Politics

Manchester attack: Trump condemns media leaks

Manchester attack: Trump condemns media leaks

US President Donald Trump has said leaks of the investigation into the Manchester Arena attack to American media are "deeply troubling".
They were a "grave threat to our national security", he added, and pledged to get to the bottom of it.
His remarks come after US media published photos from the scene of Monday night's explosion.
Salman Abedi blew himself up after an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and injuring 116.
Mr Trump, who is at a Nato summit in Brussels along with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, said: "These leaks have been going on for a long time."
He pledged to ask the US Department of Justice to launch a review, and "if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted".
"There is no relationship we cherish more than the special relationship between the US and the UK," he added.
In a speech at the summit, Mr Trump said the attack in Manchester demonstrated the "depths of the evil we face with terrorism".
"Innocent little girls and so many others were horribly murdered and badly injured whilst attending a concert," he said.
"Beautiful lives with so much great potential, torn from their families for ever and ever. It was a barbaric and vicious attack upon our civilisation.
"All people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing and removing these killers and extremists, and yes, losers, they are losers.
"Wherever they exist in our societies we must drive them out and never, ever let them back in."

Agenda."

Another Black woman appointed minister in new French cabinet

 
Another Black woman appointed minister in new French cabinet

After the appointment of Senegalese-born Sibeth Ndiaye (37) as press secretary or media advisor in the French presidency, another Black woman has been named minister in the new government of President Emmanuel Macron.

France’s new cabinet, which was unveiled on Wednesday, is made up of 11 women and 11 men, including Laura Flessel, as sports minister. Aged 45, she is a double Olympic fencing champion widely known in French sport.

Flessel, who was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, is currently number one on the all-time list of French female Olympic winners, with five medals to her credit.

Flessel, who is married and has a daughter, was France’s flag-bearer at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London. It was her fifth and last Olympics.

With an eye to the Paris bid to hold the 2024 Olympics, analysts say Macron has deliberately chosen one of its chief supporters.

Meanwhile, Dakar-born Ndiaye, whose official title is communications director at the Elysée Palace, is expected to play an important role in the Macron presidency. The African woman, who only became a naturalised French citizen last year, has been described by the French media as one of the key figures who orchestrated the meteoric rise of Macron’s En Marche movement.

Agenda."

Trump 2020 Campaign Claims a Fundraising Record Amid Russia Probes

Trump 2020 Campaign Claims a Fundraising Record Amid Russia Probes

Donald Trump's re-election campaign says it set a one-day fundraising record Tuesday, the same day the Trump White House was rocked with yet more troubling disclosures about the investigation into possible ties between Trump officials and Russia.According to a Wednesday statement from Donald J. Trump for President, the "combined total for May 17 for the campaign and its joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee exceeded $314,000, a new campaign record since Election Day, coming almost exclusively from small contributions." The cash influx is in part a response to a series of fundraising emails the joint fundraising committee has sent out, trying to turn the latest developments in the Trump-Russia saga into a chance to rally its base—and pad its campaign bank account.The subject line for each email: "Sabotage." In the first email, sent May 16, the campaign warns, "There are people within our own unelected bureaucracy that want to sabotage President Trump and our entire America First movement," and then asks supporters to "contribute $1 to drain the swamp." The second, sent Wednesday evening, claims that "The Fake News Media is working hand-in-hand with Washington’s corrupt bureaucracy to try to slow and block our America First Agenda."

Another Black woman appointed minister in new French cabinet

France’s new cabinet, which was unveiled on Wednesday, is made up of 11 women and 11 men, including Laura Flessel, as sports minister. Aged 45, she is a double Olympic fencing champion widely known in French sport.

Flessel, who was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, is currently number one on the all-time list of French female Olympic winners, with five medals to her credit.

Flessel, who is married and has a daughter, was France’s flag-bearer at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London. It was her fifth and last Olympics.

With an eye to the Paris bid to hold the 2024 Olympics, analysts say Macron has deliberately chosen one of its chief supporters.

Meanwhile, Dakar-born Ndiaye, whose official title is communications director at the Elysée Palace, is expected to play an important role in the Macron presidency. The African woman, who only became a naturalised French citizen last year, has been described by the French media as one of the key figures who orchestrated the meteoric rise of Macron’s En Marche movement.

Sibeth Ndiaye is communications director at the Elysée Palace / Photo: lja

When questioned over her status as a role model for young African women who are considering a career in politics, in a recent interview with the weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, she was reluctant to accept the title.

“I do not see myself as a role model at all. My professional career was built upon encounters with people who trusted me …this leads me to believe that my success is because of my contact with the right people, people who do not see skin colour, social origin or education background.”

Ndiaye graduated in health economics at Paris-Sorbonne University.

 

Trump 2020 Campaign Claims a Fundraising Record Amid Russia Probes

Donald Trump's re-election campaign says it set a one-day fundraising record Tuesday, the same day the Trump White House was rocked with yet more troubling disclosures about the investigation into possible ties between Trump officials and Russia.

According to a Wednesday statement from Donald J. Trump for President, the "combined total for May 17 for the campaign and its joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee exceeded $314,000, a new campaign record since Election Day, coming almost exclusively from small contributions." The cash influx is in part a response to a series of fundraising emails the joint fundraising committee has sent out, trying to turn the latest developments in the Trump-Russia saga into a chance to rally its base—and pad its campaign bank account.

The subject line for each email: "Sabotage." In the first email, sent May 16, the campaign warns, "There are people within our own unelected bureaucracy that want to sabotage President Trump and our entire America First movement," and then asks supporters to "contribute $1 to drain the swamp." The second, sent Wednesday evening, claims that "The Fake News Media is working hand-in-hand with Washington’s corrupt bureaucracy to try to slow and block our America First Agenda." The fundraising requests don't mention the furor over the president's firing of FBI Director James Comey, followed by the news that the president asked Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, but the campaign committee's implication is clear: The scandals are just a distraction constructed by the Washington elite to undermine the president.

Michael Glassner, the committee's executive director, claimed in the statement that the fundraising haul demonstrates: “The American people are with the President stronger than ever before." Recent polls, however, show that's not true. Rather, Trump's approval ratings continue to sink, even among his core base of support.

And compared with record one-day fundraising figures from past campaigns, $314,000 is hardly a notable sum. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, raised more than $5 million the day after his victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2016. And a former congressman, Ron Paul, raised more than $6 million in 24 hours during his failed Republican presidential campaign in 2007.

Trump didn't have much of a fundraising operation for most of his 2016 presidential run, relying instead on free media coverage and his own personal wealth. He was vastly outraised by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election. But Trump did prove to have significant pull among small donors—typically a weakness of GOP candidates—with cash from those giving less than $200 roughly doubling what he got from big donors.

