Gambia’s Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo, says he doesn’t know the source of the two vehicles, in which president Adama Barrow reportedly donated to The Gambia Radio and television Services (GRTS). Mr. Jawo received the vehicles from the Director General of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA’S) Yankuba Darboe, on Friday, on behalf of GRTS. Mr. Jawo, who was a guest on our Prime Time Sunday Leral show, said he is going to take up the matter with President Adama Barrow, upon his return from Barrow’s Saudi trip.
“I received a phone call from Ebrima Sillah, the Director General of GRTS, on Friday, who informed me that they were supposed to receive vehicles from the GRA and that I should show up to receive the keys from DG Yankuba Darboe. Upon arrival, I was told by the GRA DG that the vehicles were from President Barrow. I have no idea where the vehicles were coming from. I have no means of confirming it. The President is out of the country. I am waiting for him to come from Saudi to confirm the issue with him. I will definitely take up the issue with the president because I received the vehicles,” said Mr. Jawo.
GRTS, Gambia’s state controlled media had reported on Friday that the vehicles were donated to the state broadcaster by President Barrow, through GRA. Although the news of Adama Barrow’s donation of the two vehicles to the institution, has been greeted with mixed reactions. Some opined that Barrow has borrowed a leaf from former dictator Jammeh’s political playbook by acting as a philanthropist to the government.
Mr. Demba Jawo maintained that he has in the past denounced former president Jammeh’s so called philanthropist lifestyle extended to the very government he (Jammeh) served. Hence, he said he is going to verify the veracity of the information being presented to the public by GRTS that the president donated the vehicles.
Mr. Jawo said if there should be any donation of any sort to any government institution, it should not be done through the President. He says institutions should handle such donations and not an individual.
“If there should be any donation to the government, it should be done through the government and not through the president. I want to clarify the issue with Barrow. I was personally involved in the handing over the vehicles,” Jawo said.
According to Mr. Jawo, the GRA boss told him that they were also asked by the president’s office to hand over the vehicles to GRTS. The vehicles were cleared from the port, but Jawo could not tell source of the vehicles.
Mr. Jawo noted that GRTS has been confronted with mobility problems. He said the donated vehicles will no doubt help to salvage the institution’s transportation nightmares. He said any kind of assistance extended to GTRS to help alleviate its mobility challenges would be very much appreciated.
Mr. Jawo also said his Ministry will process pending applications for TV licenses once the ongoing digitization of Gambia’s broadcasting is finalized. He said The Gambia is on the verge of switching from analog system to digital media broadcasting.