Open letter to Dr Isatou Touray Dear editor, I write to remind you of your appointment by President Adama Barrow, during his cabinet reshuffle of Friday, 29 June 2018 to spearhead the affairs of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. It is true that it’s only been a few months since you have taken over your new duties. As a stakeholder in the health sector, I can only appreciate how full your plate is. Unfortunately, I am writing this open letter to you to expose to you certain realities that sovereign citizens of The Gambia are confronted with which you might not be aware of. Honourable Minister, I am heartened by the appointment of a superstar with your understanding as a health minister. By now, you will have settled in, been brought up to speed by ministry officials and learnt how cabinet sets priorities and policies. But I am totally disappointed that the recent budget did not stress health as a major concern. I hope that the health of Gambians remains a priority for the Barrow-led administration. The health sector under your watch is facing massive challenges. Over the past few months, we have heard that services are not effective as expected and citizens are struggling to get the essential health and care support that they need due to the inadequate medicines and facilities at the hospitals across. This resulted for people especially the rich to go to private clinics for medication. Honourable Minister, I don’t mean to be disrespectful in this open letter but I submit to you that, we the poor citizens, take our families to the public hospital without facilities and proper care while those of you at the top whom we voted for to protect and improve our health care facilities, take your families to private clinics. Health should be a priority of the Barrow-led administration as a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Please note that in the 21st century inaccessibility to health care is a violation of human rights. We cannot achieve a free zone disease country until and unless we take in charge of our health sector and pump in the required resources needed. We cannot continue to rely on aid and grants to improve our health sector. Honourable Minister, you would recall that 129 Gambian doctors have gone on a sit-down strike some months ago following comments made by your predecessor Saffie Lowe-Ceesay who accused them of corruption. I will advise you to work closely with your staff to avoid another strike in order to stay long on that ministerial hot seat so that you can formulate plans, strategies and policies for a better health sector we want as per the National Development Plan championed by President Barrow. Saidina Alieu Jarjou Blogger/political activist Essay Bokar-Sey’s empty big talk Dear editor, I read with disappointment Omar Wally’s Bantaba interview on your Friday 28 December 2018 edition with Mr Essa Bokar Sey. All I took away from the interview is the self-promotion and self-congratulation of Mr Sey. He does not give direct, honest answers to any question, instead digressing and talking incoherent nonsense about totally different things. The interview from Mr Sey’s answers is shallow and bereft of any substance. For a man who claims to be an intellectual, it is very disappointing. Maybe he does not understand English and should have told Mr Wally so that he is interviewed in French or better still Tukulorr. Read his answer to one of the first questions about Jammeh: “…Brutality and saying he will crush any guy who crosses his path…that is the character of Yahya Jammeh, even in jokes. But I never thought that the threats of brutality will turn into reality. So, I was surprised seeing him act that big. Not surprised because he can’t do it, I was surprised because of the complaints I used to hear from Jammeh.” Like seriously? What kind of incoherence is this? Who else in the world but Mr Sey himself would understand whatever he meant by this. The whole interview is the same meaningless gibberish. Mr Wally asked him “why didn’t brave it and return home and join the struggle on the ground against Jammeh like others but instead stayed very far”. Essa Bokar Sey replied: “But Omar, who am I? These are genuine criticisms I want to hear and this is my opportunity also to explain. Let me tell you one thing. Mark Braff is in Texas. Rachel Haywick is alive. If Gambians were to ask them what happen they will tell them. What I wanted to do at the time, I told Mark I was going to Hungry, I had some contacts there and if I go there, I’m going to enter Gambia and Jammeh knows I was not bragging.” SMDH. Mr Wally and the editors of The Standard, I am going to claim refund for the Paracetamol I bought about reading this interview. Sheikh Tijan Ceesay Fajara Golf Course Alagie S Darboe, come out clean Dear editor, I was very troubled reading the interview with former vice president, Aja Fatoumatta Tambajang on your newspaper. She made very damning statements against Alagie S Darboe, the National Assembly Member for Brikama North. It was important that Mrs Tambajang cleared her name because since President Barrow said nobody gave him money for the presidential campaign, there has been a lot of talk about the millions of dalasis contributed by Gambians inside and outside The Gambia for Coalition 2016. We demand to know where the money went. Now Mrs Tambajang has cleared the air and cleared her name. I commend her for that. In the same vein, I challenge Mr Darboe that he should live up to his title as Honourable by doing the honourable thing and explain to us how our money has been spent. Every but that was given to him by Mrs Tambajang. Why on earth would he refuse to provide a statement on how he spent the money after all the attempts by the old woman for him to do so even up to the extent of writing to the president and Ousainu Darboe. Alagie Darboe must explain otherwise we will follow it up and take him to the court. A word for the wise is enough. This is new Gambia and accountability must be upheld. Modou M Gaye New York]]>
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