Oct 2, 2009, 5:47 AM
The principal of Bansang Senior Secondary School is having mixed feelings about the NaYCONF being held at his school grounds.
On one hand, Principal Ismaila Ceesay is particularly concerned about the potential damage his school’s fragile facilities are exposed to, even when the event brings along the renovation of old facilities as well as new infrastructure to his school.
On the other hand he is a delighted principal happy that his school is the grounds for the historic event being staged in Bansang town for the first time.
While Mr Ceesay struggles to reconcile this dilemma, he nonetheless speaks positive of the biennial national youth conference and festival.
Particularly concerned about the conference component of the NaYCONF, he describes it as “a good way of re-directing government’s focus on youth affairs”.
“The Gambian government should kindly listen to whatever the young people of the nation are going to say at the NaYCONF,” Mr Ceesay told the NaYCONF Daily in an exclusive interview at his school where students were cleansing the school premises ahead of the event.
He added: “I don’t know much about NaYCONF. I never attended it. But the conference aspect is what I am very much interested in. This is where I believe young people would gather and discuss issues affecting them, and also advise the government because they are expected to come up with a draft document that would be forwarded to the government so it can use it as guide when drafting policies on youth matters...”
Because of the Nayconf, Bansang Senior Secondary School is now electrified, old toilet facilities are renovated and new ones built.
The basketball lawn has been upgraded. Yet, the principal is worried that as the delegates converge, his school’s facilities will be exposed to damages, and the NaYCONF did not make any promise of repairing any damage caused.
“Anywhere thousands of people converge you should expect a lot of damages. None of the members of the NaYCONF committees have ever talked to me about replacing any materials in the school that are going to be damaged. But I am happy because this year’s festival will be held in Central River Region and be hosted by Bansang Senior Secondary School.”
Mr Ceesay noted that the students of his school are proud that their ground will for the first time play host to such “a nice and important event” as the Nayconf.
He advised the National Organising Committee to be pro-active in anything that they are doing in order to make their work easier.
He said: “Since the school was identified to host the festival, I have seen few active members from the committee on the ground. And I believe it should be a collective responsibility.
“The other issue is that funds should be released on time. If not, it could result in delay.”