We the people of The Gambia have arrived at cross roads. The Gambia has endured 22 years of international isolation, economic stagnation, endemic corruption, bridle use and misuse of state power and deliberate fiddling with the constitution to entrench self-perpetuating rule of the APRC government. The choice that we have to make is clear: between a brutal dictatorship determined, by all means necessary, to remain in power even at the altar of free, fair and credible elections and a genuine democratic civilian policies to place The Gambia among the progressive nations of the world. The UDP will provide such a Government.
Important though is the fact that these elections are also a choice between values. At the heart of our conviction is the belief in the freedom of the individual. We believe that for freedom to have real meaning, standards of public service must be high and widely accessible.
That the rights of the individual, like all others in a free society, are the same for all men and women irrespective of age, religion, ethnic origin and class.
Finally for these rights and responsibilities to be exercised fully and fairly, the Government of The Gambia must work hard to promote the general well-being of the Gambian people by adequately supporting new initiatives, research and innovation, the improvement of skills, infrastructure and industrial development.
Guided by these values, we will make The Gambia more competitive, productive and just, more secured against crime and more conscious of the danger of environmental degradation. The Government must serve the whole nation. We will provide such Government.
The realities of current world order require that the Government provide: a stable economic environment; that lays a firm emphasis on productive investment in the public and private sectors, education and training to develop the skills of young people and adults.
The UDP will implement these policies as vital for improvement in living standards of the people. We have confidence in our country and its people. We want to create a society to provide equal opportunities for all and promote development of the people’s potentials and the exercise of their rights. We shall therefore introduce constitutional and other changes that will give renewed vigor to our democracy.
These policies strongly demonstrate our practical commitment to freedom. We will strive to revive a cordial relationship with our neighbors, in particular Senegal; strengthen our participation in ECOWAS, the AU, the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. We will respect and implement the UN Charter, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and all other treaties ratified by The Gambia.
It is time for change, time for fresh start to a new beginning in our lives and in the life of our country. The Choice is clear. An APRC Government would mean the perpetuation of economic stagnation, political isolation and a repressive social environment. If there is any doubt about the inefficiency of the APRC government, then one does not have to look beyond the destitution of the average Gambian today and the near collapse of a once vibrant economy. The APRC has no policies, which would mean sustained development, better health care or improved educational standards.
The UDP Government will give a fresh start for The Gambia. It will mean action to rebuild confidence, fair taxation and incentives for enterprises and support for essential services. It will mean greater freedom, security and opportunity.