EYEAFRICA TV: Riyadh, SAUDI ARABIA:- President Adama Barrow has on Monday inaugurated a multi-million dollar Gambian embassy and ambassador’s residence in Saudi Arabia.
“Even though it took seven years to accomplish the project, it is a more sustainable arrangement and a model that could save the country annual rent payments of up to one hundred thousand US Dollars ($100,000). Indeed, it was worth investing over four million US Dollars to own this magnificent building and its furniture,” President Barrow said in his inauguration speech.
The facility is said to be situated at a diplomatic quarters where most of the foreign diplomats are based.
“The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, will be pleased to learn that, in compliance with The Kingdom’s s directives for all Diplomatic Missions to relocate to a more secure and conducive environment, the plot of land he allocated to The Republic of The Gambia in 1989 for this project, when he was Governor of Riyadh, has been gainfully utilised, and developed successfully during his leadership as King of this noble and friendly nation,” Barrow added.
According to him, he is proud that his government fully funded the construction of the project to provide a conducive and secure office and residence for the diplomatic mission.
But not everyone is impressed with the Barrow-led administration for taking ownership of an initiative that wasn’t theirs.
The former deputy ambassador to Saudi, Gen. Lamin Bojang, who served in Gambia’s diplomatic mission between 2011 and 2013, blasted the Gambian leader of taking credit of a project that started years before he took office.
‘’The project of building the residence of the Ambassador and deputy Ambassador has been on going since 2010, 2012 and 2013,” he said, adding, “I thought that this has concluded but I received disturbing news that this Government is taking ownership of this particular project, that is not the right records, the right records is that, even the fund, there a particular account at the Embassy at the time, there is a fund that the Saudi will give and this fund goes to the account.”
While paying homage to former government for initiating the project, the party leader of the newly formed ANRD expressed his disappointment with the current government of not giving credit to a devil where it’s due.
“Yes am very disappointed because am a living witness to what had happened but I am not surprise because government had claimed that they started projects that had been ongoing well before they came to power and one of the examples are this Sukuta Jabang Road. The road is not his project and the project in Saudi Arabia is not his project,” he said.
“I think we have to be honest to ourselves, this government have to be honest to themselves, you see cheating doesn’t pay and lies doesn’t pay, to say that they started this project that is not true.”
We have managed to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hear their side of the story, but they maintained that the Saudi project was fully funded by The Gambia.
In recent years, Barrow’s government has been accused of taking credits of various projects for political gains. Prominent among them are the Senegambia Bridge, the Laminkoto – Pasamas road project and that of the Sukuta Jambanjally.