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Sunday, May 19, 2024

A memory on corruption

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The proverbs quoted below are ever so true. Corruption is the worst enemy of a reasonable cost and standard of living. It impedes development, enhances inequality and undermines the stability of a society. It is induced and sustained through an opaque procurement system of a transactional government that lacks transparency in the process of acquiring goods and services for the state. Such goods include infrastructural developments (roads, bridges and buildings), the purchase of goods and commodities (energy, vehicles, food items) and provision of services (media advertising schemes, project feasibilities studies) and so forth. There is always a lame justification of an opaque procurement process and exhorbitant pricing that is assigned to the formulation and execution of such projects  such as, the need for expediency and the protection of national interest (usually for a few), prefinancing possibilities and so forth.

However, the economy is no one’s friend. It has its laws and rules. Failing to play by the rules is usually reflected in the covert, expansive and phenomenal increases of taxes, the sale or the grant of concessions to strategic national assets and obtaining loans at a commercial rate in order to get quick money for Ponzi schemes in order to handle urgent financial commitments.

These are very clear indicators of a mismanaged economy and the impact of systemic and unabated corruption. For the ordinary citizen, the cost of living continously increases and growth in the standard of living becomes stunted and declining. It needs no rocket science to appreciate these existential threats to livelihoods especially for a great majority of a society living under the yoke of poverty.

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It wil no doubt need a web of entangled and strenuous explanations and political and outsourced propaganda to defend a declining state of a mismanaged economy.

Proverbs for corrupt governance

“If you want to fight fire, you don’t wear a skirt made of dry grass”. (African Proverb)

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A Mandinka proverb says – “Dimbah buka fudi” – fire cannot be concealed.

An economy on fire cannot be concealed or managed in a system steeped in corruption.  A poor management of the economy will surely exert its true impact sooner rather than later.

Lamino Lang Comma

Tribute to Captain Sallah first MD of GPA

In commemoration of the “Golden Jubilee” of The Gambia Ports Authority, 18 April, I  wish  to pay a well-overdue homage to its first managing director, Captain Baboucar M. Sallah who reigned from 1972 to 1982.

Captain Sallah had truly been a great Gambian who had put country before self.

He had taken The Gambia Ports Authority, since he assumed the mantle of its leadership in 1972, from nothing and made it into a giant and a leading revenue earner for the country.

Indeed, Captain Sallah or “Bob”, as he was widely known and fondly called, started all the port projects at the time since its inception and with his strong, visionary and decisive leadership, he had successfully delivered, as was expected.

He had proven to be a champion for building up the Gambia Ports Authority from scratch and therefore the country owes him an eternal gratitude.

Besides, Captain Sallah had always been well known for his integrity, his humility and his capacity for reliable friendship.

In so being, everyone would recall the fact that despite being such an international man, Captain Sallah never forgot the workers whom he considered collaborators in the development of the shipping industry.

So, he had always made time for them, and even retirees would find a welcome from him when occasionally they visited the premises or precincts of the Gambia Port Authority.

During his time as MD, Captain Sallah had succeeded in all negotiations, simply because he had always shown respect to the workers individually and collectively.

His colleagues and co-workers thus considered him not only a competent professional, but a “good human being … sincere, trustworthy, confidential and consistent, one who took truthfulness, straightforwardness, and integrity seriously.

Perhaps, the greatest tribute that we could pay Captain Sallah would be to select those good qualities that he possessed and adopt them as our own.

Captain Sallah will long be remembered for the impact that he has had on diverse areas of our national life.

His unswerving commitment to national development, fueled by his passion for excellence, was the driving force behind his sterling accomplishments.

Indeed, Captain Sallah had left a stellar record of service, commitment, dedication, passion and achievement.

He had stamped his indelible mark on the Gambia Ports Authority and had chalked up an impressive and enviable record of public service, a testimony to his quest for excellence.

Finally, The Gambia needs more persons of the caliber of Captain Sallah to join our public service.

The Gambian public sector has many patriotic workers like Captain Sallah who would put Gambia first.

We have them past and present, people of integrity and probity, people who are confidential and trustworthy, people who respect their terms of employment, and people who serve with no political agenda or bias.

Thus, Captain Sallah had worked well with everyone and served them well.

He remained focused on The Gambia’s development.

Since his departure from the Gambia Ports Authority, Captain Sallah had served far and wide, including in Nigeria, Ghana, the British Virgin Islands etc etc.

May the Almighty God grant Captain Sallah continued long life, continued good health and continued sound mind.

Hassan Gibril

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