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GINA CONQUERS 100M IN KENYA

After dominating the women's 100&200m events in the 13th African Games in Ghana last month.Gambia's sprint sensation Gina Mariam Bass continues to prove her worth in the continent. She wins the women's 100m of the Keip Keino Classic Athletics Championship in Kenya with a timing of 11.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon in Kenya. 

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2022 PALIAMENTARY ELECTION RESULTS

2022 PALIAMENTARY ELECTION RESULTS

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GRTS MOVES TO NEW SATELLITE FREQUENCY

Viewers are advised to retuned/scan their satellite receivers to be able to access GRTS signals. 

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PRESIDENT BARROW VISITS CRR INDUSTRIAL SITES

President Adama Barrow continues his tour of industrial sites in the Central River Region with a visit to the Hamidou Jah Farm in Baya Bah in Sami District and the Swami Gambia Banana plantation in Lower Fulladu District.The tour accorded President Barrow the opportunity to assess first-hand the impact of these investments on the agricultural sector.Central River Region is steadily becoming the breadbasket of the country as private sector investors are changing The Gambia's agriculture landscape with a renewed focus on commercializationHamidou Jah is a business tycoon known in business circles as one of the most successful oil and general merchandise dealers. After making his fortune in business, Hamidou is now trying his hand at farming.He has just acquired a 120-hectare piece of land in Baya Bah, some 15km from the main Passamas Laminkoto Highway.President Barrow has made agricultural mechanization and commercialization a key pillar of his government's policy, with its potential to lead economic growth, enhance food security and create employmentMr Jah has already put up a team of agricultural experts from the Gambia and Pakistan, who are now working to transform his piece of land into one of the most productive.The President recognized Hamidou Jah's passion and his potential to contribute to the country's national food security, which has now become more urgent, given the current global dynamics.H.E. Adama Barrow tasked all the relevant government agencies to provide the private sector with the necessary support to help them realize their goals.The President and delegation also visited the Swami Gambia banana plantation in CRR South where he was briefed on the operations by the General Manager Mansukh Bhudiya.President Barrow was taken on a conducted tour of the farm; visiting the nursery shed where the right varieties are nursed under the suitable conditions and the water treatment and supply system which sources water from the River Gambia.The innovative, cost-effective and sustainable farming system has made the Swami banana plantation a model for farmers. It currently has 450 thousand plants, also making it the largest plantation in the country.The President said he is highly impressed with this model, and thanked the Swami Gambia management and staff for the work. The farm employs over 200 workers, mostly women, from Buruko and the neighbouring villages. The farm is expected to reach full capacity with an annual production of 8000 tons.

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    GAMBIA RADIO

    GAMBIA RADIO

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    GRTS MARKETING

    The Marketing Department manages the commercial activities of both Radio and Television. We are responsible for generating revenue and selling the services of both radio and television. We are generally in charge of coordinating all marketing and commercial activities which include the sale of GRTS products and services. The sales of airtime include advertisement, panel discussions, documentaries and sponsorships of programme and ad hoc revenue initiatives.GRTS over the years has been the favourites of companies wishing to widen the base of their clientele and increase their market share by sponsoring programmes and advertising on GRTS. The formal and educative nature of our programmes guarantee expansive publicity that advertiser can hardly resist. GRTS programmes are designed to meet the needs of both local and international companies seeking to sell their brands, products and services as well opening a new chapter of a mutually beneficial partnership that will ensure a win-win situation for both parties and produce huge returns on your investmentsAdvertising with GRTS give your business an ideal opportunity to reach millions of viewers every week. Considering that GRTS is now on Satellite and social media platforms our coverage spans across many parts of the world. Many Gambians in the Diaspora and well wishers of the Gambia follow GRTS to get first hand information on events in the Gambia. Advertise with GRTS and make your business stand in the face of competition.   Contact GRTS marketing on Tel: Television (00220)  2780125-9747011-2325299 WatsApp- 2780125/2325299Tel : Radio (00220) 9747010/2784030/3957255 WatsApp-   2780125/3957255Email :[email protected]/[email protected] MEDIA LINKS .YOUTUBE:https://www.youtube.com/c/GRTSTVFACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/grts.gmWEBSITE:http://www.grts.gmTWITTER:https://twitter.com/grtstvINSTAGRAM:https://www.instagram.com/grtstvofficial/?hl=enLinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/company/gambia-radio-television-services/  

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    National Health Insurance Authority develop health benefit package for the National Health Insurance Scheme

    The National Health Insurance Authority on Tuesday began a three-day meeting to discuss the development of a health benefits package for the National Health Insurance Scheme across the country. The meeting brought together medical and health experts to map out targeted disease or service areas, for the essential healthcare package. The Minister of Health Dr. Amadou Lamin Samateh said the Authority is engaging medical and health experts to identify critical areas under the scheme. He said the development of the scheme will accelerate efforts to meet SDG 2030. The health minister also said that the Health Insurance Scheme would be available to both the public and private health facilities. The World Health Organization’s country representative Dr. Desta Tiruneh advised participants to consider the benefits package in line with available resources for health care service delivery. 

