West Africa––The Gambian leader Adama Barrow on Monday addressed his country’s National Assembly. President Barrow spoke on the state of the Gambia’s security, financial situation, and international relations that have been tacked over the past decades.
The president said his administration is working on reforming the security sector which is closely linked to the delivery of justice and the restoration of free and fair democracy.
“The Gambian Armed Forces are now confined to their military barracks. Members of the former State Guard Battalion have been redeployed to other units, and the armed forces are now disengaged from civilian matters,” Barrow said, stressing that “it is also important to note that arms and ammunitions have been stored in safe locations.”
President Barrow thanked ECOWAS for providing peace enforcement forces from ECOWAS to protect the country and its political system.
On finance, the Gambian leader said his administration has inherited an almost empty treasury and domestic and foreign debts are at an all-time high.
“The foreign reserve at the Central Bank was less than one month import cover, and the economic and governance situation had become so bad that our international development partners had deserted us,” he said.
The president said his government established in January the Accelerated National Response Plan which seeks technical and financial support from development partners to help lessen the country’s economic and fiscal crisis in the short term.
He said that the Gambia has begun the process of re-engagement with the Commonwealth. He also reaffirmed his country’s membership to the International Criminal Court.
The Gambia’s Constitution, accordingly, provides that a sitting president should address the national assembly at least once a year. Meanwhile, this is President Barrow first time to appear before the members of the parliament following his election in December.