Mr. President, it is gratifying to note that Gambia scored high in controlling corruption and maintaining democratic rights, according to the U.S. based Millennium Challenge Corporation.
In this regard, your government should do everything possible to encourage civil servants by paying them good salaries and giving incentives.
Although your government did well in 2019 by increasing salaries of civil servants by 50%, yet there is much more to be done with poor salaries in some key areas in the country.
Mr. President, the staffs of the judiciary were the latest to go on strike last Wednesday and this affected the administration of the judiciary.
It is disheartening to hear that some cleaners in the Judiciary are paid D800 as salary without transport allowance.
If we want an independent judiciary, then the salaries of all judiciary staff from the judges to the cleaners should be well paid and motivated to promote rule of law and independence of judiciary.
There is a need for dialogue between the staff and government to reach an agreement to settle the matter.
Mr. President, this salary issue and sit down strikes are becoming a tradition in Gambia and shouldn’t be encouraged. In March this year, some teachers went on strike because of poor salary payment and late payment of allowances. The same issue also happened in the health sector with frontline workers and nurses also requesting for their risk allowances on COVID 19.
Mr. President, it’s time for your government to find a lasting solution to all these strikes due to demand in salaries as the world is so hard and people need to survive on a daily basis as most are breadwinners of their families.
These strikes never happened in the previous regime because nobody dared to go on strike.
Government should make sure that they fulfill their promises and protect workers by making sure that workers’ salaries are paid on time, promoting them based on merit and also paying their allowances on time .
Mr. President, the health authorities should take a tour to the major hospitals as some of the required facilities/machines are not functioning/operational and the patients are being referred to private clinics to take the required test and come back with results.
The scanning machine of the Kanifing Hospital has had a breakdown since July 2020.
The Health Ministry should intervene and see how best to expand the hospitals which gather patients on a daily basis.
Mr. President, Senegal is grappling with a mysterious disease believed to be caused by toxics in the sea and so far about 1000 fishermen have been infected. Senegalese medical personnel have said that it’s not contagious, but the disease is manifested by pimples on the faces, arms, lips, private parts as well as watery eyes and only fishermen have so far contracted the disease.
This is a call for concern and the Gambian fishermen should be very careful to avoid getting infected with the disease.
Officials of the ministries of Health, Fisheries, Environment and fishermen in The Gambia should meet soon to see how best to prevent this new disease from entering the country.
The population also needs to be sensitised on the symptoms as no one still knows the cause and mode of transmission of this disease and people are travelling to and from Senegal on a daily basis.
Finally, Mr. President, the Scorpions stands a better chance to qualify in senior level competition for the first time; the African Cup of Nations which is scheduled to take place in 2022 in Cameroon. It is time for all Gambians to come together and pray for The Gambia to reach the desired position.
The Scorpions only need a win in the return match against Angola come March 2022 at the Independence Stadium to qualify.
Your government should continue to support sports especially football, in particular the Scorpions. They need support and resources to get good results.
Sports in general is not only leisure but also an investment which can bring foreign exchange like Brazil is enjoying now.