There have been persistent statements made by the former president, Yahya Jammeh wherein he made mention of the natural minerals/resources that the country is blessed with, and why the country has not exploited them still.
The reasons he gave for not extracting the minerals were that we don’t have the man power and that the percentage share that the country would get if it gives the contract to the outsiders is not favourable. When would the percentage share be favourable?
Talking about national development and considerable economic growth, exploiting the mineral resources the country has is key. With that, it will create more job opportunities, which can lead to high standards of living and as a result, economic growth. My thinking about it might be shallow but I will pen it anyway. One way by which the country can extract these minerals could have been this:
We could hire external contractors to undertake the job initially. Obviously, when they come they would hire some of the indigenes. Gambians, being the good adopters they are, plus the graduates (if there are any) would have learnt the job and in the long run we may never need the outsiders for such.
Someone may also argue that the country doesn’t have the relevant factories for such undertakings. True, but Rome wasn’t built over night. We can reinvest the little we get from the crawling stages. The focus is surely for the long run. Without an iota of doubt, there and then would come a time, the country becomes so developed like other advanced and developed countries.
Cherno Auspicious Bah
Whither our history
Something is about Senegal that makes me respect her and her people. Whatever they pick up or are involved in is given a special Senegalese touch. The traditional wresting. The mbalax dance. Music. Grande Mboub. Democracy. Media freedom. And the drumming and singing and the Zikirr….. Everything is so Senegalese, their own brand. These certainly increase the patriotism fervours.
They have their Serign Touba. And the annual Magal which draws pilgrims from all over the world. The roads are empty and fish gets scarce even in The Gambia…. And as rightly said by DK Baldeh, a people who value their history, who revisit their history, who celebrate their history, will certainly have a pride of place in the comity of nations. The reverence of their history is morale booster and is a cushion against bullying. The common history bands them against an external enemy.
In the New Gambia, we should reinvent the New Gambia and Gambian and put “Made in The Gambia” on everything we do and have. We should revisit our history and give it a pride of place…. Why mustn’t we, for example, commemorate the Sankandi “rebellion” against British rule, one of few instances in which the people rose against colonialism. Our fight for freedom?
Why can’t we have our own type of Magal? Don’t we have our own religious leaders who performed some miracles? Jason Touray should be one, for example, we can rally around. MaBah Jahu?
Why don’t we celebrate E.F. Small? We don’t even study him in school. And he is buried in a nondescript place near Gamtel House in Banjul. Ain’t that a national shame?
We seem to have jettisoned everything Gambian, everything indigenous for ‘I don’t know what’…. We let the air of modernity, nay Europeanism and Americanism, through our windows and doors and got swept off our feet. Some of us don’t seem to know who we are. We have lost our identities. As DK Baldeh posited a person’s or country’s history is everything; when it is lost, everything is lost; when it is revered and celebrated, pride of place is gained.
We need a national reflection. We need to re-enact our history. We need a New Gambia which should be “Made in The Gambia “in its entirety.