Opinion: Gambian Manjagos Are Not Marginalized.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Introduction:- I was very flabbergasted and highly perturbed, to read a recent unfounded and totally unacceptable article titled:- “Gambian Manjagos Are Marginalized”, published in The Standard Newspaper, which is indeed priums inter pares (Latin:- the first among equals), among all Gambian registered newspapers. The author of the said fallacious article, who was a Manjago brother, also inter alia funnily and preposterously asserted, that Gambian Manjagos, must not be marginalized, because once upon a time, a Manjago hero, killed a dragon in The Gambia.

Meaning Of “Marginalized”?:- The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, by A.S. Hornby, authoritatively defines “Margin” thus:-“1. Blank space round the corner on written matter, 2. Edge or border.” The word “Marginalized”, therefore emanates from “Margin”. This reminds me of a famous book titled:- “Summoned From The Margin”, one of his about Ten Books, ably and scholarly authored by the late Gambian-born Professor Lamin Sanneh, who was born in Central River Region (C.R.R.) in The Gambia, (where “Carrol’s Wharf”, named after my paternal grandfather , is situated, a renown Gambian merchant). Mr. Lamin Sanneh was a Professor Of Missions And World Christianity, at Yale Divinity School, Yale University, U.S.A.., one of “The Ivy League Universities”, (the most prestigious American Universities). This famous book, was his latest memoir or autobiography, and on 8th January 2019, he made a timely presentation of this masterpiece book, to His Holiness Pope Francis, just before he died in The U.S.A., in early 2019, where he was buried, may his dear and gentle soul rest in perfect peace-Amen. He was a good and active member of our Church, (The Gambia Methodist Church), and he later became a Roman Catholic Church Member. Rev. Gabriel Leonard Allen (A Senior Methodist Rev.), Mr. Sammy H.W. Davies (a Lay President Emeritus of our Church) etc, successfully organized a grand and well attended televised Tribute Ceremony for him, at The Ebunjan Theatre, which I attended with glee, after receiving an Official invitation, because it was very educative indeed, and intellectually refreshing. 

