Aug 13, 2014, 11:09 AM
Christmas is always a period of joy and celebration around the world but especially in The Gambia where we pride ourselves with religious tolerance and harmony; demonstrating to the rest of the world, our exemplary standards in the area of peaceful coexistence of different religious.As we celebrate this year’s feast, we should reflect on the gem that this country is and consciously strive to further cement the bonds that tie us together as brothers and sisters worshipping the same God in different ways.We should jealously guard our cross-faith relations and also pray for peace and mutual understanding in countries where the ugly phenomenon of conflict between followers of different religious abides.
The annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ is a most auspicious time for us, as individuals and as a nation, to continue to commit ourselves to the virtues and ideals which Christ preached and exemplified during his Ministry on earth.
In his earthly Ministry, Jesus Christ preached and extolled the virtues of peace, tolerance, love and compassion.It therefore behoves us as God fearing children of Adam, to resolve this Christmas to make the ideals of peace, harmony, tolerance, love and compassion to all even more manifest in our interactions with one another.
As we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us all endeavour to honour Him more by living our lives as He did and taught; by making personal sacrifices for the wellbeing of others by showing compassion and affection for others, by being just and more transparent in our dealing; by being ever-willing to forgive those who hurt or offend us and by always extending goodwill towards others.We should shun vices such as corruption, nepotism and favoritism as these are not in line with Christ’s teachings and are inimical to national development.
As a government, we continue to be committed to the development of this country and we shall do all within our powers and abilities to ensure that education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, and all other social amenities reach the door steps of Gambians in every part of the country regardless of tribal, religious or political affiliation.
As we look forward to a new year, I call on all Gambians to renew their allegiance to this country, and to further demonstrate our patriotism and sense of national pride by resolving to work harder towards our cherished national goals as enshirined in the Vision 2020.As part of my government’s drive towards the attainment of food security, I have outlined a vision for the achievement of this goal by the year 2016.Progress recorded so far has demonstrated that this goal is within reach and therefore I call on all Gambians to heed my call to “eat what we grow and grow what we eat.”Government will continue to create the necessary environment to ensure that efforts by both public and private institutions aimed at attaining our development goals are facilitated.
Therefore we must strive to change our attitudes towards work.From 1994 I have emphasised the need for Gambians to put their trust in Allah and for us to rely on our own efforts to develop our country.History has proven me right as the challenges confronting the world from the global food and fuel to the financial crisis have shown that the only way to sustainable development for us is self-reliance.While we work on engendering the right attitude in our youths, we must also hold fast to our treasured traditions and culture for meaningful socioeconomic development.
Evil and strange social cancers like homosexuality will never be condoned in this country and therefore we should ensure that our children are not exposed to alien cultures that could corrupt their minds at this stage of their moral and psychological development.Christmas is an apt period for us to reflect on the pristine values that Jesus Christ taught us.In this vein, I wish to remind all Gambians about the theme of the past July 22nd Anniversary which calls on us to live according to our religion.As we celebrate Christmas with our families, it is incumbent on all parents to also take time and share the true values that Jesus Christ taught with our young ones.
Fellow Gambians, as this is a period for reflection, thanks giving and compassion, let us, remember our brothers and sisters all around the world, especially, those in conflict zones around Africa.As we pray for the restoration of peace and stability in those countries, we all call on all concerned parties to give peace a chance for the sake of the vulnerable members of our societies especially children. As chairman of the African Union Peace and Security Council for December 2013, I hereby appeal to all parties in conflicts in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cassamance among others to cooperate with the peace efforts of the African Union and seek amicable solutions to these conflicts through dialogue.We pray for peace in these countries and also assure them all of our will to help in the resolution of these conflicts. We pray for peace to reign in this country and all over the world as envisaged by Jesus Christ.
On behalf of my family and the entire government, I wish you all very joyful Christmas celebrations, and a peaceful and prosperous 2014.