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‘Arrests In Sukuta After Clashes With Demolition Squad’

Some 14 people were taken into custody in Sukuta last evening after clashing with a demolition squad sent to implement a Physical Planning order on a land located in Salagi.

Among those taken into custody were activist Fatou Jaw Manneh and singer Mbi Kuru, both natives of Sukuta.

A few weeks before the tension emerged, few people staged a protest after receiving letters from the Department of Physical Planning asking them to stop all constructions on the land as it is a state land mainly reserve for schools, hospitals, markets and cemetery.

Nonetheless, the villagers were not in support of this as they raise complains of not seen any such development but by contrast private people, mostly senior government officials, have put up houses on the land.

*The villagers, mainly from the Jamba Kunda clan, claimed the government of former president Jammeh took the said land from them in Salagi but after a long battle, they reclaimed some of the tracts which they divided among original land-owning clans who allocated plots to family members, some of which have been developed.*

They said they were over it and also concluded that the matter has been resolved only to receive a visitation recently from officials of the Department of Physical Planning, who gave out letters ordering for them to stop all developments and leave the land as it belongs to the state.

The villagers refuses to comply with this and yesterday, a demolition squad accompanied by police came at the scene and managed to push down a number of structures. Their presence lead to a public confrontation with the villagers resulting in the arrests.

Another source confirmed that they have been charged with obstructing police officers but the villagers reportedly rejected the charges and refused to give any statement at the Brusbi police station.

Standard reporter Mafugi Ceesay, who was briefly taken into custody along with the protesters, was released shortly afterwards.

Source___Standard Newspaper

President Barrow pledges to rebuild the Basse market to international standard

Basse Market to be rebuilt to international standard – President Barrow pledges

State House, Banjul, February 27, 2020 – His Excellency President Adama Barrow on Thursday pledged to rebuild Basse market into a first class one with international standards. He also made a personal contribution of two million Dalasis towards the emergency fund created by URR authorities to the emergency cause.

The President said the inferno saddened him personally; his government, the entire country and the sub region as a whole. He said from the list of victims, the market truly depicts a sub-regional one, not just a Basse market. Its impacts are far reaching beyond just the vendors and commercial community who in fact, bear the brunt of the loss.

“We will urgently set up an inquiry to probe into the incident and come up with facts that will guide our intervention in rebuilding a market of international standard for Basse. My government will do all it can to build a first class market here,” President Barrow said.

He called on the public to desist from politicising the fire incident, adding that it should be treated as a national disaster, and with patriotism. “All should dip into their pockets, especially philanthropists, to raise funds to support this cause,” he maintained.

The Gambian leader noted that the emergency intervention by the Senegalese fire service from across the border also indicates a deeper sense of brotherhood between the two countries and the need for peaceful co-existence.  He appealed to Gambians, the international community and development partners to help with reconstruction.

Governor of the region, Fanta BS Manneh, praised the gallantry of the fire fighters from the region, Bansang and the neighbouring border town of Vellingara, who came as reinforcement. She thanked the military, police and Chinese construction workers on the ground, who worked together to contain the fire.

It was reported that the incident began by 7pmand lasted all night, while residents were engaged in supporting firefighters in whatever form they could.

A representative of the market fire victims, Aja Bintou Banta Camara said the victims received the fire in good faith and took solace in the visit by the President.  She appreciated that the President earlier dispatched the Vice President to extend solidarity and conduct a preliminary assessment of the extent of the disaster.

On behalf of the victims, she urged for urgent government intervention to rebuild the market, as the market is the source of livelihood for thousands who directly depend on it.

Similar urgent appeal was made by a Mauritanian victim. Vendors of the inferno include nationals from Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria among others, representing the diversity of ECOWAS nationals doing business in Basse.

According to the Alkalo of Basse, Honourable Sellu Bah, the devastating impact would have included loss of human lives had the fire started during daytime.

 

Vice President Isatou Touray’s house vandalized by burglars

The home of Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Touray, has been vandalized by unknown burglars, Freedom Newspaper can report. The house is located in Kaur Touray-Kunda, in the Upper River Region of The Gambia. It was burglarized on Wednesday night.

Doors, windows and other valuables were destroyed. Stones were on found in the destroyed property. The people, who vandalized the VP’s home used stones to destroy the property. The sling fans were also damaged.

The house was well decorated. The nice and expensive sofas were spared.  The attackers turned thieves, never steal the expensive household items in the building. According to sources, the attackers stole window curtains and a sound system deck from Mrs. Touray’s home.  The items were stolen during what the police called an incident that looks like an attack against the home of the Vice President.

