By Tabora Bojang in Passimas
President Adama Barrow has said the 2016 change of government should not be about noise-making but impacting positive changes in the lives of average Gambians.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 121-kilometre US$61.9 million Laminkoto-Passimas highway interconnecting the northern and southern regions of the country on Saturday, President Barrow said even if his presidency were to end yesterday, the completion of The Gambia’s north bank trunk road to bituminous standard would be an enduring legacy.
He said his government is aware and committed to raising the living standards of Gambians and creating platforms for economic growth and job creation.
“The noise makers will continue to make noise and we will continue with our work. We will continue to construct more roads, bridges, and provide electricity so that all the Gambians can feel the change in their lives. The change should not only be about noise-making, it should be about work and development which must be seen to be impacting the lives of the average Gambian just like the people of Laminkoto and Passimas have felt the change in their lives,” Barrow told a cheering crowd at the inauguration in Passimas.
He recalled that prior to the project, the road had deteriorated to an extent that in 1997 his wife had to resign her teaching job in Passimas.
“I made it clear to her that I would never revisit Passimas after a horrible encounter I endured by spending two nights on travel. After this, she resigned and became a housewife. Thanks to this project today, that shackle has been broken,” he stated.
In his official address the president said the Laminkoto-Passimas highway would bridge and promote regional connectivity, increase access to health care and education while enhancing movement of people, goods and services.
He added the road will improve access to the great agricultural potentials of the region and facilitate effective implementation of the government’s rural development programmes.
The president thanked the Saudi Fund, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Opec Fund for International Development, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa – Badea, and the African Development Bank – ADF for their “laudable contribution” to the achievement of this component of the National Development Plan.
The Minister of Works, Bai Lamin Jobe, said the completion of the project took less than the estimated US$70 million cost.
Jobe stated that over 40 years, the past governments have been planning and contemplating the construction of the road without breaking any ground.
He described the project as an achievement of the Barrow administration that no one can erase.
The road which according to contractor, Ali Arezki, would enjoy 20 years of good condition, has 120 culverts and drains to ensure adequate drainage of both the main and access roads.
Former president Yahya Jammeh’s works minister Bala Garba-Jahumpa, who was at the inauguration ceremony, said the road project was the achievement of the APRC government.
Cabinet ministers, senior government officials, representatives of the funding organisations and opposition GDC leader, Mamma Kandeh, were present at the ceremony.