By Momodou Jarju
Gambia Action Party (GAP) led by Musa Yali Bachilly organized its maiden press conference yesterday at Qcity Conference Hall in Bijilo. The conference was aimed at informing the press and the general public about its aims and objectives and mission.
Delivering a marathon written speech consisting 12 pages and later responding to questions from journalists, Bachilly said GAP was established at a time of change in the political environment with the mission to end the lips services and empty promises made to Gambians for decades without fulfilment.
Bachilly, former GDC member and said to have resigned not sacked as put be GDC, said Gambia is left behind for ages because her economy is not viable which has plunged the country into foreign debts, large scale youth unemployment, abject poverty, socio-economic insecurity etc.
He added that GAP is aware that economic growth is among the most effective elements for reducing and eradicating poverty and improving the livelihood of all and sundry.
“GAP government will support business entrepreneurs to grow as this will lead to the emergence of a strong economy. Strong economic growth shall top our national development agenda,” he said.
He said to accomplish the above mentioned, GAP will put up a strategy that will reduce poverty and promote rapid and sustained economic growth with a conducive environment and proper institutions.
Dependency on tax
He promised that GAP will end the country’s dependency on tax as a way to boost the economy while stating that it’s about time for The Gambia to quash depending on outside donors.
“Time has actually arrived for us to do away with begging bowl syndrome and becoming a recipient nation for exploitative loan deals. For The Gambia to enter into any financial arrangements, the nation’s interests must not be sidelined or neglected,” he said.
“In this regard, liberation of trade, commerce and employment as means of generating national income shall be encouraged. In all categories of financial sector there shall be more prudent financial management and strategies for control and proper management.” He added that the country cannot reach the “promise land” without sustainable source of national income and strict financial discipline.
Health & Medical Sector
GAP shall comprehensively transform the country’s health and medical sector to ensure efficient service delivery, according to Bachilly, adding that they will revisit all the hospitals in the country to provide proper drugs and well trained doctors.
“The Government of GAP will make sure that drugs and medications storage facilities are decentralized and medical stores will be established in all health centres. This will also ensure that best medical services that patients need are provided for them in quickest possible times, trained medical staff too would be at their disposal with improved salaries to ensure effective service delivery,” he said.
He further said a pharmacology plant for manufacturing of traditional, herbal and conventional drugs as well as other essential pharmaceuticals shall be instituted by GAP.
Gambia has the rich land and together with The River Gambia it can address the socio-economic problems she is grappling with, Bachilly said.
Sadly, he went on, farmers are not given maximum support lacking enough seed crops and sell their produce to government on credit which takes several weeks before they are paid.
He said they would fully support farmers, introduce and increase agricultural mechanization centres and create industries where these products are process into finished goods for human consumption and export.
“Factories shall be established where sea foods are processed into finished products for general consumption and for export. These factories shall create employment opportunities to our people and better our economy,” he said
The River Gambia
He said his party will greatly utilize the River Gambia for irrigation, fishing and for wind harvesting through providing wind turbines to support the electricity supply in the country.
“These are some of the reason why GAP has the River Gambia as its logo,” he added.
Bachilly said he is saddened by the education system and when quizzed the reason for is sadness, he cited last year’s grade 12 results describing it as poor. He said GAP shall endeavour to improve the education system which is a tool for social transformation and poverty alleviation.
“We must build human capital of our future generation,” he said. GAP “is not interested in investing mass education only but it will equally invest and provide all the necessary resources to ensure that our children have access to quality education is that parallel advance nations. A GAP government shall redesign and restructure our educational framework,” he said.
Human Rights & Democracy
Bachilly said his party support equality and believes in granting human rights and freedom, thus they would build a society that includes all in the decision making processes either directly or through representation which is fundamental, thus strengthening democracy in all parts of the country.
However, he threw shades at gay and lesbianism which might not augur well with human rights defenders. He asserted that his government wouldn’t condone such practices describing it as inhuman and unreligious.
“Gay and lesbianism are now rampant in the world and even in The Gambia. A GAP government cannot tolerate gays within the territorial jurisdiction of the nation. In this part of the world it is considered inhuman and unreligious”, he said.
Meanwhile sectors like tourism; youth unemployment; infrastructure; justice, law and order; peace and security, foreign policy; among others were also deliberated by GAP leader.