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    Jaliba Kuyateh Bestowed an Honorary Fellowship

    King of Kora Jaliba Kuyateh received an honorary fellowship from Goldsmiths, University of London at a graduation ceremony today. Jaliba Kuyateh’s award was in recognition of his work using music to improve perinatal mental health. He is the only Gambian appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for his charitable work with children in the Gambia.  Jaliba Kuyateh dedicated the honors to the people of the Gambia; especially the women whom he said ‘have supported his career from the very beginning’. He further thanked the Goldsmith University governing council and the entire faculties for the milestone gesture. Jaliba detailed his career in peacebuilding, climate change campaign, health and social welfare issues, child rights, and education among others. He thanked the Gambia High Commission for the support, through its representative to the event, Mr. Suntou Touray, Deputy Head of Mission and staff for gracing the occasion, and to Yaram Arts for the collaboration and support.Jaliba Kuyateh felt honored and appreciated by the recognition and wishes to continue his collaborative work with Professor Lauren Stewarts of Goldsmith University in the area of participatory music research.Gambia High Commission in UK

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    THE PATH TO LIMELIGHT: FROM A STRUGGLING SECOND-TIER SIDE TO A KEY FIGURE FOR THE GAMBIA U-20

    That is the story of Haruna Rashid Njie of Gunjur United who proved himself as one of the key figures, if not the key figure for the Gambia U-20 in the just concluded CAF U-20 Championship in Egypt. Rashid is from Gunjur United a team in the Gambia Football Federation Second Division League, that has been struggling for promotion for the six-season running. Haruna himself has been part of that struggle for three seasons now.His path to the limelight, coupled with how he went on to not only establish himself as a regular starter, but the architect of coach Abdoulie Bojang's tactic, in a setting where coaches usually trust top-tier, semi-professional and professional players for virtually any team selection, is not just interesting and surprising, but equally, inspiring.Rashid is the first young player from his village - Gunjur, to have been consistent in the national colors at the youth level. There has not been any player from Gunjur who made more appearances for any national youth team like Rashid. That in itself is a milestone achievement already. The versatile lad was the only second-tier player in the team (U-20) that represented the Gambia in the CAF U-20 Championship. Of all the games he started, he helped his side maintain a 100% winning streak without conceding a goal. That run ended in the final which he missed due to suspension after he picked a red card in the semi-final against Nigeria. The Gambia went on to lose the final against neighboring Senegal. His replacement Bailo Bah was altogether below par, and, Rashid's alter-ego in midfield - Mahmud Bajo missed his rhythm. The defense line equally missed the usual protection in tougher situations as Senegal put two unanswered goals to clinch the title at the expense of the Young Scorpions.  Perhaps a moment of justification for the people who perceived Rashid as the key player for the U-20. If anyone banks on this as a defense mechanism for their claim, considering how Senegal tilted The Gambia's midfield that day, they can have good ammunition to fire at opponents in any debate. But, that is a case of its own and, for another time.What is clear is that Rashid's path to the limelight is altogether an interesting realistic story, not a fairytale! Surviving the psychological trauma of being brought up by a single parent to playing for academies in both Gambia and Senegal and taking the risk of playing Divisional football at just 15 years for a struggling side, and, fitting well in a setting where he is one of the youngest, is truly an amazing journey. BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEYThe journey has been a remarkable one, remarkable as the Scorpions performed in their maiden AFCON appearance in Cameroon - only if you know that story. If there is any percentage of luck in Rashid's journey, that will not be more than 10%, most of it could be credited to commitment, bravery, and respect for the game. 'All I do is to train and relax because my focus is to become a professional footballer' he said.'Growing up as an orphan as I lost my dad who was the provider for the family at a tender age, I knew the onus of the family would rest on me, so I need to work hard.' 'And any community that you go to in the Gambia, you will find a very good talent. What matters, in the end, is hard work, patience, and respect for your leaders. There's no magic in football, it's all down to commitment and hard work and that has been my focus' he told GFF Media.Born in Gunjur, a footballing community in the West Coast Region on the 23rd of September 2005. Rashid, like any young boy in the village, will go on to play football in childhood for fun. Little did he know at the time that will someday change his life. And that did not take any longer. Rashid's talents were noticed at a young age by local summer football teams in Gunjur. Many came knocking, but Red Star F.C. the most successful club in Gunjur convinced him to join their camp. He was taken to the Gunjur United academy which is managed by the then coach of Red Star - Babucarr Kakai Bojang. And Rashid soon became a key figure for the U-15s.THE TURNING POINTWhile playing for the Gunjur United Academy,  Haruna was scouted by a Senegalese agent who took him to the Africa Foot Academy in Senegal after agreements with Gunjur United. Aged 13, Rashid went on to become the captain of the U-15 of the Dakar-based academy. But, he only spent two seasons there as he returned home after the Covid outbreak. And, then returned to Gunjur United, and joined the first team in the Gambia Football Federation second division league as their youngest player in the 2020/21 season. largely coming as a substitute, Rashid still managed to score 8 goals and made four assists, making him the youngest player to have achieved such a feat. His side - Gunjur United narrowly missed out in the qualification for the top tier league, losing 2 -1 to Team Rhino in the play-off in what was their closest attempt as they finished 4th in the league. In his second season in 2021/22, Rashid had a glittering campaign. For the season, he scored 16 goals from his position as a supporting striker. Since then, the young star started grabbing national attention and ultimately the big moment came at age 17. DREAM COME TRUE'I used to watch the Gambia U20 with my friends on TV. I will only watch the first half and tell them I am going for training, I want to also play at that stage someday.'He was clear about his dream and he worked towards it. And, it soon turned from a dream to a real-life situation. In just his second season as a second-division player, he got his first call-up to join the U-20 for trials. The moment he has long dreamed of, and, who will expect a player as hungry as Rashid to miss the opportunity. He impressed beyond expectations and got selected in the squad that represented the Gambia in the WAFU Zone A championship in Mauritania in 2022 and came out as runners-up - losing 1 - 0 to Senegal in the final. Rashid was largely a substitute in that tournament. But, he will work hard to change that. Another call came, this time from the CHAN team (U-23). Rashid traveled with the team to Morocco for a doubleheader against Guinea Bissau in the qualifiers in July 2022. Unfortunately, they missed out on penalties after a one-all aggregate. Rashid was the only player to have erred in the shootout as Bissau went on to win 5 - 4. But that did not overshadow what has been described as a 'great achievement' for the youngest in the midst - a raw talent from division two. Tall, well built, pacy, skillful, and clinical with a strong dual foot and great vision and ability to protect and retrieve the ball, Rashid will continue with the U-20 squad. His ability to operate effectively in different positions, coupled with his discipline and great work ethic will soon make him a distinct figure in coach 'Lie' Bojang's set-up.Playing in a more unaccustomed position - offensive midfield, Rashid proved a mastermind in a position that would have been new for any player in his situation.Yet, he was one of the revelations of the tournament, stepping in to support his side with excellent technique and vision. He provided security and stability all the way to the semifinal against Nigeria. Rashid and his partner were vital components in a midfield that proved too clever and quick for most opponents. Rashid and his U-20 teammates will travel to Argentina in May 2023 for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Another moment for him to prove his worth, this time on the global stage.If he should come back with a contract from any European team after the World Cup, that will not be any surprising. Perhaps the least a quality player like him deserved. Rashid's rapid growth does not come with any favor from anyone. If there is any secret, that will be hard work, commitment, focus, and discipline he has shown all through his journey. A great player is in the making!