Overwhelming Evidence To Prove That Gambian Manjagos Are Not Marginalized:- Let me now proceed, to adduce overwhelming evidence, to prove beyond all reasonable doubt, that Gambian Manjagos are not marginalized. Prominent and highly respected Gambian Manjagos, include the following:- (1) Honourable Mr. James F.P. Gomez, The Minister Of Fisheries, National Resources & National Assembly Matters, who was also the first National General Secretary (N.G.S.) of The Gambia Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.), of which I was a Founder Member, and I have represented it in many overseas trips. Honourable Mr. Gomez, is also a Lord Mayor Emeritus Of The City/Municipality Of Banjul, The Gambia’s Capital, Hon. Mr. Gomez, is a prominent Member of The P.P.P., just like Mr. Omar Jallow, alias “O.J., (2) Honourable Mr. Henry Gomez, an Ex-Minister Of Youths & Sports, now an Adviser of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, he is also the leader of the G.P.D.P., (3) Mr. Dominic Mendy, an Ex-Honourable Minister Of Finance, & Economic Affairs, an Ex-Honourable Minister Of Trade etc.. (4) The Most Rev. DR. Gabriel Mendy, The Bishop Of Banjul, and Bishop Of  The Gambia Roman Catholic Church, (5)  My Learned Friend, Mr. Edward Anthony Gomez, a Senior Gambian U.K-Trained Lawyer, and a former Honourable Attorney General & Minister Of Justice, (6) My Learned Friend and Junior,  Mr. Anthony Mendy, a Senior Legal Adviser at Eco Bank, (7) Rev. Father Edu Gomez, a Senior Gambian Roman Catholic Priest, who openly and bravely preached against the so called or bogus declaration of The Gambia as “ An Islamic State”, by the illusory Ex-Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, on 12th December 2015, (8) Mr. Peter Gomez, my former classmate at St. Augustine’s High School (now St. Augustine’s Senior Secondary School), who is a Senior Gambian German (Deutcheveller) -Trained Journalist, and the proprietor of the famous West Coast Radio Station, (9) the late Mr. Gaspard Mendy, the Controller Of Customs in the 1970’s, (10) The late Mr. Bevan Mendy, a son of Mr. Gaspard Mendy, who was a Senior Civil Engineer, (11) Mr. Gabriel Mendy,  another son of Mr. Gaspard Mendy, who is a retired (but not tired) Accountant General, (12) DR. Charles Mendy, my former classmate at St. Augustine’s High School, who later became the Principal of that “Citadel Of Learning”, and who successfully studied  for a Bachelor’s Degree in French, at Besancon University in France, with my younger sister, Ms. Daisy L.I. Carrol, a seasoned career diplomat, a linguist and a former Deputy Gambian Ambassador to neighboring Senegal.  Mr. Charles Mendy (as he then was), deservedly invited me as The Guest Speaker, for the School’s annual Speech And Prize-Giving Day Ceremony,   (13) the late Rev. Charles Mendy, a Senior Methodist Rev., (14) Rev. Pierre Thomas Bass, Circuit Minister Of The Wesley Cathedral, (my Church),  (15) DR. Professor Pierre Gomez, The Dean Of The School Of Arts And Social Sciences, University Of The Gambia, (U.T.G.), (16) Mrs. Naffi Barry, a retired (but not tired) Permanent Secretary Of The Ministry Of Trade etc, (a very good friend and sister of mine) etc. We also have a Manjago Programme, regularly aired on our National T.V. Station (G.R.T.S.)., called “Buchee…Manjku”  (ie. Discussion on Manjagos). I do not want to believe, that the mischievous Manjago gentleman, who authored the aforesaid highly fallacious article, does not know about all of these admirable and well known Manjago achievers, both from the personal and National perspectives. As a Senior Canadian-Trained Theologian, I am putting it to him :-“That there is none so blind, as he/she who does not want to see”-The Holy Bible.         

My Locus Standi (Latin:- Legal Standing) For Writing This Article:-Some curious people, may inevitably ask:- “What is DR. Carrol’s business in this matter,? He is a Bathurst/Banjul Aku Gentleman, and this is a Manjago controversy?” My appropriate or fitting answer for those “Doubting Thomas’s” is this:- I am highly elated to announce, that my genealogy or lineage or family tree, indeed has a very strong nexus with Gambian Manjagos, because the late Christian wife (Mrs. Ruth Ajola Carrol nee Gomez), of my late paternal grandfather (Mr. Henry Darlington Carrol, Managing Director of H.R. Carrol & Company), was indeed a daughter of a very prominent and highly respectable Gambian Manjago gentleman, the late Mr. John Andrew Njai-Gomez (1875-1945), whose highly impressive profile, was deservedly published, from Pages 45 to 54 of a masterpiece book titled:- “Patriots :- Profiles Of Eminent Gambians”, ably authored in 2015, by my fellow Senior Colleague in academia at The University Of The Gambia (U.T.G.), Mr. Hassum Ceesay, (a Senior History Lecturer), who is now deservedly, the acting Director General Of The National Center For Arts And Culture, (N.C.A.C.), which houses The National Museum, both of which are under the Official portfolio of Honourable Mr. Hamat Bah, the Minister Of Tourism & Culture, and the indefatigable leader of the National Reconciliation Party (N.R.P.), which has 5 seats in our present National Assembly/Parliament, whose present able Speaker is, Honourable Mrs. Mariam Jack-Denton, My Learned Friend and The Doyen Of Female Gambian Lawyers. The said book was launched in January 2016, by my good friend, Mr. Sheriff Bojang, the proprietor of The Standard Newspaper, he was then the able. Honourable Minister Of Information & Commutation Infrastructure.  Mr. Hassoum Ceesay, started his said erudite profile, with this powerful quotation:- “An illustrious and loyal Citizen, energetic and conscientious worker for the social, political and intellectual advances of his Country,” which was published in 1938, in The Gambia Echo, which was The First Gambian Newspaper, which was owned by my paternal Grandfather, the late Mr. Henry Darlington Carrol. The said inspirational quotation, was lifted “log, stock barrel” (completely), from a fitting Tribute for Mr. Gomez, ably and scholarly written by an erudite Bathurst writer, Mr. O. David Jones, after Mr. John Andrew Njai-Gomez, had retired from government service. Mr. Ceesay’s book, should have been appropriately inter alia named:- “…Profiles Of Some Eminent Gambians”, because there are many other eminent Gambians, whose profiles, are not in that book. “Many are called, but few are chosen”-The Holy Bible. 

