Sidia Jatta: COVID-19 outbreak has exposed the disorganised nature of our country terribly

By Pierre Njie

The National Assembly Member for Wuli West Constituency, on Friday said the Coronavirus dubbed COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the disorganized nature of The Gambia terribly. Hon. Sidia Jatta queried that the government has not prepared an inventory of all the poor, the needy and the vulnerable people in the country from Kartong to Koina, before declaring a State of Public Emergency.

According to the erudite parliamentarian, the government should have provided funding to cater for food provision and essential needs to the poor, the needy and the vulnerable people nationwide, to help them stay indoors for a particular period and prevent themselves from the spread and infection of the Coronavirus disease.

Hon. Jatta made this revelation at the National Assembly while making his contribution to the proposed adjournment debate on 45 days of State of Public Emergency.

“If they were organized, they have had an inventory of all the poor and the needy people, whether small or big, from Kartong to Koina, but we don’t have that. How are we going to deal with the situation? We have to do a lot of work to identify what needs to be done,” he remarked.

The Wuli West Parliamentarian called for support to the poor and the needy during this period of COVID-19. He argued that poor and the vulnerable people who depend on their daily work or business to get food for their families cannot stay indoors for 45 days without any support from the government.  He said the government has not released any funding to be given to the weak, the poor and the vulnerable and therefore he is not convinced to accept the 45 days declaration of State of Public Emergency.

“A lot needs to be done,” he stated, adding that he was expecting a comprehensive report on what has happened from the day of declaration of state of emergency to date. He saluted the great efforts of the health authorities in the Upper River Region and urged government to support them execute their duties in these difficult times.

Hon. Jatta also cautioned his colleagues not to be complacent amid COVID-19, while urging them to go back to their respective constituencies and help the people to prevent themselves from the disease.

“I will tell this in the presence of all of you (referring to ministers and deputies) here that the Ministry of Health is not adequately sourced because if you give me 17 buckets for my people and my constituency has 46 villages what am I going to do with 17 buckets?,” he asked.

Hon. Jatta insisted that Ministry of Health is therefore creating problem for the MPs.

“If you cannot cover everybody, stop it. That is creating problems for us if you cannot cover all the villages please stop it because it gives me a bad name. I don’t have money to provide for everybody. One of them came and said I heard about you. Why don’t you come to us? Are we not part of your constituency?” he further queried.

He finally proposed that the Parliament remains open throughout the COVID-19 period, adding that the situation is grave, and they must address it.

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