Thoughts On The Polity

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Thoughts On The Polity

As the rains begin to fall for this much anticipated farming season, it has brought with it gusts of hale & excitement to rural Gambia destined to feed the nation. The administration has this year mobilised earliest to that effect given events at stake amid rising levels of hunger in the face of coronavirus. With the presidential seal of approval firmly affixed on food self-sufficiency drives, the line ministry to its credit is up in arms to address the crisis facing this most vital industry.

Speaking weeks earlier, the minister of  agriculture, Amie Fabureh, spoke in glowing terms on food ( rice) security through accelerated in-country production. While the usual mode is to critique govt at any given moment, I am, very much pleased to see the Barrow administration firm on its commitments by laying strong foundations on food security.

The bumper harvest anticipated this year largely hinges on a steady does of rainfall, even as talks in government circles on all year round irrigation measures gather pace. Minister Fabureh has also announced that cotton production will commence this year – a first in decades!

There is a new type of self-reliant Gambian youth ready to pull themselves out of poverty. Entrepreneurial, patriotic, these youth have come to realise that agriculture without doubt, is the surest way to uplift lives and the country out of poverty. We could do with a more of that: The potential for job creation in this sector alone is major for which private wealthy Gambians should come on board invest in mechanization projects.

On Border Control  – The issue here has garnered so much heat of late within border regions. Despite repeated violations on boundary limits, national security implications are impacted, for which the intelligence and service chiefs seem to take a lukewarm approach. Where is the anger in these men to raise the roof with regards to clandestine [rebel] movements looting shops on the ‘line’. Stringent measures will need to address the soft border if peace is to keep, and “Cassamance” is to resolve. It takes more than men to address national security – naivety wont do it -difficult but frank conversations will have to have with the opposite numbers in Dakar.

On Advertising Standards – recent advancements and changes in society has seen limitations concerning the ‘socials’ dialled up a little notch. A slippery slope it seems unless govt adopts interest. We have also seen mobile companies break advertising standards with no questions asked. The profitable cosmetics industry has gone rogue, as with the larxed Tobacco Control in place. Will govt address menace of oversexualized music videos on our screens claimed for art?

On Second hand (car) Imports – Driving through urban Gambia one is soon confronted by a dastardly flotilla of second hand garage sales littering the scene. Not a pretty sight I’m afraid, safe for concern on the environment for destination tourism soon to be known for old cars no one in Europe wants. While not to that as yet, the situation warrants enough attention from council regulators and for parliament to mobilise desirous on auto vehicle importation. The law has to be explicit on a timeframe to curtail importation of old cars – with consideration given to agricultural machinery.

On Public Health  – Anyone who cares to look closely will have seen the sale of over the counter Birth Control pills are out of control in town. The idea that this ‘virus’ is left unregulated in the hands of unqualified dispensers has created a major health hazard. The amount of pain & distress young girls & women are subjected to by unworthy pills has left a lot to be desired. Untrained pharmaceutical agents shouldn’t be allowed to dispense certain products to the general public without supervision. The health minister must stand firm ready to close down foreign pharmacies littering major high streets – Hubs of death & despair #MassLaaBiiDoiiNaa

On Cyber Crime – Now, here is an area you may as well familiarise yourself for it is likely to be with us as long as life remains. Cyber crime is a 21st century trick concerned with online fraud and criminality of the sort. Across Europe, banks and financial entities are known to lose millions every year as a result of online theft. The recent cyber fraud at Trust Bank by a Nigerian crime ring in the country has sent shockwaves among the population.

We have also seen the central bank of Bangladesh lost millions of dollars due to cyber fraud. The Gambia government has to prioritise cyber security in an effort to protect the country’s central bank, commercial banks and other financial institutions against major losses. It is therefore a pleasant surprise to learn that through membership of the #Commonwealth, The Gambia will soon benefit from a multimillion cyber security initiative to bolster the country’s institutions against cyber attacks.

Depending on metrics deployed, indications are that the incidence of #RAPE is still too frequent in the country. The upsurge, one would imagine, is resultant of the enabling environment women and girls now feel bold enough to report such violations. While that is a plus in a democratic environment, we cannot hide from the fact that rape cases still linger court rooms left to drag on for too long. The police and the judiciary will need to be better at handling victims; one the newly appointed minister need take a closer look toughen up sentencing guidelines, as well as compensation for victims.

Sunshine in the Middle of rain – Just a moment to applaud the appointment of the right Attorney general and minister of Justice, Dawda A. Jallow. Highly accomplished academically & intellectually, as well as ethical. He personify the simple life for one who sacrificed his career in the judiciary delivering impartial judgements which got him the sack during Jammeh. Without any silver spoon, he pulled himself by the bootstraps through hard work & sacrifice that got him to where he is today – a shining example to young Gambians as to what is possible with a little bit of hard work, and life choices. Indeed, good bores good, for an appointment widely acknowledged. Wishing him much success in the service to the nation.

Gibril Saine

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