A press statement from the office of the President indicated that President Adama Barrow held a cabinet meeting for the first time since he took over power on January 18th. The New Gambian President was forced to be sworn in outside of the Gambia when the former President refused to handover power after he was narrowly defeated at the polls by a coalition of opposition parties. The new President struggled to put together a balance cabinet from his opposition coalition and the civilian population. The struggle was due to aggressive demands from a newly freed people from 22 years of dictatorship that left the country traumatized.
Barrow’s new government started taking shape slowly but had a rocky start with several missteps. It is becoming apparent that some of the initial confusion and miscommunication may be as a result of not conducting cabinet meetings to ensure that everyone was on the same page. This also lends credence to critics’ assertions that many of his cabinet appointees are either new to government or were recovering from years of political assault that sent many to jail. President Barrow however, appears to be a very patience leader who listens to his critics. He has responded several times to popular demands for him to do the right thing including holding a cabinet meeting. As many would say, it is better late than never. The National Assembly members were sworn in this week which sets the stage for the new government to start implementing it’s reform and governing agenda. Below is the press statement released from the President’s office on the first Cabinet meeting..
Media Release: Office of the President State House Banjul, The Gambia PR/C/152/(ABS) 13th April, 2017
News Brief: President Barrow Presides over His First Cabinet Meeting
The first Cabinet meeting of President Adama Barrow’s government was convened on Thursday, 13th April 2017, at State House. In his opening remarks, President Barrow noted that expectations are high and they have to urgently embark on a transformative national development agenda in line with the Coalition manifesto. He highlighted the huge task ahead and the need to be action oriented. He set out the priority areas to include the energy sector, fixing the broken economy, unifying the nation, improving the health and agricultural sub-sectors and ending the country’s isolation. He further highlighted the urgency for institutional, electoral and constitutional reforms in line with what he described as “our new democratic principles that will respond to the realities of our time.” The President pointed out that all these will be addressed alongside with the Civil Service and Security as well as state owned enterprise reforms.
President Barrow urged Cabinet to be resolute in their determination to build a better Gambia. He recognized that with the wealth of experience and competence in the cabinet, rapid transformation can take place to bring back the former glory of the nation. He said he was optimistic that the Cabinet will work together to formulate the right policies and programs to address short term needs but also to control poverty, hunger and diseases, which he described as “the enemies of humankind.”
In line with democratic principles, President Barrow advised Cabinet to debate constructively to reach consensus on the common agenda. This, he said, will require collective responsibility to further the national development agenda. He called on the cabinet to work hard and take advantage of the good will of our development partners to achieve the expectations of Gambians.
The President concluded by thanking Cabinet for taking the responsibility of nation building. He urged them to work together and advised that to succeed they must all “strive and work and pray” as stated in our national anthem.
Petroleum and Energy Minister, Honourable Fafa Sanyang Sworn- In
The Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Honourable Fafa Sanyang expressed gratitude to H.E. President Adama Barrow for approval of his appointment. He acknowledged that it is a huge responsibility and he will relying on His Excellency and his colleagues in cabinet to achieve the stated goals of the government to have reliable and affordable energy supply. He noted the linkage between the energy sector and sustainability of socio- economic development programmes. Honourable Sanyang said he is aware of the enormous challenges NAWEC had but promised to put in all his efforts to engage for the betterment of The Gambia. He finally pledged to uphold the oath he swore to.
In his remarks, President Barrow congratulated Honourable Fafa Sanyang and noted that despite the fact that he was the last cabinet Minister to be appointed, it is because he wanted the best person for the job. He said that Honourable Sanyang had been widely recommended for his expertise and professionalism thus the responsibility has been bestowed upon him. President Barrow urged the Petroleum and Energy Minister and his team to work effectively to improve the performance of the energy sector in the shortest possible time.
Amie Bojang-Sissoho, Director of Press and Public Relations
For: Secretary General
CC: Media Houses
Web Manager – State House Website