President Barrow Thanks ECOWAS Member States for Defending the Will of Gambian People

The Gambia’s Minister of Interior, Mai Ahmed Fatty has assured government’s support to sports journalism, while affirming his government’s commitment towards creating the enabling environment for the development of sports in the New Gambia. He was speaking on Friday during the 8th National Sports Award Night, organized by the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG), held at Djembe Hotel in Kololi. The colorful ceremony gathered sports loving fans, sports personalities, journalists amongst others to celebrate and honour sports personalities that have done great for the country.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mai Ahmed Fatty said, the sports in the country will take new dimension in an environment of freedom and liberty. Minister Fatty lauded the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia for a well-organised event and thanked all those that supported the association in staging the event. He used the event to implore on the general public to keep support and partnering with the association when organizing the event. “Those days when innovation and creativity were killed; those days when patronization of sports has to take a different dimension are over. The Gambia has change for good and the country will continue to have success and development,” he said. He also spoke of the need to have sports education in schools.

He finally urged companies and businesses to come forward and finance sports journalism activities as well as create more training programs so that sports will be elevated.

Pape Saine, the SJAG Honorary Life President welcomed the people and the invited guests to the event, while highlighting the importance of the Awards Night. He called on businessmen and women to help SJAG for the development of sports in the country. The veteran journalist Pape Saine said, it is the responsibility of sports journalists to help in the development and progress of sports in the country with the support from stakeholders.

The President of the Senegalese Sports’ Journalists Association, Dr. Momodou Koume applauded SJAG for the wonderful initiative as it meant to celebrate the past and present sports icons. Dr. Koume, who was in the country with a high-powered delegation from Dakar, hailed the longstanding ties between the two associations.

Musa Sise, President of the Sports Journalists’ Association of the Gambia, expressed delight for what he called as a special night, noting that as the New Gambia emerged, SJAG wants the country’s sports to also take new dimension. “Today we will be honoring and celebrating the good efforts of our sports men and women who have taken the country’s flag high as well as those that are still continuing flying it high,” he stated. The SJAG boss thanked all the institutions that supported the event such as Africell, GTBank, MGI, Bayba, West African Lotto, PURA, GCCI, GFF and GPU, among many others.

President Barrow Thanks ECOWAS Member States for Defending the Will of Gambian People

 
 
Gambians decided to end 22 years of dictatorship in a non-violent manner by voting President Adama Barrow into power.  This brought back focus to the tiny West Africa state and the move to re-institute democracy, freedom and justice was welcomed by not only Gambians and the sub-region but the world over.  
However, the former president Yaya Jammeh could not accept the fact that that Gambians wanted change of regime and he was prepared to use brutal means to maintain himself in power.  It was in this context that the sub regional grouping, ECOWAS, supported by the regional and global community decided to use diplomacy and, where it  became necessary, military intervention to defend the will of Gambians.  This resulted to President Adama Barrow taking the responsibility Gambians vested on him to serve  them.  
Going by the African proverb that if you want to thank a farmer for a job well done, you have to meet to him or her on their farm to express appreciation.  His Excellency, President Adama Barrow, therefore, visited the Heads of State of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana to thank them for their personal stand and that of their countries to ensure that Gambians regain their freedom and nurture democracy.  The message the Gambian leader gave to his fellow Heads of State was that the political impasse in The Gambia was an African problem and they used an African solution to end it.  He thanked them for standing by the Gambian people and defending the decision they took to bring about a peaceful change of transition.  It was the first time Gambians decided to democratically change from one government to another in 52 years.
 
During his visit, President Adama Barrow held private meetings with his counterparts on bilateral and ECOWAS issues to further strengthen the relationship between them and their people.   
 
The first stage of the visit, which was to Sierra Leone, coincided with the eve of that country’s 56th Independent anniversary. President Barrow was received at Lunge Airport by the Vice President, H.E. Victor Bokari Foh and other officials. The Gambian leader was honoured with a banquet dinner held in his honour at the Bintou Manne Hotel in Freetown. 
 
His Excellency, the President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in his welcome remarks said it was both an ECOWAS and bilateral responsibility to defend the will of the Gambian people.  He elaborated on the historic, language and family ties between Sierra Leone and The Gambia, and asserted that it was only through collaborative efforts that they could deliver the quality of life their people expect.  
 
In Liberia, President Adama Barrow, was received at the airport by the Liberian President, Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirlearf, who is also the Chairperson of ECOWAS.   Speaking to the media at the Airport in Monrovia, Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirlearf, expressed delight for President Barrow’s visit and assured of Liberia and the ECOWAS family’s continued support to The Gambia.  During thevisit , the GambianPresident was granted the Key to the City of Monrovia at the City Hall and declared a Honourary Citizen by the Mayoress of the City, Mrs. Clara Doe Mvogo.  
 
The last stage of his tour was to Ghana. On arrival, Gambian President and delegation were received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway. After performing the Friday prayers at Burma Camp Mosque in Accra, President Barrow was honoured to a private lunch at the presidential mansion, the Flagstaff House, in Accra. In welcoming his guest, Ghanaian President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that Ghana did not hesitate in agreeing to contribute troops to the ECOWAS initiative to ensure a smooth transition in The Gambia. He observed that the region should continue to consolidate democracy in-order to achieve sustainable development.  In response, President Barrow noted the similarities between his government and that of his host, His Excellency, President Akufo-Addo, and the manner in which both came from opposition and won their respective elections.  He however said the major difference was that Ghana went through a smooth transition while the transition in The Gambia was obstructed by greed for power which warranted ECOWAS intervention.  President Barrow reiterated that the election was fought based on the principles of democracy and the will of the people prevailed.   
 
The Gambian President used the opportunity to meet with the Gambian communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. They all thanked their host countries for the hospitality extended to them but appealed for consideration of some of their concerns which include poor flight arrangements, difficulties in renewal of their travel documents and high cost of residence permit fees.  
 
Speaking to them, President Barrow thanked the Gambians in the diaspora for their contributions to the change in the Gambia.  He further urged them to continue to contribute positively to the development of the country as no one person can do it all.  He stated that because of the challenges Gambians have gone through during 22 years of dictatorship, no government will ever stay in power for more than two terms of five years.   President Barrow pointed out that Gambians have matured politically as demonstrated in the 2016 Presidential elections.  He cited three lessons all have learnt from the election.  Firstly, it became clear to the former president that it was the people who had the power to vote him out, secondly, it is the same power the people can use to vote him(President Barrow) out if they don’t want him anymore,  and finally, Gambians have now realized that together they can make the change they want. President Barrow reminded them that it was only when all the opposition parties came together that they were able to effect the change of regime.  The Gambian President called on the Gambians in the Diaspora to consider investment in The Gambia. He appealed to Gambians experts working outside the country to contribute with ideas to develop the country.
 