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    Agric. Minister Launches the African Emergency Food Production Facility

    The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Demba Sabally, on Friday 23rd September 2022 launched the African Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF). The facility is supported by the African Development Bank through the Rice Value Chain Transformation Project (RVCTP).The AEFPF is additional financing that follows the joint meeting of the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Finance of the African Union on the African Emergency Food Production plan in which The Gambia participated. Speaking at the launching ceremony, Dr. Sabally informed the gathering that the Government of The Gambia is taking major strides to transform the Agriculture sector in addressing food security and meeting the nutritional needs of its people.He noted The Gambia’s high dependence on imports for staple and key commodities and said it has deepened the country’s vulnerability to external shocks such as global pandemics and crises.  

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    NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LIBRARY & RESEARCH DEPARTMENT TRAINS STAFF

    The Library and Research Department of the National Assembly of The Gambia certified participants to a weeklong training on Library Management and Research skills on Friday 30th September 2022.The objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of librarians and researchers in the routine of supporting Members of the National Assembly in the performance of their legislative and oversight duties.Mr. Alhagie M Dumbuya, Director of Library and Research said the training was tailored around the duties and responsibilities of library assistants, classification of books, cataloging systems, and referencing from library resources.Deputy Clerk, Legislative Business and Programme, Mr. Daniel Cardos emphasised the importance of the training in the context that library and research services are highly sought after by both staff and Members of the Assembly. Mr. Cardos urged participants to apply the new skills on the job and share the knowledge with their colleagues.The lead trainer Ms. Matilda Johnson, former Director General of The Gambia National Library, and Mr. Alieu Sonko, Principal Librarian at the National Assembly guided the sessions through practical exercises at a pace measured to the need of fifty-eight representatives.The Library and Research Department offers impartial research services for Members on issues relating to National Assembly business and constituency work. It conducts briefings on topical issues and summaries of Bills being considered to adequately prepare Members both at Committee stages and Plenary sessions.   

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    Unidentifeid corpse found on TUI flight from banjul to London

    A press release from the office of the government spokesperson

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ACHPR CONVENES 79th ORDINARY SESSION

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights convened the opening of the 79th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The convention in Banjul, brought dignitaries and stakeholders across the African continent to discuss thematic matters for the sustainability of human rights advocacy.The 79th session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights unveils a crucial theme anchored on ‘Educating an African fit for human rights.’The speech of Remy Ngoy Lumbu, chairperson of ACHPR, centred on the unrest and conflicts facing the African continent. He cited challenges affecting women, such as sexual violence and discrimination, as he urged the Gambia government to scale up efforts to repeal FGM laws.Addressing the convention, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Gambia’s Foreign Affairs MinisterSaid the Gambia government is committed to promoting human rights to boost reforms that include the implementation of plans presented by the Truth Commission - TRRC.For over two decades of dictatorship, the Gambia under former President Yahya Jammeh witnessed a pervasive system of forceful disappearances and extrajudicial executions that required effective transitional justice and reforms to reshape the country’s emerging democracy.As enshrined in the Charter of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the commission is moving to strengthen human rights structure and mechanisms alongside the promotion of friendly settlement of disputes grappling the African continent.ACHPR is a charter established by the African Union to advocate for human rights, democracy and good governance on the continent. The commission has built a robust legacy of transformative impact, empowering individuals and organizations. 

