A total of 189 computers were last Friday donated to 17 institutions in the country by the president of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh at a presentation ceremony held at State House.
The ceremony, which was presided over by the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, was also witnessed by Cabinet ministers and representatives of beneficiary institutions.
The University of The Gambia (UTG) received 40 computers, State Guards 17, KanilaiTraining School 10, Gambia High School 10, Armitage Senior Secondary School 10,Brikama-ba Senior Secondary School 5, Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) 20, Gambia Police Force 10, Gambia Revenue Authority/Customs 5, National Intelligence Agency 5, National Drugs Enforcement Agency 5, Gambia Prisons Services 5, Gambia Fire and Rescue Services 5, Immigration Department 5, Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital 20, School of Nursing 10 and the Judiciary 7 computers.
Presenting the items, VP Njie Saidy once again thanked the Gambian leader for his foresight, benevolence and for also providing the enabling environment for Gambians to deliver. She averred that President Jammeh's vision is to take the country to a knowledge society and be part of that global village.
"Small as we may be, but really when you look at per capita access to computers in The Gambia compared to other African countries or Third World countries, we are not doing badly. The rate at which we are going, if the president is really assisted by patriotic and development-oriented partners by 2012, I don't mean every child will have a computer but we would've gone far," she said.
VP Njie-Saidy called on development partners to support the Gambian leader in his quest to move the country to another level; she also dilated on the importance of each of the beneficiary institutions saying they are all crucial components in the development of the country. "It's an open secret that without peace and stability, there can be no development. We've seen what is happening in our sub-region and beyond. All the resources are being spent on ensuring peace and stability," she said, while thanking the service chiefs for ensuring that peace and security prevails in the country.
The vice president also stressed the fact that education is the key to development, saying every nation wants skillful human resources. She reminded the gathering that Vision 2020 is just around the corner and called on all and sundry to work hand-in-glove in meeting the set target goals. She also noted that PAGE is a couple of years away, and urged people to make maximum use of the working hours. She used the opportunity to implore on the beneficiaries to make best use of the computers, adding that President Jammeh had earlier declared 2012 a year of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Like previous speakers, the chief of Defence Staff of GAF, General Bargie also dilated on the importance of the items saying 'as we live in a digital world, security personnel should also be inline with the digital world so as to deliver as expected'.He assured that the security of this country will remain loyal to the head of state at all times, and also safeguard and protect the country. He finally assured that the items will be maximally utilised.
Dr Njogu Bah, the minister of Presidential Affairs who is also the secretary general and head of Civil Service, said he was pleased to witness yet another manifestation of President Jammeh's benevolence.
His words: "We thank Allah for giving us a leader who cares about the welfare of Gambians in all walks of life. We also thank him for these pleasant surprises and we are all convinced that he will continue to amaze us with great initiatives and immense generosities. He wants us to be the best and as a result, he will continue to look at ways and means that we will be competitive by providing the necessary tools and equipment that will lead us to that status. "His Excellency has once again given us the reason why we should come together, work together and understand that we are all Gambians and should work towards the socio-economic development of this country." Minister Bah also used the opportunity to decry the attitude of some civil servants who go to work late and leave early.
Fatou Lamin Faye, the minister of Basic and Secondary Education, thanked the Gambian leader for his foresight and visionary leadership.
"We have a leader who is visionary and wants all of us as Gambians to be part of the global village. We cannot participate in our various institutions without knowing what is happening in other parts of the world and it's these computers that can help us access information and be part of the society that we live in today," she said.
She expressed sincere gratitude to President Jammeh on behalf of all the beneficiary institutions and prayed that Almighty Allah give him more than what he has spent to acquire the computers.She dilated on the impact the items will have in schools, saying some of the schools are today grappling with replacing their computers. She called on them to make judicious use of the items as it will help them in accessing the internet. She also commended President Jammeh for always encouraging the security personnel.
For his part, Professor Muhammadou Kah, the vice chancellor of the UTG, on behalf of the UTG community expressed sincere appreciation to their chancellor for the move. He described the donation as timely, saying that one cannot succeed today without being part of the digital future. "So these are very important gifts and they are very symbolic and I think we should all take information and communication very seriously in everything that we do and all aspects of life. So once again, we thank our chancellor for the gesture," he added.
Justice Wowo on behalf of Judiciary also described the gift as timely, saying it will help the Judiciary to save a lot of money. He further described the computers as a necessity to the institutions as we are in the modern age, where everyone needs to be knowledgeable in all these items. "And as judges, it will actually help us play our role in the development of the judiciary of this great nation. I once again thank the president for this wonderful gesture," he said.
Ousman Bargie, the Chief of Defence Staff, on behalf of the security forces, also thanked the Gambian leader for the benevolent gesture.
He said: "Our commander-in-chief and minister of Defence has done it again. His Excellency is full of surprises to the Gambian people. This is yet another manifestation of his tireless efforts to make sure that The Gambia marches in the developed world," he said.
The CDS further stated that President Jammeh does not lose sight of the security aspect of this country, and that is why the security services are never left behind every time there are surprise packages. "We know in this world, development cannot take place without security and His Excellency is well aware of this. I want to thank him on behalf of all members of the security services for always standing by us as well as ensuring that we are inline with other security apparatus around the world," he added.
Speaking earlier, Lamin Jaiteh, the principal of Gambian High School, on behalf of the beneficiary schools, thanked God for blessing this country with a great leader, full of initiatives, wisdom, love and sympathy towards the general populace of this country. "Is very important in the history and development of any country, where you have a leader who has initiatives, sympathy and toiling day and night, minute after minute, hour after hour, all geared towards improving the general welfare of his people," he said.
He described education as a valuable asset in the socio-economic development of any country adding that these gestures have been manifested since 1997 to date. He said what President Jammeh and his government have done in the education sector is immense, all geared towards ensuring that quality education is achieved in the country.
While thanking the Gambian leader for the move, Jaiteh acknowledged that the computers will go a long way in meeting some of their basic needs in a bid to ensure quality education for students.