“In The Gambia, our relationships go beyond religion; we are neighbours and family,” Mr. Barrow said in a televised Christmas message on Thursday 24 Dec. 2020
“Reflecting on the history of the nation, I recognise the role of the Christian Community in national development and their significant contribution to the lives of the people. Their humanitarian engagements are quite visible. We know that many prominent non-Christian Gambians have been educated in Christian schools, and the number keeps increasing.”
“We are aware, to cite another example, that Christian charity groups support refugees in the country, yet the majority of the beneficiaries are non-Christians. These are noble acts of generosity arising from their belief and desire to serve God and humanity. We thank all of them for being charitable,” Barrow said of Christians.
He generally talked about the his government’s commitment to protect the rights of the minority, saying as the country continues to develop and evolve as a true democratic nation, “my government remains committed to safeguarding the rights of all minority groups, and we will continue to accommodate them in the governance structures of the country. This has been reflected in my Cabinet.”
“The main objective is for us to work and develop together to become stronger and happier as Gambians. When abnormal things happen along the way, we must accommodate the divergent views that surface, and reconcile them through constructive dialogue.”
The president also dilated on the vitality of dialogue and cooperation, pointing out that in harmony with the beliefs and teachings of Christianity, his government maintains that any action taken in the country must seek to protect life and the livelihoods of the people. “The attainment of such noble goals makes it obligatory for all citizens, regardless of religious affiliation, to consistently dialogue, cooperate and support one another.”
“I am pleased to observe that Christians in the country have been patient and cooperative. The Christian Council, for example, has been engaging my government, and has remained law-abiding, while supporting our development efforts.”
Mr. Barrow recalled that when unusual resolutions had to be made, leading to the declaration of a State of Public Emergency, the Christian Community restrained themselves and acted with due diligence. “I commend The Gambia Christian Council, therefore, and the entire Christian Community in the country for their support, patience, discipline and cooperation.”
“As we go through the phases of reshaping and consolidating our democratic institutions, every sector of our society would certainly wish to reclaim and assert their rights to ensure that they have a Constitutional shield against injustice.”
He added Christians have been playing an active role in making their collective voice heard to make sure that their rights are protected, especially as Constitutional matters continue to feature on our national agenda.
“It is reassuring that Gambians recognise that such efforts should always focus on finding common ground on issues that generate divergent views. This is one of the key features of democracy, but it is important that no section of society overplays its role.”