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CDS CHAM BEGINS NATIONWIDE TOUR OF MILITARY DEPLOYMENTS

Lieutenant General Mamat O. Cham, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of The Gambia Armed Forces, along with the Defense Minister and a delegation from the military, commenced a nationwide tour of military deployments across the country. The objective of this tour is to facilitate direct interaction between the CDS and troops under his command, enabling him to assess their work environments, living conditions, and challenges firsthand. As the professional head of the Armed Forces, this visit signifies the first of its kind since Lieutenant General Cham's appointment as Chief of Defence Staff. His first stop was at Barra, where he visited the ECOMIG forces of Gancoy 7 at Fort Bullen, where he was accorded a warm welcome by the Ghanaian soldiers.  CDS Cham was briefed in detail on the tasks and duties assigned to the Ghanaian troops stationed there. Additionally, he witnessed a special presentation by the Ghanaian ECOMIG forces, showcasing their methods for handling riot control operations within the North Bank region.  CDS Cham commended the Ghanaian soldiers for their exemplary role, highlighting them as a contingent that epitomizes professionalism within the Ghanaian Armed Forces. He noted that the Ghanaian Armed Forces had successfully won the hearts and minds of the local population within the North Bank region.  The Defense Minister also addressed the gathering, emphasizing the importance of unity and professionalism among the Ghanaian soldiers in their duties.  The delegation conducted a tour of the facility before proceeding to Njongon's military post. Activity at Njongon was distinctive as CDS Cham engaged with the local community, focusing on the imperative of maintaining and fostering peace.  Villagers expressed gratitude to the Gambian troops stationed at Njongon, citing their presence as a source of safety and security.   Army troops also had the opportunity to voice their concerns during discussions with the Army Chief. Issues raised included capacity building, improvement of hygiene standards, and motivation. This aligns with CDS Cham's objective of gathering firsthand information on their working conditions.  CDS Cham assured the troops that their challenges would be ‘addressed,’ emphasizing the importance of the men in uniform as role models of discipline and commitment.

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FORMER GRTS DG MALICK JENG DIES

We regret to announce the passing of our former Director General, Malick Jeng. He passed away on Saturday morning at his residence. Mr Jeng has served with diligence and commitment as the D.G. of the State Broadcaster. He presided over the return of GRTS to satellite transmission. He equally worked to ensure GRTS covered major national and international events involving The Gambia.The late Malick Jeng was a devoted Muslim who was greatly concerned about staff welfare. A jovial and compassionate individual who treats the staff with so much respect and care. GRTS Management is saddened by the passing of Mr Jeng, who greatly contributed to the transformation of GRTS. Management extends its condolences to the family and the entire country and pray that Allah have mercy on his soul and grants him Janatul Firdausi. 

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INFORMATION MINISTER HAILS GOVERNMENT'S EFFORTS TO RESHAPE RELATIONS WITH THE PRESS

The new Minister for Information Dr Ismaila Ceesay told journalists during the briefing that his ministry aims to renew commitment to the development of the media landscape to bolster relations between the press and the government.In a period of increasing misinformation and disinformation, the Ministry has also launched its website and social media handles. An initiative meant to boost the much-long-awaited access to information.Serving as the main mediator between the government and the public, the Information Minister said his ministry is committed to building the website of all other ministries – a strategic move to enhance relations with the media and chart a way forward for the government to communicate to the public. Access to information is a crucial component of a strong democracy building a strong, vibrant society that enables the media to deliver accurate and reliable information to the general public.Despite the lack of support from the government through subventions like other countries, the Gambian media plays a critical role in its drive to deliver accurate information to the public. Yankuba Saidy, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Information Ministry, said the government is working to ensure the media outlets are subvented to be able to sustain their operations. Since the country transitioned to democracy and good governance in 2017, the Barrow administration has registered significant progress in terms of strengthening press freedom. This press briefing is meant to reset relations between the government and the media.

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    ACHPR CONVENES 79th ORDINARY SESSION

    African Commission on Human and People’s Rights convened the opening of the 79th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The convention in Banjul, brought dignitaries and stakeholders across the African continent to discuss thematic matters for the sustainability of human rights advocacy.The 79th session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights unveils a crucial theme anchored on ‘Educating an African fit for human rights.’The speech of Remy Ngoy Lumbu, chairperson of ACHPR, centred on the unrest and conflicts facing the African continent. He cited challenges affecting women, such as sexual violence and discrimination, as he urged the Gambia government to scale up efforts to repeal FGM laws.Addressing the convention, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Gambia’s Foreign Affairs MinisterSaid the Gambia government is committed to promoting human rights to boost reforms that include the implementation of plans presented by the Truth Commission - TRRC.For over two decades of dictatorship, the Gambia under former President Yahya Jammeh witnessed a pervasive system of forceful disappearances and extrajudicial executions that required effective transitional justice and reforms to reshape the country’s emerging democracy.As enshrined in the Charter of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the commission is moving to strengthen human rights structure and mechanisms alongside the promotion of friendly settlement of disputes grappling the African continent.ACHPR is a charter established by the African Union to advocate for human rights, democracy and good governance on the continent. The commission has built a robust legacy of transformative impact, empowering individuals and organizations. 

