President of the Republic, His Excellency Adama Barrow has called on Cabinet Ministers and the entire civil service machinery to forego personal and political interests in favor of the greater good of the people. The remarks were made during the swearing-in of Dr. Isatou Touray as the Vice President of the Republic, four other Cabinet Ministers and four Permanent Secretaries. Two of the new Cabinet Members are women increasing the total number to four.
The President stressed that being a Cabinet Minister or Permanent Secretary goes with expectations that must be fulfilled without any strings attached. Whereas inherent differences may be acceptable in the Cabinet taking into account the nature of the government, the President said they must not be used as a pretext to ‘’corrupt, undermine or divide those of us privileged with Cabinet assignments’’.
‘’Instead, we should be a source of inspiration to unite the citizens, and work together as one nation. To achieve this, what we say and do should be consistent in both our public and private lives’’, he added.
The President noted that the Cabinet is at the core of government leadership. That it represents and portrays the nation as a family. As a result, he added, “Cabinet should symbolise unity, and must not instigate division”. President Barrow stated that the government must be seen as a united body, pursuing the same goals and speaking with one voice so that the public can follow suit.
Explaining the rationale behind the Cabinet reshuffling that led to the new appointments, the President said it was a difficult but necessary move triggered by the need to establish order in governance, set things in their right order as well as ensure justice in the interest of the nation.
For the Permanent Secretaries, President Barrow described them as “the life line” of the Civil Service. “The professionalism and commitment you manifest in the conduct of your duty will determine how successful our reform programme will be,” he told them.
The newly sworn-in are technocrats who will support their respective ministries towards attaining the goals of the government’s development blueprint, the NDP 2018-2021. Despite the fact that all citizens are entitled to hold views and ambitions, including the desire to lead, they ought to be aware that good citizenship is not all about being the leader at all cost.
“Good citizenship embodies uniting and working collectively towards a common destiny; a destiny marked by success, development, peace, stability and happiness for all,” he added.
The Gambian leader also described as “a betrayal of trust” for one to belong to a group, yet openly or secretly oppose its agenda, objectives, values, among others.
Dr. Isatou Touray, an avid women’s right activist and development specialist, was, until her appointment, the Minister of Health in the Barrow government. She earlier led the trade, regional integration, and employment ministry when the President unveiled his first cabinet a little over two years ago. Other Cabinet members that were sworn-in alongside were Fatou Kinteh, Amie Fabureh, Dr. Ahmadou Samateh, and Lamin Jobe.