By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow said yesterday that his government will soon table a bill at parliament for the introduction of a two-term limit for president.
He said this during his second bi-annual meeting with the media at State House in Fajara.
“This has been part of the Coalition Government’s main campaign promises and nothing will change that,” Barrow said.
He said a term limit will help consolidate a progressive democracy in The Gambia.
President Barrow said government is working on a complete overhaul of the country’s Constitution. “I am not even ruling out a referendum on the Constitution so that we can scrap all the bad laws in it,” the president said.
Commenting on other matters, the president described the recent Kanilai demo which led to the death of one Haruna Jatta as regrettable, but added that Gambians should understand that Ecomig’s presense in the country is in the interest of the Gambian people and not otherwise.
He said investigations are being conducted into the case of the dead Kanilai protester. “I made it very clear that the government is going to respect the rule of law and in the name of democracy you cannot take the law into your hands. As far as I am concerned, we have a judiciary that is free from government interference. They are studying the case of the arrested people too,” he said.
On his recent Facebook comment on the media widely seen in many quarters as an attack on media freedom, the president said his government is “very committed” to ensuring the welfare of journalists and that is why a journalist, Demba Jawo, has been appointed minister.
Asked whether the government is considering unfreezing APRC’s accounts so that the party can operate as a vibrant, legitimate party, Barrow said: “If there is any APRC account that is frozen then it must be under the signature of former President Jammeh. Anything that Jammeh was signing has been put on hold until investigations are over.”
On whether his government has signed any agreement with the EU to repatriate Gambian migrants, Barrow said his government has not signed anything in connection to returning Gambians, “If the foreign minister signed anything of that sort, I am not aware.”
Responding to a question on his government’s plans to revive the health sector, the Gambian leader said: “As part of government reforms in the health sector, the entire management of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, has been changed and the payments at the hospital are now paid at the banks so that government can manage the affairs of the health sector. Just yesterday I met some investors who are interested in investing in the health sector and our discussions are at an advanced stage,” he said.
Relocation to State House
President Barrow has disclosed that he is expected to relocate to State House in Banjul in about two months
Since his inauguration in January, the President has not taken up residence at Number 1 Marina in Banjul and had been working and staying at the Fajara residence of the vice president.
His former spokesman Halifa Sallah has once famously said that the president will move there once work on “sanitising” the place is over .
“I will definitely relocate to the State House in two months times.
We will have to relocate to State House for several reasons; one is because our staff are split between Banjul and Fajara which is making our work very difficult,” he said.
He said the relocation to the State House took time because the maintenance at the place cost government a lot of money, “and government is very concerned on how to go about spending huge money to maintenance the place, but what is clear is that we will move there very soon.”
Asked when his government will finally resolve the vice president issue, he said: “I cannot say it would it be now, but one thing I know it will be resolved very soon.”