By Omar Bah
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ousainou Darboe has said that the new-found enthusiasm and free expression of views and comments on the government by Gambians is in itself a solid achievement by the country and the people.
He said the free expression of opinions is what keeps government going as a government of the people.
“We are aware of the fact that people are a little bit impatient and of course they are also expressing themselves. But this is progress because is the new dispensation that allows this free flow of views which is in fact a right denied during Jammeh’s time,” he said.
On the performance of the government so far Minister Darboe said the government has done tremendously well despite all the challenges it has encountered. “I think it has been highly rated and highly successful,” he said.
On government’s challenges, Darboe said one of the biggest challenges they face as a government is reviving the country’s economy, adding “we of course have a full plate but we are certainly concern about the state of the economy or what we found in the Gambia and this is what we are grappling with.”
Asked about their exact plan or blue print, Darboe said the new government is expeditiously working on its development blue print to replace the one it inherited from former President Jammeh administration.
“When we took over we found that what Jammeh has put in place was not in tune with our thinking and we are ready to look at it and come up with our own development blue print very soon,” he told journalists recently at the Kairaba Beach hotel.
Mr Darboe said the new development blue print will take a form of short-term measures to ensure that electricity supply is not only restored but is regular as well as affordable as quickly as possible.
Asked whether the freedom of expression is not been pushed too far by some people, Minister Darboe said: “We expected that and certainly for us as a government it only makes us to be aligned to different opinions, which is what we are expected to do.”
He said: “We will let people say what they want to say, and we do the job that is expected of us, that is our position.
But let me strongly assure Gambians that the country is in the right hands and it will be put on the right track by the new government and considering the short period we have in office and having regards to the monumental achievements that we made, one can only say it has been very successful.”
Mr Daboe said it is good to know that it is within this short period that the country was rescued from international isolation. “We were a pariah during Jammeh’s time as a nation. But came President Barrow since his swearing-in in January the whole world open up its arms to The Gambia and embrace the country,” he said.
Asked to tangibly count the gains from the country’s return to the world so far, Darboe said: “You already know that with the EU we have already got 75 million Euros, and there is 150 million Euros been worked-out. We also have got some budget support from the World Bank.
When I visited Qatar we have been promised of some investors coming from Qatar and this was not only disclosed to us by business men, but also the state minister and all these are fundamental achievements that the government has made since Gambia reunited with the rest of the world,” he concluded.