By Mariam Sankanu
A Gambian Professor of political science at the Miami University in Oxford, has proposed a new development plan to replace Barrow’s NDP.
Abdoulaye Saine, currently a visiting lecturer at the University of The Gambia, said Saturday his ‘people’s plan,’ compared to Barrow and other failed NDPs of previous governments, will immediately address concerns and issues underpinning Gambians.
“I am not saying we get rid of the NDP as it stands, I am saying it can serve as a supplement and with time, take over the Plan as we have it today
“What will my plan entail? The People’s Plan that I propose is going to react and address concerns that have been raised so far. Good jobs, good education, a healthy population and so forth and so on. In so doing, redirect the country and place it on the right path to sustainable development so that education, especially higher education at the university becomes free for all students especially when we have oil coming in this country.”
The Miami professor was speaking at a symposium held at the American Corner on the theme: The New Gambia; model of development.
He said his plan is a complete contrast to the NDP.
“It will be aimed at meeting the needs of the Gambian populace and not a few individuals at the expense of an entire nation”.
He said the time is now for The Gambia to do away with plans he described as a tool for ‘economic and capitalist development’.
“I am proposing for this Peoples Plan to work. I am willing to hire experts to show us how to take care of this industry.
“For too long since Independence in 65, we have had so many development plans that don’t cater for our people. I am just throwing it out there as part of a national conversation and what I have provided is a skeletal blueprint and I think we should have a national conversation and talk about this alternative.”
The professor said the country’s development is centralised, which is leaving rural areas depopulated as a result of youth migration to urban areas in search of better opportunities.
He stressed that this is an issue that must be addressed.
He suggested one way to dealing with the Gambia’s many issues it is faced with is to have good relations with Senegal and possibly, “integration with Senegal”.
He said Barrow’s NDP, like the NDPs of the previous governments, has failed to meet needs of Gambians.
“This is a plan that has not worked. This is a plan that isn’t gonna work. And it is about time we face that reality and begin to make change in a direction that these development plans will begin to serve the interest of the Gambian people.”