Mr Yankuba Darbo, Chairman-Elect Brikama Area Council

Congratulations Yankuba Darbo on your resounding victory in the West Coast Region Chairmanship election! Your passion, commitment, and vision have earned the people’s trust and support.

Your landslide victory is no surprise to those who know your dedication to the people of Gambia, particularly the West Coast Region. You did it when the going was tougher, there was nothing that can stop you from doing it now.

As you begin your term, I have total confidence in your ability and vision to change the life and livelihood of the people of the West Coast Region. Having said that I wish to offer you some pieces of advice on governance, accountability, and economic development, to me my friend and brother this is not to lecture you but to remind you:

First, develop a comprehensive development plan: Develop a comprehensive development plan that outlines the strategies, actions, and resources needed to achieve your objectives. This plan should include a budget and a timeline.

Second, listen to your constituents: Actively engage with the residents of your region, listen to their concerns, and understand their needs. By staying connected, you can make informed decisions that truly reflect the region’s aspirations.

Third, foster transparency and accountability: Establish transparent systems and processes to ensure that every decision and action is open to scrutiny. Keep the lines of communication open with the public and provide regular updates on your initiatives and progress. Encourage citizen participation and hold yourself and your administration accountable for delivering on promises.

Fourth, collaborate and build partnerships: Forge strong collaborations with local businesses, community organisations, educational institutions, central government and other local area councils. Encourage public-private partnerships and seek their expertise and resources to drive economic development and implement sustainable projects.

Fifth, prioritise infrastructure and services: Enhance the quality of infrastructure and public services within the region, especially in Brikama. Ensure change in the state of the city’s market to provide a conducive environment to the users. Invest in projects that improve transportation, healthcare facilities, education, and other vital amenities. This will enhance the quality of life for residents and attract investment to the area.

Sixt, promote economic growth: Implement policies and initiatives that foster economic growth and attract businesses. Support entrepreneurship, create favourable conditions for job creation, and explore opportunities for diversification in sectors that align with the strengths and needs of your region.

Seventh, embrace sustainability: Make environmental sustainability a priority in your governance. Encourage renewable energy such as solar energy at your offices and other places under your purview, promote waste management, and advocate for eco-friendly practices. By prioritising sustainability, you can enhance the long-term prosperity of your region.

I am aware most of these objectives are not achievable in the absents of revenue. However, to improve the revenue stream of the council, the first thing you and your councillors need to do is a top-down audit of council staff, assets, liabilities, and compounds in your region and businesses. Having these data will make your short, medium and long-term plans easy to make and achieve.

Remember, my friend and brother, your election victory is not just a personal achievement but also a responsibility to serve and uplift your people and the region. I believe in your abilities to govern effectively, be accountable, and bring economic development to your area. I wish you the very best of luck on this transformative journey!

Ansumana Ceesay