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    The Gambia Eligible For US Government MCC Grant

    The Gambia is among four African countries selected to forge new partnerships with the US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation to develop new grant programs to boost economic development, among other things, according to a release from the US Embassy in Banjul,‘’During its annual “selection” meeting held last week, MCC’s Board — which is chaired by the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken — selected The Gambia and Togo as eligible to develop compacts, MCC’s five-year grant program that focuses on large-scale infrastructure investments and address policy and institutional reforms.’’ The release stated. “Today’s announcement is symbolic of both the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa and MCC’s dedication to creating a stronger, more resilient global community,” said MCC’s Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright. “Our Board’s selection of these countries affirms each country’s aspiration or commitment to democratic principles as well as their intentions to make the investments and institutional changes necessary to build a more prosperous future for their communities. The MCC Board’s decision comes at a critical time, and we look forward to working together with each country to develop a program that will address the most pressing challenges facing their economies.”The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, fighting corruption and respecting democratic rights.  

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    IEC briefs election observers ahead of National Assembly Elections

    The Independent Electoral Commission on Wednesday conducted a briefing for election observer groups accredited to observe the National Assembly elections on Saturday. The briefing held in Bijilo discussed the modalities and preparedness of the election officials to conduct a hitch-free election. In his statement, the Chairman of IEC Alieu Momarr Njai, gave a rundown of the nomination process recording 251 candidates contesting the April 9 polls. Chairman Njie further informed the observers that measures are in place to ensure smooth, free, and credible elections. The Deputy inspector general of police Inspector Momodou Sowe gave an analysis of the current security. 

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    BBC JOURNALIST CONCLUDES THREE-DAY TRAINING FOR STUDENTS IN GAMBIA

    Esau Williams, a BBC News presenter, and producer completes a three-day training for the Media Academy for Journalism and Communication students in the Gambia.The BBC journalist who had over 10 years of experience with one of the world's leading media institutions, delivered lectures on key areas of journalism. This includes idea development, research, interviews, sourcing, news presentation, and production.The training brought together Diploma and Advanced Diploma students of the Academy.Sang Mendy, the Managing Director of the school who facilitated the training said, it is part of their plans to better prepare the students for better deliverables in the newsroom.'Our English teacher always emphasises that the students listen to the BBC.' 'We can inspire them, giving reference to what we do and how we did it before. But here is someone working for the BBC which is a reference for global broadcasting, will inspire them. This is the objective and also to learn from a great mind like Esau', Sang said.The BBC Focus on Africa producer and presenter said the areas he discussed with the students 'form the bedrock of any proper journalistic career.' 'The point of the training is to boost and add capacity to the work that journalists do in the Gambia.' 'We have issues with the National Journalism Awards. We don't think the quality of journalism is up to scratch. This is just an effort to improve that' he added. Adama Sanneh a Diploma student said he has learned a lot of new things that were not taught in class. 'Now I will be able to look at little things and make good news out of them.''There are a lot of things going on that we feel are not important. But going through the training and knowing you can think beyond, that will help me to become better.'Media Academy for Journalism and Communication (MAJaC), was established in 2010 by the Gambia Press Union.Its focus is to 'strengthen democracy in the Gambia through quality journalism and effective communication.'

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    Gambia government holds "Major Press Conference"

    The government of the Gambia on Thursday hosted a major press conference on the theme “Spotlighting the Banjul rehabilitation project” Chaired by the government spokesperson and adviser to the president on Diaspora affairs Ebrima G Sankareh the briefing was aimed at shedding light on public doubts about the Banjul rehabilitation project. The project came under fire following last month's powerful floods that hit the capital city and beyond. The Minister of information Lamin Queen Jammeh said the press conference was sanctioned by president  Adama Barrow to provide clarity on controversies that followed the unexpected floods.The questions from the press touched on how the contract was awarded to Gai construction company and whether the company had fulfilled its tax obligation as required under such contracts.  The minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah said there was another addendum on the contract that removed the tax exemption. He also explained that the government does provide a certain tax exemption on projects funded by the state or donor organisations. The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority Yankuba Darboe said the contractor met all tax obligations and submitted audited accounts on time. Officials say powerful pumping machines have now been installed in the city. The machines they say would be able to efficiently empty flood water from the city.

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    PANAF launches in The Gambia

    The Pan-African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) initiative will be launched in The Gambia on 18th June 2022.PANAF was established in November 2021 in response to the need for an active and inclusive regional voice in the creative sector that could raise awareness of incidents of artistic freedom violations and collaborate with artistic rights advocates in regional and national advocacy efforts.  In The Gambia, SELAM has partnered with Team Gom Sa Bopa. This partnership will allow the two organisations to work together to develop a unified voice for artists, and cultural producers advocating for artistic freedom in the music and film industries. The project will include capacity building, policy support and lobbying, research, workshops, s, and report publication as well as monitoring, and documentation of violations, all with the goal of forming alliances for knowledge exchange and cooperative advocacy campaigns.Since the dawn of the new dispensation (2017), the Gambia has found a new lease of freedom for the creative sector which is thriving given the proliferation of artistic platforms available in the country. However, in the rest of Africa, this is not the case with a number of cases where artists have faced challenges while practicing their art. Team Gom Sa Bopa, SELAM, and Partners will endeavour to maintain a continental perspective to learn from best practices in an ever-changing environment.Team Gom Sa Bopa (TGSB) is a youth-led movement dedicated to raising awareness among young people through Art and arousing their interest in the development of The Gambia. Gom Sa Bopa engages artists to play a role in social life, and civic education and to be watchdogs of the management of the country by the leaders and all those in charge of the advancements of the country.Selam is a cultural organisation with offices in Stockholm (Sweden), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Kampala (Uganda), and Nairobi (Africa). It has been active in cultural development and development aid for over 20 years, using its vast experience and worldwide network to develop and execute diverse cultural programs in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.   