The incident was reported to the Kaur police station on Thursday by one Sako Jobe. The police later visited the scene, where they found what they called “a wanton destruction to property.”

The police are investigating the matters.

It has been gathered that a United Democratic Party (UDP) caravan was on tour of the country, when the incident happened. The UDP delegation had spent a night in Kaur, before proceeding to Janjangbureh. It is not clear if the UDP touring caravan was in Kaur, when the incident occurred.

The UDP touring team started their tour in the Baddibus. They later proceeded to the Central River Region (CRR). Kaur was among their port of call during the tour.

Gambia’s intelligence said the matter is under thorough investigations. No arrest has been made yet. No one has claimed responsibility for the incident.

Driver on the run with suspected bags of cannabis dies in accident

A fatal car accident that occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning on Kairaba Avenue, opposite Latrikunda Upper Basic School has claimed the life the driver who was on the run while suspected to be in possession with five bags of cannabis, The Point has been informed.

The driver, who was driving a private Benz with the registration number BJL 1141Q was reported to be coming from the Traffic-light end with speed. As he was speeding, his vehicle tyres burst and eventually lost control. He hit a nearby pole resulting in an accident that claimed his life.

A source that earlier spoke to our reporter claimed that the driver was being pursued by officers of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia (DLEAG).

Meanwhile, the agency spokesperson, Ousman Saidybah, who was contacted for comments, dismissed rumours that suggest that DLEAG operatives were involved in chasing the driver. He said: “I can clearly tell you that our operatives were not involved in any operations in chasing a driver. We have contacted all our commands within the area but none of their officers were involved in such operation.”

PRO Saidybah added that immediately after the accident happened, DLEAG was contacted because there was some suspected cannabis found in the vehicle. “Our officers visited the scene and are working closely with our police counterparts. The matter is under investigation and when the investigation is completed, the suspected five bags of cannabis will be handed over to the agency.”

Lamin Njie, spokesperson of The Gambia Police Force couldn’t be reached for comments at the time of going to press.

SOURCE POINT NEWSPAPER

Pa Modou Bojang expresses dismay over radio closure

Pa Modou Bojang, manager of Home Digital FM which was recently closed by government has expressed disappointment over the closure of the two radio stations: Home Digital and King FM without following due process or giving any reason.

Mr. Bojang was speaking in an interview with reporters on Tuesday shortly after the government announced its decision for the reopening of the two radio stations and subsequently dropping all charges against their managers and staff who were arrested and briefly detained last month.

This decision came following the Gambia Press Union’s (GPU) and the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) collaborated efforts that led to a fruitful discussion for reopen on Tuesday.

“I am very disappointed with the minister of Information and Communication and The Gambia government at large for closing and reopening of our radio stations without giving any reason. We were expecting that the government will come up with a reason for shutting down our radio stations,” said Pa Modou Bojang.

According to him, he never had doubts about the reopening of two radio stations because they had done nothing wrong.

“The only thing I will emphasise is my disappointment with the minister of Information and The Gambia government in general because due process was not followed for the closing down of the radio stations.

MASSIVE GAS SHORTAGE HITS GAMBIA;

There has been a massive shortage in fuel in the Gambia since the start of this week. Only few fuel station like Jah Oil and Castle are selling Gas at this moment and drivers rush to coastal Road Castle, Brikama Jah Oil station, and West Field Castle to buy fuel.

Most drivers believe that the fuel station do not want to sell gas because the price has skyrocketed.

Talking to a Taxi driver on Wednesday, in whose car Afrinity Reporter boarded, He said;

If the add up the price of the gas oil, then the transportation will increase and government refuses for this to happen. therefore fuel stations refuse to sell gas and says there is a shortage.

Some drivers complain in a Van that they have parked their cars because there is no fuel and they cannot drive their cars without fuel. One of the passengers in the car who is a Van driver says.

Business is going slow now.

A fishmonger who travels from Tanjai to Serekunda every morning to sell fish after buying from the fishermen at the seashore says she fears that this will soon affect traveling and slow down trade.

One Abdou who works at Banjul said

“If fuel increases, transport will increase and if that happens then we earning D5,000 for salary will spend everything on transportation and stay hungry”

However the few gas stations  we visited, we were told that there was no gas. Their tanks were completely empty.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Gambia National Petroleum Company is yet to address this issue.

The country is also undergoing high living cost; where the price of food stuff are increasing at its highest rate by the day. The price of a Bag of rice which is the main staple food of the Gambia has increase and average consumers cannot afford a bag of rice at this time.

