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Barrow extols dialogue with political opponents

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By Omar Bah

President Adama Barrow has used his independence anniversary speech to commend his political opponents and all those who participated at the recently concluded national dialogue initiated by his office. 

He said the recent consultative activities with the political leaders and national dialogue were successful and received with approval.

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“The response and participation of the political leaders, civil society organisations, and the public were healthy and constructive. I thank the participants and organisers alike for this accomplishment and urge that we continue the process with the same good spirit and good will. I thus endorse the national dialogue initiative to be an annual event,” he stated.

Turning to other matters, Mr Barrow added: “In light of the upheavals, fears, and threats within the sub-region and beyond, we must endeavour to educate our people and inspire them to remain steadfast in safeguarding the nation, contributing to its progress, and helping to secure the peace and stability we so lovingly enjoy.”

He said Gambians should ask themselves how they can preserve the nation, its sovereignty, symbols of authority, and institutions and secure its resources and utilise them in the best interest of the people.

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The president said the 59th independence anniversary celebration should be devoted to reflection on “our collective responsibility of preserving the nation, safeguarding the state, and securing our resources”.

“We have successfully developed massive infrastructure to the point that there are formidable road links in every region of the country. The agriculture sector is now booming following the bumper harvest recorded this year. Tourism is peaking again, and energy generation stands at a level never recorded before in the history of The Gambia. The expansion in education and health services is prominent, and my government continues to receive positive feedback in all areas of development. We are fully aware, nonetheless, that development is a never-ending process. As a result, we will continue to work hard and invite all Gambian citizens and supporters to come on board and be part of the national bandwagon to fly the Gambian flag much higher. The collective responsibility lies on every one of us,” he said.

Commenting on the challenges facing the country, Mr Barrow said life in itself has never been rosy all the way, “therefore, we do not promise that life in The Gambia could be trouble-free. It is unrealistic to expect this. We are bound to encounter difficulties, such as those imposed on us due to global developments”.

He said price rises, shortages of essential commodities, and budgetary constraints should be expected.

“In such circumstances, we should unite patiently and apply remedial measures. The government will always seek ways out of every difficulty that confronts the nation, and we expect the people to support us to resolve such challenges,” he said.

He informed the youths that there are lots of opportunities at their disposal.

“Nations, particularly the youth, thrive on education and training. You must realise, therefore, that skills education and training could speedily result in building the economy, expanding self-employment, and allowing you to take control of the economy,” he stated.

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