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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Scouts want government intervention to end standoff

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In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Abdou Saye, adult resource officer for Serekunda West and scouts troupe secretary at The Swallow School said: “We want immediate changes because the chief scout of the Gambia National Scouts Band and his deputy are nowhere to be seen. An association cannot function without a leader. We are appealing for directives from the Office of the President and the Ministry of Youth and Sports so that we can hold an AGM and put in place a new executive. It has been in our plans to perform in the upcoming July 22nd celebrations but how can we go when our office is closed? We see scouting as a very noble venture and a lot of young people have picked up interest in it due to the level of sensitisation. We have been engaging these people in various activities including certain educational forums. During most of these activities, there was only one representative from the national executive. We want to register our profound thanks to President Jammeh for the support he has rendered to the youth. His benevolence to the Gambia National Scouts Band has been huge since I was going to school. If you go to the Central River Region, scouting in that region is not functioning because the national executive has not been communicating with them. They do not even know what is happening being a scout in The Gambia. It has been our desire to complement national development issues including going to the president’s farms but we have been denied this because of the lack of a proper institutional structure. We want government to help us end this crisis so that scouting can come back to its glory days. 

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“We have been advocating for changes in the national scouts band setup because the association is on the verge of losing its credibility. There have been no annual general meetings for the band which are held every year. It is also the case that the term of office of the current executive has run out. Being in the position of chief scout is three years as mandated by our constitution and the present executive has been in office for almost four years. We are appealing to government and the general public to help us end this unnecessary standoff because we want to revive scouting in the country. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has a critical role to play in this because the band is under its purview. We see scouting as very important because it is one of the first organisations that came to The Gambia as far back as 1921. But it is because of the current crisis that the activities that we [scouts] should be doing are being replicated elsewhere simply because we do not have a proper executive in place. There is a high level of corruption within the association’s executive which is unacceptable. We were promised that the AGM should be held last July which has been rescheduled to November.”   

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