By Omar Bah
The Minister of Agriculture, Demba Sabally, has urged Gambians to embrace ‘responsible democracy’ as he inaugurates the restored Sanyang police station.
Last year, a mob set the Sanyang police station ablaze following a demonstration over the killing of a native by a Senegalese national. Few weeks after the protests, the CEO of GACH Global, Abubakary Jawara, visited Sanyang and promised to immediately rehabilitate it. After a little over one year of rehabilitation, Sanyang police station now boasts of a living quarter, mosque, spaces for SIS, GID and DLEAG.
Addressing the event attended by senior government officials, governor of West Coast Region, senior police officers, traditional rulers and politicians from across the political divide, Minister Sabally asserted that setting police stations on fire does not conform with democracy.
“Yes, we have democracy but that democracy has nothing to do with burning down police stations. The police are here for everyone,” he told the audience at the inauguration.
Minister Sabally appealed to Gambian youths to direct their energy towards national development. “There’s a reason behind the rehabilitation of the station. Let’s pray for peace. Youths, let’s put our energy in the development of the country. There’s democracy in President Barrow’s dispensation but it must not be abused,” he stressed.
Commenting on the sponsor of the new police station, Minister Sabally described Abubakary Jawara as a patriot saying “only a patriot would be willing to part with close to D3 million to build a police station”.
In a statement read on his behalf by his brother, the GACH CEO Abubakary Jawara said: “I was displeased when I received the news of the incident that happened at the Sanyang police station which was unfortunate and scary.”
Jawara said a police station is a security place and when it is threatened then the people are equally at risk because it serves as a security centre for its people.
“You will all agree with me that the best commodity we export as Gambians is peace. So, anything done to maintain that peace is never a waste but a profitable investment. This Sanyang police station is not only for the people of Sanyang but for everyone in The Gambia, whether a Gambian or not. So instead of planning to cause destruction to it, we should protect it from harm because it protects us from harm,” he said.
Jawara said though the D2.8 million spent on the construction of the station is huge, he was more concerned about the return on investment than the money.
“I willingly and humbly sponsored it as a contribution for the betterment of my country. So being here to attend this occasion means a lot to me because it is a confirmation to me that my investment made a successful outcome and I am happy about that,” Jawara stated.
The alkalo of Sanyang, Lamin Jabang, thanked Jawara for his intervention, saying the GACH CEO is now a household name in Sanyang thanks to his community development efforts.
The chairman of Sanyang VDC, Lamin Bojang, recalled how they found it almost impossible to rebuild the station due to financial problems.
“But Jawara went to IGP Mamour Jobe and committed himself to rebuilding it. We thank him for that and other community development projects he financed,” Bojang acknowledged.
The police commissioner West Coast Region, Pateh Jallow, harped on the need for the observance of the rule of law and promotion of peace in communities.
He said the police will not compromise the peace and security of the country at no given time. “It doesn’t matter who is involved but the police will not and cannot be intimidated,” he said.
The Councillor of Sanyang Ward, Boto Bojang, said: “This is an important day for Sanyang. We need a police station for our protection. Dr. Abubakary Jawara, you have done something massive for Sanyang. Since you are son of Sanyang, we want you to support your compatriots.” The GACH CEO also donated a brand new pick-up to the station.