Wednesday, June 17, 2015

EU will continue to withhold aid from Gambia worth $37 million

The European Union continues to block aid money worth 33 million euros ($37 million) earmarked for The Gambia, says Reuters.

The expulsion of the EU representative from the Gambia by the erratic Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh, has made it impossible to unblock aid.

The expulsion has also triggered a wave of anger and frustration among some EU members, some of whom want to apply sanctions, including the freezing of aid, because of the poor human rights record and other governance issues, including the rule of law that is being abridged regularly  

A Western diplomat familiar with the talks between EU and the government of The Gambia is quoted as saying that "there's no way the money will be unblocked now."  Another Western diplomat was quoted by Reuters that the talks between the two parties "was a disaster."

Gambia's decision to block consular access to foreign nationals in jails and the meddling into the foreign exchange markets by pegging the depreciating local currency to the US dollar despite pledging to the IMF, EU and other donors to the contrary.

Faced with a shrinking economy, in addition to the toll already taken by the Ebola outbreak, even though the country was Ebola-free, on the tourism sector, the regime of Yaya Jammeh is faced with the most severe financial crisis in its 21-year rule.  The country is also experiencing an exodus of thousands of young able-bodied Gambians to Europe.

At least, all is not lost, according to the European Commission spokesperson who confirmed that 4 million euros previously approved would still be disbursed.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Council will be considering the Rapporteur Report on extrajudicial executions in The Gambia, tomorrow, Thursday, where it is expected that the regimes's atrocious human rights record will come under scrutiny and severe criticism