By Omar Bah
The Gambian leader, President Adama Barrow has extended his special thanks to the United Nations Development Programme and the entire UN System for organizing the just concluded cabinet retreat.
The President reserved some special praises for the senior UN officials who have taken time off their busy schedules to come and support the country in its important policy forum.
“It is my profound gratitude to thank the UNDP for organizing this important retreat by my Cabinet Ministers. This retreat is very timely and is one of the critical support systems that the UN has generously provided, and continues to offer to the new government since the election in December 2016,” he said.
He said the retreat could not have come at a better time given that the new Cabinet members and their technicians are working hard to finalize and align the vision as contained in the Coalition 2016 Election Manifesto with the new national development blueprint.
“This workshop clearly provides us the unique opportunity to interact and enhance our ability to create the conducive environment in which we can hold inclusive and constructive conversations on how best to serve our people.”
“The responsibility to make key decisions that will have significant impacts on which direction we take as a country, rests on us. Therefore, how we engage among ourselves and the actions that we agree on will determine how our country seizes this opportunity of change to build a better and prosperous future for this great country,” he said.
He said the new government has inherited many challenges including a low performing public service, lack of accountability as well as a credible policy direction, that have understandably led to growing frustrations of the population, particularly the youths.
“However, these challenges provide the opportunity for an urgent reform of our systems and structures as well as attitudes so that together, we can usher in higher output, greater democracy and economic growth.”
According to the Gambian leader the country has come from a painful past especially in the last two decades in which people hurt each other in many different ways. “While I strongly believe in the healing power of reconciliation and forgiveness, it is important to underscore the reality that justice must not only be served but in fact be seen to be done where necessary.”
“However, what is urgently required of us is to unify the country around our transformative development agenda so that we can move speedily with our bilateral and multilateral partners to bring about socio-economic development for our people. We need to take a moment to reflect on the Gambia that we wish to see our children grow up in and to identify the changes in attitudes,” he added.