Commonwealth assessment team meets Gambian president over rejoining
The assessment team from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on Friday held talks with the Gambian President Adama Barrow in order to see the return of the small West African state to the British organization for former colonies.
Barrow said it was a unilateral decision by his predecessor to withdraw the country from the organization, which he described as unfortunate and uncalled for. He said the Gambians never wanted to leave.
"Nobody wants to be isolated. We want to be part of all international bodies. This was one man's decision, and not something that was put to all Gambians. If it had been a referendum, the decision would never have been taken.
"We are careful and are calculating our steps so that we do not make mistakes. We believe in the principle of democracy and we are positive about our future. Gambians are looking forward to our return to the Commonwealth. So the message is full membership as soon as possible," Barrow said.
Karen McKenzie, Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said Gambia's membership in the Commonwealth over the years had been beneficial.
"The Commonwealth Secretariat would make an assessment of how well The Gambia met membership prerequisites, and this would form part of the Commonwealth Secretary General's consultation with member states," she said.
The former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh pulled the country from The Commonwealth in 2013 claiming that the country will not be colonized twice and branded the organization as a tool for colonialism.