In a strong statement, the West Coast Regional Youth Committee has reacted to the Brikama Area Council Chairman on matters surrounding the rejection of their proposed youth representative.
“Dear young people,
The West Coast Regional Youth Committee wishes to clarify “the misleading statement” made by BAC Chairman Yankuba Darboe on the nomination of the Youth Councillor.
It could be recalled that a month ago, the Regional Youth Committee, (RYC) being a branch of the National Youth Council (NYC) and comprised of a legitimately elected executive, calls for applications to fill the position of a Youth Representative or Councillor. After a widely published advert in various media, the committee shortlisted five candidates from 41 applicants. A thorough screening and competence test revealed that one Bubacarr Sambou, a renowned Youth Leader of the Region, is the most qualified and thus, shortlisted for the position. As a matter of formality and in the spirit of good governance, a letter was written to Chairman Darboe, informing him about the decision of the Regional Youth Committee to nominate Bubacarr Sambou and attached his curriculum vitae as reference.
Although the office of the BAC chairman is just a few meters from the Regional Youth Office, our letter was received, and then a deafening silence from the Chairman. He does not see the need to reply as a matter of respect and courtesy. Therefore, his position or opinion was never formally related to us (RYC).
After some time, amidst the silence, the Regional Youth Committee started to hear rumors from close associates of the Chairman, saying that our nominee, (Baboucarr Sambou) is rejected by the Chairman.
It must be stated that during the process, the chairman has expressed his desire for a Female Representative (even though no law or policy requires so) which the Regional Youth Committee respects and unanimously agreed that if indeed any competent female applied and becomes the most qualified, she shall not be discriminated, thus, gender will not be a barrier because it has never been so.
The RYC, therefore stated without ambiguity that we will not select based on anything but on merit.
After efforts to reach out to him at his office. Chairman told our representatives that he has rejected the nomination of Bubacarr Sambou due to his age. Our representatives at that meeting didn’t waste time to suggest to the Chairman that they have four more candidates that were shortlisted including a female who is all within age 35.
This suggestion didn’t go well with the Chairman and he clearly state to the committee that he has a nominee that he want us to accept. We told him we cannot take that decision on the spot but had to meet over the matter because the RYC is a representative body.
The regional Youth Committee Chairman pleaded with Chairman Darboe to still allowed the committee to nominate the second person which the chairman has rejected on the spot and said he will not accept that.
On the 25th of July 2023, the RYC convened a consultative meeting with other representatives. At the said meeting, the RYC put to Chairman Darboe that we cannot agree at our level to accept the person he wants to “impose” because his nominee lacks the basic understanding of youth structures and has no track record in our various affiliate youth groups within West Coast.
This statement didn’t go down well with Chairman Darboe and he said since “we are becoming too complicated with this issue”, he will prefer not to even have a Youth Representative at the Council. He pointed out that one of his elected councilors is young and can play the role of a Youth Rep to reduce the cost of Council expenses. We tried to get him very clear that thus we asked again whether he meant the young people will no longer be represented at the council. He said “Yes! I don’t need a youth rep anymore.”
The Regional Youth Committee expressed disappointment with the way and manner Chairman Yankuba Darboe usually addresses them during meetings. We found his reactions and utterances very disturbing and not the way to establish a cordial relationship between his office and the Regional Youth Committee.”
West Coast Regional