The Deputy Leader of the opposition APRC Party Ousman Jatta, AKA Rambo, has said that President Adama Barrow’s proposed bridge for the Banjul/Barr ferry crossing, is not only a misplaced priority project, but also an affront to the plight of the suffering Gambian masses, some of whom, according to Rambo, are finding it extremely difficult to feed their families in today’s Gambia, under Barrow’s leadership. Mr. Jatta, speaking in an interview with this medium said Barrow should reconsider the economic ramifications associated with such a misplaced priority project. He said the Gambia has been faced with a host of pressing developmental challenges than constructing a mega bridge, which he said, might not have much economic impact bearing on the lives of the suffering Gambian masses.
“Before bridging Banjul and Barra, why can’t we try to buy the farmers nuts and so on; that are in the Seccos. And, before we try to bridge Banjul and Barra, why can’t we try to stabilize our electricity system. Let him not embark on a promise that he cannot never keep; because I believe somebody said it is going to cost us about $ 2 billion dollars. $2 billion dollars is not a small money; how are we going to fund it?; where is the fund coming from? What are the strings attached to the said funds if at all it is available?,” Jatta asked.
“I believe the proposed bridge is a farfetched dream. It is not a priority right now. What we need right now, first to unify the people. The Gambia is so divided Pa. We need to bring people together because the way certain people see democracy in this country, I don’t think it is like that. The kind of democracy we have in the Gambia, I haven’t seen it anywhere in the world; frankly speaking,” Rambo added.
Mr. Jatta is concerned about the direction the new Gambia is heading towards. He said under Barrow’s rule, there is little or no respect for the individual, as some folks think that democracy have given them the license to do whatever they wanted under the sun.
“People can curse your mother in the name of democracy in the Gambia. If you ask them, why are they cursing at you, they will tell you, there is democracy in the Gambia. Perhaps, my understanding of democracy, is different from their own understanding of democracy. In my view, democracy doesn’t give anyone the right to violate other peoples’ rights,” he remarked.
Rambo said people are abusing Gambia’s new found democracy, partly because of President Barrow’s lame duck approach in presiding over the affairs of the nation. He said such an indiscipline and disrespect for the others rights never happened during Yahya Jammeh’s rule.
“During Yahya Jammeh’s era, when he speaks, people will know that Jammeh is speaking. A leader should have voice, and candor. I am not insinuating that Barrow doesn’t have voice, but his voice is lacking when it comes to shaping the direction of the country,” Jatta said.
“When President Jammeh talks, people will know that this man has spoken; so, you should be careful, but in this new dispensation, I have not seen that. People are not afraid of Barrow. I am not saying that he should be hashed or highhanded, but as a President, he has the Executive powers conferred on him to take his stance on issues; this how it should be, and it is final, but that is not happening in the Gambia,” he added.
Mr. Jatta also called on the Barrow government to look into the cost of living in the country. He said the regime should be preoccupied with revamping the economy, to make life affordable for Gambians than embarking on a white elephant bridge project. He said there is a huge difference between the Bambilimansa bridge Jammeh’s government constructed compared to the proposed Barra/Banjul bridge. He cited the financial cost incurred on financing the bridges constructed during the past administration compared to the current administration. He said the Banjul/Barra bridge costs more money than the previous bridges constructed under Jammeh’s rule.
“And also, something the government needs to look into, is the cost of basic commodities. Pa, some people are finding it very, very difficult to survive in the Gambia. Cost of living is very high in the Gambia; very expensive; frankly speaking,” he said.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai