The President of the Republic, continues on his meet the people tour, to dialogue with his fellow countrymen especially farmers, on issues directly affecting their lives, needing urgent Government intervention. On the day two of his tour, the President visited Kerewan, where he had the first meeting of the day.
After welcoming the president and his entourage, Sambujang Konteh the first speaker for the people in Kerewan, said after the change that ushered in the new dispensation, what they expect to see is the development their road networks and the building of a skills centres for their youth.
Fatoumatta Jammeh who spoke on behalf of the women of Kerewan, the lack of farm inputs for their farms and gardens to reduce the drudgery on them.
Alagie Jawara the National Assembly Members for Lower Badibu also called for the upgrading of their health facility which according to him, is not even suitable to be called a health post, because it has only one qualified nurse who cannot serve the whole population of Badibu.
On his part, the new Minister of Agriculture Lamin Dibba, advised the youth to stop believing in Europe’s greener pastures; that life can be better for them in the Gambia with the available skills centres to learn from and contribute their quota to national development.
Bai Lamin Jobe,the Minister of Works, said plans are afoot to start work on the roads in Badibu; that he can assure the people of Kerewan and Badibu, that many Government institutions will be transferred to North Bank Region when decentralization starts.
On her part, Dr. Isatou Touray the new Minister of Health told the people of Kerewan that from investigations they have noticed that there are many issues hindering the progress of health, but assured that her Ministry will remedy the issues in the not too distant future.
When it was his turn to talk, the President called on the people of Kerewan and Badibu, to be united in national development. According to the President, what matters now is to deliver good governance and leave a lasting legacy for the people.
From Kerewan, the presidential entourage proceeded to Njaba Kunda, where they met the elders of the village including the Alkalo and Imam and visited the village Khalif or Spiritual Leader, to pay his respects. From there the president and delegation continued to the meeting ground at the School.
All the women who spoke at the Njaba Kunda meeting, decried the terrible state of their roads and the acute water shortage and lack of fertilizer and other farm inputs, needed in their farming endeavors. The issue of an ambulance in the area was another need the women ask from the president.
Again the new Minister of Agriculture Lamin Dibba, said fertilizer is available at a cheap price but warns people to desist from buying and re-selling this important farm input at a higher price; that if anyone is caught in the act, the law will take its course.
Amat Bah the Minister of Tourism and Culture who seems to be a strong presence in the tour, said the people of Badibu should know that the Barrow Youth Movement for National Development, has the Constitutional right to associate themselves with any group in the country; that Badibu cannot stop them from opening an office in the region. Hamat alleged that some local Chiefs continue with underground politics and are loyal to the Ex-president and his Party; that they have been told to abstain from politics and be independent but some are still into the act and that this must stop.
On his part, President Barrow said the National Development Plan is for every Gambian regardless of political affiliation; that the plan covers every sector of his government. The president disclosed that over four thousand bags of fertilizer will be distributed in the region in the coming days and concluded that ‘‘anybody who is not working on my agenda, will be sacked.’’
From Njaba Kunda, the presidential entourage proceeded to Noo Kunda. As usual, the president met the village elders which include the Alkalo and the Imam and proceeded to have his meeting. Kebba Jammeh who spoke on behalf of the village, urged the president to help them with a hospital and develop their School; that the School has remained at the primary level since 1965, and they now want it to be upgraded to other levels. Jammeh to the president and his delegation that farming is a priority for the people of NOO kunda, but lamented that the difficulties involved in the sector is beyond them, to address; that the Ministry of Agriculture should help them with fertilizer and take up measures for the youth to desist from the risky backway journey; that if the president wants votes from Noo kunda, then he should assist them with a borehole or else. The women who also spoke at the gathering, told the president that their gardens have been destroyed because of lack of water and now they have nothing to do.
Claudiana Cole, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education said she has been observing throughout the tour that only Noo kunda complained about education; that this shows how much they value education. She gave assurance that come September, their concerns will be a thing of the past; that her Ministry is working on a criteria to develop and upgrade the School with more classrooms.
On his part the President said the New Constitution for the country will limit the powers of a sitting president; that instead the Constitution will empower the people more. The President assured the people of Noo Kunda that Government’s partners call Holland foundation, will build Schools around the country including Noo kunda; that as a different president, his confidence is high and is ready to work for the people.
From Noo Kunda, the presidential entourage ended in Farafenni, for a night stop. But prior to retreating for the night’s rest, the president had the last meeting for the day with the people. Speakers in Farafenni lament to the president that the town still has not connected to the national electricity power grid; that the price of rice is exorbitant for many in the town to afford.
The Preisdent on his part spoke of the cordial relation between the Gambia and Senegal and thanked his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall, for his stance during the political impasse and the provision of certain villages in the Gambia with electricity. President Barrow concluded the National Development Plan will eradicate many challenges the country is faced with. The tour continues.