Speaking to the Gambians inMonrovia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Honourable Ousainou Darbo advised Gambians at home and in the diaspora to be law abiding, do away with tribal issues and stay united in pursuit of the best interest of the Gambia.  He informed them that they represent the image of the Gambia abroad and promised that the consular issues they raised in the discussions will be reviewed and addressed at the earliest possible time.
 
Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relations
For: Secretary General

Gambia: Progress in first 100 days of Barrow government requires major reform to break with brutal past

• 100 days into President Barrow’s rule, Amnesty International presents a human rights agenda for the country 

• Commitment to International Criminal Court and release of political prisoners welcomed as major progress

• Amnesty calls for repeal of repressive laws, reform of security forces, accountability for past human rights violations and abuses and abolition of the death penalty

The Gambian authorities can make a decisive break from the country’s brutal past by repealing repressive laws, reforming the security services and ensuring accountability for past serious violations of human rights, Amnesty International said today as Gambian President Adama Barrow marks 100 days in office.

Recognizing the major progress made since President Barrow’s inauguration on 19 January, including the release of dozens of political prisoners and retraction of Gambia’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Amnesty International has published a series of recommendations covering 10 areas of reform.

The document, ‘Human rights priorities for the new Gambian government’ was produced in consultation with Gambian civil society organizations and handed over to President Barrow during a meeting on 31 March with Amnesty International delegates in the capital Banjul. During the meeting President Barrow promised that there would be “zero tolerance” for human rights violations under his government. President Barrow’s first 100 days have included some momentous steps forward for human rights in Gambia, but there remains a huge amount to do in order to make a decisive break with the country’s brutal past. 

“President Barrow’s first 100 days have included some momentous steps forward for human rights in Gambia, but there remains a huge amount to do in order to make a decisive break with the country’s brutal past,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Regional Director.

“Draconian laws, unaccountable security forces and a weak justice system provided the machinery of repression during Yahya Jammeh’s rule, and the work to reform them begins now. Gambia should also seize the opportunity of becoming the 20th country in Africa to abolish the death penalty.”

Amnesty International is also calling on the international community and regional organizations, including donor countries as well as bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to support Gambia in this long term process of reform through financial support and technical assistance.

Arbitrary arrest and torture

Amnesty International urges President Barrow to ensure that the security services are reformed – including disbanding paramilitary groups implicated in previous human rights violations such as the “Jungulers” – and that torture is established as an offence under Gambian law. Under the previous regime, the United Nations described the practice of torture as “prevalent and routine” and suspected perpetrators were never held to account.

The organization also calls for investigations into allegations of torture, the closure of unofficial detention centres, and access to all detention sites by independent national and international human rights monitors.

“Under Yahya Jammeh, so many people were detained unlawfully and tortured. President Barrow’s government must send a clear signal that the era of illegal detentions, torture and a prison system built to instill fear in the population is over,” said Alioune Tine.

Freedom of expression and assembly

Amnesty International is calling for the repeal of a range of draconian laws that have been used to curb the right to freedom of expression in Gambia. They include laws banning criticism of officials and laws prohibiting the “publication of false news”. Journalists, such as Alhagie Ceesay and Alagie Jobe, were targeted under these laws and hundreds of journalists fled into exile during the Jammeh regime.

The right to peaceful protest should also be enshrined in law, with security forces instructed to avoid the use of force to disperse peaceful gatherings, and offences, such as holding a procession without a permit under the Public Order Act, repealed. Under the previous regime, opposition assemblies were regularly prohibited or dispersed. In April and May 2016, dozens of opposition protestors were arrested after a peaceful demonstration, and in April 2000 thirteen students and a journalist were killed when security forces opened fire on students peacefully protesting.

“In his first 100 days President Adama Barrow has already ordered the release of many people imprisoned simply for expressing their opinion. Now his government should ensure that Gambians will always be able to express their opinion or criticism of government without fear of recrimination,” said Alioune Tine.

Now Barrow's government should ensure that Gambians will always be able to express their opinion or criticism of government without fear of recrimination. 

Amnesty International welcomes the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address Gambia’s history of extensive human rights violations and abuses, and calls on the authorities to ensure that it is accompanied by a clear prosecution strategy to ensure accountability for serious violations of human rights such as torture and enforced disappearances, including those that Amnesty International documented during Yahya Jammeh’s regime.

Steps also need to be taken to strengthen the justice system to ensure that international fair trial standards are respected, while the National Human Rights Commission should be made operational as quickly as possible so it can support efforts to ensure accountability and strengthen human rights protections.

“Gambians who have been victims of repression over the last 22 years are seeking justice, and it is essential that there is accountability for the human rights crimes of the past. But any investigations and prosecutions must be done in a way that ensures fair trials for those suspected to be involved, and provides a positive example of how justice can be done in this new era”, said Alioune Tine.

Senegalo-Gambian Ambassador Meets FJT

 
Ambassador Paul Badji of the Senegalo-Gambian Permanent Secretariat, Thursday afternoon paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Women’s Affairs and overseer of the office of the Vice President, Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang at her office in Banjul.
Speaking to reporters shortly after a closed door meeting with Madam Tambajang, Ambassador Badji revealed that his visit to the vice presidency was for him to have a discussion with her on the activities of his office as he recently assumed the position at the Secretariat. 
He said the Senegalo-Gambian Secretariat is an Interstate institution between Senegal and The Gambia. He added that the office depends on what he called the Consultative Commission which is jointly presided over by the Vice President of The Gambia and the Prime Minister of Senegal.  
“We have needs at the office level and projects we want to implement so we discussed issues relating to that and other issues like how to strengthen democracy and development of  The Gambia,” he disclosed. 
According to him, the reaction of Madam Tambajang to his visit is very positive because she expressed very strong support both at her level and that of The Gambia government as a whole. “As you know we depend entirely on the good relationship between the two countries, if the relations are good our office can perform better,” he remarked.
Ambassador Badji lamented that his office is in need of human resources in other to be able to implement programmes and projects that they envisage in the political, cultural, and social and infrastructure sectors. He added that The Gambia has to appoint one of the directors at the Secretariat who will mainly be in charge of trade and economic issues, adding that they already have an officer from The Gambia who is director of Defence and Security. 
He noted that the relationship between The Gambia and Senegal embraces all the domains that one could imagine because the two countries are very closely linked so there are many issues to solve together.

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Ministers chart new path forward for revitalized Abidjan Convention

 
By Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang
 
Ministers from Africa’s Atlantic seaboard countries approved an amended text of the Abidjan Convention and three new protocols at the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention, held in late March 2017 in Abidjan, conditioning their approval on the incorporation into the drafts of comments made at the meeting. 
 
