Wednesday, February 8

Gambia lost national asset, pillar – Barrow

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Mr. Barrow was speaking yesterday at the National Assembly Chambers during a State Funeral in honour of the late VP Joof, who died in India last week.

“Many Gambians looked up to him as an icon, mentor or role model, and he taught or influenced many people, most of whom subsequently rose to occupy very senior and notable positions of authority in the country,” Barrow added.

“As the whole nation mourns, it is with a great sense of loss and a very heavy heart that I deliver this tribute in remembrance and praise of a close colleague, friend, and brother, who sadly worked as my Vice President for less than a full year when he succumbed to a brief illness.”

According to President Barrow, Hon. Joof’s rise to the position of Vice President was occasioned by the integrity, competence, and industry he outstandingly displayed during the five-year transition period he served as minister of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology in my government from 2017 to 2021.

Furthermore, he said Hon. Joof will be remembered in multiple ways, among other reasons, owing to the uncountable lives he touched, the various institutions he influenced or served in, his multi-faceted character and talent, and the numerous roles he played during his sixty-six-year lifespan.

Barrow affirmed that the late Vice President Joof was without question a formidable statesman, a scholar par excellence, a talented administrator, and a naturally gifted leader of rare courage and integrity.

”His experience, spanning from the First and Second Republics to the new democratic dispensation under my leadership, makes him one of the truly exceptional and accomplished Gambian citizens,” he stated.

Speaking further, Barrow stated that VP Joof was honest and blunt. “In his own words, he enjoyed telling the truth, with the belief that telling the truth was the right thing to do and the best way to put things together.”

“In one of his speeches, when he said he did not mind losing his job for telling the truth, he was merely emphasising this principle. Badara was indeed a principled gentleman and could never walk out of any job, nor betray the confidence I reposed in him,” he said.

Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the speaker of the National Assembly, said VP Joof was one of those public servants who proved that service to one’s country is all about the people and wanted young people to be as passionate about it as he was all his life. He was forever optimistic.

He added that VP Joof had confidently lived the virtues of honesty, decency, humility, and steadfastness.  His example of fairness and fair play, of dignity and grace, brought forth in us our better instincts.

According to him, VP Joof has always sought to bring about harmony, understanding and a deep sense of community among those with whom he crossed paths. “In expressing his views, he was unapologetically fearless, courageous, and ready to take risks, revolutionary, and a visionary.”

“VP Joof was a Vice President that had enormous respect for the National Assembly, always in a hurry to respond to our call and under his leadership, cabinet ministers were always present and punctual in their dealing with the National Assembly.”