A New Municipality For A New Gambia:
In order to meet the challenge and demand of our time, and place the Kanifing Municipality in its rightful place - the commercial, financial and industrial hub of the Gambia, I offer myself and was accepted as a candidate of PDOIS, for the Mayoral Elections of KMC, to be conducted the 12th. May 2018.
In it with You, for You and for KMC
KMC needs a new direction to meet the needs and challenges of our time. I come with a vast experience in management and the development of sustainable, people centered businesses that are needed today in KMC. After working for three decades in various positions, which includes administrative and managerial services in the tourism and hospitality industry, I am equipped with the experience and knowledge to give what is required to transform our Municipality into a vibrant, clean and modern commercial center, for the new Gambia. It is good for me to emphasize that as far as I am concerned, all development to be implemented when elected as Mayor, can only be done with the active participation of the citizens of KMC, through Liberty, dignity and prosperity
In 1995, I took a voluntary retirement as deputy General Manager at the Bungalow Beach Hotel. I hold a Master's degree in Tourism Management, specializing in responsible tourism. Over the years, I took up the pioneering role of promoting responsible tourism in the Gambia, the sub-region and the world over. This took me round the world engaged as an international consultant and speaker, in international conferences.
Entrepreneurship, Business and Growth
My experience in the establishment and promotion of small businesses, is a valuable asset in my tool kit that is needed to help boost the growth of businesses especially small business, in our Municipality. In 2000, I helped establish the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism, an organization that promotes and protects small scale business players in the tourism industry. The organization serves the interests of craft market vendors, tourist taxi drivers, tourist guides, juice vendors, fruit sellers and a host of other small scale participants in the tourism industry in the Gambia.
Earlier, in 1995, I championed the establishment of Gambia Tourism Concern (GTC), a body that advocates for sustainable tourism in the Gambia, working with young people on the beach referred to as "Bumsters", by providing them with income through the sale of a tourism magazine, published as a promotional tool for sustainable tourism. Given such an experience, my KMC Mayoral position means a Municipality that recognises the need to support the growth of informal and small businesses, for prosperity and the active participation of young people in this development.
Internationally, due to my involvement in promoting better and sustainable forms of tourism, this helped in the promotion of the Gambia as a tourist destination. I featured regularly as a speaker promoting the need for fairer tourism that links local production to the tourism industry, to avoid leakages of the much needed foreign exchange at international travel fairs and conferences around the world, to boost our country's tourist visits.
I am a fellow of a host of tourism promotion organizations around the world including the International Centre for Responsible Tourism in the UK. I am regularly consulted and widely sought after on matters of tourism in the Gambia and the West African sub-region. The International Travel Foundation in the UK regularly engages my services.
I was instrumental in the establishment of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT), and helped establish its West Africa branch. Through this organization, a number of Gambians and others from the sub-region are trained on responsible tourism management. So far, 18 Gambians, 2 Nigerians, 1 Ghanaian and 2 Kenyans, successfully completed their post graduate level studies in responsible tourism, through the Leeds Metropolitan University's distance learning program.
As a specialist in tourism management, I was part of a group of experts who in 2016, were consulted by the Government of Liberia, to help develop a tourism trade strategy following the devastating effects of the Ebola pandemic in that country. In 2003, I was also a consultant for the Government of Ghana, in helping develop their tourism institutions move from a board to an authority, with more private sector participation, and in 2014 the Government of Lagos State in Nigeria, benefited from my expertise in the efficient management of the tourism sites in Badagry, Lagos.
In 2015/2016, I have been consulted by the Agency for the Promotion of Tourism in Senegal, to help in their marketing drive, by organising promotional workshops for them at the World Travel Market in London. These experiences and international contacts, will help create the relationship necessary for the development of the Municipality.
Leadership and Innovation
As part of my dedication to ensure responsible and sustainable tourism in the Gambia, I helped link a number of small scale producers to market their products in the hospitality industry. Through my work with the Travel Foundation- UK, I helped initiate a number of eco and community based tourist projects in the Gambia, such as "Gambia is Good", to help local farmers mainly women, sell their products in the hospitality industry. My efforts also helped people in tourists receiving communities like Jufureh, Janjanburay, Kartong, Tumanitenda, Ndemban and Siffoe, develop their capacity to manage tourist attraction sites and market access for their products. These engagements gave me the experience to be able to look at innovative means of creating employment for young people and providing markets for local producers especially women, in vegetable gardening, craft production and those engage in poultry and so on, within the KMC.
Humanitarianism and Advocacy
I am a leading advocate for the protection of the abuse of children in tourism. I did extensive research on child sex abuse in tourism in the Gambia and regularly advocate for the protection of the rights of children in tourism, at conferences and tourism fairs. I served as a board member of the Child Protect Alliance (CPA) for 6 years. This experience gives me first-hand information on the state of vulnerability of children within the Municipality and how to implement initiatives to deal with such problems.
On the education front, I co-founded the Institute of Travel and Tourism of Gambia (ITTOG). The institute trains students from The Gambia and the sub-region, and through the 'Camp Africa' initiative that I started, hundreds of international tourism students have visited the Gambia, to study and interact with students at ITTOG. The institute was able to help 12 students from the Gambia, access scholarships to study Travel and Tourism in Nottingham, UK. I sit on the board of the institute as its Chairperson. We just celebrated 10 years since we established ITTOG. Over 1000 students have passed through ITTOG with a track record of most of them employed nationally and internationally. This experience provides me with the knowledge to engage young people in vocational education and apprenticeship projects.
In 2004, I was awarded the "Greatest Contribution by a Person in Responsible Tourism" at the prestigious World Travel Market in London. The award was conferred on me by The Times of London, World Travel Market, Geographic Magazine and responsibletravel.com.
I travelled widely in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and has over the years, accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience in politics, management and development work that is uniquely suitable and needed for a KMC in the New Gambia. I was born and raised in Serekunda and Bundung, where my extended family still lives. I am married to Lisong Chapman-Bah and we live in Kololi with our family.
When elected, I would like to give the following pledge:
To be humble, forthright and dedicated in bringing progress to the municipality;
To work diligently in building a self-reliant KMC economy to benefit all;
To implement transparent and accountable systems at all the offices of the KMC;
To work in mutual solidarity with other countries and donors towards the eradication of poverty through sustainable development;
To further consolidate the authority of the sovereign KMC community of citizens, by ensuring inclusive and participatory governance through involving people, organised into civil associations known as COMMUNITY ACTIVISM;
To defend the legitimate individual and public interests, and mobilise the active participation of people in managing KMC Affairs; in this regard, particular attention will be given to youth and women development;
To serve the interest of all people and businesses operating within KMC, by providing the necessary services to all according to yearly budgeted allocations and all means at the disposal of the Council in a transparent manner;
To turn KMC from "grey to green" by introducing innovative methods of dealing with garbage in order to ensure a clean and beautiful environment;
To support the rights of all vulnerable people by working with NGOs to set up support services for women, children, people with disabilities, poor street beggars and so on;
To match all the above with sustainable action oriented programmes that will be monitored and reported in a transparent manner to all citizens of KMC;
FOR LIBERTY DIGNITY AND PROSPERITY!