Friday, July 19, 2024

Open Letter: My Advice to President Adama Barrow

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By: Gikey Drammeh

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Dear Mr. President,

It is a fact that you are the president of the Gambia, which everyone must admit and respect. However, I am a concerned Gambian, and I am pleased to send you a letter of advice. We all know that every person in this country has rights, equally they also have significant obligations to ensure that this country achieves its national goal, as it is said, every right corresponds with a responsibility which most of the Gambians failed to understand. My advice to you is to focus on some of the sectors in your government that have their own tasks to execute towards the development of the Gambia.

Starting with the interior: It is crucial to pay close attention to national security in order to safeguard the lives and properties of citizens, which will foster harmony and peace. The minister heading this sector should be very proactive and strategically work with all the security unit heads to help our men and women in uniforms by providing appropriate working conditions, protection gears, and other incentives that will awaken the spirit of being very active in-service protection of lives and properties as well as the sovereignty of this country, the Gambia. With these provisions, our security men and women would feel very comfortable in executing their national duties.

Education: The Gambia’s Educational System is terrible; the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education is not performing as expected. I advise you to call the Minister in that sector to assess the educational curriculum and make improvements that would aid our education system, the minister should closely collaborate with her permanent secretary and the technocrats working in that ministry and review our educational curriculum and tailor it in a format that will suit the academic atmosphere of the Gambia. However, Mr. President, if we want to see the kind of progress we are looking for, your government should make education a priority. Children aren’t given the learning environment and resources they need in schools to make good academic achievement. The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology is doing better, though. I’ve observed the sector’s performance and work progress, which are encouraging. Despite the fact that Prof. Gomez is performing well, I urge him to keep up the positive attitude and work to have his ministry achieve success that will benefit the advancement of the Gambia. His ministry will help to equip our young Gambian citizens with skills, knowledge, and a positive outlook and serve as a catalyst for change in this country.

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Health: Mr. President, health should be everyone’s concern. Looking at the hospitals in this country are definitely in very bad condition. Is sad to see hospitals that are not equipped and find it difficult to have medicines. If our hospitals are built only to prescript medicines to go and buy at the private pharmacy, [it is] better we demolish all and give space for the herbalists who can help us with our traditional medicines. The minister heading that sector is definitely underperforming. Mr. President, kindly call on the attention of the health minister and advise him to properly look into that sector. A lot of money was pumped into this sector. Why are we unable to give our people medicines as prescribed and equip our hospitals so that our Doctors, Nurses and Physicians have an easier time and ways of doing their jobs? The drugstore is where I once met a man when I visited Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital sometime back, he warned me not to insult his mother as he took my medical paper. He said that the only medicine we have is paracetamol, and the rest should be purchased at a private pharmacy. It is quite disappointing that our public hospitals cannot even provide sufficient medicines. The minister for health should act urgently and fix this problem. This is very easy to do, just stop unnecessary workshops, treks and all forms of travel, use the money allocated for those areas and buy medicines and tools to equip our hospital to a standard that will help provide proper medication for Gambians and non-Gambians.

Finance and Economic Affairs: Mr. President, the development of every country depends on its financial and economic issues. This ministry is the driving force behind a nation’s whole development programme. You should call the minister responsible for this sector to conduct a thorough investigation of the ministry and develop plans to control all financial transactions. To prevent wasteful expenditure and safeguard the nation against corruption, the movement of money should be strategic and relevant both within and outside of our country. In order to properly use the available funds for national development, a competent financial appraisal needs to be in place.

Trade and employment: The minister in this sector should thoroughly examine the trade and employment ministry as it is a crucial component for national development. Mr. President, the minister responsible for this sector should have a strategic mindset and set guidelines for his ministry to support the development of the domestic, international and labour markets, which would increase economic growth and have good impacts on the lives of Gambians and business enterprises. It is sad to see our domestically produced goods are now expensive. Why are our own locally produced goods so expensive? Prices for such produce should be very cheap, reasonable and affordable to many.

In addition, Employment: Every year, a large number of students graduate from the University of the Gambia, GTTI, MID, Gambia College, and other institutions. I implore the minister to work closely with the PMO and other sectors to take into consideration those young academic scholars who have a lot of potential to contribute to the growth of this country. It is unfortunate that getting a job in The Gambia depends more on who you know than on your knowledge. There are many young people who are competent to handle certain positions and make significant advancements in those sectors The young abled men and women who have the potential in knowledge and skills, crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Lampedusa because they are unemployed and struggling to make ends meet, terrified me greatly.

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Agriculture: As is well known the backbone of every nation’s development. The Gambia has good topography and spacious lands with high organic nutrients in sands and sufficient water bodies for both crop and animal production. Please, Mr. President, I advise you to relocate this ministry to the rural area of the Gambia, either URR or CRR. The Ministry of Agriculture is worthless in Kombo, despite the fact that it employs the most people with master’s and Ph.D. degrees. What use are their abilities, knowledge, skills and expertise if they are just sitting in an office savouring the air conditioning? Send all the agriculturalists to the farms in rural areas of the Gambia, Mr. President. I think if this is carried out as instructed, it will contribute to positive life sustainability and self-food security.

Tourism: The worst sector of our government is the tourism industry. What is the minister doing in that sector to promote our tourism industry? Absolutely nothing. This industry is pertinent and it assists a state in mobilizing economic growth. If this industry were doing as expected, the Gambia would have undergone some changes. But it is disappointing that the minister in that sector merely travels across the world for pleasure and enjoyment per diems. Let the minister be innovative and brand the tourism industry in a way that will attract the attention of tourists around the world. This industry has the potential to attract foreign investors, which would aid in the expansion of our economy.

Further, I would like to advise the entire Gambians that we all band together and cooperate to support President Adama Barrow in carrying out the country’s development programme. In order to fulfil our nation’s dream,


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