The ministers including the Gambian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Hon. Lamin Dibba requested the Convention’s secretariat to organize a meeting of plenipotentiaries to adopt the amended convention and the protocols, which relate to integrated coastal zone management, sustainable management of mangroves and environmental norms and standards for the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. 
 
Showing appreciation of the Convention`s efforts, they also approved the Convention’s 2017–2020 work programme and expressed support for the process of developing its monitoring and evaluation system, requesting the secretariat to present the final version of the system at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP13) in 2020. 
 
The Abidjan Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa region (Abidjan Convention) was signed in 1981, under the auspices of the United Nations, and ratified in 1984. It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). 
 
Approving key financial decisions of the Convention, the Ministers requested the Executive Director of UN Environment to extend the life of the Abidjan Convention Trust Fund through 31 December 2020. They also approved the revision of the Trust Fund’s 2017 budget, passed the Convention’s 2017-2020 budget and decided to authorize the opening of a bank account in Abidjan to facilitate the secretariat’s work and its cooperation with financial partners. 
 
The Conference of Parties is the Abidjan Convention’s highest decision-making body. This year’s Conference, held from 27 to 31 March, marked the end of a period of revitalization launched about 10 years ago. In that period, the number of States Parties increased considerably as 19 of the 22 countries in the Convention area have now ratified the accord. More countries have been paying their contributions and arrears, while productive partnerships have been developed by the secretariat with a broad range of institutions and organizations, according to report on the convention by the UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim. 
 
The South Africa’s Environment Minister, Edna Molewa, who was the Chair of COP12, disclosed that the Convention “has travelled a long road from a near moribund state to the actively functional Convention it is today”. But she however noted that there still remains some formidable challenges that calls for collaborative support. As the outgoing Chair, she handed over the reins of the Conference of Parties to COP13 Chair, Anne Oulotto, Côte d’Ivoire’s Environment Minister. 
 
Bent on addressing these challenges, COP 12 Ministers issued series of decisions that chart the way forward for the Convention in areas such as ocean energy, integrated ocean management, climate change, marine and coastal biodiversity, pollution, coastal cities, and areas beyond national jurisdiction. Also requested was the Abidjan Convention secretariat to develop an integrated coastal and ocean management policy for the Convention area, in collaboration with relevant international institutions, and to organize broad regional consultations to agree on a final version of the policy, to be presented for review and adoption at COP13.
 
According to the final declaration of the Conference of Parties, they also undertook to “promote the mainstreaming of gender concerns in the management of the coastal and marine environment” in the Convention region.
 
The ministers expressed appreciation to South Africa for sharing its experiences and lessons learnt in respect of Operation Phakisa: (Oceans Economy, a South African programme focusing on sustainable and integrated development of marine resources), and asked for explanatory material on the programme to be translated into French and circulated to all countries. Operation Phakisa was the subject of one of 10 presentations made by experts in fields related to integrated ocean management at a workshop held on the opening day of the Conference of Parties.
 
In their declaration, the ministers called for research on how countries could maximize economic opportunities in the oceans for the people of the Convention area, possibly using the Operation Phakisa approach and methodology. The Secretariat was asked to work with World Bank on West Africa Coastal Areas (WACA) Programme, and with States Parties to ensure that issues related to oceans and coastal zones are considered in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 14 on climate change and the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources respectively. 
 
The ministers also decided “to support and promote the implementation of the West Africa Coastal Areas (WACA) Management Programme initiated by the World Bank Group, aiming to reduce the risk to coastal communities and promote multi-sectoral integrated and climate-change-resilient management of coastal areas”. The programme, which helps countries access expertise and finance to sustainably manage their coastal areas, is of vital importance in a region battling climate change related events such as sea-level rise and warming, land subsidence, storm surge, and increased coastal flooding causing serious coastline erosion.
 
In their final declaration, invasive species of plants, such as the sargassum seaweed (a major threat to biodiversity, economies and livelihoods in parts of West and Central Africa) also came in for mention. In this regard, they invited the region’s governments to “strengthen their cooperation with partners and stakeholders on the western shore of the tropical Atlantic Ocean so as to acquire a better understanding of transnational issues linked to invasive species, with a view to jointly developing appropriate solutions”. 
 
They finally approved a regional strategy against invasive species, asking governments to adopt and implement it and to “develop national action plans, exchange information, and facilitate rapid provision of mutual assistance against invasive marine and coastal species”. Other decisions include asking the Parties to implement the African Strategy on Combatting Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa, and to encourage partners to support its implementation

Ghana Armed Forces command calls on President Barrow

The class 30 Group of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College students, on Monday, April 18th, 2017, paid a courtesy call on His Excellency Adama Barrow at his office in Banjul.

The visiting armed forces and students are working on their research project in The Gambia as part of a Programme on theme “Emerging Case Studies in Africa”. The students will specifically look at the case of The Gambia.

This was contained in a press release from the Office of the President, signed by the Press Secretary Mrs Amie Bojang-Sissoho.

Below we reproduce the full text of the release.

 

Office of the President
State House
Banjul, The Gambia

PR/C/154/(ABS) 18th April, 2017

Media Release

Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College Students Called on President Barrow

H.E. President Barrow, Commander –In-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence, 
Adama Barrow and the Class 30 Group of Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College 
Deputy Chief of Defense Staff, (DCDS), Major General, Yankuba Drammeh, today introduced the Syndicate of Class 30 from Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College to His Excellency, President Adama Barrow at his office. 
Deputy CDS Drammeh said the students are working on their Research project in the Gambia as part of a Programme on theme “Emerging Case Studies in Africa”. The students will specifically look at the case of The Gambia. He noted that it is part of the higher learning system in the military to prepare them handle command. 
On his part, deputy command and team leader, Brigadier General Boimah Augustine Komla informed the Gambian leader that the students are working on their master’s programme, and he expects the research to shed light on security challenges and lessons to be drawn from the Gambian case study. 
Gambian Head of State also the Commander –in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defense, Adama Barrow expressed delight in receiving the group as “the military family” and emphasized the importance of togetherness. President Barrow pointed out that a government cannot be run without security. He observed that the Military has gone a long way to produce high ranking officials, thus instilling professionalism in their work. He recalled that the Gambia benefited from such professionalism during the impasse. He further asserted that the ECOWAS intervention in the Gambia was because it was perceived as an African problem that needed an African solution. President Barrow encouraged the students to work with professionalism as this will bring Africa closer. 
 On behalf of his colleagues, Major Daniel Otobara thanked President Barrow and expressed pride in meeting him. He said the visit will leave a lasting memory in them and programme will further enhance the bilateral and multilateral relations amongst African.
The visiting students are from Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Togo, Ghana and The Gambia. They comprised of 22 personnel amongst them 16 staff students and 6 instructors. Amongst the students were 2 females from Ghana and Namibia.

