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The Gambia at 49!

Feb 17, 2014, 9:55 AM

The Gambia will celebrate the 49th anniversary of independence from the yoke of British colonial rule tomorrow Tuesday the 18th of February.

Ahead of this auspicious occasion, we ask the government to continue improving the standard of living of all Gambians.

Among others, this requires that the government must ensure that farmers are paid for their produce on time, and that it nurtures a free and open society by promoting freedom of the press.

A first, but giant and ultimately critical step, in this direction, could be achieved through the abolition of draconian media laws.

As Gambians, we must all try to respect and promote human rights, and the rule of law, as well as work to enhance the role of women in our society.

The public transport sector must be revived, to ease the transport difficulties being experienced by commuters and school children on a daily basis.

NAWEC should install Cashpower meters in every Gambian home, by completing the exercise they have started, to avoid disputes over high bills, and allow people to better manage their finances and budgets. This will also save NAWEC from being owed huge sums of money by consumers.

The Government must tailor the new business registration system and the taxation system so as not to only to attract foreign private investment, but also to foster entrepreneurship in young, dynamic and well-educated Gambians.

Indeed, a vibrant economic culture will give Gambians living and working abroad the opportunity to return to our shores, bringing with them the knowledge, training and expertise they have gained in Europe and the United States.

Meanwhile, the improvements we have seen in the health and other sectors must continue apace, aware that the moment we rest on our laurels, we will begin to slip backwards.

While we may be reaching the target of providing access under the Millennium Development Goals in education, there remains the issue of the quality of education, especially in public schools.

This, we believe, is also linked to the burning issue of teachers pay, which is a critical factor for attracting and keeping Gambians in the teaching field.

A phenomenon of recent times, which affects many workers, is the fact that most of them are now forced to wait for extended periods, without receiving salaries.

As well as having to work on various jobs, making them tired and less effective, most workers may end up being forced out of a profession for financial reasons.

There is also the problem of illegal migration, which calls for upping the ante in the fight against this scourge. The young people of The Gambia must be given access to training of every kind, but an increase in the availability of technical training would be particularly effective. This might encourage the young to stay at home, and be self-employed.

On this our 49th anniversary of nationhood, we thank and congratulate everybody who has played a role in bringing The Gambia to this stage.

In this regard, we recall the contribution of those of our leaders who lived through the pre-independence struggle up to the period of self determination, and the birth of the Republic, in April 1970, when Gambians in a referendum voted overwhelmingly for the supremacy of the sovereignty of the people, and rejected any form of monarchical rule.

Long live The Republic of The Gambia!

“Without moral and intellectual independence, there is no anchor for national independence”

David Ben-Gurion