The Gambia marks 48 years of nationhood today. The President Sheikh professor Alh Dr Yahya Jammeh presided over the Celebrations at the July 22nd Square in Banjul. It began with a march past by security services, schoolchildren and voluntary organizations. Colourful cultural and traditional performances were displayed to entertain the thousands that converged at the Square. The theme of the celebrations is “National Sovereignty and Patriotism in Nation Building.” Present were distinguished guests and personalities from the sub region and beyond among them President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Toedoro O. Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, the Senate President of Algeria – Abdul Kader Bensaleh, Pierre Mukoko Manjo –Minister in charge of Presidential Affairs of Cameroon, Said Adine Al Usman – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs amongst others.
Meanwhile a number of activities have been lined up to commemorate the country’s Independence anniversary. Among them inauguration of the forensic Science Laboratory at the Gambia Police Force headquarters, the handing over of equipment grant to government by Japan, the commissioning of the Gambia Artisanal Fisheries Development project in Bakoteh, the opening of the new police stations in Kanifing, Bakoteh, Ndugu Kebbeh, Bureng, and in CRR North, as well as the new Gamworks head office on Bertil Harding Highway. Competitions on the Recitation of the Quran, and Book launch on the achievements of the Jammeh administration will be held during week alongside cultural and musical jamboree.
In his address to the school children at the July 22nd Square the Gambian leader called for peace and unity among Africans noting that despite its abundant resources the African continent remains poor as a result of divisions and wars. He urged African leaders to be vigilant and steadfast in order to put an end to carnage on the continent in order to enable our children live in a dignified world. President Jammeh reiterated his commitment to peace and education saying that there could be no development without education. Professor Jammeh stressed his policy of equal opportunity for all deserving Gambians. He called on students to be discipline, respectful to their teachers and committed to their studies in order to succeed in life. The Gambian leader called on parents particularly men to take up their responsibilities seriously and invest in their children’s education and future.
Meanwhile the two heads of State invited to the Gambia’s Independence celebrations have left Banjul. Senegalese President Macky Sall was the first among the guests to depart followed by the President of Equatorial Guinea Theodor Obiang Nguema. They were seen off at the Banjul International Airport by the Vice President Aja Dr Isatou Njie Saidy.
On Sunday the President Sheikh Professor Alh Dr Yahya Jammeh and the First Lady Madam Zainab Yahya Jammeh hosted a reception at State House grounds in Banjul to mark the eve of the Country’s 48th Independence anniversary. The ceremony graced by the Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan was also attended by the Vice President and Minister of Women’s affairs Aja Dr Isatou Njie Saidy and her cabinet colleagues, the speaker Hon Abdoulie Bojang and members of Parliament, security and service chiefs, diplomats, members of business community, religious leaders, traditional rulers and a cross section of the Gambian community. The event was punctuated with musical performances by local artists and cultural groups as well as visiting international musicians.
An anti-Bush Fire Campaign was recently conducted at Pakaliba village Jarra East in the Lower River Region. The programme held at the school grounds was jointly organized by the Agency for the Development of Women and Children ADWAC in collaboration with the department of Forestry under the theme “Bush fire: the crying voice of the forest”. The celebrations began with a March pass led by the Kaira Konko Scout Band. In an opening statement the Regional Disaster Management Coordinator of LRR Lamin Saidy on behalf of the governor commended ADWAC for funding such an important activity noting that it was geared towards promoting the protection and preservation of our forest cover. This Mr Saidy emphasized can only be achieved through collective efforts. Jarra East district chief Alh Ansumana Kanagie encouraged those at the gathering to disseminate the information to others. The Director of Forestry - Sambou Nget in his statement thanked ADWC for these laudable initiatives which thoroughly reflect the advocated partnership and collaboration of our forest policy. Director Nget condemned the indiscriminate felling of trees and rampant bush fires, and said such destruction to our forest cover may lead to a decline of agriculture and productivity. During the occasion, ADWAC handed over fire- fighting materials including 100 bicycles, rakes, cutlasses and three motor bicycles to the department of forestry. The Director of ADWAC Mr Mam Samba Joof said the move is to ensure the protection preservation of our forest with a view to enhance a sustainable environment.
The National Disaster Management Agency on Friday handed cartoons of Vegetable and Flower seeds to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Department of Agriculture and the Regional Farmers Platform. Target beneficiaries are Schools and Women Gardens within Lower River Region. The LRR disaster coordinator Lamin Saidy said the move was to also support those affected by the 2012 flash floods in the area. He emphasized the need for close monitoring and evaluation to ascertain the impact and the judicious use of the donation. The gesture was applauded by representatives of recipients among them the Agricultural Officer of LRR Lamin Darboe, and officials of the Regional farmer’s platform Sillah Manneh, Sanna Darbo and Fatoumata Saidykhan. They thanked the NDMA for empowering the farmers to enhance their production capacity.
Our regional correspondent also reported a fire incident in Jarra Soma on Thursday. An occupant of the house caught in the inferno Fatou Tunkara lost her belongings and money. Regional Disaster Management Coordinator of the Region Lamin Saidy visited the scene to assess the damage. He however implored parents to keep matches out of the reach of children to avoid manmade disasters.
The Sukuta Health centre and Lower Basic School in Kombo North West Coast Region have benefited from a support from a Belgian Group in the form of bio-medical equipment and educational items. Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at the Sukuta Lower Basic school grounds the nurse-in-charge of the health facility Rohey Jammeh underscored the importance of the medical items noting that will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the government. Speaking on behalf of the Belgian group Francois Peters assured the community of their continued support and urged the beneficiaries to make best use of the items. On his part the headmaster of the school Dawda Jarju also commended the Belgian group for funding the rehabilitation works on a three-classroom block. According to him the classrooms have helped the school enroll more children. Deputizing for the Alkalo of Sukuta, Jerreh Mama Cham thanked the group for the gesture.The Nyang family of Alhagie Karu in Jokadu has appealed to Philanthropists to come to their aid following a fire outbreak at their home which also resulted to the death of the head of the household Alh. Abou Nyang. He sustained severe burns from the inferno and was rushed to the RVTH for further medical care where he later died. Speaking to our regional correspondent GRTS in Kuntair Momodou Darboe Field Officer for Agency for Development of Women and Children ADWAC said the family lost everything in their possession. Mr. Darboe seized the opportunity to urge people to adopt all preventive methods to avert fire disasters in their homes one of such being the erecting of fire belts to protect their settlements.