Abridged Profile Of The Late Mr. John Andrew Njai-Gomez:- Mr. J.A. Njai-Gomez, was born in Bathurst in 1875, the then Capital of Colonial Gambia, Officially named after Honourable Lord Henry Bathurst, a one time Honourable Secretary Of State For War And British  Colonies, in London. “Bathurst” was later Officially renamed “Banjul” in 1973, 3 years after The Gambia became A Republic, on 24th April 1970, when His Excellency Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, (K.C.M.G.), (G.M.R.G.), metamorphosed from Prime Minister to the first Gambian President and Commander-In-Chief Of The Gambia Armed Forces. Mr. Njai-Gomez attended the Roman Catholic School, and later the Dobson Street Methodist School, owned by The Gambia Methodist Church, (my Church), now under the able spiritual leadership of The Most Rev. Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim, The Presiding Bishop of the said Church. Mr. Njai-Gomez was an apprentice for one decade under Mr. Momodou Marie Njie, a famous Bathurst carpenter and a Muslim Elder, who founded and led The Carpenters Society, which made the first main refurbishment of the key Bathurst Mosque along Clifton Road (now Independence Drive), in Banjul, built by prison labour in the 1880’s. Mr. J.A. Njai-Gomez, later worked for the oldest European mercantile firm, The Bathurst Trading Company (B.T.C.). He and others founded The Bathurst Urban District Council (B.U.D.C.), a precursor of the present Banjul City Council (B.C.C.). He was a very vibrant and outspoken member of the B.U.D.C., from 1930 to 1934.  He recalled his daughter, (then Ms. Ruth Ajola Njai-Gomez), who was then a Senior Teacher at The Girls High School in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to return home as a voluntary teacher in Bathurst. She obediently returned home, and became the first Gambian teacher, at the re-opened Methodist Girls High School (M.G.H.S.) in 1922. “Honour your father and your mother, so that your days will be long in the land, which the Lord thy God has given thee.” One of the 10 Commandments which God gave to Prophet Moses, (called “Musa” in The Sharia), on 2 tablets of stone, on Mount Sinai. She was a dedicated teacher like her father. (Like father, like daughter). Mr. Njai-Gomez actively campaigned against the introduction of Income Tax in Colonial Gambia in 1939, to raise funds for the British war effort, (ie The 2nd World War, which lasted from 1939 to 1945). The entire Carrol family, is indeed very grateful to Mr. Hassoum Ceesay, for kindly and scholarly conducting historical researches, and publishing in his said masterpiece book, the inspirational profiles of both Mr. J.A. Njai-Gomez, and the late Honourable Mr. Wilfred Davidson Carrol (1900-1941), our paternal granduncle, an Honourable Member Of The Legislative Council, The second Gambian Oxford University-Trained Lawyer, (Fellow Of Merton College), who single-handedly and scholarly drafted The Gambia Criminal Code, still being used today mutatis mutandis (Latin:- with the necessary changes or amendments). 

