By Omar Bah
Stakeholders in Central River Region, last week converged at the Governor’s office to validate the region’s joint strategic development plan at a day-long consultative meeting.
The development plan includes projects to develop the regions feeder roads, waste management, improve the supply of electricity, farming and as well as improve tax collection in the region among host of others.
The blue-print, according to the organizers, was drafted since 2015 by the three councils in the region, Janjanbureh, Bansang and Kuntaur area councils to respond to the developmental aspirations and challenges in CRR.
Speaking at the meeting, the governor of Central River Region, Sulayman Barry said the joint strategic development plan was conceived during his familiarization tour to the councils.
He said during his visit to the councils, he realised that they all have their own ambitious strategic plans which, if brought together, can serve as a working document for the region.
“This is how I decided to bring all the councils in one forum including the region’s parliamentarians to discuss on the document and how we can bring all the ideas together in one paper that will serve the interest of the region,” he said.
He said the validation of the region’s strategic development plan is an historic moment in the Gambia, “I cannot remember witnessing or hearing such a meeting where all stakeholders including parliamentarians attend to discuss the way forward of their region in one forum.”
“This document which is the development blue print of the region, would serve as its working tool in the coming years. It is a document that will guide the region to achieve their targets that are set therein,” he said.
He said the office of the governor would continue to give its utmost support to the councils in its drive to championing the development of the region through the utilization of the development blue print.
“My office will ensure that the councils remain vibrant and developmentally oriented and take charge of the needs of the tax payers,” he added.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly member for Fulladou West Sanna Jawara said though the strategic development plan is rather ambitious, “the necessity of decentralization in The Gambia cannot be overemphasised.”
He said if the country is going to achieve its developmental aspiration in the shortest term possible, there must be decentralization and equal share of the national cake.
Jawara also used the opportunity to thank the governor for leading the initiative and assured him his unflinching support towards the development of the region.
Also speaking, the CEO Bansang Area Council, Samba Leigh said the joint strategic development plan will help the region to critically capture the aspirations of its people and as well give them a better understanding on how best they can work to achieve their goals.