The members made these comments Thursday while ratifying an agreement on tourism cooperation between Turkey and The Gambia aimed at ushering in year-around tourism for The Gambia.
The members said Turkey was one of the close allies of The Gambia that did not turn its back on the country when others withheld their support in the “crucial moments” following the 1994 coup.
“This a simple and plain agreement that will usher in immense benefit to both countries. During the difficult days of the revolution in the Second Republic, all the allies of government of The Gambia abandoned this regime but I will say Turkey stood by us. In addition, Turkey continues to be a true, reliable partner of The Gambia. We have seen how Turkey helps The Gambia in terms of technical cooperation. I know Turkey will not come into an agreement with The Gambia that is not of benefit to both countries,” the Bakau lawmaker, Kalifa Jammeh said while contributing to the debate on the new tourism cooperation.
Mr Jammeh said the ratification of the agreement will help government to earn foreign exchange and boost employment opportunities for Gambians.
Works and transport minister, Balla Jahumpa, overseeing the tourism ministry while tabling the motion said: “Anything that will give us year-round tourism will be welcome… The agreement is aimed towards that and according to the agreement, the parties shall exchange information pertaining to tourism planning and investment, protection and conservation of the natural and cultural resources, tourism accommodation, travel agencies, and investment opportunities and other related matters.”
The agreement also allowed the two countries to participate in each other’s exhibitions, conferences and other professional activities. Turkey’s parliament had already ratified the agreement. “The ratification of this agreement will open doors for the two countries in the field of tourism for mutual interest and benefit,’
Lamin Jadama, Member for Niamina West, who seconded the motion, underscored the important role of tourism in the economy of The Gambia, which he described is an “open secret”.
“The very cordial relations between Turkey and The Gambia are here for everyone to see. There is a need for speedy ratification of this important agreement which cannot be overemphasised. When I went through the document, I realised that it is precise, concise and yet so comprehensive that it dealt with all aspects of possible cooperation,” he said.
Abdoulie Saine of Banjul Central also recognised the pivotal role tourism plays in the Gambian economy but noted: “The tourism sector in the low season is not at the advantage of the government and employees because some of the workers will be laid off for six months while others are given half salaries. So anything that comes to take that out is welcome. Year-round tourism is what we need.”
Deputy Speaker Fatou Mbaye, Haddy Nyang-Jagne of Jeshwang, Baboucarr Nyang of Banjul South and Lamin Saine, nominated member expressed similar comments.]]>