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relations

For: Secretary General

CC: Media Houses 
Web Manager – State House Website

Turkey referendum: Vote expanding Erdogan powers ‘valid’

The result of the referendum that grants sweeping new powers to the president of Turkey is valid, the head of the electoral body says.

Sadi Guven was speaking after the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) cited irregularities, including the use of unstamped ballot papers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's push for an executive presidency succeeded with just over 51% of the vote.

The win was met with both celebrations and protests across Turkey.

The CHP has demanded a recount of 60% of the votes.

But Mr Guven told reporters on Monday the unstamped ballot papers had been produced by the High Electoral Board and were valid.

He said a similar procedure had been used in past elections. 

Three of Turkey's biggest cities - Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir - all voted No to the constitutional changes.

Opposition supporters took to the streets of Istanbul to bang pots and pans - a traditional form of protest - in a series of noisy demonstrations.

Meanwhile, flag-waving supporters of Mr Erdogan celebrated as their president praised them for their "historic decision" that could keep him in office until 2029.

With 99.97% of ballots counted, the Yes campaign had won 51.41% of the votes cast, while No had taken 48.59%. Turnout was said to be as high as 85%. 

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said there would be no early elections following the result.

The parliamentary vote would be held as scheduled in 2019, Mr Simsek told Reuters news agency.

Former Interior Minister Sonko to be deported today


By Kebba Mamburay

Following the government of the Gambia’s request for the extradition of the country’s former minister of Interior, Ousman Sonko, from Switzerland, undisclosed sources told The Stone Circle that Sonko will arrive in Banjul today.

Reports say an agreement has been reached between the two governments. If this is anything to go by, his return will set another pace for the continuous call for justice in the cases of victims that suffered utterly under the Jammeh regime.

It could be recalled that Mr. Sonko was once arrested in January by Swiss authorities following a request for asylum. His arrest was triggered by a complaint from Geneva-based non-governmental organization, Trial International, in connection with his alleged role in the arrest, torture and disappearance of opponents of the former Gambian regime of Yahya Jammeh.

However, the PRO of Police, Foday Conta, was contacted to shed light on the issue. He described the news as a rumor and added that the Police are not aware of this development.

Sonko is yet to be formally charged with any crime and that the Government of the Gambia wants to question him in connection with the torture and enforced disappearances of Gambians including Solo Sandeng, organizing secretary of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

CULLED FROM THE STONE CIRCLES.. Saikou Suwareh Jabbai."

President Barrow condemns post-election violence

His Excellency president Adama Barrow has condemned in the strongest terms, the recent violence in the aftermath of the National Assembly Elections held on Thursday, April 6th, 2017.
The violence which occurred in the Sibanor, in the Foni District is said to have been a serious clash between the APRC and UDP supporters.

President Barrow, in his latest address to the nation yesterday, condemned the violence and said his government will not tolerate any violence in the country. He said violence can retard his development plans and cause havoc as well.
He also used the opportunity to congratulate all the winners and encouraged the losers to try again next time.

Below is President Barrow's full speech.

"Today I am delighted that Gambians have demonstrated that they want to nurture the change they have made in December 2016 Presidential elections. We have chosen our representatives through the ballot box and sent a clear signal that The Gambia has the power to decide and has indeed decided on who to represent them in the National Assembly. On the 6th April, Gambians entrusted their votes to 53 candidates out of 238 across the political parties, who vied for the National Assembly.
I thank all Gambians for going through the campaign in a mature and peaceful manner to canvass for votes. The unprecedented number of candidates in this National Assembly election is a manifestation of the freedom Gambians have begun to enjoy since the change of government in December 2016. This is one of the first great achievements of the new Gambia. We would continue to ensure that the desire of Gambians to have freedom of expression and association is respected and entrenched. We have ensured that the law that puts a financial barrier to the effective participation of citizens in elections is reviewed. Thereby, the deposit for National Assembly elections was reduced from GMD50,000 to GMD5,000. This made it possible for more Gambians to exercise their rights to run for a seat in the national assembly, and thus 239 candidates were initially registered with the Independent Electoral Commission.
Fellow Gambians, this election has further strengthened my Coalition government by having the required strength of representation in the Assembly. The National Assembly will be able to support the right laws and policies for our government to bring about the legal, institutional and economic reforms that Gambians have assigned us to move the country forward.
During my recent tour of the county, I have taken note of the urgent needs of Gambians such as the need for drugs in our health facilities, infrastructural development such as feeder roads, electricity and clean water supply amongst others. Our people have also expressed the need for urgent support for agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and farm implements. All these will require the support of the National Assembly as an oversight institution to make sure that the quality of governance is strengthened, laws are respected and the policies are implemented.
Fellow Citizens, this transitional government needs to build a strong foundation that future governments can build upon to make sure that we transform and sustain our institutions as well as provide economic growth. We can only succeed by working together as a nation. While we respect our diversity in opinion, we can always come to consensus to build our nation. I call on all Gambians no matter which party they belong, to join hands and work as Gambians. So far $25 million is available from the Islamic Development Bank to support farmers with groundnut seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming rainy season.

I congratulate the winners and better luck next time to the losers. Emotions may be high when the results were announced but I urge all Gambians to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed during the campaign. My government will not accept post-election violence to disrupt our focus for nation building. Gambians have decided and their verdict must be respected. The world is watching and we can be a model for democracy.

Fellow Gambians, I urge all of us to put our positive energies together and stand strong in building the New Gambia. We want a Gambia where citizens will enjoy their freedom and dignity through socioeconomic development and respect for the rule of law.

I would like to conclude by thanking all our partners, including the United Nations Development Programme, the European Union, ECOWAS and all other partners who supported the Independent Electoral Commission – IEC and The Gambia in general with financial and technical support to have a successful and peaceful election. I also commend friends of the Gambia, Gambians in the Diaspora, and the local and international observers for a job well done.
I would like to thank all institutions including the security forces for making it possible for our citizens to exercise their franchise.
Long Live the United People of The Gambia.
Forward Ever! Backward Never!"

N/A Elections: Candidates speak on Election Day

As people across The Gambia go to the polls in other to elect their representatives at the National Assembly, our reporter in Banjul has gone out and about to catch up with some of the candidates after casting their votes.

Halifa Sallah, PDOIS Candidate for Serekunda Constituency told Mamos TV reporter that he has voted for the person he believes will be the best person who could serve his constituency and the nation at the National Assembly.

