Oct 21, 2009, 7:44 AM
Father Joseph Gough, head of Father Gough Foundation, on Monday presented what he called “Man of the Decade” award to President Yahya Jammeh at State House.
The award was given in memory of the former speaker of the National Assembly late Mrs Elizabeth Belinder Bidwell and in recognition of what they refer to as President Jammeh’s achievements over the past years and development of the country, particularly in education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and economic development, export and youth development.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, President Jammeh thanked Father Joseph Gough for his immense contribution to the development of the country since in the first republic.
He described Gough as born teacher, leader and coach, highlighting the role he played in the development of sport and moulding of students when he was at
“Father Gough promoted religious tolerance and sport in The Gambia,” President Jammeh said, noting: “I wish I can do more than what you did for the people of this country but I know if we come together we will do a lot more for this country.”
He said if there was any anyone who made Gambia embrace sport wholeheartedly, it was Father Gough “and it is still you Father Gough”, adding that sport suffered a coma when he (Father Gough) left the Gambian soil.
“What I am now doing is to revive it but still it is very difficult and despite your good efforts, it is still a daunting challenge,” he said.
St.Augustine’s was once an academic institution but also it was a sports academy which breed many brilliant sportsmen - that’s the reality - and he assured Father Gough that Gambians will never forget him for the many great things he has done for them and is still doing.
He added that many Gambians are in higher positions today thanks to Father Joseph Gough’s encouragement.
For his part, the secretary general and head of the civil service, Dr Njogu Bah, welcomed the award for President Jammeh’s achievements by Father Joseph Gaugh.
President Jammeh received many awards in the past in recognition of his services to the Gambian people and humanity in general and since he took over the leadership mantle of this country we can say that The Gambia is better off today than 17 years ago because of the president’s mission and vision,” he stated.
Lamin Waa Juwara minister of Local Government and Lands, described the citations of the award as one that reflects the present political situation of The Gambia, adding that the award citations tell the realities on the ground, saying that a lot of development have taken place in the past 17 years.
Local Government Minister Juwara maintained that it is perfectly in order to recognise the achievements of President Jammeh, who has earned much respect, pointing out that today every Gambian “goes to work and go home peacefully” thanks to Jammeh’s regime.
In a brief statement before conferring the award on the Gambian leader, Father Joseph Gough said it was a great honour and delight to present the “Man of the decade” award to President Jammeh.
He said the award is in recognition of the Gambian leader’s achievements not just during the past decade but all the years of his leadership. On behalf of the Foundation we will be very happy if you will accept this award,” he concluded.
The ministers of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Finance and Economic Affairs, Dr Mamadou Tangara and Mambury Njie, both expressed similar sentiments and congratulated the Gambian leader for the award.
The citation was read by the General Manager of Trust Bank Limited, Oreme Joiner, who is a board member of Father Gough Foundation.