President Barrow thanks Commonwealth for readmitting Gambia

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) – Gambian President, Adama Barrow, has thanked the Commonwealth for re-admitting his country into the fold of nations of mainly former British colonies.

According to Mrs Amie Bojang-Sissoho, the Director of Press and Public Relations Office of the President, Barrow made the remarks during an Executive Session of the Heads of Government held at Lancaster House in London where the Commonwealth Summit is in progresses on Friday.  

The Gambian President expressed gratitude to the Commonwealth member states for the strong support in fast tracking the re-entry of his country into the organization.

He recognized the critical role played by the Commonwealth Secretary General, Rt. Honourable Patricia Scotland, in facilitating the process that led to Gambia’s re-admission.

President Barrow told his colleagues that democracy, good governance, rule of law, respect for human rights and independence of the Judiciary have been restored in The Gambia and assured them that every effort would be made to maintain a functioning democratic process.

He also called for special assistance from the Commonwealth to small member states, like The Gambia.  

In the past, the Commonwealth Foreign Technical Cooperation provided The Gambia with technical assistance in various fields of development.  

Earlier on Thursday, President Barrow attended the official opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held at Buckingham Palace, where he also attended a reception for new Heads of Government hosted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  

Then in the evening, the Queen also hosted a dinner in honour of the Heads of Government and their spouses attended by President Barrow and Gambia’s First Lady, Fatou Bah-Barrow.  

The Commonwealth meeting continues with more sessions on Friday at Windsor Castle in London.

Meanwhile, Gambia’s new government, led by President Adama Barrow, on February 8, 2018, returned the country into the Commonwealth, reversing the unilateral decision of his predecessor who pulled out some five years ago.

The former Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, in October 2013 unilaterally took the tiny West African country out of the Commonwealth which he branded as “neo-colonial institution.”

“The Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism," the Jammeh government said while announcing the withdrawal.

Prior to the withdrawal, Commonwealth and the British government persistently criticized Jammeh’s government over its poor human rights and governance records.

Jammeh was repeatedly accused of repressing dissent, muzzling the press, disappearing opponents and critics, among other things. He was challenged to implement democratic reforms which he was not ready to do.

Angered by such criticisms, the former Gambian dictator who had ruled the country for 22 years decided singlehandedly to withdraw from the Commonwealth.

In January 2017, Jammeh was forced out of power after his electoral defeat by Barrow and he fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea.

One of Barrow’s campaign promises during the presidential election in December 2016 was that he would return Gambia into Commonwealth if he won.

So President Barrow did not waste time when he got power last year as he promptly called on Commonwealth to readmit Gambia and henceforth started the process of readmission.

Then Boris Johnson, British Foreign Secretary, flew to Gambia last year which quicken the pace for Gambia’s return to Commonwealth.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 20April2018

20 أبريل 2018 12:44:17




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