According to news reports from Saudi Arabia, during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), President Adama Barrow told Dr. Yousef Al Othaimeen that the Gambia is on course to complete the projects needed to host the next OIC summit scheduled to be held in this country in 2022.
Of course, as head of state, he should be in a much better position to know the country’s state of preparedness, but there are all indications that the Gambia is far from being ready to host the summit in 2022. Apart from the conference centre, there is not yet a single project connected to the summit that has so far been seen to have commenced yet, let alone completed.
Therefore, it is now becoming quite unlikely that the Gambia can host the summit as scheduled in 2022. Some of those infrastructural projects are so huge and capital intensive that it would be almost impossible to get them executed in the period left to the end of 2022, the earliest. For instance, we have been hearing the plans to construct “20 new roads”, a VVIP lounge at the Banjul International Airport, and a 5-star hotel, among other projects, and yet, there is no indication that any of those projects have commenced. In fact, even the ugly image of the entrance to the Sir Dawda Jawara International Conference Centre is an indication that the Gambia is far from ready to host the summit in 2022.
Therefore, it is possible that President Barrow was either not properly advised by the local OIC secretariat before he made those apparent inaccurate remarks or it was a deliberate intention to misinform the OIC Secretary-General with the objective of getting more funding from the OIC and the Saudi authorities. Whatever the case, however, it appears that Gambians are not being given the true picture of the country’s level of preparedness to host the summit in 2022.
D. A. Jawo