"I contested because I believe I have the competence and the experience to be able to guide the executive in enacting laws and accessing the vital needs of the Gambian people. Since people sacrificed to elect an independent presidential candidate it was deemed necessary to continue with that fundamental tactical objective of consolidating democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights in The Gambia. And this is why I thought that all parties should sacrifice this period and call it a transitional period to do what has never been done in The Gambia, that is the transformation of the country through the ballot box."

He said what he has seen now is the openness of the democratic process to be controlled by the people.

"I do not believe that the parties will ever control the process anymore, that is because we have shifted the equation, now it is the Gambian people who must decide who they want to put in that Parliament and if they decide wisely they will have their interest when they are there, that is what is important right now.
But if they fail to exercise their right to be the deciders of their own destiny and surrender to parochial politics then democracy will be he casualty," Sallah told Mamos TV.

On his part,  Alhagie Drammeh, UDP candidate Jeshwang Constituency said the campaign was very successful and that success will be translated into votes.

"Am very convinced that I will win and I am already working with my campaign team on how to organize my victory celebration," he said.

Ebrima Nyang, GDC candidate for Latrikunda Sabiji, said he is optimistic that he will win the election,  because he has the support of the youths.

Sheriff S Sarr, Independent candidate for Jeshwang constituency, told Mamos TV that the voting process has so far been peaceful and expressed disappointment at the low voter turnout.
"I am hopeful of winning because I was motivated by my fellows in the constituency to contest, as they believe that I make a good choice of the people and that I can represent them," he remarked.

Fatoumata Jawara, UDP candidate for Serrekunda East Constituency, said:
"I have casted my vote and I indeed voted for myself. The people of my constituency should vote me in to the National Assembly because I am the right person to be their representative there. I sacrificed my life to see a better Gambia much more Tallinding. Everyone knows what happened on April 14th, I was part of the protest led by Ebrima Solo Sandeng . I am sure of winning because I am not a losing candidate. A lot of development projects are in my plans for Tallinding," she said.

Monitoring Pres. Adama Barrow’s Country Tour

 

Theresa May to seek general election on 8 June

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June.

She said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum.

Explaining the decision, Mrs May said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not."

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said his Labour Party wanted the election, calling it a chance to get a government that puts "the majority first". 

There will be a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday to approve the election plan - the prime minister needs two thirds of MPs to vote in favour to bring forward the next scheduled election date of 2020.

Explaining her change of heart on an early election, Mrs May said: "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election."

GAMBIA’S STATE HOUSE EXPLAINS PRESIDENT BARROW’S VISIT TO CONGO.

Media Release from the Office of the President, State House, Banjul, The Gambia
PR/C/153/(ABS), 16th April, 2017, explained President Adama Barrow visit to Congo as a Friendly visit. 

The release states: 

"President Barrow made Friendly visit to Brazaville, Republic of Congo.

His Excellency President Adama Barrow, accompanied by some senior government officials, made a two day friendly visit to the Republic of Congo to cement the friendly and brotherly relations between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Congo. The visit was at the invitation of his Congolese counterpart.

Upon arrival at the airport, he was received by his host, His Excellency, President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Gambians living in Brazaville and Kinshasa were also at the airport to welcome President Barrow.

During an interview with journalists upon arrival, the Gambian leader said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relations with his African counterpart. On the state of affairs in The Gambia, President Barrow told them it was on the basis of democratic principles that he vied for the elections and it was on the same principles that the National Assembly elections was also conducted. He further stated that the election was about change in The Gambia and it was well organized. Responding on the reasons for his earlier visit to France, he informed them that it was at the invitation of the French President, Francois Hollande. 

During the visit, the two Heads of State expressed joy in the excellent friendly and brotherly relations which exist between them and called for it to be re-enforced between people of the two countries.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso renewed his congratulations to the Gambian people for the successful legislative election and commended its organization. He further commended the efforts to promote peace, democracy and social cohesion in The Gambia. 

President Barrow on his part took the opportunity to thank President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his government for their role in consolidating democracy, peace and economic development of the Republic of Congo. H. E Mr. Adama Barrow commended the role and actions taken by President Denis Sassou Nguesso, as Chairman of the AU committee on the resolution of the crisis in Libya and wished him a successful mandate. He also thanked his host for sending a strong delegation to his inauguration earlier in February. 

The two Heads of State expressed concern on the persistent crises in African countries such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Central Africa Republic. They pledged to work together to promote dialogue to guarantee peace and stability. The Heads of State affirmed their commitment to realize the 2063 Agenda which calls for the transformation of the Continent and the construction of "the Africa we want". They took note of the importance of regional integration for the realization of the development objectives of the continent. 

On global affairs, they renewed their commitment to fight terrorism, which threatens peace and security and retards development efforts. To that effect, they expressed solidarity with all countries affected by the barbaric and violent acts of terrorist groups, and equally determined to support the International community in its efforts against this evil phenomenon.

The two Heads of State equally reaffirmed their position as Africans on the proposed reform of the Security Council of the United Nations and on other matters of interest to Africa.

Representatives of the Gambian community comprising elders and youths in Brazaville and neighbouring Kinshasha, also took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the Gambian leader. They were led by the Gambian Honorary Consular in Congo, Haji Tunkara. They expressed joy for the election of President Barrow as well as the recently concluded National Assembly elections in The Gambia. 

During the visit President Sassou Nguesso also hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Gambian Head of State, witnessed by senior Congolese government officials and diplomats.

At the end of the visit, H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow thanked the President, government and the People of Congo for the brotherly reception and honor accorded to him and his delegation.

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relations

For: Secretary General

CC: ​Media Houses
Web Manager – State House Website"

France votes for new president amid high security

Voters are going to the polls in France to choose their next president, amid high security following a deadly attack on Paris police three days ago.

About 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers are being deployed across the country to secure polling.

Eleven candidates are vying to be the next president, with candidates spanning the political spectrum.

If, as expected, no-one wins 50%, the two with the most votes will go to a run-off round in a fortnight's time.

Polling stations in France opened at 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT), although some overseas territories began the voting on Saturday. Voting ends at 20:00, with exit polls expected quickly afterwards.

Live coverage of the French election

Four candidates are currently seen as being within reach of the presidency: the conservative François Fillon, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, liberal centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-left's Jean-Luc Mélenchon. 

he candidates have created plenty of debate in the country, all offering dramatically different visions of Europe, immigration, the economy and French identity.

Extra security measures are in place on polling day after Karim Cheurfi, a convicted criminal, shot a police officer in the head on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Cheurfi was killed by security forces and a note defending the so-called Islamic State group was found near his body.

National security had been one of the main talking points during the campaign, but candidates have been accused of exploiting the most recent attack for political gains.

Media Release!

