Dear Editor,

In Mr. Barrow’s Christmas and New Year address, he talked about setting up a Think Tank, called the Agency For Sustainable Socio-Economic Development (ASSED). In my article – Can we assess Mr. Barrow’s Think Tank, The ASSED? – published on your site on January 8th 2017, I made some comments on the address. Click on the article for the complete comments ( In this follow-up, I want to focus on the following portion of the article where I expressed concern on the acronym, ASSED, given to the Think Tank:

By the way, this may sound silly but the optics of things is very important in modern politics. The “ASSED” acronym does not look great especially if they do not present a great “blueprint” next week. It sounds like some bad thing put in the past tense. Trust me, the soon-to-be opposition will use it to mock you.  As the saying goes,  “ politics ain’t bean-bag”; politics can be cruel. This “verb”, “ASSED”, should be used when talking about what the Gambian people did to the Jammeh government and not something that is supposed to lay the foundation for the new Gambia. See, this is why you need to be more transparent with the people and share your thinking so that we can help refine or fine-tune your ideas.

In the last line I said  that we the Gambian people can help the coalition refine and fine-tune their ideas but I did not provide any alternative to the ASSED acronym. It bothered me and I thought I will provide the following:

Agency For Sustainable SoCio-EcoNomic Development (ASSCEND)

As you can see ASSCEND comes completely from the name of the Think Tank; no changes to it. I think, in terms of optics, which is crucial in politics, it can be a good substitute for ASSED. I believe it is less vulnerable to ridicule. Above all, since it rhymes with the word ASCEND (to move up), it is in line with the ideals of the Think Tank.

The Think Tank is tasked with developing “sectoral blueprints of our three year development Agenda, 2017 -2020”. The development plan produced by the Think Tank will help Gambia “ASSCEND” from the depths of isolation of the past 22 years. The next three years should offer Gambia the opportunity to “ASSCEND” the ladder of respect in the international community and regain her rightful place. The Gambian people are putting their hopes in the new government to help them “ASSCEND” the ladder of opportunity in order to get out of poverty, get a better education and live a better life. Since “ASSCEND” sounds like ASCEND, we can come up with so many things the Gambia and the Gambian people need to ascend to.

To conclude, I would like to suggest to the coalition to use Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) instead of Think Tank. When I hear Think Tank, my mind goes to the Think Tank of the AFPRC, Mr. Jammeh’s military ruling council. That Think Tank gave us Vision 2020 and we all know where that stands. Break away from Jammeh as much as possible.

Elderly Gambian, Pa Alagi

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