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KUNTA KINTEH FERRY ON BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE

PRESS RELEASE The Ferry Service Management wishes to inform the general public that the Kunta Kinteh Ferry will be witndrawn for breakdown maintenance for at least 48 hours with effect from Tuesday, 8th August 2023.Meanwhile, Kanilai Ferry will be deployed to provide minimal service. Efforts will be made to restore Kunta Kinteh Ferry, and Management wishes to apologize to the travelling public for any inconvenience that this disruption in service may cause. GFSC MANAGEMENT

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PRESIDENT BARROW CALLS ON LAWMAKERS TO UNITE FOR EFFECTIVE DELIVERY

The Gambian leader made the remarks in his State of the Nation address for the 2023 legislative year at the assembly chambers where he addressed the condition of the country and outlined the government's policies.President Barrow said disunity is a threat to progress.‘The critical factor that threatens peace and development most is disunity. We may belong to different political parties, religious faiths, or other social groupings, but we must unite as a nation to realise our national targets.’‘Honourable Members, while discharging your duties, I urge you to dialogue and initiate bi-partisan collaboration in a positively democratic manner. This would allow you to table issues not exclusively from political party perspectives, but from genuine patriotic standpoints and through the people’s lenses.’ He said.The Head of State further said the core mandate of the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary are ‘interlocked’ thus requiring them to work together.‘Once we have a common goal, such as the development and progress of the people we serve, there will always be the need to unite.’The president said the legal frameworks, policies, and programmes developed and mentioned in his address are relevant and good enough to guide the people to success. But, ‘the Assembly and the public have a facilitating role to play in their implementation process.’He promised to serve the country with a ‘clear conscience, vision, and realistic development plans and programmes.’

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PRESIDENT BARROW OUTLINES GOVERNMENTS’ ACHIEVEMENTS AND PLANS

His Excellency Adama Barrow delivered the 2023 state of the nation address outlining his government’s achievements and national development plans, spurring sustainable growth and economic stability.During a marathon address before a fully packed Assembly of deputies, senior government officials and the diplomatic corps, President Barrow revealed insights into his government's plans for the coming year, outlining some major breakthroughs attained over the past years.The president said despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the Gambia’s economy registered impressive development in all forms, with robust economic fundamentals directed at maintaining sustained levels of positive growth and price stability.Dilating on various sectors, policies and national programmes, the Gambian leader said his government is committed to supporting farmers.‘The Ministry of Agriculture has initiated The Gambia Incentive-based Risk Sharing and Agricultural Lending Facility Project to improve access to finance by de-risking lending to the agriculture sector.’‘The project will collaborate with financial institutions to avail farmers and value chain actors of the needed finance for a transformed Food System.’ He said.He underscored the defence Ministry’s development of the first ever defence policy, while highlighting focused efforts to empower women.‘The Women Enterprise Fund introduced in 2020 has benefited more than 93,000 women entrepreneurs, with D68 million disbursed to 628 Women Groups. The recovery rate during the past three years stands at 75% and 53%, respectively, for the first and second disbursements. In 2023 about 550 women groups will be reached countrywide through the same arrangement.’The president’s state of the nation address further noted the government's success in building key sectors such as education with more schools and trained teachers responding to the increasing enrolment in all levels of the education system alongside scholarship opportunities.On crime and security, The Gambian leader revealed the drastic reduction of crime in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 2021 and 2022, outlining corresponding efforts to strengthen and indigenize the judiciary and justice system.The President further highlighted major headways in energy and infrastructural development citing the numerous road constructions registered by his administration. He said NAWEC is being restructured to improve services as the government continues to subsidize fuel prices to respond to rising global fuel prices.Reacting to the president’s speech, Alhagie S. Darboe the minority leader said the president should be commended for appearing a little earlier compared to the previous year.‘The president’s address should come in the first quarter of the year so the deputies can be well informed on the issues and address them. This time it came in the second quarter, but we will keep pushing so it can be delivered in the first quarter.’Deputies are expected to deliberate on the president’s address in subsequent parliamentary sittings. Muhammed B.S Jallow the vice president will represent the president to answer questions. Cabinet ministers will also appear on separate days to take questions regarding their various ministries.During subsequent assembly deliberations, bills and motions will be presented to the legislature for enactment alongside treaties and international agreements scheduled for ratification.

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PRESIDENT BARROW LEAVES FOR NIGERIA TO ATTEND TINUBU’S INAUGURATION

PRESIDENT BARROW LEAVES FOR NIGERIA TO ATTEND TINUBU’S INAUGURATIONGambia’s President Adama Barrow on Sunday departed Banjul for Nigeria, where he is expected to attend the inauguration of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect of Nigeria. The president was seen off on departure at the Banjul international airport by cabinet ministers, senior security, and government officials among others. The Gambian leader is expected to join several other heads of state for the inauguration of Nigeria's president-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Eagles Square in Abuja. During the visit, President Barrow is expected to engage in bilateral talks to further strengthen ties between Banjul and Abuja. The Gambian leader is expected to return to Banjul on Tuesday 30th May 2023.Having emerged victorious in Nigeria’s February Presidential Election, Senator Bola Tinubu of the APC party, will be sworn-in on May 29, 2023, as the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. Gambia and Nigeria share historic relations dating back to the post-independence era when the two countries established formal diplomatic relations. Since then, relations have been described as ‘excellent’ as the two countries partner in several areas of cooperation. Nigeria supports The Gambia in the areas of education, judiciary, security, and capacity building. Nigeria played a key role in ending the political impasse in the aftermath of the December 2016 Presidential elections and has since deployed a contingent to serve in peacekeeping operation in The Gambia.Over the years the two countries have worked to build a solid foundation to further entrench the existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

