28.2 C
City of Banjul
Monday, July 22, 2024

My notion of the State

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By Alagie Saidy-Barrow

Mr Speaker, I greet you. Mr Speaker, before proceeding, let me say that you look very healthy. Mr Speaker you look very well now that you can afford to travel outside the country for your medical needs. All credit goes to Yahya Jammeh and me. And Mr Speaker, I understand that you and your colleagues are about to give yourselves a lot more money in salary and benefit increases. We thank God for your foresight.

Honorable members of parliament; I hope those of you who went to Egypt made a lot of money in per diems. More importantly, I hope all of you are enjoying your brand new Prados and all the beautiful allowances you allocated to yourselves. I am also glad to see that your UDP colleagues never go against anything that benefits all members of parliament. That is unity, and we must all unite to ensure we continue to benefit as a united government.

Mr Speaker, there is a reason our brothers and sisters in the judiciary also want beautiful allowances and salaries for themselves. At the end of the day, no one can dispense justice effectively when you are not richer than those you serve. No one can be a great law maker when you are not richer than those you serve in parliament. Mr Speaker, we must accept that Government service is a rat race between the executive, legislature and the judiciary. We cannot do anything for the people until we ensure fat salaries for ourselves, until we give ourselves nice expensive cars, guarantee ourselves lifelong allowances and live a life that the people we claim to serve can only dream about.

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Mr Speaker, our reality is that our government which we have been told consists of the judiciary, legislature and executive, exists to make us live better lives than the average Gambian. But in the process of carving great lives for ourselves, we have also managed to do wonderful things that allow us to tell the people that we are working very hard for them. Today, our country is the envy of the subregion. To that end, I’ll list the inconsequential achievements my ministers shared with me!

On Agriculture, Mr Speaker, you’ll notice that despite all the blessings from God Almighty, we still cannot feed ourselves because we continue to pay lip service to our agriculture. We say farming is the backbone of the country because it sounds good. In actuality, we do not believe in this and that is ably demonstrated in how much of our budget is allocated to agriculture.

On tourism, many of our citizens are in Europe today because of tourism. We continue to hope more tourists will come to visit us even if we have nothing to offer besides what we have always offered: Our sun!

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On information, I have a converted minister who is going out of his way to defend everything we do and disown everything he once said about us. We thank God for his maturity. We have a new law coming that ensures no one says things we don’t like. We will use this law to ensure law and order.

On the economy, Covid and the war in Ukraine are why everything remains so expensive for Gambians. But thank God for not making those of us seated here feel the pain of our people.

On trade, we have empowered our friends and supporters to ensure a better strangle hold on the economy! They support our politics and we give them monopoly! It’s a win win situation for us politicians and our rich friends.

On education, we have very good private schools now and none of the important people in this country has to send their children to public schools. We will continue to be the best in West Africa.

On local government, we are trying. We just brought in a new minister and he’s talking the talk. All of us in government get lands and some of us are also buying in senegal. It’s a blessing from the almighty!

On women’s affairs, we continue to ensure tokenism remains the hidden operative word. We consider women to be almost equal to men.

On Youths and sports, we will soon have a Gambian in the premiere league and our only stadium will be one of the best some day. That’s why our youths are not taking the Backway like they used to.

On health, no senior government official has to rely on the dilapidated public hospitals. We can send our important people for treatment in other countries. The public hospitals are for regular Gambians and we in government are not regular.

On security, our people are very happy and safe and hence our name, the smiling coast! Today, no minister or important person has to worry about their security needs. But if push comes to shove, many of us have properties in Senegal where we can settle.

On defense, our uniforms continue to inspire the rest of the world. We have the best military in west Africa and so we have no worries.

On foreign affairs, we just concluded the best conference we have ever held. We are friends with every country because as a country that relies on our development partners, you never know where your next meal will come from. All our ambassadors are happy.

Honorable Speaker, our country is moving in the right direction. We are perfecting the art of lawfare and inducement to better control the people and Insha Allah, we will soon have a cowed population.

Mr Speaker, that all of us seated here do not have to worry about our next meal, or worry about school fees for our children or worry about petrol prices, or worry about how to get to and from work, or worry about what we leave for our families when we are no longer alive are all testament to the excellent work of my government.

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