On Friday, 10 February 2017, The Coalition Media Committee and the Taskforce on Returnees presented their reports to the President Adama Barrow in his office at Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Below is the press release issued by the Director of Press and Public Relation, Office of the President, Mrs. Amie Bojang Sissoho, immediately after the presentation of the reports by the two committees:
“President Barrow expressed the important role the media played in his campaign and appreciated the voluntary spirit amongst Gambians to bring about the desired change. He said his office will continue to work with the Coalition media team whether its members are in the public or private media. He emphasized the power of the media and technology in reaching out to people even in remote areas when the state media, GRTS was not accessible. He pledged the commitment of his government to create a media friendly environment to empower people to make informed decisions as well as review the media law to promote freedom of expression and opinion. He asserted that the sacrifice of the Coalition Media team is noted in promoting democracy in the Gambia. President Barrow urged the team to continue to document their work for posterity. He reminded them that it is through the media that The Gambia has been brought back to the limelight and they should take pride to be amongst the people who made it possible. The Gambian leader called on all to build trust and work together to effect the change Gambians want.
Speaking at the presentation, Coordinator of the Coalition Media team, Ousman Sillah, and other team members such as Abdul Salaam Secka and Baai Jaabang thanked the President and the Coalition members for the financial and moral support. They renewed commitment to work with the President and his government, as well as highlighted the challenges they faced. The team also made recommendations to transform the national media into a public broadcaster that serves the interest of the country.
In another engagement, the Taskforce on Returnees which comprised members of the National Reconciliation and Voter Education Committee, Security Council Members, Gambia Red Cross Society, National Disaster Management Agency, Ministry of Health presented its report on the 50,000 returnees following the political impasse after the presidential election. The Coordinator, Ousman Sillah described the team as formidable and thanked them for their services. He expressed appreciation to individuals and organizations both in country and in the Diaspora for their support during the difficult times. Similar sentiments were expressed by Wolla Badjie, a Red Cross Volunteer.
In his response, President Barrow recognized and congratulated the Task Force for the services rendered during a difficult period in the political history of the country. He said it was through commitment and togetherness of Gambians and support from friends of The Gambia that they were able to overcome the challenges.
It could be recalled that, while in Dakar, President Barrow was fully informed about the processes and procedures through the active engagement of the now Minister of the Interior, Honourable Mai Fatty. He appreciated the support provided by the Senegalese government, all the individuals and institutions in both the Gambian and Senegal who facilitated the return of returnees. President Barrow urged the Task Force to cement their efforts and transform themselves into a standby force that can re-group in case of an emergency and make use of the experience learnt. He informed them that the Presidential election was fought based on principles of democracy and that everybody should feel included. He reiterated that the nation belongs to all and the Gambians have made their choice.