By Omar Bah
In his long inaugural speech yesterday, President Adama Barrow pledged to be a president for all Gambians and foster national unity for enhanced sustainable development.
Cognisant of the polarised and divisive nature of the country in the wake of the recent election, President Barrow called on all the oppositions in the country to rally behind his government in the interest of national unity and prosperity.
“I will be a president for all Gambians and will be tolerant to diverse views to enhance peace. My next five years will be characterized by sustainable development in infrastructure, agriculture, technology, education and more,” Barrow said.
The president pledged to form a cabinet that will work to heal the nation, create avenues for reconciliation, tap the talent and capacity of all Gambian nationals, and accommodate diversity for sustained peace and stability.
“I seize this opportunity to commend and pay tribute to all the other political contenders for their sense of patriotism and love for the country. I call on them and their supporters to close ranks with us and work collectively with my administration for the progress and development of our beloved nation. No sector, institution or segment of our society will be left out of the development process,” he said.
He said his re-election for another five years is “a vote of confidence in his government, a vote of acknowledgement of his achievements, a vote of endorsement of the path we have undertaken to follow, and a vote of acceptance of the democratic principles and values we stand for”.
The president repeated his commitment to construct 1200km of roads across the country.
“I will work to realise sustainable electricity, self-sufficiency, food security, national security and good governance,” he said.
Turning to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission report, President Barrow said the report is being studied carefully for appropriate action.
“Transitional justice, rights, freedoms and the rule of law are matters of great importance to us,” he said.
The Gambian leader takes solace in the independence of the Judiciary saying Gambians now have confidence in “our judicial system”.
As he committed himself to continue promoting and protecting the fundamental human rights of all Gambians, Barrow said all citizens are equal before the law.
The president promised to create more jobs for the youths.
He thanked the Gambian people for what he called “strong confidence” reposed in him to serve for another five years.
Commenting on Gambia’s international relations, Mr Barrow said the West African country has under his watch turned its image overseas.
“We will pursue this with vigor, beginning with our friends and neighbors in the sub-region and the African continent,” Barrow added.
He thanked ECOWAS for supporting the peace and security of the country.
“The presence of Ecomig signifies the relevance and competence of ECOWAS as a regional body. Without the continuous backing of ECOWAS, the pace of our transition would have been hindered,” he noted.
President Barrow also pledged his government’s desire to diversify tourism, as a major source of revenue for the country.
The Gambian leader emphasised that there will be better conditions of service for personnel saying the merit-based promotion was and continues to be crucial in reward for performance. Barrow also acknowledged the tremendous contribution of the country’s local and international partners.
Presidents of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Mauritania, Togo and other dignitaries were at the Independence Stadium to grace Mr Barrow’s inauguration.