EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Former British Prime Minister and Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) has made a second visit to The Gambia where he met President Adama Barrow at State House in Banjul, on Tuesday.
Tony Blair said Gambia has remarkable progress since President Barrow took office, some two years ago, but his remarks were in opposite corners with some Gambian commentators, with one of them saying Mr. Blair is not the right person to tell that to Gambians, considering his ‘tainted’ track-records when he was in office.
Following what Mr. Blair described as ‘‘excellent” discussion with Mr. Barrow on various areas of development, Mr. Blair said Gambia is now changing for the better. “I think The Gambia has made huge progress in recent time,’’ Mr. Blair said, and added, ‘‘The Gambia has got high economic growth rate; tourism is up substantially and there are still big challenges. I found the president very focused on those areas and I am very optimistic about the future of the country.”
Economist and political commentator, Nyang Njie said Mr. Blair’s statement has no bearing on the view of majority of Gambians who are witnesses to the current development in the country.
Mr. Blair made his first visit to The Gambia last September, where he also praised President Barrow, saying he has never been more confident in his (Barrow) vision to deliver on his promises to The Gambian people.
The former Prime Minister said in his Tuesday interview with journalists that he was excited about the strong partnership between Gambia’s presidency and his organisation in helping to improve performance and delivery on Mr. Barrow’s priorities as per the National Development Plan.
Mr. Njie shares a far too opposite opinion with Mr. Blair, saying he is not the right person to tell that to Gambians. “He is not someone Gambia should seek advice from because he is tainted with stained track-records in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.”
Mr. Njie said he personally will not deal with Mr. Blair if he was President, saying there is currently more to discuss about The Gambia that making remarks such as Mr. Blair’s. “He has a lot of questionable characters in his shoe.”
Meeting with State House Top Brass
Mr. Blair also held a closed-door meeting with senior officials of the presidency. Director of Press and Public Relations, Amie Bojang- Sissoho said the meeting was held for the former British PM to exchange ideas with the senior staff of the presidency with the hope of enhancing delivery and performance.
The discussions touched on management and coordination strategies among the various units at the Presidency, and wider government by extension to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Mr Blair said he has observed marked improvement at the Presidency since he started visiting in 2017.