By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Lamin Sillah, US-based Gambian and a top supporter and Diaspora member of the United Democratic Party (UDP), has called on his party’s National Assembly Members (NAMs) to reject 2023, Budget Appropriation Bill currently under scrutiny by the parliamentarians.
He described the 2023, Budget as pathetic, unrealistic, and an act of robbery meant to enrich public servants at the disadvantage of the poor and vulnerable people of The Gambia.
He observed that more money is been earmarked for the medical and travel budget of President Barrow and top government officials without regard to the welfare of the farmers, and the poor and vulnerable people of the Gambia.
Limin Sillah, Bronx, USA was speaking to The Voice Newspaper on the sidelines of Lamin Sillah’s Fans Clubs fundraising musical jamboree held at the OB Semega Janneh Hall recently, where he said it is incumbent on every well-meaning Gambian to stop foreigners from partaking in the forthcoming Councillorship and Mayoral elections.
“2023, Budget is very sad, pathetic, and unrealistic in the fact that it is earmarked to be financed through taxes, loans, and grants. These taxes, loans, and grants are generated on behalf of the Gambian people, and seeing the ways and manners the budget is been appropriated you can only notice public servants enriching themselves at the behest of the poor and vulnerable Gambians,” Lamin Sillah, Bronx, USA, observed.
“In a poor country like The Gambia whose government is running Helter Skelter to take loans and grants on behalf of its citizens seeing National Assembly Members appropriating fat emoluments for themselves and other public servants is the least unexpected. Therefore, am calling on all United Democratic Party (UDP) National Assembly Members (NAMs) to reject this 2023, Appropriation Bill outright,” he added.
According to him, any National Assembly Member who supports 2023, the budget presented by the Minister of Finance and Economics Affairs will be doing so for personal interest but not for the interest of the masses, observing that increasing the salaries of the speaker, deputy speaker, and National Assembly Members threefold at the detriment of the poor and vulnerable Gambians is an act of robbery motivated by greed and selfishness.
He argued that if the National Assembly Members have love and concern for the welfare of the Gambian people they wouldn’t dire to increase their salaries from D50, 000 to nearly D150, 000, adding spending over D70million on just the National Assembly Members for a poor country like ours is an act of insanity, disregard to the welfare of the Gambian people.
“What I want to tell the UDP MPs is that let them not allow this 2023 Budget Bill to pass the parliament. I also want to tell you that if you cannot stop it from passing, please reject any amount of money added to your current D50, 000 salaries,” the Top UDP US-Diaspora Supporter warned.
He added: “If they added any money to your salary other than your current salaries please reject it and return it to the poor and vulnerable people of the country who are experiencing the hardest moments of the country since Independence. If you (UDP MPs) reject the bill make sure you also reject the monies added on top of your salary because if you take it, you are not different from those MPS who are ready to butcher and sacrifice Gambians in the interest of their pockets.”
He said any UDP who failed to reject the bill and the increase in emoluments is not in parliament for the interest of the suffering Gambian masses, adding that the 2023, Budget is not designed to change the status quo of the poor Gambians but rather out to enrich the National Assembly Members themselves, top public servants and civil servants and should be rejected by all well-meaning Gambians.
He expressed his disappointment regarding the D221 million budget for the entire agriculture sector development, arguing that this amount is far less than the D292 million allocated for travel and medical treatment of the President, ministers, and their families for the same period.
“I think this amount earmarked for travel and medical treatment of the President, cabinet ministers, and their families are exorbitant and prepared with bad faith. This money should rather be diverted to pay for treatment costs of some of our police, army, nurses, low grade civil servants and the poor and vulnerable who cannot afford treatment outside,” UDP Anchorman in US observed.
Sillah warns foreign nationals especially Senegalese and Guineans to back off from Gambia’s internal politics, adding that Senegalese and Guineans who have Gambian voter’s cards should surrender these documents or stay away from partaking in the upcoming Councilorship and Mayoral election.
He argued that Gambians have given everything to foreign nationals most especially peace and tranquility, adding that this doesn’t mean that foreigners have rights to partake in the country’s internal affairs to a level of clandestinely acquiring Gambians’ documents as well as partaking in the electoral processes of the country. “We want to warn the foreigners to back off from partaking in our election process, if you don’t back off you can know that this election is going to be different from the Presidential and National Assembly election.
This election coming is going to be very different because we have all heard what the Senegalese MP has said in the Senegalese Parliament and now we the patriotic Gambians are ready to take on all those foreigners with our documents head to head,” Lamin Sillah, warned ahead of Gambia’s next election cycle.