By: Kebba AF Touray
Momodou Tangara Gambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister has recently disclosed to the legislature that information relayed by their missions abroad indicated that 2 elderly Gambian women passed away in New York, due to COVID-19 and were laid to rest therein.
He said they were also informed that there were few Gambians in North Carolina who displayed mild symptoms of COVID-19 but have subsequently recovered.
He added: “Our missions are in constant touch with the various Gambian Associations abroad for updates on COVID-19 situation. It may also please this assembly to note that government has been rolling out our relief package to Gambian students studying abroad, through the Ministries of Finance and Higher Education”.
“These sums of money are directly remitted to the students and are meant to buy food, medicines where needed and other essentials”.
He said this while responding to a question raised by Suwaibou Touray on behalf of Member for Banjul Central, Muhammed Ndow, who asked Minister Tangara, to indicate to lawmakers the number of Gambians that have died as a result of COVID-19 abroad.
“Are you aware that Gambian students in places like Ghana are complaining that they have not received any support from the Gambia, as promised in the media and if so, what is the situation of Gambian students in other parts of Africa?” Suwaibou Touray asked.
Minster Tangara replied that they received complaints from Gambians not only in Ghana, but was quick to stress that they have provided the list of Gambians studying in Ghana. He said the whole monetary operations are handled by the Finance and Higher Education Ministries.
He said: “These are some of the issues that we will raise and discuss during our COVI-19 taskforce meetings to ensure that all Gambians are treated fairly and equally”.
Member for Lower Niumi, Matarr Jeng, asked the Minister to reveal to lawmakers the amount the State gave to each Gambian student studying abroad.
Tanagara told lawmakers that he actually does not know how much was remitted to each student, but his Permanent Secretary swiftly informed him that US$300 was remitted to each student.
Brikama South Lawmaker Lamin J Sanneh, asked Minister Tangara to explain whether any Gambian student in Great Britain has received such support.
Tangara said: “We are yet to get any feedback from the Higher Education Ministry and I will certainly contact my High Commission in London to know whether they have received money”.