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President Barrow opens WAEC’s AGM

President Barrow Tuesday evening presided over the official opening ceremony of the 71st Annual Council Meeting of the Governing Board of the West African Examination Council at the SDKJ Conference in Bijilo.

In his keynote address, the President commended WAEC for its exemplary service to member countries over the years, a feat no other colonial era institution achieved. The achievement he said was a manifestation of the the quality of structures, administrative arrangements and procedures that the Council evolved and maintained over the years.

Apart from its consistent quality service delivery, President Barrow said Council has to keep abreast with a fast-changing scientific world and its ever-evolving and productive technological innovations and development.

President said that his government would continue to explore international education standard and goals to improve education with a view to promoting excellence.

He disclosed that his government is revising the school curriculum and one outcome is the introduction of Civic Education at the senior secondary school level.





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    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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    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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    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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    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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The second phase covered 4 districts All Regions (URR, CRR, NBR, LRR, and WCR) are covered now; only KM and Banjul are left.’ Momodou Dibba, National Coordinator, National Social Protection SecretariatThe Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) employs advanced technology in data collection through Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) for the GamSR project. This data is then seamlessly migrated into the Social Registry Information System (SRIS), a purpose-built platform designed for secure storage, updates, and efficient querying.Ensuring a robust shield of data protection, SRIS incorporates sophisticated user privilege management and comprehensive access control mechanisms. 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    Irregular migration is an alarming reality that calls for a united response. 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Irregular migration has claimed the lives of many of our young ones, leaving families shattered and communities in mourning.’The objective of the convergence is to enable all the players to frankly discuss best practices, and challenges and forge a national framework for comprehensive migration intervention which will address the immediate crisis, and cater to the growing demand for youth empowerment.Migration has been a complex phenomenon influenced by social and economic factors in Gambia. With the advent of smugglers using boats that ventured through the high seas, curbing the menace has been a major challenge for stakeholders.‘The surge of young people taking the perilous journey has had serious implications on their communities and the country at large.’ Abubakarr Suleiman Jeng, National Security Adviser, said.‘We remain committed to undertaking all necessary action to provide job opportunities for our young people, intending to address the root causes of irregular migration in the Gambia.’ Jeng addedMusa Camara, Director of Migration and Diaspora Affairs, said the government is working on a series of bilateral agreements geared towards creating more regular pathways to curb this menace. ‘The government through the Foreign Affairs Ministry is on the verge of signing labour agreements with Spain and Italy. We have plans to engage Germany also, which has a labour shortage of over one million’, He said.Alagie Jarju, the Executive Director of the National Youth Council said as stakeholders, they have implemented so many activities together with their partners, including providing information to ‘thousands of young Gambians on the risk of irregular migration and the opportunities that exist in the Gambia.’He further called on youths to renew their hopes of making it in the Gambia rather than embarking on the risky journey.‘To the young person that thinks it is only possible outside of this country, please look within your society, how many Gambians can you see as examples that have not moved beyond the West African Sub Regions and are today successful.’During the two-day dialogue, participants were divided into seven thematic groups to look into several areas like employment, security, and border management, among others, and also answer questions on the current state of migration, gaps and challenges, and management mechanisms.During their presentations, the majority holds the belief that irregular migration has been on the rise, and low wages, limited job opportunities, lack of awareness, and peer pressure are among the root causes.In their resolution, they recommend that the government create more employment opportunities for the youths, with a key focus on investment in technical and vocational education and training. Also, to engage in bilateral labour agreements with European countries to create more regular pathways.The convergence also recommends more sensitization about the dangers of irregular migration and calls on families and communities to desist from supporting trips, financially or failing to report departures.Increasing the budget for Youth and Sports was another major cry as the youths constitute over 60% of the Gambia’s population. The 2024 estimated budget for youth and sports is one hundred and twenty-two million, three hundred and ninety-five thousand dalasi.They also put forward that communities should closely collaborate to campaign against smuggling. Also, they called for a proactive approach to curbing the menace, tasking the government to take the lead role in organising national migration dialogue annually.These among criminalising smuggling and a host of other resolutions were agreed upon by the gathering and are set for submission to the executive for consideration.  2023 has seen an unprecedented rise in irregular migration, especially through the sea. Foday Gassama, Commissioner for Migration Management at the Gambia Immigration Department, said, within 2023, they have responded to ‘29 cases’ of planned departures across the coastal beltsThat number is different from the successful departures that have taken place. Two boats that departed from Kartong in Kombo South, West Coast Region, on the 14 and 19 October 2023, went missing, until recently when reports came out that the boat that left on the 14th capsized in Mauritania sea without a single survival. On board that boat, included 41 youths from Jamburr and 27 from Kartong, among others.There is still no trace of the boat that departed on 19 October. According to relatives of the would-be migrants on board, the vessel, it carries 147 people, including three pregnant women. 47 of the people on board all hailed from Gunjur in Kombo South, where the trip was organised.Historically, migration has underpinned economic development and nation-building. Enrich cultures and help civilization to strive. Recently, it has been turning those dreams of some people taking irregular means into tragedies.Unless a holistic approach is taken and actions spring out from dialogues like this, curbing the menace of trafficking will continue to be a nightmare.

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