According to numerous financial data, 60 % of Gambia’s GDP derives from the Tourism & Hospitality industry. Given the current constitutional crisis originating from the unprecedented power grab by Yaya Jammeh; completely abrogating his constitutional duties as an outgoing president, who was defeated in the foregone elections of 2016, we must look at the impact on the economy.
Yaya Jammeh’s refusal to heed the call of the national, and international forces to relinquishment power to Adama Barrow, has resulted to uncertainty of instability which is a recipe for social upheaval resulting to economic pressures of catastrophic proportion.
In the last week alone, nearly all international tour operators have cancelled flights to Gambia in the wake of the start of the tourism season. The tourists that had already arrived prior to the political crisis, have prematurely departed as the threat of civil disturbance increasingly develop to greater chances of occurrence; taking away their Euros and Pounds. This failure of the tourism season means:
- Hotels and Restaurants will report in the negative for 2016 season; this will lead to financial deficits that may lead to business closure.
- Hotel & Restaurant employees will lose their jobs, and will find no other means to feed, clothe, and provide shelter for their families.
- Tourist Taxis and national tour operators will realize no income for 2016; leading to devastating economic repercussions.
- Tourist market vendors will see no sales, and therefore may shut their doors, and books reporting in the red.
- Tourist sites across the country will report no income for 2016, and therefore workers of these places will be deprived of any income to take home.
- Tourism and Hospitality institution students will not be afforded internships in hotels and restaurants for educational experience leading to significant skill deficiencies that will delay their graduation for a year or more.
- The contribution of Tourism industry to the GDP of The Gambia will be significantly reduced/cut to nearly zero, resulting in Socio-economic difficulties of the economy; a trickledown effect that will affect many other parts of the economy. Couple this with a bad rainy season; Gambia will seep deep in poverty that will have catastrophic effects on the country.
- All other tourism and hospitality dependent businesses, generally, the markets across Gambia will feel the devastation of the failure of the 2016 tourism season.
As my house sits under the flight route of the airplanes, I can tell you that just in the last week, I have observed a significant increase in flight traffic in and out of Yundum airport ferrying the tourists out to safety; heeding the advice of their governments.
The dichotomy is that Yaya Jammeh speaks of wanting and wishing for peace and tranquility in The Gambia, but his actions of causing a constitutional crisis shows a contradiction. We are therefore not fooled by his overarching quest for power superseding the overall interest of peace and tranquility, and the general interest of the nation. Yaya harbors his selfish interest only. This is un-Gambian!
Yaya Jammeh’s actions of late are ungentlemanly and certainly un-State manly. I also find that the integrity of his cabinet, starting with the Vice President, and the rest of the ministers, and ambassadors (Omar faye excluded), to be in question. I remain in consternation that the likes of Fatou Lamin Faye, Abdou Jobe, Dr. Senghore, Omar Sey, Fatoumata Singhateh can sell their soul to stand by and not be courageous enough to defend the constitution of the Gambia. All these ministers and even APRC’s ardent supports know deep down in their hearts that Yaya Jammeh’s action are self-serving, and that their quietness is complicit, and that their conscience will not let them rest until they do the right thing and defend the constitution, and resigning in protest. I wish to ask them to google the ethical theory of Utilitarianism, and think of the greatest ethical rule of being the right type of person more than doing the right thing. For this writer, I am disappointed in the entire cabinet, and wonder if these are the right types of persons we wish to have as leaders.
We hope that President Barrow’s cabinet will comprise of people of high moral who will defend the constitution, and avert economic destruction of our country.
I write for The Gambia our home land, and that I pledge my firm allegiance and renew my promise. Please cabinet ministers renew you pledge; is never too late to do right by the country. Defend the Constitution! Avoid losing respect in this country because you will be judged based on your action at hour and in the history of this nation. I pray you will Defend the Constitution!
A Concerned Citizen…God Bless The Gambia!