Launching Of “A Date With Destiny”:- On Saturday 23rd March 2019, the former Honourable Minister Of Information & Communication Infrastructure, Mr. Demba Ali Jawo, launched his autobiography:- “A Date With Destiny”, at The Paradise Suites Hotel. The launcher was his good ex-teacher, Mrs. Adelaide Carayol-Sosseh, (the present able Deputy Chairperson of The T.R.R.C.). The reviewer was, Mr. Madi Jobarteh, and The Master Of Ceremonies (M.C.), was Mr. Peter Gomez. In the Wednesday 27th March 2019 publication of The Standard Newspaper, Mr. Madi Jobarteh published Part 2 of his review of the said book, and he inter alia wrongly wrote:- “….but he also became a person of interest because of his writings in The Nation Newspaper and his association with its publisher the late William Dixon Coley, the doyen of Gambian Journalism….” Mr. Madi Jobarteh, is as usual misinforming The Gambian reading public, and the international community by extension, since most Gambian Newspapers, are now on the internet. The late Mr. William Dixon Coley, was not “the doyen of Gambian Journalism”. Instead it was the late Mr. Henry Darlington Carrol, (my paternal grandfather), who professionally produced the first Gambian Newspaper in 1883, called:- “The Gambia Echo”, in Colonial Gambia. By that time, the late Mr. William Dixon Coley, was certainly not yet born. In his masterpiece book:- “The Development Of Journalism In The Gambia”, Mr. Nana Grey-Johnson, a prolific writer, a former Honourable Minister Of Information etc and The Dean Of The School Of Journalism, (U.T.G.), confirm that the said Newspaper of my late paternal grandfather, was in fact the first Gambian Newspaper, and the late Mr. Lenrie Peters, the father of the late DR. Lenrie Peters, was its able Editor-In-Chief.  The 2nd Doyen of Gambian Journalism, was the late Mr. John Finden Dailey (1883-1959), who founded the 2nd Gambian Newspaper :-“Gambia Weekly News”, in 1942. If Mr. Madi Jobarteh “eats the humble pie” (admit defeat) and humbly goes to Mr. Hassoum Ceesay at the N.C.A.C., he will patriotically and willingly show him copies of those authentic publications. “Seeing is believing”, as the famous adage goes. Mr. Madi Jobarteh, is indeed historically bankrupt. 

A Brave Gambian Manjago Who Killed A Dragon In The Gambia:- This was a preposterous and a monumental fabrication, made by the myopic Manjago author, of the aforesaid unfounded article. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, by A.S. Hornby, authoritatively defines “Dragon’ thus :-“Fabulous creature like a crocodile or snake, often with  wings and claws, able to breathe out fire, often guarding a treasure, (colloquialism:- a fierce person).” The said dictionary, also defines “Fabulous” thus:- “1. Celebrated in fable, 2. Incredible or absurd”, and it also authoritatively defines “Fable” as:- “1.short tale not based on fact, (Aesop’s Fable), and intended to give moral teaching.”

Conclusion:- Manjagos in The Gambia are not marginalized, they had been, and are indeed part and parcel of our beloved National Gambian family, and they indeed have a pivotal role to play in National Development. The very fact that, the myopic and uninformed Manjago author of the said article, is ignorant of the movers and shakers of our small Manjago Community in The Gambia, does not mean that, Manjagos are marginalized. The aforesaid Oxford Dictionary, authoritatively and inter alia defines “Democracy” as:- “Majority rule, accompanied with respect for minority rights.” His Excellency President Adama Barrow, should be warmly congratulated, for creating the enabling National Environment, for all Gambian tribes (both big and small), to live together peacefully, as one big united National Family. “For The Gambia Our Homeland, We Strive And Work And Pray, That All Will Be In Unity, Freedom And Peace Each Day…”- The National Anthem. I rest my Case.     

BY:- DR. Henry D.R. Carrol (M.R.G.),

Solicitor General Emeritus Of The Gambia,

Senior Oxford-Trained Lawyer &

Founder Senior U.T.G. Law Lecturer, 2007 to date.