 

President Barrow Says Insurance Should Cover Everybody and Everything

His Excellency, President Adama Barrow reiterated the need to sensitize Africans, Gambian in particular about the importance of insurance. He made the remark during a courtesy call by Board members and Commissioners of the West African Insurance Companies Association WAICA at his Fajara office.

President Barrow noted that insurance should cover everybody and everything as is the practice in developed countries. Citing on the composition of the membership, President Barrow said he was impressed with what he described as “an African family in solidarity.” He recalled how The Gambia benefited from such Africa solidarity during the political impasse after the 2016 Presidential elections. The Gambian President said that the New Gambia welcomes all and creates a new environment for people to invest. He urged those in the Insurance sector to invest in The Gambia. He observed the cross-generational membership of WAICA as a demonstration of seriousness to encourage the young ones. Another observation of the membership was that the past presidents of WAICA members continue to serve in its board, and President Barrow concluded that “when appointed as President and you serve well you remain President.”

The current President of WAICA,
Mr. Rotimi Fashola, congratulated President Barrow and prayed for guidance in his engagements. He noted that WAICA came a long way and will continue to contribute to the Insurance sector education.
Mr. Fashola said WAICA League focus on insurance education to the grassroots to reach a large number of people to accept the insurance concept. He argued that the Insurance sector contributes to employment creation and economic growth in The Gambia. It was also noted that the Insurance regulators would work together to have laws that will guide the sector across the member countries.

In his introduction the Spokesperson of WAICA, Mr. William Coker said the visit was part of the 39th anniversary celebration of their association and made an appealed for it to continue to benefit from government subvention.

The delegation of 16 members from Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and The Gambia was accompanied by the Gambian Minister of Interior, Honourable Mai Ahmad Fatty, overseeing the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relations

For: Secretary General

Pence: US era of strategic patience with North Korea over

US Vice-President Mike Pence has said his country's "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

Mr Pence first made the remarks at the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the area dividing the two Koreas, during a visit to South Korea to reaffirm ties.

His visit comes amid escalated tensions on the peninsula, with heated rhetoric from both North Korea and the US.

He arrived in Seoul on Sunday hours after North Korea carried out a failed missile launch.

On Monday, the US and South Korea launched a joint air force military exercise to ensure readiness against North Korea, according to South Korean media.

Mr Pence, whose father served in the Korean War, visited the truce village of Panmunjom, where the war's armistice was signed.

Speaking alongside South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn later, he said North Korea had conducted nuclear and missile tests as the previous US administration had observed a policy of "strategic patience", but this was now over. 

He reiterated US support for South Korea, telling his host: "We are with you 100%".

Mr Hwang hailed the early deployment of the controversial US missile defence system (known as Thaad) designed to protect against threats from North Korea.

The US vice-president said he was disappointed that China had taken retaliatory actions against South Korea in response to the move.

58 National Assembly Members sworn-in

 
The newly elected National Assembly Members were today sworn-in at a colourful ceremony held at the National Assembly Chambers in Banjul.
 
The election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly was administered by the Chief Justice of The Gambia, Hon. Hassan B. Jallow whilst the swearing-in of the new NAMs was administered by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Dodou CM Kebbeh.
 
The newly elected National Assembly Members unanimously elected, Mariama Denton as new Speaker and Momodou LK Sanneh as the new Deputy Speaker.  
 
All the NAMs swore to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of The Gambia and to execute the functions of an Honorable National Assembly Member (NAM) without fear or favour, affection or ill will, according to the Constitution of the  Republic of The Gambia and other laws of the land. 
 
Shortly after taking their oaths, and after her unanimous election as the new Speaker of the National Assembly of The Gambia, Hon. Mariama Jack-Denton returned thanks to Allah and prayed for His continued guidance as they set to discharge their duties in the service of the country.
 
The new Speaker also thanked President Adama Barrow for the trust and confidence he has in her by nominating her to serve as speaker of the National Assembly of The Gambia in his government.
 
"It is with immense pleasure and deep sense of honor that I wish to accept the position of Speaker of the National Assembly of The Gambia under the 3rd Republic of President Adama Barrow’s Government," Speaker Denton stated.
 
She also thanked her colleagues in the House for the confidence they bestow on her, while assuring them that she will uphold, protect and promote the Constitution and the other laws of The Gambia as well as the standing orders of the National Assembly of The Gambia.

IEC boss explains reasons for low voter turnout

The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Alhaji Alieu Momarr Njie has attributed the breakaway of the Coalition ahead of the polls as the main reason for  the low turnout of voters in Thursday's Parliamentary Elections in The Gambia.

In an an interview with Mamos TV, Njie who has been highly celebrated across the world after spearheading the election that removed former President Yahya Jammeh from power in December 2016, said many voters were also only interested in removing Yahya Jammeh.

He thanked Gambians for the peaceful conduct during the election period and urged them to maintain the spirit.

"Gambia is now perceived as sample for others to emulate. For a dictator to be removed through the ballot box was something many thought was impossible," said Njie, who recalled the 1st December presidential election night as a tense and difficult one.

The IEC boss, therefore urged Gambians to go out in numbers and vote in the upcoming Local Government Election which will also be held in 2018.

In the final results, UDP won 31 seats, APRC 5, GDC 5, NRP 5, PDOIS 4, PPP 2 and Independent 1.

Meanwhile GMC , NCP and GPDP could not secure a single seat in the Parliament

Gambia: Journalists Trained on Election Coverage, Security in Electoral Process

A three-day capacity building for Gambian journalists on election coverage and security in electoral process, has ended in Banjul.
The training was attended by journalists drawn from the print and electronic media.
It came barely less than two weeks before Gambians go to the polls to elect their representative at the National Assembly on the 6th April. 239 aspirant candidates are contesting in 53 constituencies in the upcoming election. 
The training was organized by Article 19 in collaboration with The Gambia Press Union.
Addressing the participants, Demba A Jawo, Minister of Information and Communication said the intention of the new government is to be media-friendly and to create the enabling environment. "We will give you all the support. Security for journalists is paramount."
He, therefore, considered the training as important and timely. 
Minister Jawo urged the participants to make best use of the knowledge, as election coverage is not easy. "As journalists, we are always at the center and we have to be very careful."
Saikou Jammeh is the Secretary General of GPU. He welcomed the training, describing it as timely and important. 
He urged the participants to utilize the training and share the knowledge gained. Gambian media, he said, about to be reformed and Article 19 is committed to supporting the reform process.
Hamadou Tidiane Sey, Lead facilitator of the training challenged participants to give utmost respect and passion to the job. Journalists, he said, must belief in what they do.
Participant Fatou Janneh-Mbaye commended the organizers of the training. She said the training has greatly widen their understanding of their responsibilities. 
At the end, a guideline on election reporting, which was developed during the training was adopted by participants. Participants were issued with certificates. 

