By Awa B. Bah
The National Assembly Member for Foni Jarrol, in reaction to the address of President Barrow, said during yesterday’s sitting that the government has only outlined plans but has not highlighted any achievements. “There was not even a single area of achievement mentioned in the 2017 legislative year but only plans were highlighted always.” These plans, he said, are guidelines for the future but not what the Barrow administration has achieved. Jammeh questioned the achievement mentioned in the speech in terms of trade and trade related areas in the 2017 year, giving reference to the cost of living and basic commodities. The assembly he recalled passed a bill to make key basic commodities duty free so that the prices of these commodities remain affordable and accessible to all Gambians. But, he said, prices of basic commodities keeps increasing despite government’s claims of reducing prices.
Jammeh noted that from 2017 to date, there has been no achievement by this present administration in all the sectors of the economy. He stressed on the free movement of goods and services, that there are lots of wood packed on the highway in the Fonis, despite the call. He said when one hears the story of the owners of trucks and woods it makes the talk of fair and free movement of goods and services look like a joke. Those woods and trucks packed around, he said, are legally registered properties. Business people are being blocked on their efforts. Jammeh however questioned the government on their achievement on trade and trade related matters.
On the implementation of the 11 million euros from the European Trust Fund for youth empowerment project in The Gambia, Jammeh said there is a skills training center in Ndemban which is still not completed. He called for the clear and honest implementation of that fund and further questioned the sending and handling of those funds. He called on the government to consider it necessary to ensure that the use of those funds are being reflected on its purposes, noting that no area should be neglected.
With information, communication infrastructure, Jammeh pointed out that the sector was well managed before and that Gambia was highly benefiting from it, adding that this government could have started from where they took from. People, he said, are talking bad things about the former regime as if they have never done anything good for the country. He called on his fellow Deputies to put aside their personal interest aside and reflect on the past and present issues.
“You want to say that for the past 22 years there was nothing achieved by the former regime for the betterment of our people? I say a big no to that”, he remarked.
He recalled that all deputies on their first day into office took an oath that they will always rise for the truth. The former regime he said did a lot for The Gambia and was not thinking of what it did for some but focusing more on where and who did not get and where development did not reach. He called on the government to give higher consideration to burning issues than to wait until thing get out of hand before acting. This he said creates confusion and misunderstanding amongst Gambians as in the Faraba Banta incident.
The speech he said addressed lots of issues that did not happen, noting that the government should state what actually happened rather than claiming ownership of what did not happen. On Identity cards, Health, Security, Justice, human rights, rule of law, he said the issues highlighted by the president are intentions but not achievements.