By Adama Tine
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland in an exclusive interview with Mamos Media at the Coco Ocean Hotel on Thursday said the Gambia will shine as beacon across the Commonwealth after its return from former President Jammeh’s withdrawal in 2013.
She said the Gambia is a special friend as four years ago, when the Gambia re-joined the Commonwealth, it felt like a beloved brother or sister, a prodigal son coming back home.
“Our world faces profound and serious challenges, but I truly believe that the Gambia will shine like a beacon across the Commonwealth, just as the Commonwealth will shine like a beacon across the world because at a time when democracy is under strain in many parts of our world, democracy in the Gambia is getting stronger,” she noted.
“I hope the example of the Gambia’s journey will not only provide a strong foundation for its future but will also help to heal the injured democratic process in other places.”
According to her, the Gambia since 1965 has been a member but left in 2013 after former President Jammeh’s withdrawal, so coming back after the first election of President Barrow was a great joy because the Gambia has always been a much loved member of the Commonwealth therefore, she said the leaving was sad but the return in 2018 was wonderful.
She added: “I am very pleased to see a smooth and peaceful transition and democracy at work in the Gambia and it was wonderful to listen to President Barrow’s inaugural speech particularly the fact that he commended all those who put themselves forward to lead the Gambia.”
“I was also overwhelmed when he indicated that he wished to be the president of all Gambians and not only those that voted for him. He also outlined five main areas that really reflects the issues that are of importance to the rest of the Commonwealth.”
The Commonwealth SG further posited that one of the areas Barrow said that got her amazed was when he mentioned the need to look at technology, energy and the whole issue of climate change, about women, young people as well as the need to transform the Gambia.
At the inauguration, she pointed out that President Barrow talked about concentrating on unity among Gambians, making sure that the 2.3 million Gambians all have an equal future and also the commitment to transform the Gambia to be the greater beacon that everyone would be proud of.
When asked about the Gambia’s present relationship with the Commonwealth, she said as we speak The Gambia has a very strong relationship with the Commonwealth and as a result, before the December 4th elections, over 130 Gambian officials were trained by the Commonwealth on Performance Management.
“We are determined to assist The Gambia to fulfill their aspirations in terms of the implementation of the rule of law, good practice, good governance, transparency and clarity as President Barrow envisages making them a priority.”