President Barrow Decorates GAF Officers 


By Makutu Manneh

President Adama Barrow on Friday June 25th 2022, decorated ten officers of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) in the Navy to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Commander,  at State House in Banjul. Twelve soldiers were to be promoted but two were absent. During his speech to the officers, President Barrow promised that he will curb logistics and accommodation challenges of GAF.

“I am particularly aware of the challenges of logistics and accommodation confronting the sector (GAF) and will explore the budgetary options to curb them,” he said.

Barrow said his Government is concerned about the welfare of the Armed Forces and intends to improve their conditions of service as well as maintain a close relationship with them and their partners, in order for them to achieve their goals. He added that Cabinet will soon review the 1993 Terms and Conditions of Service for officers and soldiers.

The Gambian leader said they will seek ways of addressing the training and capacity challenges of GAF, as well as the issues highlighted in the 2017 Security Reform Assessment report.

The president assured the soldiers of the government’s commitment to support GAF in flying the nation’s flag higher.

Speaking to the decorated soldiers, President Barrow urged them to remain loyal, guided and motivated by the spirit of patriotism and service to the country. He encouraged the soldiers to excel further through their individual and collective efforts and service, as members of the Armed Forces, to reinforce the success and efficiency of the Army.

“Gambians have security concerns, but they look up to the Security Services for security, stability, and peace. Their major concern relates to issues of professionalism and competence to tackle our security challenges,” he said.

“The situation calls for competent military leaders and commanders with wisdom and sound judgment to approach security challenges. I am confident that GAF, including these Officers, will remain steadfast in exhibiting a high sense of responsibility and discharging their duties with distinction, whether in the country or abroad.”

President Barrow also congratulated the soldiers on their promotions.

Serign Modou Njie, the Minister of Defense, said promotion in the armed forces provides a unique opportunity for the armed forces command to recognize, appreciate and reward officers who are found outstanding in character, hard work, dedication and commitment to duty.

Minister Njie urged the soldiers to bestow their experience towards supporting the armed forces in the attainment of their mandate.

“I believe that the newly promoted officers fit perfectly into the human capacity development requirement of the Gambia Armed Forces,” he said.

Yakuba A. Drammeh, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), said 106 soldiers attempted the promotional exam and only 63 passed the examination.

CDS Drammeh alluded that henceforth it will not be business as usual, saying that promotion now in the military will be based strictly on merits.

“You deserve it, you go, you don’t deserve it, you will not go; but you will be given an opportunity to do the exam second and third time,” he said.

He told the newly decorated officers that their ranks add responsibilities and challenges, saying once promoted, they expect a lot from them in terms of behavior, professionalism, how they deal with their subordinates and how they interact with people outside the uniform.

“The categories of ranks to be decorated today are carefully selected to fill the ranks gap structures in the armed forces,” he said.

He further said for them to move the armed forces to the next level and to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of Gambians, they must be prepared to take bold decisions that dare towards enhancing the professional competence and capability of the armed forces.

Ousman Bah, the most senior among the decorated soldiers, called on his fellow decorated soldiers to see their new ranks as a wake-up call to higher responsibilities in service to the nation.

He thanked the president for approving their promotion and CDS Drammeh for recommending the promotion of the officers.

Meanwhile, the rest of the sixty three soldiers were decorated by the Defence Minister at the Joint Officers’ Mess on the same day. Twenty-two were elevated from the ranks of lieutenant to the ranks of captain while twenty-nine were promoted to the rank of Major respectively.