By Our Banjul Bureau Chief Landing Badjie.
Paid for and Commissioned by the Freedom

The Gambian leader has been urged to jettison festivity for good leadership  for the socio-economic advancement of the Gambian people and those resident in the impoverished West African state. In less than two weeks to come, all roads would lead Jammeh’s birth-place of Kanilai for what the organizers described as a cultural festival of  eye-opening experiences.

But Gambians are not eager to join the president for the 4th edition of the two-week ‘International Cultural Festival’ slated to kick-start June 22. Instead, they want the president to come up with concrete actions that would  alleviate their sufferings. When our correspondent went out and about town to elicit the views of poverty-wary Gambians, the responses were more or less the same.

Most of our interlocutors, if not all, concurred that Jammeh has more serious things to  do than engaging in wasteful public spending at the expense of the masses. People want the president to see how best he can help in the reduction of the prices of basic commodities that are now shooting through the roofs on  daily basis.

We don’t have time for this drunken, wild festivities that involve lots of tax payers and rate payers money. We need good road network, well-equipped health facilities, affordable prices and what have you. We need no festivals because they are no solutions to our problems,’ a civil servant told our Banjul chief.

An average Gambian lives on less than two dollars a day and majority of citizens do not have access to potable water, electricity supply, quality health care and other basic amenities.

Meanwhil, the trial of two former permanent secretaries at the agriculture department is now set for  July 12 when the matter was today adjourned by the high court in Banjul. Badara Loum and Suruwa Wawa Jaiteh are currently standing trial before Justice Monageng for economic crimes charges. They are accused of willfully and by omission causing the state an economic loss between April of 2005 and December of 2006. The duo were alleged to have recklessly handled 4775 metric tons of NPK fertilser entrusted to them to distribute and sell.

The fertilizer was valued at D6,340,845. The case could not however proceed today when it was adjourned to July 12.  It would be recalled that the two permanent secretaries were arrested and detained at Mile II for many months before being released on court others.

Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, June 27, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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