By Tabora Bojang
Political scientist Dr Ismaila Ceesay has said the coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc across the globe, has exposed Barrow government’s lack of foresight to provide leadership in times of crises to ensure the health, economic and social well being of Gambians.
Ceesay who is the interim leader of the Citizens Alliance party was speaking at the launch of his party’s Covid-19 relief package to support vulnerable families and small business cope with the economic effects of the pandemic through cash support.
He said the government’s struggle to provide leadership and usher in proactive measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus and its dire economic implications laid bare their “inadequacy and incompetency”.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us lessons to forever remember the importance of state preparedness, in times of emergencies or crisis that are beyond the control of any individual. They could have provided leadership and prepared the country on how to not only prevent but contain the virus when this virus erupted in China and other parts of the world. In both cases they have been reactive and not proactive,” he charged.
Ceesay said even the government’s overall Covid-19 strategy was not informed by comprehensive assessment of our local realities but knee-jerk reactions that drew inspiration from other countries, despite our different peculiarities.
“Therefore, Citizens Alliance believes that the measures put in place by the government to contain the virus have the potential to cause adverse financial and economic impacts on our already poverty stricken population,” Ceesay said in a statement.
He urged the government to adopt a corresponding social and economic response plan that would address the financial and economic impacts of the disease and the unexpected burden it places on the people and their livelihoods.
Ceesay who is the coordinator of the CA relief fund disclosed that the package is an embedded relief plan to support the most vulnerable groups of our society.
D200,000 is earmarked to support needy families in 28 communities, the women in particular. The package constitutes two components over two phases with the first to focus on helping poor families while the second phase will focus on recovery to help small businesses start again after the disruption.
“Giving cash instead of commodities is an affirmation of our strong beliefs in nurturing a dignified citizenry while allowing them to take control of their lives, make their own choices. We will respect the dignity and privacy of recipients,”he concluded.