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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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President Barrow Congratulates Nigeria, Calls for Prioritising of Agric-Business

President Adama Barrow congratulated H.E Muhamadu Buhari, his government and the people of Nigeria for a successful and peaceful election and a demonstration of leadership by example for ECOWAS. The President extended the message through the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Zubairu Dada, who is in The Gambia on a two-day visit.   The Gambian President reiterated the brotherly relations with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through which the country enjoys technical support in various sectors.  President Barrow recounted the valuable role of Nigeria in The Gambia’s transition since 2017 and called for continued support as the country moves to the next phase of implementing its reform programme.In a separate diplomatic engagement Thursday morning, President Barrow met the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, Mrs Massanje Tour- Litse.    The two discussed regional integration and ECOWAS’ commitment to continue supporting and working with The Gambia. President Barrow stressed that Africa has the human and natural resources and should invest in making agribusiness a priority through industrialisation to feed itself.  He decried Africa, with a much bigger population, having to suffer due to the unfortunate War in Ukraine. “The way forward for Africa is prioritising Agric-business for economic development and food security,” President Barrow emphasised. He commended the ECOWAS Commissioner for prioritising agriculture, school feeding and working with the youth, adding, “we cannot continue blaming colonialism; it is time to be innovative and do things for ourselves.''

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Prevention against Torture Act passed

The National Assembly has recently passed the Prevention Against Torture Act, 2023. The Act  seeks to prevent & eradicate the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman treatment or punishment & to ensure accountability of acts of torture.A statement from the Ministry of Justice says the passing of  this Act plays a central role in our transitional justice process especially in our bid to ensure accountability for gross human rights violations under the previous  government and to ensuring that these atrocities never reoccur.

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BANJUL UTD SNATCH A POINT AGAINST BIKO IN WEEK 14 OF THE GFF LEAGUE

Banjul United came from behind to rescue a point at home against Steve Biko with a one-all draw in week 14 of the Gambia Football Federation First Division League.Modou Lamin Touray put Biko in front after just 17 minutes when he received a defense-splitting pass from the Gambia U-20 prodigy Adama Bojang and stroke passed the rushing Banjul United goalkeeper.However, Banjul United also revert to the services of another Gambia U-20 player to level matters. In the 59th minute, central referee Ali adjudged a Biko defender for a handball, and Gambia U-20 forward Mansour Mbye fired home from the spot to make it 1 – 1.There were further chances from both ends, especially in the closing stages when Adama Bojang had a last-gasp free header saved from point-blank by Babucarr Janteh in between the frame for Banjul United.The Biko coach Adnan Musa blamed the draw on what he described as a wrong decision. 'To be honest with you, the penalty was never a penalty. You can't be in your natural position and they penalize you for that. I think Banjul United could have scored a better goal but not from the spot' he said.The Banjul United coach Sheikh Adama Joof whose side only managed four wins in 13 games, said everything is tough for now. 'We started badly with two defeats. The team is not in the shape I want, but we will try in the next few games to be there'. In the other games, Waa Banjul recorded a hard-fought 2 - 1 win over PSV Wellingara. Fortune F.C. conquered Brikama United in the West Coast Region derby with a 1 - 0 win. And, woes continue for the defending champions Hawks as they lost 3 - 0 to Team Rhino. Falcons drew goalless with Samger. Real De Banjul managed a narrow 2 - 1 win over Gamtel. Marimoo lost 2 - 0 to Wallidan and, Greater Tomorrow also lost 2 - 1 to Gambia Armed Forces.

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The Gambia Attains IMF Final Assessment

