By Omar Bah
The organisers of the New York protest against President Adama Barrow last week have said that it was organised and led by Gambians from all political divides.
A sizeable number of Gambians living in the United States mobilised themselves last Thursday to protest against President Barrow. The unhappy protesters said they were dissatisfied with the country’s poor healthcare system, lack of security, homicides, maternal mortality and corruption.
The president’s supporters said it was organised by supporters of the opposition UDP but one of the organisers, Lamin Sillah of Bronx, New York, said: “The protest was organised by concerned Gambians who are worried about happenings in their country. It was staged to register our disappointment on the lack of proper health care, the number of women and children dying in childbirth, the number of killings in the country and corruption. We are angry because the government has ignored all these things as if they don’t exist. This is why we decided to come out and show the president that we are not happy with what is happening in the country. We are also concerned by the number of demolitions going on in the country. It is scary to see the government demolishing people’s houses indiscriminately without obtaining any court order”.
He added: “We had representatives from all sections of society and political divides. It was not organised by supporters of the UDP or any political party. We also have people who travelled from Atlanta, Maryland, Boston, Bronx and New Jersey. The plan was to have 1000 people but we ended up having 300 but what matters is that the message we wanted to send has been sent out and the president has heard it loud and clear. I think that’s why he decided to use the backdoor instead of the front door when he was leaving the conference.
“So for us, this was a protest against the suffering of our brothers and sisters back home. We have nothing against President Barrow or his government … All we want is for them to do the right thing for the country to realise its potential”.
However, presidential adviser Dodou Sanno has described the protesters as disgruntled Gambians who have nothing to do in the United States. He said their numbers were so few that he doubts they are more than members of his family. He described the message of the protesters as confusing. “They cannot and have not said there is dictatorship or lack of democracy in The Gambia,” Sanno said. Earlier, a group of other Gambians resident in USA came to welcome the president at his hotel chanting praises in his name.