By Kebba AF Touray
Sidia S Jatta, the Member for Wuli West, has tasked President the Adama Barrow-led Government to address the issue of land conflicts in The Gambia which has jeopardized the relations and friendships among families and communities in various part of the country.
Speaking at the debate on State of the Nation Address delivered by President Barrow recently, Mr. Jatta pointed out that development cannot take place in the midst of land conflict, noting that it is a big issue in almost every constituency in the Gambia.
“It has jeopardized relations and friendships, creating enmity between friends and relatives. That is why the government must address the issue in a comprehensive and conclusive ways so that we can move ahead with development. No development can take place in an area where this issue is prevailing and they are numerous,” Jatta said on Wednesday at the national assembly in Banjul.
He added: “We cannot sit by and look at it, because this is a conflict between the people and communities who are living together. There have been some situation in my constituency for over two to three years and these issues are not addressed and are affecting people who are living together.”
Jatta said the issue of land conflicts is prevailing everywhere in the country, but the country is silent about it, and that serious efforts need to be developed, so as to address the situation, otherwise it will bring big problem to those who are supposed to live in harmony
He said agriculture is the only area that can address the issues of unemployment, poverty eradication, revenue generation and becoming economically independent.
He said: “Which means that we must invest into the sector. Supposed we empower the sector with the ability to invest and provide fishing vessels and we do the fishing ourselves. This will create job opportunities for lot of young people and generate revenue for the country”.
He said: “we can do without taking money from anywhere in the world. We can do our development without indebting ourselves to a point that we cannot move forward. We have been here for 55 years and under development has been torturing us because we are bent on taking and paying loans”.
He said COVID-19 is one of the factors that is confronting the whole world, and that he was looking forward to a concrete report on the country’s current state of the pandemic.
He said that a lot of things have been done and that the Health Ministry and the frontline workers need to be applauded for their courage and determination in confronting the terrible pandemic that is threatening the whole world.
He said despite the country’s limited resources, it started the fight against the pandemic with determination, courage with the limited resources, which has made the Gambia to register lesser death cases as a result of the pandemic compared to other countries.
He said: “I think the Health Ministry must provides a concrete report on this particular situation to the National Assembly. This will highlight the challenges, what have been accomplished and what is still needed to be done. We still need resources to empower the Ministry in all aspects to be able to confront this deadly disease”.
Jatta underscored that education is a sector without which the world cannot move, and has not been spared by the pandemic, in view of the closure of schools for almost 7 months, thus holds the view that the schools need to re-open, but that the country must be prepared for it.
He proffered: “I think there is need for all the Principals of High Schools to create a think- tank and plan on what the re-opening of the schools will be. Upper and Lower Basic Schools Principals should do likewise. We must plan but we cannot continue to close these schools”.
He said this would mean that the country is fettering the development of knowledge and the development of instruments that are required for the development of the country.
He lamented: “We have learnt to live with high blood pressure and all types of diseases and COVI-19 should be part of them. We must plan to live with it, but it must not deter and fetter our survival. Human beings have the capacity to overcome any difficulties but this must be prepared”.
He cited lack of public transport as the saddest thing in the country, stating that the current public service transport is inadequate, ineffective making people stand along the road for long time without getting transport.
He advised: “Everything that we do must be critically examined and the purpose for which it is done. The address is not a mere formality and if one views it from that aspect, it would be wrong. It is fundamentally important because it is the yard stick that he provides to measure what is being provided against what is being done for the citizenry”.
He said the fact that the address covers all the sectors of the government, it means that the sectors are consuming the taxpayer’s money and as such they need to know what the taxpayers are providing for the sectors and whether or not the sectors are yielding.