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    Commentary

    BOTTROP AND SCANAID CRIES, BAKOTEH LAUGH AND LK SABIJI PROVES UNMATCHED IN SCHOOL ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPThe unexpected last-ditch catastrophe that struck the defending champions Bottrop Technical Senior Secondary School and Scanaid, turned out to be a blessing for Bakoteh Upper and Senior Secondary School. Bakoteh had the last laugh and clinched their first title in School Athletics Championship and Latrikunda Sabiji proved unmatched and makes it six titles in a row in the Upper Basic category. Indications were there that Bottrop would have defended their title considering their strength or Scanaid Senior School would clinch the title as they defeated Bakoteh to clinch the Region one title. Bakoteh couldn’t have hoped for anything better than Bottrop and Scanaid’s suspension as they [Bakoteh] secured the crown at the expense of the rest with the 100-thousand-dalasi prize money and winners medal.  Analysts have boldly stated before the championship that at the Upper Basic School level, the title was for Latrikunda and it turned just that way as they retain their title with an unmatched performance that saw them amass 398 points. Other Schools might claim they tried enough, but their efforts were not enough to stop Bakoteh and Latrikunda.  Charles Jow and Saint Michael finished second and third respectively and pocketed 50 and 25 thousand dalasi.  At the Upper Basic School category, Barra-Essau finished as runners-up with 25 thousand price money and Brikama U.B.S as the second runners-up received 15 thousand dalasis. If Bottrop and Scanaid had not shed tears of despair, Bakoteh wouldn’t have shed tears of joy. Whether they will win it again or not, Bakoteh are the legitimate champions for the 2022 National Inter-Schools Athletics Championship.   BOMBSHELL: There has never been a shock in the championship than we saw with just three days to the competition. The organisers dropped a bombshell that left the affected schools shedding tears. Bottrop, Mahaad, Scanaid, Nusrat, Mingdaw among other schools were suspended from participating for using ineligible athletes during the regional championship. This was a shock for the entire athletics family, such a bold decision came as a surprise, but school authorities say it was aimed to “sanitize” the championship.   UNMATCHED PERFORMANCE: Winning an athletics title will require energy, consistency and athleticism. That was what the winners combined to display an unmatched performance which saw them secure the titles with the widest of point difference. For Latrikunda Sabiji it was an easy ride in virtually all the events. If one thinks they are at their worst, that is when they finished second in the race. LK put together a formidable sprint and middle-distance team that scooped almost all the events as they amassed 398 points, 206 points more than second-place Barra-Essau who secured 192 points.  A lucky performance can't earn one such incredible points. Latrikunda were simply irresistible.  In the senior category, Bakoteh were equally above the rest. Their male team sometimes will have to negotiate their way in some events and miss some. For the girls, it was a clear victory all through, from the 100m, 200m, 1,500m, 300, 4x400, and Medley relay. Binta Jallow and co were just no match to the rest. This was justified by the 365 points they secured, leaving a gap of 181 points from second place Charles Jow who recorded 184 points. OUTSTANDING ATHLETES: The School Athletics always unravel bright potentials in athletics and the 2022 edition has seen an increase even though some previous performers have stayed defiant in their various events. With some bullet-like movements, Sitta Jarju, Isatou Gibba, Halimatou Saho all of Latrikunda Sabiji UBS were simply not at the same level as the rest of the girls in the sprint events as they emerged first anytime they stood on the tracks.  In the middle-distance events, Mariama Barry of LK Sabiji proved energetic to win the 3000m girls open, while Sarjo Badjie of Arrangallen was the most energetic as he scooped the goal medal in the 5000m open boys. Musa Kujabi of WYCE Upper Basic School was one of the fastest sprinters in the boy’s category, finishing first in the U-15 boys' category.  At the senior school category, the girls of Bakoteh [Binta Jallow and Mariama Camara] were simply the best, the only position they settled for was the first position. If you think Bakoteh are only good at sprinting, wait for their middle-distance team. Safiatou Sanneh of Bakoteh Upper and Senior was the most energetic female athlete. She finished first in the 1,500m and 3,000m open girls respectively. Essau’s Amadou Sowe had the first laugh as he clinch the first gold medal at the National Championship winning both the 5,000m and 1,500m open boys for senior school. For some students, this was their final season, but for some, they will have to return to see if they can defend their crowns in the next championship.   CHALLENGES:  School sports might have been doing well, but the nation is not doing enough in developing the talents it has been and still producing. One might brag about Gina Bass for passing through school sports, but the gap between her and the rest of the athletes produced by the schools is immeasurable.  The challenge has been and remains the platform for developing young talents. “Our work stops at producing athletes for the Gambia Athletics Association [GAA], but they’ve not been doing enough. For athletics to develop in the country, there should be proper structures in the country if we are truly serious about developing athletics.”  Ismaila Ceesay the President of Secondary School Sports said. The gap between Region one and the rest of the Regions remains the same as the country’s only track for athletics is situated in region one. This could be considered as a total injustice for a Nation whose most outstanding athletes are usually drawn from the rest of the regions. When are the authorities going to show real commitment in addressing the persistent challenge?  PLANS AHEAD:  “This is what we can do, to produce talents for the Athletics Association”, were the remarks of Ismaila Ceesay the President of Secondary School Sports Association. In as much as that might be right, school authorities might also be hold accountable for not putting up enough strategies for the athletes they reserve the bragging rights over. As if they were told that they need to do more, the Secondary School Sports Association said they are coming up with another competition – Regional Championship which will bring together school-going athletes representing various regions in the National Regional School Championship. But what next after their academic careers, perhaps a question for GAA to answer. This could be another competition for the nation to scout real raw potentials for better and much-needed representation at the international level.  It will be a tragedy to see the talents of these school going students end after their grade 12. With the suspended schools set to return with ‘unstoppable force’ that means more queens and kings on the tracks in the next edition and justice will be served if realistic advances are put in place to help the passionate athletes develop themselves at the end of their school careers.  

