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Monday, January 18, 2021

Letters: Diaspora’s loud noise is necessary

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Dear editor,

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Addressing a throng of enthusiastic supporters in Banjul at the conclusion of his month-long Meet the People’s Tour, the Gambian President Adama Barrow has opined that noise from the diaspora has lowered due to the development crusade his government is pursuing. According to the Gambian leader, the dazzling rate of development projects carried out so far has humbled the Gambia’s diaspora community.

It’s important to remind the Gambian leader that he needs to hear noise from the country’s 8th region: The diaspora. That “irritating” noise and “annoying” uproar keep the Government in check in the face of sycophancy and mediocrity that have characterized the nation’s political landscape, where those in corridors of power tell the President what he wishes to hear rather than what he needs to hear. The President had to rescind some similar executive decisions due to the diaspora’s noise, the last of which was the revocation of Remi Joiner’s appointment as the Deputy Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission. The decision was reversed after it appeared unlawful due to the opposition’s strong objection and the loud noise from the disapora.

The Gambians in the diaspora have played a crucial role in the change in the Gambia in 2016, ending two decades of dictatorship and despotism in the country. Some of them have contributed financially to uproot the tyrant, whereas others have put their lives on the line to ensure that their brothers and sisters back home restore their dignity and freedom.

The Gambian diasporans must not be seen as desperate job seekers when they offer their service. They feed families, pay school fees for children, help relatives set up businesses, and massively contribute to their economy. According to statistics, Gambian immigrants contribute 20% of the country’s GDP! Every genuine Gambian in the diaspora wishes the best for the country, motivating them to build elegant mansions in the homeland.

Rather than hammering the diaspora for their critical views, the Government should explore ways to engage them in the country’s development agenda positively. The Government should solicit their rich ideas, diverse and vast experience to realize the Gambian people’s hopes and aspirations. The Gambians in the diaspora must not be seen as enemies of the State; instead, they should be seen and treated as partners in development, for they have the country’s interest at heart. Countries that have prospered have either incentivized their people in the diaspora to come back home by creating a conducive environment for them or encouraging skilled labour immigration to their countries.

Basidia M Drammeh

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