supported by the United Nations and other partners, the Security Sector Reform project is an initiative by the Barrow administration to transform the country’s security sector into institutions that are effective, professional and accountable to the state and the people of The Gambia. It will help the government design and implement an inclusive security reform strategy, which will ensure that the security forces accomplish their constitutional mandate and mission, in line with the rule of law and democratic principles of transparency and accountability. The government has set up a steering committee to provide guidance and oversight of the reform process. It is made up of representatives from relevant ministries, including Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Finance, Justice, and key security sector reform partners, notably the United Nations, African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU). The launch of the Security Sector Reform project was attended by security chiefs, cabinet ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and senior officials.