(JollofNews) – President Adama Barrow of the Gambia has vowed to give his people the change they voted for, saying that business cannot be as usual.
The pronouncement comes a year after he was sworn into office to preside over the destiny of the tiny West African nation.
“I therefore urge you all to take the courage to be committed and loyal in order to realise our dream and vision of a better Gambia, a nation with a clear vision and a strong, ethical and responsive public service,” Gambia’s Adama Barrow said Tuesday While holding his first ever meeting with the country’s top civil servants under the Grand Tent at State House, Banjul.
The Gambian civil service is still slipping into endemic corruption, betraying the main reasons that prompted people to vote for change.
In some quarters, the phenomenon has become a sporting activity as unscrupulous public officers continue to undermine the new democratic dispensation. These survivors of another epoch are defiantly pushing graft to unexpected levels.
Barrow said the realization of the vision of change is possible if public servants are to assert professional ethics in our daily interactions.
As the new regime is pushing ahead with the agenda for change in the midst of major urgencies, President Barrow took the opportunity to remind them about the huge debt burden his administration inherited from the previous regime.
“As you are aware, our debt burden is currently unsustainable with a GDP ratio of 125%. This means a huge quantity of our revenue goes to servicing of our debt rather than investing in education, health or other social developing projects,” he said.
He went further to ouline some of the major challenges the country is facing, and which has to do with constant power shortages that are hampering development efforts; poor road networks and inadequate infrastructure. “The potentials of our agriculture subsector still remain largely untapped due to limited investment and the resultant use of primitive farming methods,” he added.
Gambia MInister of Tourism and Culture Hamat Bah shared some inspirational thoughts with the gloves off. He went ballistic against graft and corruption that are undermining the Barrow adminsitration.
“We cannot accept the practices of the past,” Hamat Bah warned.
Bah unveiled the deeply rooted corruption practices at Banjul International airport where public servants engage into their ‘sporting activity’, which conists of systematically ‘robbing’ Gambians upon their arrival.
Hamat Bah said he was approached some weeks ago by a group of Gambians lamenting how badly they were treated by airport officials when they arrive home. He then spilled the beans about these ‘corrupt officials’ who are stealing mobiles and other valuable items on an industrial scale.
“They said they prefer landing in Dakar (Senegal) than landing in Banjul,” he revealed with a tone of disappointment.
He then added: “Mr. President, this is affecting your government, your image. We need to do something against it.”
The Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service Habib Drammeh re-echoed similar sentiments. He said his office is starting a new process to ensure that the civil service will deliver on expectations.
“The Gambian people are impatient, and we cannot afford to let them down,” he said.
Written by Abdoulie JOHN