Gambian President addresses the media

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By Journalist Famara Fofana

Gambian President Adama Saturday morning briefed local and international journalists at his residence in what was his maiden press conference on home soil since he became president of the tiny West African country.

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Responding to questions which bordered on a raft of critical issues, Mr Barrow said he intend to announce his cabinet members by Monday or Tuesday.
Amid the controversy that sorrounds his pick for Vice President, the president told reporters that the appointment of Fatoumatta Tambang as his number two is in conformity with the law, saying proofs that Tambajang is not above the constitutionally sanctioned aged limit of 65 years shall be made available.

Barrow, 51, said the Gambia’s much feared National Intelligence Agency remains an institution of the state but was quick to indicate plans to have the NIA renamed and transformed professionally.

Adama Barrow also made it clear that The Gambia will no longer be known as the Islamic Republic but rather the Republic of The Gambia.

On media freedom during his stewardship, he said
“From today the media in this country is free. Access to information is key in infuencing people to make decisions independently. We will issue licenses to people to open media houses. We had no access to the Gambia Radio and Television Services. It is social media especially WhatsAPP that gave us victory, said Barrow.

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In response to a question about his government’s plans for the country’s youth in the face of the mass exodus by Gambian youth to Europe accross the mediterrenean, Mr. Barrow said “Youths have been our foot soldiers. We will create employment opportunities. We have plans for the fishing industry as well. We want businesses open; large scale manufacturing industries to create more job opportunities”.

The Gambian president also spoke of his government’s resolve to bolster the tourism sector given that it accouts for 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Asked whether he would consider cabinet postions for minsiters of the Jammeh regime, he answered with an emphathic no, saying “we have enough man power”.

The man who was suprisingly defeated ex Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh assured reporters that “the days of executive directives are now over”, as he reaffirmed his commitment to rule in accordance with the principles of rule of law and a democratic process.

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President Adama Barrow would not know the number of people that were flown with Yahya Jammeh, hinting that the official number of working days will return to five days instead of the four introduced by Jammeh when he decalred the country as an Islamic state.

Barrow promised a better and closer ties with the neighbouring Senegal, where he had been sworn in as Gambian President.

In addition to rejoining the International Criminal Court, Adama Barrow said the Gambia will return to the commonwealth as soon as possible. He also repeated plans by his government to set up a truth and reconciliation commission which shall culminate in the preparation of a report that will make recommendations for them to act upon.

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