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    GAMBIA MULLS OVER THE ADOPTION OF SMART TRANSPORTATION

    In the evolving landscape of transportation, the concept of smart transportation is gaining traction worldwide, smart transportation leverages digital technologies to optimize and enhance the efficiency of urban mobility.African countries like Kenya are pioneering innovative solutions that redefine the way people move, platforms like Uber have revolutionized traditional taxi services by allowing users to conveniently order rides through a mobile application. This shift not only provides a seamless experience for commuters but also improves the overall efficiency of transportation networks.In Gambia, citizens face formidable challenges accessing transportation, leading to increased hardships in daily commuting. Insufficient infrastructure, limited public transportation options, and economic constraints contribute to a struggle for many Gambians seeking reliable means of travel.The inadequate road network in some regions exacerbates transportation difficulties, with poorly maintained roads and lack of proper signage hampering smooth traffic flow. This not only prolongs travel times but also poses safety risks to commuters.Some frequent road users lamented the difficulties they face while navigating the daily traffic.‘I wish I would be able to order a taxi or Uber from any location and not have to struggle to board a loaded bus, van, or taxi every day, we are in a digital era, and by utilizing it, life will be much easier’-said Fatou Njie, a commuter As the Gambia strives for progress, considering the adoption of smart transportation systems becomes imperative, according to Ebrima Colley, Deputy Permanent Secretary-Technical at the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Infrastructure, before the implementation of smart transportation in the Gambia’s national transportation system, several key strategies need to be taken into consideration to ensure successful planning, deployment, and integration.The Gambia stands to benefit significantly from embracing Digital Public Infrastructure. By introducing similar services, the country can address challenges related to traffic congestion, reduce environmental impact, and enhance the overall commuting experience for its residents, therefore, without smart transportation, Public transportation remains limited, primarily relying on informal modes like shared taxis, vans, and minibuses.However, concerns linger regarding the compatibility of smart transportation with the country’s road infrastructure. The unpredictability of these services leaves citizens grappling with inconsistent schedules and overcrowded vehicles, making the daily commute a time-consuming and uncomfortable experience.According to the Ministry of Transport, swift actions are underway to change the current status quo.‘Currently, The Government of the Gambia is focused on improving Infrastructure Development requirements such as roads, energy and ICT. By investing in the necessary physical and digital infrastructure, this will ensure that the infrastructure can support the deployment of technologies such as connected vehicles, sensors, and smart traffic control systems.’ _Deputy Permanent Secretary-Technical, Ministry of TransportThe convenience of on-demand transportation services, coupled with the integration of digital payment methods, contributes to a more connected and accessible urban environment.As the global community increasingly gravitates toward smart transportation solutions, the Gambia has the opportunity to position itself at the forefront of technological advancements in the transportation sector. By learning from successful implementations in countries like Kenya, the Gambia can create a modern, efficient, and user-friendly transportation system that meets the evolving needs of its citizens.

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GINA CONQUERS 100M IN KENYA

After dominating the women's 100&200m events in the 13th African Games in Ghana last month.Gambia's sprint sensation Gina Mariam Bass continues to prove her worth in the continent. She wins the women's 100m of the Keip Keino Classic Athletics Championship in Kenya with a timing of 11.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon in Kenya. 

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ONE MILLION DALASI REWARD FOR GINA MARIAM BASS

Gambia's track Queen Gina Mariam Bass Bittaye who won gold medals in both the women's 100 and 200m events of the 13th African Games in Ghana, has been handed one million dalasi by the government of the Gambia. The cheque was presented to her by the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia Muhammed BS Jallow, who commended Gina for representing the country well and assured her and the rest of President Barrow's continuous support.Gina was accompanied to the State House by the Youth and Sports Minister, Bakary Badjie, and other senior officials of the Ministry.

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COMMENTARY: THE SCORPIONS' STING OR SONG OF THE SWAN?

