By Kebba A.F. Touray
Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray and some senior Government officials, commenced a nationwide sensitization on Friday 2nd July, 2021, on peace building and peaceful coexistence and migration, as the nation prepares for the forthcoming electoral cycle.
The Government of President Barrow deems it fitting to sensitize the public on the significance of peace and the need to jealously safeguard the prevailing peaceful nature of the country, and to help deter the youth from venturing into the perilous “back-way” journey to Europe.
Saikou Trawally, Permanent Secretary at the office of the Vice President, informed the gathering in Baddibu Kerewan in the North Bank Region (NBR), that the hostile environment that prevailed during the past administration, compelled many young people to venture into the perilous route to seek greener pastures in Europe.
This he said, led to the disintegration of many families, thereby creating distrust among ethnic groups and lack of confidence in the entire governance system of the country.
According to PS Trawally, the tour aims to promote dialogue amongst actors in the area of peace building and the maintenance of stability, by sensitizing parents especially mothers, on the risks involved in irregular migratory migration; that at the end of the tour, they expect to attain a more coherent approach towards peace building and maintenance of stability in the country, reduce irregular migration and smoothen reintegration of returnees within their communities.
Fanta Bojang Samateh, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Interior Ministry, told the gathering that migration is in two folds; that it can be regular and irregular and advised the youth to travel through regular means.
Ms.Bojang Samateh said Government has support for all returnees, such as the provision of commercial vehicles, housing schemes and skills training, in order to reintegrate them so that they can support themselves and their families.
Fanta Sey, a representative of the Ministry for Gender said the role of women in the maintenance of peace cannot be overemphasized. She urged people to instill in their families the significance of peace and said development cannot take place in the absence of peace
Sey informed the convergence that the Women’s Enterprises Fund has benefited many women groups, adding that the said fund which the first of its kind in the country, will benefit an additional twenty women groups next week.
Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh, said NBR has benefited immensely from the sector and these include the provision of farm implements, to maximize the production of farmers within the region. She further disclosed that the ROOTS project aims to support youth in the agricultural sector and thus urged them to apply for the project through their district directorates.
Claudiana Cole, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) said the provision of second chance education to girls and the under privileged, and the building of new Schools would not have been possible without peace. She implored on Gambians to nurture, preach, embrace and prioritize peace in all their engagements.
Bakary Badgie, the Youth and Sport Minister, said Government has provided a D20 million revolving scheme for young entrepreneurs, in order to enhance their entrepreneurial aspirations. He urged them to help safeguard the peaceful nature of the country and underscored that they are the cream of every society and the future leaders of the country, and should take leading roles in national development.
On her part, Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray, urged Gambians to nurture and seriously safeguard the peace and peaceful coexistence that Gambia is endowed with as a country. She challenged the youth to desist from taking on the “back-way” route and urged Gambians to desist from stigmatizing and discriminating the returnees; that our attitudes towards returnees can make them uncomfortable for them to venture into things that can undermine the peaceful nature of our country.
Other speakers included Lamin Saidykhan, the Governor of NBR and Chief Fabala Kinteh. All hailed the Government for organizing and embarking on such a tour which they described as timely and important, at a time when the country is gearing up for forthcoming national elections.