As part of activities marking The Gambia’s re-entry into the Commonwealth, and, in order to showcase the re-emergence of The Gambia in the international community, Cabinet in a meeting on Thursday February 22 has decided to hold Gambia Day Celebrations during the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM) scheduled to hold in the United Kingdom in April 2018.
Cabinet, presided over by His Excellency President Adama Barrow also held discussions over two paper presentations made by the Minister of Lands and Regional Governments. The first paper, a report on the 2nd Sen-Habitat Conference held in Dakar, Senegal in October 2017, highlighted the problems of rural-urban migration and the problems of inadequate social amenities confronting cities and urban areas.
The report called for efforts to strengthen the housing sector and to put in place an institution to help address the acute shortage of housing in urban areas in particular.
Cabinet reacted positively to a proposal for the government to engage UN Habitat, Shelter Afrique and other relevant institutions for support to develop a comprehensive policy particularly in seeking housing solutions for low-income earners.
The Minister of Lands and Regional Governments also presented a paper on amendments to the provisions on direct election of mayors by the electorate and that of chairpersons by elected councilors. Cabinet expressed the preference of holding the elections for both mayors/chairpersons and the councilors at the same time rather than holding them on different dates. Cabinet has therefore authorized the Minister of Lands and Regional Governments to consult with the Ministry of Justice and the Independent Electoral Commission for such a possibility.
The Minister of Basic and Secondary Education who represented, the Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs and led the Gambian delegation to the International Inter-Ministerial Conference on Population and Development Activity held in Indonesia in November 2017 briefed Cabinet on discussions on South-South cooperation particularly in the areas of international migration.
Other discussions centred on Cabinet’s concern over the proliferation of settlements near the perimeter fence of the Banjul International Airport and the dangers posed to aircraft by domestic birds and animals reared by some residents. Cabinet has decided that appropriate measures be taken to address the matter.
Concerns were also raised on the signs of intolerance in the media, particularly those of a religious nature, despite expressing its continued commitment to a free media, Cabinet has asked the Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure to consult engage the Regulator and media owners to put in place and or apply mechanisms where they exist to ensure that the media is not used as a platform to fan the flames of religious intolerance in the country.