The drums of despair beat a heavy rhythm in Gambian hearts. The Scorpions, our beloved national team, lie coiled at the bottom of Group C, their venom spent, their hopes dwindling faster than the sands of time. No goals, no points, just a shadow of the team that danced with optimism before the tournament began.Tonight, the air crackles with desperation. Fans cling to the fragile threads of hope, whispering prayers to a God who seems to have turned a deaf ear. Bright Stars, our lead cheerleaders desperately wanting to hang on to the good food and beautiful atmosphere of the land of the elephants, GFF Officials, their faces etched with worry, huddle around every score sheet, frantically calculating the odds of becoming one of the "best losers" - a consolation prize no one truly desires.Tom Saintfiet, the man entrusted with weaving magic from this band of scorpions, stands at the precipice. His magic tricks at the last AFCON already busted. Was the scorpion's first stint on the big stage a flash in the pan? The sting of Guinea's victory still fresh, he must now face the roaring lion of Cameroon, a beast wounded but far from tamed. His previous pronouncements, the sarcastic barbs aimed at critics, and the dismissive caricature of Gambian football, echo hollowly in the face of this do-or-die battle.This is no time for swagger, no room for self-congratulation. The Gambian league, once deemed unworthy by Saintfiet, now holds the echoes of dreams shattered, of potential unfulfilled. The record, once a blank slate, now bears the stark inscription of failure. It is a record that stares back at him, a mirror reflecting not the image of a saviour, but of a man adrift, clutching at straws.But tonight, the Scorpions cannot afford introspection. They must fight, not for glory, but for pride. They must sting back, not with venom, but with the spirit of a nation that refuses to surrender. For the fans who fill the stadium, their roar will be a weapon, their chants a shield against the tide of despair.The whistle blows. The Scorpions take the field, their eyes locked on the prize, or perhaps on the precipice. Can they weave their magic, can they defy the odds? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, tonight, the Scorpions will dance, not to the tune of triumph, but to the rhythm of their own resilience.This is not just a game. It is a battle cry, a desperate plea for redemption. It is the Scorpions' song of the swan, a defiant melody that will echo long after the final whistle. Whether it be a sting of victory or a mournful dirge, the Gambia will listen, and remember.For tonight, we are all Scorpions, and our hearts beat as one. Let the drums of despair be drowned out by the roar of our hope. Let the dance begin.

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THE TANGLED NET: TOM SAINTFIET, GAMBIAN JOURNALISTS, AND A FOOTBALLING FEUD

The air around Tom Saintfiet and Gambian journalists crackles with an undeniable tension. It's a relationship steeped in accusations, misunderstandings, and a hefty dose of bruised egos. Unravelling the truth becomes tricky, for the narrative, like a footballer's footwork, often shifts with dizzying agility.On one hand, Saintfiet, the Gambian national team coach, paints himself as a misunderstood knight in shining armor, unfairly criticized by a hostile press. He points to his achievements – a respectable Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign – as proof of his worth, highlighting what he perceives as a lack of appreciation from Gambian journalists.However, a closer look reveals a different perspective. Saintfiet's maiden encounter with the Gambian press wasn't exactly a love-fest. He launched into verbal attacks, setting the tone for a turbulent relationship. Subsequent interactions were often laced with ridicule and dismissive shrugs, hardly fostering warmth or mutual respect.This frosty demeanor fuelled speculation that Saintfiet was merely a puppet in the grand play orchestrated by the Gambia Football Federation (GFF). Whispers allege that the GFF, eager to control the narrative surrounding the national team, deliberately pitted Saintfiet against the press, using him as a shield against critical scrutiny.Whether this is true or not is a matter of conjecture. But the consequences are undeniable. Gambian journalists, used to a certain level of engagement with foreign coaches, found themselves shut out, relegated to the sidelines while Saintfiet cozied up to the GFF's handpicked media (GFF media).Saintfiet's savior complex further complicates the equation. He seems to believe his presence alone elevates Gambian football, his achievements a gift bestowed upon an undeserving nation. This, naturally, rubs Gambian journalists the wrong way. Their job, after all, is to hold power to account, not sing paeans of praise.Finding a path out of this quagmire requires a change in mindset. Saintfiet must shed his victimhood cloak and accept that criticism is an integral part of the game. He needs to engage with Gambian journalists openly and honestly, fostering a relationship built on respect and mutual understanding.For their part, Gambian journalists must move beyond perceived slights and approach Saintfiet with professionalism, focusing on factual reporting and fair analysis. Knee-jerk reactions and personal attacks only serve to widen the gulf.Ultimately, both sides must recognize that they are, quite literally, on the same team. Their shared goal is the success of Gambian football, and this can only be achieved through collaboration, not antagonism. Only then can the air clear, the tension dissipate, and the beautiful game truly flourish in the Land of Smiling Coasts.

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GAMBIA SCORPIONS ARRIVE IN KSA AHEAD OF A WEEK-LONG TRAINING CAMP

The Scorpions of the Gambia have begun their pre-AFCON training camp in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The week-long camp, which is underway in the Saudi city of Al-Ahsa, is jointly facilitated by The Ministry of Youth and Sports and The Gambia Football Federation with support from the Saudi Football Federation. The team, under the guidance of coach Tom Saintfiet, had their first training session on Tuesday evening at the Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi sports complex. At the end of what was a mild session, the Scorpions boss said he was excited to regroup his players and prepare for the task ahead.Saintfiet, who has delayed announcing his final 27-man squad, said his decision to do so was informed purely by footballing reasons. A few players are yet to arrive, but the Belgian is hopeful of having all his players in camp by Thursday.

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