OJ attacks Darboe

 
Omar Jallow alias OJ, leader of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) who is also minister of Agriculture, has blamed Lawyer Oussainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), for the Coalition split.

OJ who was speaking at a political rally organized by the PPP for its candidate in Serrekunda East Aminata Correa, said Oussainou Darboe, who is also minister of Foreign Affairs is the cause of the Coalition split hence he has put his party interest above the peace and stability of the country for continued national development.

He said Darboe wants his party to contest the Parliamentary election by its own and that is what led to the Coalition spilt and bickering.

He used the opportunity to call on people of Abuko to vote for their candidate in the April 6 Parliamentary election.

“So far $25 million is available from the Islamic Development Bank

“So far $25 million is available from the Islamic Development Bank to support farmers with groundnut seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming rainy season,” Mr. Barrow said.
 
 
Agriculture, which has been the country’s backbone has seen many people leaving it for the service sector. Agriculture employed more than 75% of Gambians but now only employs about 35%. At least 55% are now in the service sector, according to a government report released last year.
 
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh accused senior agriculture department officials of embezzling some $120 million, sparking a mass firing and prosecution in a ministry that he oversaw for most of his rule.
 
 
Many Gambian youths abandoned agriculture to weak and old in rural communities, choosing to perilously journey through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean in hopes for jobs and better economic opportunities in Europe.
 
President Barrow has pledged to revive agriculture after Jammeh’s so-called self-sufficiency Vision 2016 propaganda failed. His administration has promised to support Gambians to explore opportunities in the fishing industry, which is now dominated by the Chinese in the region.
 
BY TUKU JALLOW

Press release from OP on President Barrow’s visit to Congo

Office of the President
State House
Banjul, The Gambia

PR/C/153/(ABS) 16th April, 2017

Media Release

President Barrow made Friendly visit to Brazaville, Republic of Congo

His Excellency President Adama Barrow, accompanied by some senior government officials, made a two day friendly visit to the Republic of Congo to cement the friendly and brotherly relations between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Congo. The visit was at the invitation of his Congolese counterpart.

Upon arrival at the airport, he was received by his host, His Excellency, President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Gambians living in Brazaville and Kinshasa were also at the airport to welcome President Barrow.

During an interview with journalists upon arrival, the Gambian leader said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relations with his African counterpart. On the state of affairs in The Gambia, President Barrow told them it was on the basis of democratic principles that he vied for the elections and it was on the same principles that the National Assembly elections was also conducted. He further stated that the election was about change in The Gambia and it was well organized. Responding on the reasons for his earlier visit to France, he informed them that it was at the invitation of the French President, Francois Hollande.

During the visit, the two Heads of State expressed joy in the excellent friendly and brotherly relations which exist between them and called for it to be re-enforced between people of the two countries.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso renewed his congratulations to the Gambian people for the successful legislative election and commended its organization. He further commended the efforts to promote peace, democracy and social cohesion in The Gambia.

President Barrow on his part took the opportunity to thank President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his government for their role in consolidating democracy, peace and economic development of the Republic of Congo. H. E Mr. Adama Barrow commended the role and actions taken by President Denis Sassou Nguesso, as Chairman of the AU committee on the resolution of the crisis in Libya and wished him a successful mandate.  He also thanked his host for sending a strong delegation to his inauguration earlier in February.

The two Heads of State expressed concern on the persistent crises in African countries such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Central Africa Republic. They pledged to work together to promote dialogue to guarantee peace and stability.   The Heads of State affirmed their commitment to realize the 2063 Agenda which calls for the transformation of the Continent and the construction of “the Africa we want”. They took note of the importance of regional integration for the realization of the development objectives of the continent.

On global affairs, they renewed their commitment to fight terrorism, which threatens peace and security and retards development efforts. To that effect, they expressed solidarity with all countries affected by the barbaric and violent acts of terrorist groups, and equally determined to support the International community in its efforts against this evil phenomenon.

The two Heads of State equally reaffirmed their position as Africans on the proposed reform of the Security Council of the United Nations and on other matters of interest to Africa.

Representatives of the Gambian community comprising elders and youths in Brazaville and neighbouring Kinshasha, also took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the Gambian leader. They were led by the Gambian Honorary Consular in Congo, Haji Tunkara. They expressed joy for the election of President Barrow as well as the recently concluded National Assembly elections in The Gambia.

During the visit President Sassou Nguesso also hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Gambian Head of State, witnessed by senior Congolese government officials and diplomats.

At the end of the visit, H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow thanked the President, government and the People of Congo for the brotherly reception and honor accorded to him and his delegation.
Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relation

For: Secretary General
CC: Media Houses
Web Manager – State House Website

President Barrow begins tour

 

The Kanilai Shooting was an Accidental Discharge, says Interior Minister

 
Following Thursday afternoon’s shooting incident between the ECOMIG  forces and members of the Gambia Armed Forces stationed in Kanilai, the minister of the Interior, Mai Ahmad Fatty, said at a press briefing held today that the incident was an accidental discharge and delay in communication between the GAF command and the officers on the ground. 
He further outlined that it was blown out of proportion and context, and that there is no cause for alarm. He said that people should feel free to do what are supposed to do and go around their businesses within the Fonis. 
"There was no serious confrontation between ECOMIG troops and soldiers of the Gambia Armed Forces. The situation is regrettable," he said.
He continued: “The incident was a minor misunderstanding and miscommunication that transpired however the matter has been de-escalated, there are no tensions on either side."
Minister Fatty revealed that part of the ECOMIG troops mandate is to protect Kanilai and its surrounding areas, so they are based in Bwiam. There was no intentional effort on the part of the ECOMIG forces to shot anybody. 
“We responded effectively and adequately on time, consultations were conducted by all sides and we have reaffirmed our commitment to continue to work together with the ECOMIG on the ground, our Senegalese brothers are here away from home and are here to stabilize the country,” he stated.

Trump fumes about supposedly ‘fake’ polls giving him a dismal approval rating

President Trump continues to rant about a pair of new polls that show he is approaching his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating of any president in more than 70 years.

“The two fake news polls released yesterday, ABC & NBC, while containing some very positive info, were totally wrong in General E. Watch!” Trump tweeted early Monday morning.

According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, just 42 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s performance as president, while 53 percent disapprove. On average, past presidents have enjoyed a 69 percent approval, 19 percent disapproval split at or near their first 100-day mark, according to the survey.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also released Sunday showed nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) give Trump “poor or middling marks for his first 100 days in office” — including 45 percent who say he’s off to a “poor start.” The survey also found Trump’s overall job-approval rating at 40 percent as he approaches 100 days — the lowest job-approval rating for a new president at this point in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll.

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