UDP leader Ousainou Darboe is said to have told organizers of a town hall meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to nix a question and answer session.
President Adama Barrow and some senior members of his administration had a meeting with Gambians in New York. The meeting was attended by hundreds of Gambians.
A question and answer session was the main pivot of the town hall, which was supposed to last for an hour but went on for six hours.
The canceling of the Q&A has seen critics of the government demanding an explanation, and one of the event organizers and host of the town hall, Sigga Jagne said it was axed as recommended by Mr. Darboe.
The Q&A was seen as an opportunity by government critics and concerned citizens to ask Mr. Barrow and his officials tough questions and for the administration to clear some issues that have become the center of debates between government and opposition surrogates.
Darboe’s supporters have denied that the UDP leader and the country’s Foreign Minister called for the cancellation of the Q&A., saying “we have not heard him say anything like that.”
They instead blamed the host for lengthy speeches, introductions and the time used by several awardees to give acceptance speeches.
Concerns were raised about security and at one point, some in attendance reported that tensions nearly flared. No enhanced searches were made either.
President Barrow traveled the same night to Banjul after attending the town hall. It is the first time in nearly two decades that Gambians held a meeting with their leader on the sidelines of the UNGA instead of protesting.