Speaking at the opening of a two-day seminar on ‘protection and utilisation of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and expression of folklore’ to stakeholders in the intellectual property business in The Gambia at Sheraton Hotel and Resort in Brufut, Dos Santos said:
“Today we believe time is ripe for The Gambia to join the Banjul Protocol for the Protection of Marks. Ratification of the Banjul Protocol would be a strong message for the operationalisation of the instrument and would be specifically beneficial to the country. There are two specific reasons why The Gambia should sign this protocol: Banjul is the motherland of this important protocol; secondly, the thirty- seventh session of the administrative council of ARIPO which was held in Kampala, Uganda in November last year approved a number of amendments that removed the hindrance that were making it less attractive.”
Meanwhile, the new ARIPO head urged The Gambia to ratify ARIPO developed Swakopmund Protocol on Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, which was adopted in a diplomatic conference in 2010. The protocol will come into force when six states ratify it. Five countries have ratified the protocol and we hope that The Gambia will consider ratifying it to trigger its entry into force.”
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Mama Fatima Singhateh, who was present at the seminar promised that The Gambia will ratify the protocol stressing that the Swakupmond Protocol will be tabled before National Assembly next week for ratification.
On Banjul Protocol, Justice Minister said: “Even though the ARIPO trademarks protocol is named after our own capital city, The Gambia like half of ARIPO member states is yet to ratify it. I have already been reliably informed that a consultative working group has been constituted to work on reforming The Banjul Protocol with a view to making it more attractive for member states to accede to. We look forward to favorable outcomes of this study so that the protocol can enjoy universal accession among member states.”
Also speaking at the two-day event, the permanent secretary, ministry of Tourism and Culture, Momodou Joof, described the seminar as “timely because The Gambia is on the threshold of ratifying the Swakupmond Protocol. This event therefore shall afford stakeholders the opportunity to once again work through the articles of the protocol and agree on those that can be validated and those that could be acceded to with reservations.”
Mr Joof further stated that the government of The Gambia under President Jammeh remains committed to strengthening the copyright sub-sector of the Gambia’s intellectual property sector for the benefit of the Gambian creative sector.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Culture sees folklore as indeed deserving of protection because tangible and intangible aspects of our folklore form the core of our tourist attractions. For example, it is indeed obvious that what makes our tourism products unique are those aspects of our cultural heritage which are distinctly Gambian be they cuisine, costume, customs or carvings; or music and masquerades. Our dances, songs, praise songs, traditional musical instruments, stories, legends and fables are other aspects of our folklore which make The Gambia a unique tourist attraction.”]]>