Jammeh           Edu is more    Gaye no cash  Touray named!
betrayed           honest than
Gambians!!        Jammeh!!

Today, we want to revisit Gambia’s failed vision 20-20 master plan, which was designed among other things to improve the living conditions of  poverty stricken Gambians . “To transform The Gambia into a financial centre, a tourist paradise, a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population and guaranteeing a well-balanced eco- system and a decent standard of living for one and all under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry.” These were the exact words of President Yahya Jammeh when he formally launched the failed program in May of 1996. The realities on the ground today is the reverse. Almost, all sectors of development in the Gambia have collapsed, thanks to President Jammeh’s leadership shortcomings. Be it education, agriculture, tourism, trade and other developmental sectors have suffered a natural dead. The then junta led by Chairman Jammeh inherited sound economic and political policies from the deposed PPP administration, but in a span of six months what was known to be  the much talked about national cake had been hijacked by the coupists, who championed themselves as “Soldiers With A Difference.” Yes, they were soldiers with a difference since they have succeeded in wrecking our much cherished peace, economic and political stability under Sir Dawda Jawara’s government. Jammeh can be best remembered for bringing “white elephant projects” to our people without any serious or meaningful development over the years registered by this administration. These projects are not making any improvement on the lives of  oppressed Gambians. It’s in fact an obstacle to development. Its objective was  to lobby political  support base  for the regime, which is increasingly becoming unpopular by the day.

Lets closely scrutinize Agriculture, which according to the master plan document “is the dominant sector in the Gambian economy, employing about 70 per sent of the total work force and contributing, on average, 22 per sent of GDP. Notwithstanding, ANR continues to lag behind other sectors in productivity and modernisation and is still characterised by an undiversified primary agricultural system. It is also conditioned by a seemingly unbreakable cycle of erratic inadequate input supplies, inappropriate technology, low output and productivity growth, low incomes and an acute inability to generate savings for investment. An unsatisfactory land tenure system is seen as a major obstacle to the development of commercial agriculture at modern, economically viable scales.”

Indeed, besides Tourism, Agriculture played a crucial role into the nation’s economic health. But since the coming of Jammeh, the said sector has failed miserably. Despite the President’s past moves to allay the nightmares of  Gambian farmers, who continually sold their groundnuts on credit  basis for four good years, the problem of ground marketing still is  becoming a major problem in the Gambia. The government of the day has demonstrated its inability to meet the needs and aspirations of  the farming community.

Efforts made by the private sector to save the government from its financial shortcomings to purchase the farmers nuts never materialized. The intervention of the private sector in the marketing of groundnut in the Gambia brought more night mares for the impoverished farmers. The private operators lacked the necessary budget to pay the farmers, who relied on farming for their livelihood. These poor farmers settled their kids school fees, domestic and other family needs from the monies they derived from their produce.

An international Groundnut Marketing Firm  called Alimenta, which earlier reached an agreement with the Gambian Government to purchase farmers nuts was never given free hand to do their job in the Gambia. Its Management were kicked out of the country, following the government’s allegations that Alimenta was involved in an alleged money laundering scheme to undermine the country‘s ailing economy. Armed Paramilitary police stormed their Denton Bridge offices and ordered all staff to leave the premises. Alimenta’s boss was briefly detained by the NIA, prior to his expulsion from the country.

Interestingly, Alimenta’s money laundering case never reaches the Gambian courts. To some extent, this had rendered the government’s allegations against Alementa unbelievable. A significant number of Gambians were rendered unemployed due to the government’s “unpatriotic move” to harass foreign investors, whose main goal was to better the lives of Gambian farmers and also to revamp the country’s agricultural industry.

Unhappy with  the government’s action, Alimenta resorted to slamming millions of dollars law suit against the Gambian government. The matter was a subject of  a legal litigation at  a Swiss Dispute Settlement Court. A judgment was later delivered in favor of  the Alimenta Company, with the Gambian Government reaching a payment plan with the plaintiffs. Reports even have it that the government is yet to fully serviced the money its owed to Alimenta. This government has been known for breaching contracts.

A UK based Chantrills  Oil Firm sued the government for breach of contract and also won the said case. Chantrills in a court deposition says the Gambian government refuses to honor an agreement that was reached to lift crude oil barrels from Nigeria for the Gambian government in 1996. The oil amounting to millions of dollars was extended to the impoverished West African country, by the late Nigerian Dictator Sanni Abacha. Chantrills says the contract was executed to the letter, with 26 Million dollars of the funds derived from the crude oil transferred to a Swiss Bank Account. The account believed to be owned by President Jammeh,  was a subject debate within and outside the county.

The Jammeh government has no solution to the current predicament our farmers have found themselves. This is not the government which is going to wipe the tears of our dying farmers who are hard hit by poverty. The Ruling APRC is a failed government. Its leadership lacks sense of direction. All serious investors have turned their back to the Gambia. It would take decades for this administration to repair the damage it had perpetrated against our beloved country.

Looking at Tourism, according to the Vision 20-20 document, which was the brain child of the sacked Finance Minister Dominic Mendy “The objective of Vision 2020 is to build on this base to make The Gambia a tourist paradise and a major tourist destination, through product innovation, quality improvement on investment returns and diversification of the gambia’s tourism product. Special emphasis will be on attracting high value and high spending tourists. Tourism will be diversified and innovations will seek to introduce and promote eco-tourism, cultural, inland and community-based tourism as well as conference tourism. Marketing efforts will intensified in order to diversify and expand source markets. Another objective in this sector is to strengthen the linkages between tourism and other sectors of the economy and increase Gambian participation so as to maximise returns to the domestic economy.”