The communities has reported the worst power cuts this year. Power has been cut for hours, some go days without water.

Basic Education Ministry warns private schools

The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has warned private school heads to desist from “illegal operations,” saying it violates the Education Act and the regulations governing the operation of private schools.

In a media dispatch sent to The Point, the Basic Education Ministry highlighted some of these practices as: disregard for the national curriculum; not registering students for National Exams like the National Assessment Test (NAT); Gambia Basic Education Certificate Examination (GABECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Other practices include hiring teachers who do not have the required qualifications and also not putting in place a standard recording system.

According to the release, disciplinary measures will be taken against those who fail to comply with the Ministry.

The ministry nonetheless appreciates and encourages school proprietors who are complying and complementing its effort in providing quality education to every child in The Gambia.

SOURCE POINT NEWSPAPER

Gambia: President Barrow’s Speech At Gambia 55th Independence Anniversary

Afrinity TV attends the 55th Independence of The Gambia, held on Tuesday 18th February, 2020 at The McCarty Square at Banjul.

In attendance were; The Current Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia H.E Madam Isatou Touray, H.E First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow, H.E Madam Sarjo Barrow, Former Vice presidents, The Chief Justice, The Hon. Deputy Speaker, The Hon. Members of Cabinet of the National Assembly, Hon. Ministers like Hon. Ahmat Bah Minister of Tourism & Culture. Mayors of Banjul City Counsel and Kanifing Municipal Counsel, Gambia Arm Forces, Gambia Police Force, Religious Leaders, Schools, cultural groups, NGOs, Private Institutes, etc.

The event began with attendance of Guest, Schools, Institutions and cultural groups. The President arrives later on. Continues with an opening prayers by the Religious Leaders both Christians and Muslim prayers. Then the president inspects the Parade before the march pass began. After the inspection began the March Pass led by the Scout Band Music. The the event continued with President’s speech.

His Excellency Adam Barrow’s speech at 55th Independence of the Gambia.

Her Excellency The vice President, Your excellencies First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow and Madam Sarjo Barrow. Former Vice Presidents present, my lord  The Chief Justice, Hon. Deputy Speaker, Hon. Members of cabinet of the National Assembly, Lord Mayors of Banjul, and Kanifing Municipality, Distinguish guest, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls.

He begin his speech by recognizing the guest present.

The Gambia clocks fifty-five years today as an Independent Sovereign State responsible for managing its affairs without any external interference. Celebrating the anniversary of this historic event should trigger thoughts to guide us redefine our individual roles as citizens of this nation in order to situate and reposition our motherland better on the global stage.

As this is our National Day, it is a moment to unite and deliberate on national issues, and not on partisan conflicts and interests. As true sons and daughters of The Gambia, this is a moment to reflect on the implications of Independence; not only political independence, but also social and economic independence.

Having emerged from decades of under-development, slowed progress, retarded growth and dictatorship, the time has come for us to reflect objectively and selflessly on what needs to be done differently for better results. Thus, we should ask ourselves: What does putting the national interest first really imply? How can we work together to address all the development deficits that continue to affect every Gambian, directly or indirectly?

As we mark the last Independence Anniversary of this decade, the opportunity has come for us to turn a new leaf by beginning the next decade much better, with renewed patriotic zeal in the Third Republic. As we prepare for the next series of national elections, now is the time to demonstrate what Independence means to us.

Let us demonstrate that we are capable of managing our affairs by accommodating our differences, celebrating our successes, providing feedback with discipline, and expressing our opinions with respect and dignity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This day is important because it also reminds us of our pledge in the National Anthem, and underscores the need “to live in unity, freedom and peace each day…” Therefore, we must be aware of all divisive speeches, actions, sentiments and concepts that may lead to social divisions in our communities.

Whilst ethnicity contributes significantly to our richly blended culture, and stands out as a diverse source of strength, if weaponised for selfish reasons, ethnicity has devastating consequences. It has plunged many nations into protracted unrest, destruction and great instability. Party politics, which is often at the root of most deadly ethnic clashes, must not be based on ethnicity. Instead, politics should be driven by a sound vision, appropriate programmes and dedicated service in the best interest of one’s nation.

The electorate should affiliate with the party that represents the national interest, and ensure that we continue to live in peace and harmony in a cohesive, democratic society where our collective development aspirations can be fulfilled.
Our National Anthem has summed up the message perfectly for us. It brings our attention to doing the right thing, and emphasises, I quote, “Let justice guide our actions towards the common good, And join our diverse peoples to prove man’s brotherhood.”

