By Momodou Darboe
The GDC’s Mamma Kandeh has described as pathetic government’s inability to tackle the backway menace four years after it campaigned on a platform of ending it.
The leader of the GDC believes that President Adama Barrow’s government has not learnt any lesson from the Barra boat disaster to enable it settle down to the tasks of creating opportunities to encourage youth to stay and thrive.
To Kandeh, the 2019 Barra disaster should’ve served as a wake-up call to the Barrow government but he lamented that despite politicians touting commitment to youth empowerment, meaningful youth development remains a pipe-dream.
Kandeh argued that young Gambians should not be forced to flee their country.
“If you remember last year, how many of them died in the sea? I thought the Barra accident would have been a wake-up call [for] the government to quickly put in place measures to stop this illegal travelling to Europe and make sure they create something important for our youths. But this government has learnt nothing from the tragedy,” Kandeh stressed in an interview with The Standard.
He contended that in the absence of prospects for youths, the country’s present and future will remain bleak.
“In the absence of that[prospects], we are nowhere. These are the people we have to give all the support that they need. These are the future leaders of this country. These are the people supporting their families one way or the other. So, we need them and we need to support them. And this is very urgent and government, whatever it does, must look back. These are the youths and the future leaders of this country.”
The GDC leader expressed disappointment that backway syndrome is still a challenge in the country despite millions of euros being pumped in for youth development.
“I think since they came to power, there have been millions of euros pumped into this country to help young Gambians through skills training and other areas of job creation. This is not happening. And when Barrow came to power, any time he’s asked about what he has for the youths, he will say the sea. We have seen how our sea is being surrendered to the Chinese and of course to Europeans themselves. Gambians should be involved in such a job creation but youths are disappointed and desperate to take the illegal way of trying to get to Europe.”
“We [GDC] are aware of what is happening,” Kandeh explained. “Backway syndrome is still an issue in this country. And I believe that no young Gambian would really want to use the back-way to Europe to seek for greener pastures. But I think the issue is that they have no option. And, what was expected from this current government because this is something clearly spelt-out during the 2016 elections. Unfortunately, up to now, Gambia has not been realizing any improvement in the side of creating jobs for the young people. This is the issue. It will be difficult to stop them. I think everybody needs to do his or her quota to discourage young people using the back-way to reach Europe. But to be able to do that, you have to create the best conditions for them. They need to survive. It is government’s responsibility to make sure that job creation is given priority.”