By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia’s Vice President, Dr. Isatou Touray, has told journalists that the 22 years of dictatorial has affected quality delivery of services by public institutions in the country.
“The 22 years of dictatorship has actually affected the quality of our institutions and I think with the emergence of this partnership that we are having in the new Gambia, under the leadership of President Adama Barrow, The Gambia is ready to regain the lost glory and we look forward to constructive engagement with you,” Madam Touray said at State House on Friday during a visit by the United Kingdom’s Defense Minister.
Touray reiterated Gambia’s willingness to ensure continued partnership to build capacity, with a view to guide the country through its Security Sector Reform (SSR) process. She said the ECOWAS regional initiative would be a good practice to deal with some of the security issues, such as counter terrorism among others.
Madam Touray said they looked at the SSR as an entry point and a trigger to all development aspirations. She assured UK Minister of Defense of Gambia’s readiness to continue their partnership, while hailing the UK’s Ambassador to The Gambia, who is playing pivotal roles towards the development of the country.
“This is a meeting with the UK’ Defense Minister and Ambassador, as well as the Ministry of Defense of the Gambia, who are having a constructive engagement in looking at partnership opportunities and area of intervention in which can be supported bilaterally,” she said.
“We are grateful to receive them on behalf of the President, His Excellency Adama Barrow, the Gambian people and my own behalf. I think their coming is timely and is something that we need as we go through Security Sector Reform (SSR).”
She went on to salute the cooperation between the two countries.
Gambia’s VP assured UK Minister of Defense that the country would leverage on the opportunity that the visit offers and appealed for support to build the capacity of the country’s defense officials. She also seized the opportunity to congratulate the UK for funding the Gambia’s Defense Policy.
“Gambia is now ready to engage constructively and come out with the right targets to achieve them for progress and we are happy to be associated with you in that respect. We want to regain the lost glory and we also know that Britain was one of those that supported us to build the Gambia National Army. I can assure you that the Gambia is changed for good and we are going to jealously guard this democracy that we have earned.”
UK Minister of Defense, James Heappey said: “I’m looking forward to discuss with your Defense Minister and Chief of Defense Staff so that we better understand what the next steps are, now that we have been able to work together on the Security Sector Reform Strategy.