Honourable Halifa Sallah, the member for Serrekunda said on Thursday people should unite to successfully eradicate COVID-19 in The Gambia.
"A nation that is divided is a nation that is weak. A nation that is weak is a nation that is defeated," he said.
The Secretary-General of PDOIS made these statements while addressing a press conference held in the face of an enemy (COVID-19). He said there should be unanimity of views on how to handle the pandemic. The veteran politician said in the face of a pandemic, there should be no disunity.
"Failure to do things right is suicidal. In our view, the nation has the capacity to prevent and fight the COVID-19, but this is inconceivable in the absence of knowledge," Sallah said.
He said times such as this one requires change of mindsets. He maintained that this is time for people to take stock to know exactly what their responsibilities should be. Trying times require immense maturity and guidance by conscience, he said.
Science, common sense and reason dictates that people cannot address a situation unless they understand its nature and characteristic, he added.
"We must know what COVID-19 embodies before we can address the challenges," Sallah said.
He emphasised that if we neglect COVID-19, the problem could be more devastating because it will continue to grow and by its growth, it will continue to cause deaths. The lawmaker stressed that COVID-19 is a reality which people should not be complacent of adding people should be alarmed. He enjoined Gambians to at all times adhere to the health guidelines issued by World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said every Gambian should ensure that he does not contribute to the escalation of the virus, but its eradication.
State of Emergency
He said the Constitution envisages that there is going to be State of Emergencies under section 34. He said state of emergency means a situation exist that is life threatening or a situation exist is about to exit which is life threatening.
"It is to indicate that there is a threat to life," he said.
He said one thing which must be understood which was not understood in the beginning is all that the President is required to do is to declare that a state of emergency exits or life threatening situation exists or a life threatening situation may exist if nothing is done to handle an emergency situation.
"It is important for all Gambians to bear in mind that a State of Emergency is nothing more than a declaration of a state of alert," he said.
He said there was need for a COVID-19 policy that will drive a strategic plan that will drive the work plan to address the incoming invasion (pandemic).
"You cannot fight a pandemic without a policy," he said.
He said the policy should have two fundamental approaches. One should be the preventive approach and the other is the eradication approach so that its prevalence will be extinguished in our country. Notwithstanding, he said measures were taken by the Government and one of them was the creation of the National Health Emergency Committee. He said state of emergencies were declared and regulations were made in order to contain the virus. He said the regulations included the closure of non-essential businesses, the closure of mosques, churches, schools and the borders among others.
"We should understand the law in order to understand the measures and why they were necessary," Sallah said.
We will bring you the full report of the press conference on our Monday's publication. He touched on many topics including what the National Assembly could have done better in the fight against the virus.