President Barrow’s pick for the position of Defence Minister, Honourable Sheikh Omar Faye, ticks all boxes: a seasoned military officer, consummate diplomat, and career statesman. Until his new appointment this week, Honourable Faye was the Consul General of The Gambia in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – a position he held since June 2018. Mr. Faye served also served as the Gambian Ambassador in Washington D.C., USA, from 2015 to 2017; where he had earlier worked as the Deputy Chief of Mission between 2014 and 2015. Other countries he worked in a diplomatic capacity include the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
Between 2006 and September 2007, he diligently functioned as the Minister of Youth, Sports and Religious Affairs, following a brief stint as the Director of Press and Public Relations at the Office of the President.
Mr. Faye’s security background began in the First Republic when he enlisted in The Gambia Field Force/Pioneer Unit in 1981. By 1984, Mr. Faye went to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, United Kingdom, where he obtained a Diploma in Leadership and Military Science. He later became part of the senior cadre of the Gambia National Army that contributed significantly in organizing the military into a highly organized, structured, and disciplined force.
Between 1985 and 1988, he served in various command positions in the First Infantry Battalion in The Gambia and also underwent Company Commander’s Course in Quetta, Pakistan. From 1987 to 1990, he served in various senior capacities in the army such as Company Commander in the SeneGambian Confederal Army, Staff Officer at The Gambia Army Headquarters, and Company Commander in the Liberian Peacekeeping Mission, among a host of other prestigious positions.