By Aisha Tamba
The British High Commissioner to The Gambia joined students and teachers of Bakau Lower Basic School to celebrate Commonwealth Day.
Commonwealth Day, replacing the former Empire Day, is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, often held on the second Monday of March. It is marked by an Anglican service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth along with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, which is broadcast throughout the world.
“Its purpose is to recognise the work of Commonwealth members and to promote understanding and cooperation on global issues.”
This year marks the 70th anniversary since the formation of the commonwealth, under the theme A Connected Commonwealth.
And the High Commissioner Sharon Wardle visited Bakau Lower Basic School to join celebrations marking the day.
Speaking at the ceremony interspersed with various activities, school head-master Kemo Jenkins, hailed the high commissioner’s visit as “a land mark,” and used the platform to give a detailed background of his school, which is one of the oldest schools built in 1947.
“Gambia has been celebrating Commonwealth [Day] since time immemorial,” he said.
According to him, the importance of marking the day is to also recognise the “positive and active roles and contributions” of young people in promoting development, peace, democracy and the promoting of other Commonwealth values such as “tolerance and understanding including respect for other cultures,” he said.
He thanked the high commissioner for sidelining her “busy schedule” to join the school observe the Commonwealth Day.
The High Commissioner, Sharon Wardle, said the theme for this year’s celebration highlights the importance of connecting the 53 member countries even greater.
“When we talk about the Commonwealth, we are talking about what young people want and what young people want is the creation of a brighter future for them across the Commonwealth. So you are at the centre of what we are trying to achieve,” Wardle said.