By Kebba Jeffang
Mr. Boris Johnson, the visiting Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, told journalists after holding talks with President Adama Barrow on Tuesday, February 14, that the Gambia’s rejoining of Commonwealth will be done as fast as possible.
“It is great to be here in the Gambia and we have a wonderful welcome from President Barrow and the top team and it is clear that the Gambia is having a new start now, a very exciting period on the life of this country,” he said.
He said the United Kingdom is here to help as it has a much closed relationship with the Gambia. He said this moment is now the opportunity to strengthen those relations and to build on the long standing relationship and partnership.
“I am delighted to say the Gambia is now on a path to be back into the Commonwealth and we are going to do that as fast as possible. The other thing is we have so much to help on education, infrastructure, security and helping in the tourism industry,” said the UK Foreign Secretary.
The government withdrew from the British Commonwealth on the 3rd October, 2013 that comprises 54 English speaking countries around the world. The government of the then President Yahya Jammeh said at the time the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism.
The Gambia joined the Commonwealth in 1965, when it gained independence from Britain.
Amongst the basic civil rights Commonwealth citizens enjoy in the United Kingdom includes eligibility to hold public office as a member of the armed forces.
According to a freedom of information request response obtained from the British Ministry of Defence, from 1st April 2010 to 1st January 2016, there were one hundred and eighty-five Gambian Commonwealth serving personnel in the army, including five Sergeants, twenty-five Corporals, forty-five Lance Corporals, and one hundred and ten Private Soldiers.