Ethnic rivalry is dreadful. Accordingly, I urge all of us to renew our commitment and “pledge our firm allegiance,” to the nation, because The Gambia belongs to all of us.

Politics is not about the language we speak or the ethnic group we identify with. It is about the nation and its development and future.

We all have the moral and civic obligation of safeguarding the future of this country and remember, in the process, that history will judge us, sooner or later.
This should compel us maintain peace and stability by respecting the rule of law, and allowing justice to take its course.
Today, we can all look back and, with relief, celebrate and embrace democracy, good governance and the rule of law. This is highlighted by the political excitement that has gripped the nation, resulting in a series of useful dialogue, across-party discussions, and bipartisan solidarity and collaboration.

The nationwide consultations on crucial national structures, policies and instruments continue to open new avenues, and widen the options for choice, diversity and scope. This is unprecedented in The Gambia!

Never have Gambians been given the space to participate so genuinely and passionately as witnessed recently on the draft Constitution, the Commissions, the Presidency, the economy and various other aspects of governance.

Never has the Legislature been as independent, as open, as free and as lively as it is today. This is progress, and it is political development!

As free citizens in an Independent State, information is accessed readily on radio, television and other media outlets without censure. Indeed, Gambians are truly enjoying political independence!

Socially, cultural freedom continues to enable us to showcase our diversity and tolerance for one another. These are aspects of my Government’s achievements, which we have registered collectively with all Gambians. Government will continue to ensure that such freedoms are guaranteed and sustained.

Economic freedom is ideal, but we live in an interdependent world where nations and organisations must depend on one another. This is the essence of diplomacy and international relations. However, it is incumbent upon us to exploit our talents and abilities to be innovative and productive, and to initiate or contribute to value addition processes. It is up to us to examine our circumstances, expose our shortcomings and challenges, with a view to resolving them.

The responsibility is collective for us to create jobs, create opportunities, create income for economic development and generate capacity to develop holistically.

The key challenges that continue to affect this nation can be solved only if we reconcile our differences, maintain peace and stability, law and order, progress and development. Fundamentally, we must avoid acting against the national interest.

As Gambians, every one of us has citizenship rights. With consistency, I reassure you all of my resolve to perform my functions to the fullest. As President, I have legal authority to act justly; as a leader, I owe it to the people to keep the nation together and safe; and, as a parent, I have the moral duty to preserve the nation for the younger generation and those unborn, whose rights we must recognise now.

Our oaths of office bind us to God and the Constitution, and our mandates and rules of engagement bind us ethically and professionally to the people and the State. This applies to all public officials and across all state institutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The major stumbling block to development is the bulk and mix of resources at our disposal. The options to address the inadequacies centre on innovation, industry, productivity and partnering with others, internally and externally.

We must all strive to fend for ourselves, feed ourselves, and muster courage to entrench independence and cooperation in our sub-cultures; whether at home, in the community or in our institutions.

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lessons learnt from the “Meet the People’s Tour” have strengthened me to strive harder to accelerate the pace of our development. However, every one of us has a stake, a role and the responsibility to act as a constructive agent of change and development. We have to utilise our abilities and potential constructively, apply ourselves to the tasks of nation building, and avoid indifference and dependency.

Up to 2021, my Government will continue to implement the National Development Plan vigorously. We will introduce new projects, and attend to the people’s needs. Roads, energy, water, sanitation, infrastructure and technology for production will attract top priority. Employment, youth and gender issues will be closely linked to such priorities. In all of these, the private sector and non-state operatives have an equal or complementary role to play.

This year marks the forerunner of the 2021 Presidential Election. While gearing up for this, it is most necessary that we exercise restraint, remain disciplined and maintain the peace. Let us not plunge the nation into chaos and disorder. We must remember what we have gone through and, therefore, be steadfast in upholding the values and practices that encourage positive thought and action. The surest way to success is unity, resisting the temptation to ignore our noble values and warding off agitation, no matter where it comes from.

We should also be firm and resolute whenever we take a decision on something, but should be prepared to shift our positions whenever there are better alternatives.

I urge you, the schoolchildren and students, to focus on your education. Education and skills unlock the doors to development and good citizenship. Work hard today, and reap the benefits tomorrow. Do not allow yourselves to be distracted; instead, strive hard for your future well-being.

Remember that children are more vulnerable to different forms of violence. They are trafficked, abused and even used as child soldiers to fight and kill in unjust civil wars, or serve as suicide bombers. Do not allow anyone to use you for such deadly, cowardly and evil acts.

