PRICES AND THE COST OF LIVING

The key concern of the electorate is the prices of commodities and the income of the people. Many people in The Gambia do not link support of political parties with programmes. They support political parties on the basis of their whims and caprices. They often call for regime change when they are also interested in system change so that their living conditions would be improved and prosperity would be ensured.

The lesson the people should learn from the first change of political leaders through the ballot box is that change could be on the basis of objectives. Some are simply satisfied with the change of a leader. Others feel that is not enough, that change should lead to the reconstitution or the transformation of the system so that what they lack in the former system would be attained under the new order.

For example, if the new system is to provide abundant fish at cheaper prices, a government must immediately give licences to fishing vessels that would land their catch in The Gambia, supply the Gambian market, get the fish processed in The Gambia to provide employment and export the fish from The Gambia to earn foreign exchange.

It would encourage production of rice in The Gambia, process the rice to provide employment in The Gambia and export it to get foreign exchange. It will go on like that for all other essential commodities. This is how income could ultimately be matched with prices to improve the living condition of the people.

To deal with immediate problems a government should identify its short term needs and get support to meet the needs of its deprived citizens while it works to become more self-reliant, the people should from henceforth bear in mind that the coalition brought about regime change so that The Gambia can have a new start.

The question that should be asked is will President Barrow develop a think tank to advise him on the establishment of transitional policies that will enable him to harness the intelligence of all Gambians and friends of The Gambia so that he improves the living conditions of the people and hands over to a new government chosen by an enlightened Gambian electorate who would vote on the basis of the programmes of political parties rather than their whims and caprices.

This is the challenge of his administration. Will he match the challenge? The future will tell.