Letters To The Editor – The Standard Newspaper

“BY AYESHA”

Thanks for the declaration of food insecurity

Dear editor,

Please allow me space to register my appreciation to the National Food Security Council for declaring food insecurity this cropping season. The declaration was timely to set the motion for thinking and planning remedial measures on the looming crop failure and food insecurity. This declaration is a warning system that can trigger timely resilience and humanitarian interventions by government, development partners and donor institutions. It also gives the mandate for all the stakeholders to step up appropriate measures for maintaining access to food and related resources. There are many multilateral organisations waiting for signals of this type to take appropriate action in support of human rights including the right to food and protection.
I can remember there was great hesitancy by the former regime in making such a declaration despite the prevalence of a more acute and stressful rainy season in 2012. The Ministry of Agriculture in 2012 described the season as disastrous with rainfall at 10% below normal causing an average drop in crop production of 50% against the 5-year average.

The delay in releasing the declaration impacted Gambians heavily, particularly smallholder farmers in that numerous opportunities were missed. Humanitarian organisations such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) didn’t accept to intervene in the absence of an official declaration of food and seed emergency. The Gambian declaration came last after all other Sahelian countries proclaimed theirs. We thus had a late response and limited package from very few institutions. Many members of the National Food Security Council could not establish the reasons for the late declaration of the drastic situation at the time. Despite the timely efforts of FAO and some CSOs in furnishing empirical evidence of the seasonal failure at the time, government didn’t declare any emergency on food and seed in time.

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My sincere thanks go to FAO, The Gambia for working with government to undertake the assessment that informed this noble decision. There is no doubt that it has alerted government and other players to elaborate strategies for curbing the menace accordingly. It has been a step in the right direction!
I therefore seek to decry the view of Mr Mamma Kandeh that government is trying to run away from its responsibilities by creating “self-inflicted failures and unnecessary begging”. In my view this step is relevant and concurs with what obtains conventionally on disaster management – mitigation and adaptation. Here, in The Gambia series of assessments are carried out every year on the state of the cropping season on which the majority of Gambians depend for their livelihood. The idea is to alert government and other development players to set the scene for preparedness in the form of mitigation, adaptation and relief. In my view, the act of condemning this move by government is refutable and driven, probably, by the oblivious state of the mind. Government did execute its duty and has done it swiftly to kick start a collective process of resilience building. It is the norm in all developing countries!

MWJ
Full name and address withheld on request

Re: Why Barrow should step down

Dear editor,

The “Teachers For Change” sit down strike among other immediate demands still unmet by Gambia Government as expected is worrisome. It is evident that the Barrow administration has their priorities and so-called development agenda mixed-up and simply cannot run the affairs of the state. Every now and then it’s a different scandal, bad decisions and what not. The Barrow administration still continues to beg for aid with the belief that The Gambia cannot move forward without foreign intervention. Barrow should know that there’s no honour in begging. Shouldn’t a beggar know not to spend D300 million on travel alone when the cost of living continues to be high. Barrow and his team should put The Gambia first and know that she is not for sale to score personal gains. The Barrow administration should know that they have failed Gambians and aren’t even close to meeting their campaign promises. Barrow should know that the people have lost complete faith in the new dispensation. The only option is for him to step down after the three-year coalition agreement. I hope he pays heed, for his word should be his bond and we can’t afford to have a “learn-on-the-job” kind of commander-in-chief who feels safer under the arms of foreign soldiers instead of his national army.
A lot will continue to be at stake if Barrow and his rubber stamp parliament continue to do business under the table. That is to say, the bad oil exploration deal between FAR and Gambia government is freaking unbelievable. The fact that The Gambia settles for a measly 20% clearly shows how incompetent and inconsiderable the Barrow administration is. All in all, this amounts to gross incompetence and lack of love for country. This is why more than ever a strong, dynamic and visionary leadership will come in handy. Until then, may God help The Gambia, our homeland.

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By Sanna Kanteh
Bundung Ka Kunda
Email: [email protected]

Re: Barrow will go for 5 years

Dear editor,

I am surprised that people are fighting over the three or five-year mandate for Barrow. These are adults that sold their agenda of three years to the people of The Gambia. And we the people voted for them in office.
The point here is, it is a transition. If President Barrow fails to adhere to his promise then so be it. He will come back to the Gambian people. We will teach him a lesson as we did to Jammeh. Gambian voters need to be more careful next time.

The question people should be asking is: Barrow, why are you not telling the Gambian people about the oil?
In February 2018, Far signed a farm-out agreement with Petronas, the Malaysian national oil company to assign a 40% interest in each of blocks A2 and A5 with Far retaining a 40% interest. Petronas will fund 80% of total well costs of the Samo-1 well which is to be drilled in the Samo prospect in block A2 late 2018. The Samo prospect is assessed by Far to contain prospective resources of 825mmbbls of oil*. Petronas will fund 80% of the total well costs of the Samo-1 exploration well up to a maximum of US$45 million plus cash of US$13.5 million to be paid on government approval. Far will remain Operator through the exploration phase of the licences and Petronas has the right to become operator for development.

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