GOOD MORNING MR PRESIDENT: Revisiting May Day Sports, plight of journalists

Monday, April 30, 2018

Mr. President, the May Day Sports should be revisited by introducing affordable fee for participation for government departments, parastatals and private institutions. This year, some government departments and parastatals will not participate in the yearly sports activity due to high fee. Government should look into that matter to ensure that more departments and institutions participate to maintain the spirit of togetherness.

Mr. President, the May Day Sports was conceived in February 1991 by Mr. George Gomez, then the Executive Secretary of the Gambia National Olympic and Sports Committee and was started in May of that year. At the first edition in 1991 only 12 companies participated and the registration/participation fee was D1000.00. The idea behind the sport was

1. To encourage the working population to use sports and physical exercise as a means of keeping fit.

2. To encourage friendly relationship among the workers in the different fields of the economy.

3. To ensure a healthy and peaceful environment for a friendly and enjoyable sports competition among the workers of the country thereby creating a good relationship among each other.

The Organisers have always asked each participant to try and speak to two people they have never spoken to from a company different from theirs and befriend them.

In 1998 the Sports Awards was introduced and attached to the May Day sports arrangements. The participation fee was adjusted to D8000.00 and later to D10000.00 to cover the cost of the dinner and dance when certificates for the Sports and honouring our Sports men in the Sports Hall of Fame.

The May Day sports is a unique event which has been acclaimed even by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 1994 the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). invited the Gambia to present the May Day Sports to the African Secretaries General at their annual general meeting in Central African Republic and their Secretary General came to Gambia in 1995 to see the Sports.

The IOC approved the event as a suitable Mass Sports and sponsored it under the Mass Sports program in 1992 and in 1995.

This event is now the biggest Mass sports in the Gambia and has attracted several companies to participate in it. It is an avenue for workers to get together to know each other and use the period leading to and following training to keep fit. A fit Nation is a productive Nation. Since the advent of May Day Sports numerous people have taken to the many Gyms in the country and the level of fitness has increased much to the delight of workers. It is therefore necessary to maintain the event.

In my honest view since the National Sports Council is no longer giving awards to deserving Sportsmen, the May Day Sports dinner should be stopped and the participation fee for the May Day Sports be reduced from D20,000 to D10,000 to make it attractive for many companies to participate in what is a unique event special only to the Gambia.

Mr. President when GNOC was organising May Day Sports1991 to 2011 all proceeds for the dinner were given to the athletes for their preparations.

Mr. President without finance we cannot get achieve good results. Sports in the Gambia are lacking behind. Government should look into the problems and solve them. Put the right people to the right place.

Mr. President how far your government request with the GSMs to contribute 5% percent in sport development, engage them to act. Sport is no longer leisure but investment. The Chinese can help to build more stadia and renovate the independence stadium.

Government cannot to do all but for sports, businessmen and GSMs can help.

Finally, Mr. President, May 3rd will be World Press Freedom Day, your government should participate fully. For the success of the event, we are partners in development. Media draconian laws should be abolished. Government institutions should pay their bills of adverts and subscriptions in time, it takes months before they pay and these hamper our productions. We are here to promote democracy rule of law good governance. We also represent voiceless people.

Many francophone countries help the press through subvention and minimise taxes because of the key role they play in society.

Mr. President since you are in power last year, there was only one incident with security forces with the press on Monday April 23, when some PIU personnel assaulted The Point judicial reporter, Bruce Asemota, who was covering NI A9 case at the High Court. This should not occur again. We are not enemies but partners in development. Let sit down and talk to resolve misunderstandings among ourselves.

Good day!