Tourism under Jawara’s government was proactive and progressive. While Jawara had the competent technocrats to market the country’s image outside, under Jammeh’s rule is the opposite. The Department of  State For Tourism, has been reduced as a political organ for the regime, with little or no meaningful development initiated. The said Department of State devotes too much time on land sale, which under normal circumstances should be carried out by the Department of Lands and not the Tourism Department. The State reserved lands along the Tourism Development Area had been commercialized now.

First, was Minister Yankuba Touray, who sold lands to friends, family members and so called investors. A government Commissioned into the said land sale, reveals that the transactions were dubious. One of the reasons why Minister Touray was fired was due to the uncontrolled land sale at the TDA, characterized by corruption. Many millions of dollars have found its way into the pockets of corrupt Tourism officials. Up till today, the illegal land sale effected by Minister Touray had not been revoked. Monies derived from the said sales had also not been recovered by the government.

On the issue of attracting tourists into the country, the government has created the conditions for tourists not to visit the Gambia. Time and time we heard about tourists being murdered in the Gambia. The most recent murder involves  a British couple. How about the British national who was murdered and buried in Casamance? What about the country’s fragile peace? Coups and counter coups continue to dominate the political show. Armed robbers are also not giving up. Many communities have been traumatized by these robbers. Common on the APRC…. Can you call this development???

In Jammeh’s government, it’s only Edward Singhatey who can beat his chest that he tried to enforce the vision 20-20 document. While serving as Trade Minister Singhatey made serious efforts to make the Trade Ministry viable and produtive, but his efforts were hindered by Jammeh who rehired corrupt officials indicted by the Paul Commission.Thanks to Singhatey’s efforts Gambians were able to  know officials behind the economic crimes that had taken place in this country under Jammeh’s watch. Many donor partners have lost confidence into the government, since it’s not complying with the Commission’s recommendations to tackle official graft. Jammeh might not  like this statement of us, but the truth be told, Edward Singhatey is more honest than him. If other Jammeh cabinet Ministers were like Edu, the Gambia would been a different Gambia today. No wonder that is why Edu couldn’t acquire any wealth during the period in question. All the state coffers had been looted by Jammeh and his Kanilai mafia. This is the truth and nothing but the truth.

On transportation, the document says” The up-grading and expansion of the airport is a major component of the Gateway Strategy. The multi-modal transport initiative subsumed in this initiative is the Gambia’s spearhead strategy to play a crucial role in international trade. In this regard, facilities at the airport will be upgraded and modernised, security improved to international standards to handle an increased passenger and cargo traffic with an eye to serving as a transit point from Europe and America into and out of Africa.”

Our sea, land  and airport industry had been reduced to ghost institutions. Most of the  airlines agencies in the Gambia, operate through transit. There is no direct flight between the Gambian and the United States and elsewhere across the globe. Ghana Airways and the American Airlines have ceased covering the Gambia. These airlines cannot afford to operate in countries, where there are  no serious economic activities taking place. The Gambia happened to be one those countries where economic prosperity has been hindered due to corrupt leadership.

The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, which relied on planes landing fees and other airport taxes, most have been hard hit by the lack of flights these days in the Gambia. Most of the airlines are targeting Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and other stable democracies on the continent.

Guinea Bissau, which used to be faced by such flight isolation, is today competing with Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana. Investors are storming Guinea Bissau on a daily basis. Perhaps, Jammeh needs to confer with his Guinean counterpart on how he managed to woe serious investors into Bissau.

Our Gambia Ports Authority used to be a major economic base for West Africa. Most goods bound for Senegal and other parts of the continent used to transit through the GPA. But today, the famous GPA has been reduced to a ghost ports with hardly any vessel docking there.

Faced by lack of equipment to run the ports, the institution has also been politicized. Revenues generated from the GPA runs Jammeh’s private errands. He hired his immediate tribe men to head the GPA and other key institutions in the country. The GPA has lost all its values. There is no serious leadership today at the GPA. No accountability, no transparency or probity, to borrow Jammeh’s slogan during the transition period.

Still on the subject of transportation, this reminds us about the dead Gambia Public Transportation  Corporation (GPTC). The GPTC today lacked buses to cover the country. Low staff morale continues to ravage the institution. A good number of the GPTC staff had been laid off due to lack of income to meet the needs of the company. The institution is living under budget. Most of the funds had been used to service the old buses, which are currently grounded.

During the leadership of Ismaila Ceesay, it takes between four and five hours to travel to Basse. Today, travelers spent  24 hours before they could make it to Basse. Some spent even two days on the way due to the deplorable road conditions. Almost, all major roads across the country are in shambles. Jammeh has failed as a leader. It’s about time for the APRC and its supporters to concede to such reality. In our next edition, we shall dwell more on the failed Vision 20-20 Stay tuned!!!

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Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 (Archive on Monday, June 25, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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1 user commented in " Editorial:Gambia’s fake Vision 20-20 dream revisited-Jammeh betrayed Gambians!! "

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FULADOU CHILD said,
in September 8th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

you know as i know that the west dont want what our president wants for us…………………..
DONT FOOL YOURSELF

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