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Spanish diplomat calls on opposition leader Darboe

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By Omar Bah

The chargĂ© d’affairs and head of Spain’s diplomatic mission in The Gambia, Violeta Insa Enai, yesterday paid a courtesy call on opposition UDP leader Ousainu Darboe at his Kairaba Avenue office.

The meeting was chaired by Lamin Manneh, deputy secretary for external affairs and diaspora of the UDP.

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Mr Darboe and Ms Enai reviewed issues ranging from European Union visa restrictions on The Gambia, to the large Gambian diaspora in Spain, Spanish assistance to The Gambia, women empowerment, the draft constitution, and the FGM bill currently in the National Assembly.

With regard to the visa restrictions imposed on the country, the Spanish diplomat indicated that the EU could ease the sanctions, a move Mr Darboe said would be welcome.

During discussions on the Gambian diaspora in Spain, the two parties considered how to further enhance their stay and integration in Spain. They also examined the possibility of issuing annual seasonal worker visas to Gambians during the summer months when there is an upsurge for labour.

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Those seasonal Gambian workers and immigrants could be offered training in the agricultural, construction, auto mechanics, IT and solar-industry sectors to facilitate the return of Gambians who might want to come back home and start their own businesses.

Mr Darboe indicated that a UDP government would facilitate the reintegration of returnees and guarantee them a certain percentage of government contracts in their fields of competence.

Ms Enai also mentioned the support of her mission to certain local NGOs, particularly women-led NGOs, and Darboe promised to help the diplomat identify other similar NGOs.

With respect to the draft Constitution, Ms Enai said that the international partners hope it will be tabled before the National Assembly this 2024 and proceed to a referendum before the end of the year.

Mr Darboe concurred and expounded on the numerous merits of the draft constitution. He said once the draft clears the National Assembly hurdle, all the political parties of the country should go out and campaign for its adoption during a referendum.

The private-member FGM bill currently in the National Assembly was also discussed, however, The Standard could not ascertain the position of the UDP leader on the vexed matter.

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