By Ndey Sowe
Adama Barrow, the President of the Gambia has called on the people of Guinea Bissau to reconcile and rally behind His Excellency Umaro Sissoco Embalo to develop their country.
He reminded the Bissau-Guineans that their founding fathers, such as Amilcar Cabral, fought for independence and is about time they moved forward and worked together.
“My special advice is for you to reconcile and develop your country. Only one person can lead at a time and others should rally behind and support.” President Barrow said, adding that President Embalo is a diplomat and can make a difference if given the chance.
“There cannot be democracy without Peace. Work together and educate your people.” The Gambian leader said.
He made the remarks on Wednesday, 21st October during a welcoming ceremony held in his honour at the Bissau Airport in his first official visit to the country.
According to President Barrow, the historic visit will consolidate the already existing ties between the two countries as well as his relationship with the Bissau President.
In a separate engagement, The Gambian leader paid his respect to the founding fathers of Guinea Bissau and other fallen heroes, by laying wreaths at their tombs in a military camp in Bissau. This was followed by a tete-a -tete and lunch with his host, President Embalo at the State House.
At a press conference held at the State House, President Barrow echoed his call for ECOWAS member states to improve on communication to ensure smooth integration within the region. “We cannot integrate without communication, “ he emphasised.
The Gambian President further urged Bissau-Guineans to put aside their tribal and political differences and work together for a prosperous Guinea. He appealed to President Embalo as the leader to be tolerant and accept all his people as one, stating that after the presidency, it is his legacy that will be remembered as people still remember leaders like Amilca Cabral.
President Embalo thanked him for accepting his prompt invitation, which strengthens their strong ties as they share cultural values and languages. “We don’t need an interpreter, so he is not only my colleague as President but also a brother.” He also declared that Gambians will not need laissez passée to Guinea Bissau.
Guinea Bissau is host to many Gambians and they made their presence felt with nostalgic cultural songs in welcoming President Barrow at the airport.
At a meeting with the Gambian community, President Barrow expressed delight at the reception accorded to him by The Gambian community headed by Ambassador Alieu Jammeh, while assuring them that back home is calm and that they should continue to represent the good image of The Gambia.
Speaking on behalf of the Gambian and Bissau Community, the coordinator of Chiefs in Guinea Bissau, Augustus Fernandos, said the visit is symbolic and signifies that Bissau is opening up to the world.
Mr Muhammed Sinayoko on behalf of the Gambian community commended President Barrow for the development projects in The Gambia while assuring him of their unflinching support to complete his mandate. He took the opportunity to share some of their concerns including registering their children as Gambian citizens, lack of school and scholarships for their children.