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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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Tribal politics and bickering should not destroy our sovereign brand

Dear editor,

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The Gambia is milking and can continue to milk economic dividends from the global recognition arising from the historic December 1, 2016, Presidential elections that was widely hailed and described as an indication of great hope for democracy in Africa and particularly for the Gambia, which President Yahya Jammeh had ruled with an iron fist for twenty-two years, transforming the Gambia from dictatorship to democracy.\

President Barrow’s election was also perhaps the most important political development in the Gambia in fifty-two years, the change of government through democratic, free and fair elections.

Now, the Gambia is being hailed as a beacon of democracy in Africa and the world. In equal measure investors and tourists have adopted a wait and see attitude until round of transition and reforms cycle is progressing. Unfortunately branding The Gambia, Gambia Tourism Authority, Gambia Investment Authority, the Ministry of Tourism and Trade are dead silent.\

I am not seeing any positive sovereign branding in local and international media, promoting the image of the country as a peaceful and stable investment destination. It would be good to have adverts promoting the Gambia running on CNN, the BBC and other major outlets. (We have on aggregate, as a country used about US$1 million on travels, per-diem payments and engaged on non-essential expenditures, etc., etc.) Such adverts can help in countering the negative perception of uncertainty of the country prevailing around the world.

The biggest losers of such negativity are sectors that heavily rely on foreign inflows like the capital markets and the hospitality sector. Unlike the Gambia, the Mauritius government takes national branding seriously. That is why the Mauritius brand ranks highly than the Gambia.

Dubai’s rise as an investment and tourism destination in the middle of a desert, heavily relies on deliberate branding and promotion by the government.

As a nation, we must not subvert the transition and reforms process and program. Anybody who subverts the transition process must be hang for treason. Let the legitimate will of the people prevail. At the end, if the transition and reforms cycle executes successfully, the Gambians comes out as a favorable investment destination, a working democracy with strong institutions.
Investors love predictability, stability, rule of law and incorruptible judges, in case of commercial disputes and political stability.

 

Alagi Yorro Jallow
New York City

When is our country going to move on the road for democratic reforms?

Dear editor,

When is our country going to move-on the road for Democratic Reforms (constitutional and electoral reforms among others) to get rid of the old system? It is vividly seen, that the level of powers have change hand, but the old system still lingers, we are asking for action, an act that will require a great decision in facilitating the country to a stable democracy compatible with our norms and values in a way that will promote the general welfare and secure the blessing of liberty to all of us and to our posterity. As at present, the constitutional authority of the head of the executive (president) is too great and needs to be limited to avoid excesses of dictatorial attributes..

Ladies and gentlemen, the modern dimension created by political necessity should precipitate actions to limit the power excesses of the executive branch to avert the repeat of the past administrations, the interaction of the president with the other branches of government should sometimes by adversarial in a way that will precipitate agreement based on compromise for the best interest of the country, this will help consolidate transparency to avoid lost of trust and confidence.

Legalistically, the constitution is structured in way that makes the branches of government subordinate to the executive and this needs some serious reflection to honor the ideals of shared interdependence power, the constitution is a remarkable document, but it’s current standing is very biased towards the executive giving it power excess, there shouldn’t be too much power in any of the branches of government.

I hope the long awaited constitutional reforms will strike a balance limiting the power excess of the head of the executive and objectively structure it, in a way that will staunchly and effectively strengthen checks and balances and have control about the economy spread out to avoid the implication of big mistakes.

Samba P Jallow

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