Letters: Urgent Appeal for Comprehensive Action to Address Societal Challenges in The Gambia

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President Barrow

His Excellency Adama Barrow
President of the Republic of The Gambia
Office of the President
State House
Banjul, The Gambia

Your Excellency,

I trust this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. I am writing to you as a concerned citizen deeply invested in the well-being and prosperity of our beloved nation, The Gambia.

As we navigate the unique challenges that our small but resilient country faces, I would like to draw your attention to critical issues that demand immediate and strategic intervention.

Our youth, comprising 60% of the population, are the lifeblood of our nation. However, the staggering unemployment rate of over 40% among them poses a significant threat to their well-being and the overall stability of our society. Moreover, the recent surge in migration has resulted in the return of numerous deported citizens from Europe, many of whom are grappling with mental health and psychosocial issues, coupled with unemployment.

Regrettably, these returning citizens have not received adequate attention from our government in terms of reintegration support. The lack of a comprehensive strategy for their seamless assimilation back into society has contributed to a concerning trend: the involvement of jobless young Gambians in criminal activities, as highlighted by updates from The Gambia Police Force over the past five years.

Recent incidents of armed robbery, killings, car thefts, and night attacks on individuals have been linked to a combination of immigrants and jobless young Gambians. This poses a significant threat not only to the safety of our citizens but also to the reputation of The Gambia as the “Smiling Coast of Africa.”

In light of these challenges, I humbly urge Your Excellency to consider the following solutions to tackle these issues comprehensively:

Youth Employment Initiatives:** Invest in programs that create employment opportunities for our youth, focusing on skill development and entrepreneurship.

Mental Health and Reintegration Support:** Establish dedicated services to address the mental health and psychosocial needs of deported citizens, coupled with effective reintegration programs.

Community Policing Enhancement:** Strengthen community policing efforts to foster trust and collaboration between law enforcement and communities, thereby preventing crime.

Public Awareness Campaigns:** Launch campaigns to raise awareness about the consequences of crime, migration challenges, and the importance of community cohesion.

International Collaboration:** Actively engage with international organizations to gain access to resources, expertise, and best practices in addressing migration, unemployment, and crime.

Policy Reforms:** Review and update policies related to migration, employment, and social welfare to better address current challenges and promote inclusivity.

Your Excellency, I believe that a comprehensive approach, addressing both the root causes and immediate consequences of these issues, will contribute significantly to restoring the safety, prosperity, and positive image of The Gambia. Your leadership in implementing these solutions will undoubtedly guide our nation toward a brighter and more secure future.

I express my heartfelt gratitude for your attention to these matters and have full confidence in your commitment to the well-being of our nation.

Yours sincerely,

Yahya Sonko

Stuttgart
Germany

26.02.2024

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