by Basidia M. Drammeh
The news of Gambia’s unceremonious decision to scrap plans to host the much-anticipated OIC 2019 Summit fell like thunder, over the weekend. Gambians were hoping that the summit would bring their tiny country to international limelight following two decades of international isolation under former strongman Yahya Jammeh, who ironically, succeeded in his bid to secure the privilege of hosting such a momentous event.
Jammeh could not see his plans through for he was defeated in 2016 Presidential election. Gambians were hoping that the occasion would usher in an unprecedented infrastructural development, given the number of hotels, roads and rehabilitation works involved.
Gambians were hoping that the country’s diplomatic credentials would be boosted for hosting one of the world’s most important gatherings. These hopes dissipated overnight, with reports emerging that the Government had decided to cancel plans to organize the summit. Gambians took to the social media to vent their frustration and disillusionment with the Barrow Administration which has been accused of failing to seize this once-a lifetime-opportunity.
Many are demanding answers from the Gambia OIC Secretariat with regards to the circumstances surrounding the decision and to disclose the funds secured thus far. It has been reported a deal was reached with Saudi Arabia to host the upcoming summit, while Gambia host the 2021 OIC summit. However, the overall perception is that it’s yet another lost opportunity.