President Adama Barrow Friday received the IMF Mission Chief, Mr Ivohasina Razafimahefa, who briefed him that The Gambia, for the first time, reached the final stage of its IMF programme on a positive note.Receiving the briefing with delight, The President said that despite the challenges in managing citizens' expectations, his office and the government, by extension, took strategic decisions to ensure fiscal discipline to manage public finances better. He emphasised that they would do everything possible to improve the country's scorecard. "At times, you take difficult decisions and do the right thing for the good of the majority," President Barrow stressed. He congratulated his economic team and thanked the IMF for the guidance and support, adding that the transition was difficult with high expectations from the citizens.The President pledged that his government would remain steadfast to maximise the social and economic scorecard for The Gambia. Acknowledging the deficit areas impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the War in Ukraine, the President looks forward to more flexibility in the following programme cycle to address the areas they have deficits.The President indicated that his administration prioritises digitalisation and e-governance to increase revenue collection and reduce corruption. He referenced the digitalisation of tax collection and performance contracts with SOEs as necessary domestic revenue collection measures to fast-track development examples.President Barrow cited electricity and infrastructure as the key to the country's advancement as the government works towards its target for universal access to electricity in remote areas.The IMF Chief of Mission expressed confidence to proceed with a new country programme as it is the first time The Gambia has reached a final assessment programme. He gave an outline of the findings of his mission, stating the economic growth improved even though it had not reached the pre- covid level due to external shocks such as the post covid recovery. He pointed out the positive trends in tourism, remittance, and private and public construction works as good signs. The IMF Mission Chief noted the impact of global events on food prices and fuel, flexible exchange rates, and cross-border trade.On the challenges, it was noted that inflation is high and public debt is still flat at 80% of GDP, but it recorded that foreign reserves and credit to the private sector are on the right path, with interest rates decreasing. Appreciating the government's efforts for economic growth, Mr Razafimahefa concluded, "The Gambia can be a model of a success story."The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Central Bank of The Gambia Governor, and other senior public officials accompanied the IMF Mission to the State House.

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President Barrow inaugurates New Building at Brikama Market

President Adama Barrow Monday inaugurated the newly constructed Brikama market amidst fanfare and jubilation, replacing the old one engulfed by an inferno in late 2022. In his inaugural statement, President Barrow said the damage was heart-breaking, especially for the new business that had just been established. ‘’Upon receiving the news, my government promised to rebuild the whole market. It is most gratifying that, despite all the global economic crises, the Government was able to fully fund the first phase of the Market Project at an estimated cost of thirty-eight and a half million Dalasi (GMD38.5 million),’’ he noted. Citing the recently inaugurated North Bank Roads Project, the President said the opening of the new market is a testament to his government’s conviction to provide for Gambians basic services that will enable them to live dignified lives. President Barrow further stated his government’s commitment to revitalising the economy by improving businesses and business centres, adding,  ‘’already, we have built markets in Farafenni, Soma, Basse, and Latri-kunda. These centres facilitate trade and commerce, enhancing income creation for businesses within business-friendly environments.’’The President thanked the stakeholders for the speedy and efficient completion of the first phase, which comprised 88 stores and other facilities.

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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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Fifty-four (54) kilometre North Bank Rural Roads Project LOT1 inaugurated

President Adama Barrow says the North Bank Rural Roads Project is a lasting testimony of his government’s commitment to the goal of upgrading the North Bank Trunk Road to a multi-purpose standard carriageway. President Barrow made those remarks at Sara Kunda, North Bank Region as he inaugurated the newly constructed high way. He said the new nine-metre-wide double-sealed carriageway, connecting the trunk road to the riverside settlements of the region, will significantly promote trade activities and additionally foster regional connectivity. The benefits that come along with the road project would bring to the communities along the motor way were considered at the initial stage hence the allocation of the required funds. He therefore acknowledges, with profound appreciation, the fruitful collaboration among the co-sponsors of the project and their firm support for the Government. President Barrow expressed gratitude to all those who efforts to achieve the infrastructural development, a component of the National Development Plan (NDP).  

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Gambia Beat Seychelles 5-1 To Register First Win Since June 2023

The Scorpions of the Gambia, who last recorded a win (3-2) against S. Sudan - in AFCON Qualifiers in Egypt on June 14, 2023, ended their six-game winless run as they registered a comprehensive 5 - 1 win over Seychelles in round three of the 2026 FIFA World Qualifiers. Muhammed Badamosi scored a brace, and Musa Barrow netted a penalty with Yankuba Minteh and debutant Adama Sidibeh, each scoring once in a tie played in Morocco due to the ban on Gambia's Stadium by both CAF and FIFA for lack of standards.Henriette scored the consolation for the struggling Seychelles, who are still without a win in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers after three games.Coach Jonathan McKinstry started his mission with a convincing victory as he sent a strong statement of intent about his ambition of transforming Gambia's style of football (from a defensive to a more proactive approach) in what was his first game as the Scorpions coach.The Gambia will travel to Franceville to take on Gabon in round four of the World Cup Qualifiers on June 11 2024.

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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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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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Gambia's New Coach Hopeful Of Positive Start

Jonathan McKinstry, the new coach of the Gambia National Male Football Team, eyes starting his reign as the Scorpions coach on a positive note when the Gambia take on Seychelles. "We are looking for a good performance against Seychelles on Saturday," he said."I've got a very clear idea about how I believe the team can play. It aligns very well with my philosophy on the game.""It's very much for square pegs for square holes. We want players to play in positions they are very much comfortable with. We want them to do what they are best at. What they are doing for their clubs week in and week out," Jonny said in an interview with the GFF Media. The Gambia lost their first two games against Ivory Coast and Burundi in the World Cup Qualifiers. The Northern Irish tactician can send a positive impression if he is able to register a victory against Seychelles, who also lost their first two games in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.The Gambia will play against Seychelles on June 8 in Morocco before travelling to Franceville to take on Gabon in what will be Jonathan McKinstry's second game in charge of the Scorpions.

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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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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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