I commend all parents and teachers for guiding and taking care of the children. Government appreciates your efforts, and we will continue to invest in education to ensure that the youth realise their full potential to serve their families, nation and themselves when they grow up.

Teachers have an honourable job to do; thus, they should work honourably and effectively, and maximise the time they spend on task. Finance is not the only motivation in this noble job.

Teachers have the responsibility of preparing a whole generation of learners, who look up to them for values of integrity, discipline, trustworthiness and patriotism. Children learn to respect rules and regulations at school; hence, teachers have the burden of doing the right thing for the children to emulate early in their lives.

While we appreciate the efforts of the Education Ministries, we encourage them to support both the teaching and administrative staff in the system for better performance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Turning to the Security Services, I thank and commend them, as the pride of the nation, for their impressive outfit and remarkable performance.

We salute them for their impeccable parades, commendable peace keeping missions, humble and generous community service, as well as their acute alertness and sacrifice to keep the peace.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

To all those present, I express deep gratitude for the turnout, and for making the occasion so colourful. I am thankful also to the entire nation for keeping the peace and their cooperation with my government.

We are grateful too to the international community for their support – financially, technically and morally. The list includes all friendly nations, partners and organisations that continue to supplement or complement our development efforts.

I wish you all a very joyful Fifty-fifth Independence Anniversary Celebration.

God bless us all, and Long Live The Gambian Nation!”

He close his Speech.

Gambia should learn from Nigeria’s success in democracy

State House, Banjul, February 12, 2020 – His Excellency, President Adama Barrow has said that The Gambia should learn from Nigeria’s success in transitioning from military rule to a vibrant democracy through building of strong institutions and depoliticising the military.

The President made these remarks at the State House on Monday, when participants from Course 28 at the National Defence College in Abuja, Nigeria, paid a courtesy call on him.

The Course 28 group is on a research based mission in Banjul, on the theme: Tourism and National Development – Experiences of The Gambia.

“Africa should learn from Nigeria and The Gambia should learn from Nigeria’s success in transitioning from military rule to democracy. Nigeria has succeeded in building a great democracy through building strong institutions and depoliticising the military,” President Barrow told the delegation, citing the mutual experience sharing in the trip.

For The Gambia, the Barrow government’s pursuit of the security sector reform includes the establishment of Ministry of Defence, which for the first time is operating independent of the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

The Gambian Leader said the diversity of the corps of participants in this apex military training institution for the Nigerian Armed Forces, reflects a steady approach to integration of the continent.

The Gambia’s Minister of Defence, Sheikh Omar Faye said the military support from Nigeria to The Gambia dates a long time. He lauded the recent intervention of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in resolving the Gambia’s political crisis in December 2016.

`Minister Faye said it is not just a policy of the government but also a personal principle of President Barrow to put peace and stability at the heart of Gambia’s national development endeavours.

Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Massaneh Kinteh reiterated that Nigeria’s transitioning from military rule to a vibrant democracy has become a reference point for governance. Such a lesson formed the basis for The Gambia Armed Forces’ policy of “keeping the Army out of politics and politics out of the Army.”

As a Centre of Excellence, the National Defence College brings together representatives from countries in the West, East, North and Southern Africa.

UNICEF Donates Equipment worth D25 Million

The Health Minister Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh on Friday 6th February 2020 informed the National Assembly Select Committee on Health that UNICEF has donated equipment worth D25 Million to them.

The materials donated includes bed screens, curettes uterine, digital thermometers, obstetric surgical kits, oxygen concentrator, prongs nasal oxygen for adults and children, pulse oximeter, pump suction foot-operated, resuscitator hand operator for child and neonate, scale body electronics, sphygmomanometer for children, surgical instrument curettage vacuum extractor, bird, manual, compel, suction pump electric portable with accessories among others.

Minister Samateh said this donation came after his engagement with UNICEF on the kind of assistance the Ministry needs.

“In one of our engagements with the UNICEF, I told them that we don’t only have to be training our officers but we also have to equip them with the necessary materials they may need in the course of doing their work,” he said.

The Minister of Health said after their engagement with UNICEF they then receive this equipment, adding that the equipment will be distributed to all the health facilities in the country and will assist the officers in carring out their functions.

Hon. Ousman Sillah the Chairperson of the National Assembly Select Committee on Health said the donation is timely and the partners need to be commended for their generosity.

“This shows how your Ministry has concerns when it comes to health, I am sure with these materials, it will minimize referrals of patients to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital as some of the equipment is mobile,” he said.

He commended UNICEF for the great gesture they have given to the Ministry of Health and urged the Ministry through the Minister of Health to make good use of the materials.

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