#Article (Archive)

US Marks 233rd Independence

Jul 6, 2009, 5:03 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

The United States Embassy in Banjul on Saturday July 4th 2009, has joined their countrymen across the globe to mark 233rd years of independence.

As part of the events marking the day, a cocktail reception was hosted by the US Embassy at the Ocean Coco Hotel in Kololi.

Speaking at the occasion, the US ambassador to The Gambia, H.E. Barry L. Wells said that across the globe American citizens and their guests are celebrating not only the independence of the United States, dating back to 1776, but also the growth, accomplishments, challenges and successes of America's story.

According to him, the United States is a diverse nation. However, he said on this day they celebrate what they have in common, that is their freedom. He said the day is not only a day of celebration; but it is also a day of reflection and appreciation of both the lessons learnt and the successes achieved.

"This past year has seen many challenges and accomplishments for the American people.

We face a financial crisis that has affected people all over the world; and many Americans are facing difficult times economically - losing jobs they thought were secured and even the homes in which they live. However, we have also seen remarkable progress, such as the election of President Barack Obama as the first African-American President of our nation, and witnessed the peaceful transfer of power", he noted.

According to the Chief US Diplomat, United States of America, for all its flaws, is a great nation and stands for many great things. He stressed how America values democracy, political freedom and respect for human rights.

He disclosed that there are 92 Peace Corps volunteers in The Gambia, who have dedicated two years of their lives to the pursuit of helping Gambians better their lives.

"American tradition is to celebrate our successes and acknowledge our faults and to learn lessons from both. In his first 100 days of office, President Obama, in keeping with his vision for active diplomatic engagement with the world, made significant changes to our foreign policy.

On his second day in office, he signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay detention centre. The Obama Administration promised to look at development assistance in Africa, and identify all the factors that lead to successful outcomes".

President Barack Obama, he said will address the world on July 11, 2009 in Ghana, with a speech focused specifically on Africa.

"Over past 18 months we have worked to build on the longstanding strong relationship the United States has with the government of The Gambia and its people, and to expand our support for The Gambia's development goals, and I believe we have come quite a long way".

He hailed President Jammeh's efforts to advance the status of women and educational opportunities for girls. In support of those initiatives, he highlighted the various assistances his government has rendered to the Gambian people.

He further disclosed that over the last year they have committed funds to improve the accessibility of potable water; improve farming capacity and productivity at the community level, and contributed to the improvement of the quality of life for disabled persons.

"Democracy is not an event; it is not a destination; it is a journey. And like any journey it can be fraught with unexpected events and detours. But unlike other journeys it is without end," he stated.

He pledged his country's resolve to work with The Gambia to help strengthen its democratic institutions and protect human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of the press, which he said, is the bedrock on which democratic and productive societies can be built.

He said that all these things are essential to the growth, development, and prosperity of The Gambia and that US will like to continue to be an active partner in helping the Gambia achieves its rightful place among the leading democracies on the African continent.

Honorable Momodou Kotu Cham, who represented The Gambia government at the occasion, said the two countries have a mutual bond of friendship and cooperation for many years. He said the two countries have established and nurtured a solid relationship based on equality, reciprocity, and mutual trust.

He applauded the US for her diverse assistances to the Gambia in various areas.

Minister Cham reiterated government's commitment in collaborating with the US, for the attainment of the aspirations of humanity.

The occasion was attended by US citizens residing in The Gambia, the Speaker of the National Assembly, service chiefs, diplomats, National Assembly Members, business community, and politicians, among a host of other dignitaries.