The tourism season has just concluded and many are now wondering what is next or what they should embark on to make ends meet to sustain themselves and their respective families. Something needs to be done now.
Recently, I went for a stroll to free my mind and contemplate about life and its mysteries. I walked for a while and eventually, I found myself around the Bakau Tourism Development Area where business appears dull. Stalls belonging to fruit sellers were all closed up. A handful of tourist taxi drivers were seen sitting, relaxing and some playing draughts under a small tree waiting for some white customers to pop out and rent a taxi.
The woodcarvers, batik sellers and financial bureaux workers all seem to be hoping that better will come their way. And I supposed my brothers in Senegambia area are equally suffering the same fate.
To that end, I urge the government, organisations and individuals who work in the tourism sector to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to make The Gambia a year-round tourism destination. The government and organisations should make it a priority thus making little Gambia the best destination for not only tourists but for adventurers and others who wish to stay and work in foreign lands. Rome wasn’t build in a day and so tourism advancement and growth will never come instantaneously but we have to change our strategies.
Recently in your paper, the tourism minister made it clear that The Gambia has exceeded its tourism growth expectations this year. In that context, she said the Gambia is ‘okay for now’. Their only challenge, she said is to make The Gambia as busy in summer as in winter.
To achieve those aspirations and expectations, all must come as one and work together as one people aiming for one simple but far-fetched goal. Some would say: ‘I will never work for this government or country which has done nothing for me or for my community. Well to paraphrase theformer American president, JF Kennedy, ask not what your country has done for you but what you can do for your country.
Bakau Wasulung Kunda
Police brutality is still a norm
I can’t help but write to your reputable publication to share with your readers the despicable act of some of our men in uniform who go round and brutalise young people with no justified reason. In fact, as a civil force, there is no reason justified enough to warrant physical assault by the police on any civilian.
I happen to close from work last evening and found this young man, accused of stealing a mobile phone even though he was vehemently denying this. Two uniformed men were escorting this young man, who was cursing severely and swearing to all the gods and his mother that he was innocent of this crime. The third officer, a non-uniformed man, was in the centre of the drama.
The boy refused to be cuffed on the grounds that he was willing to go with them to the police station to prove his innocence. He was nonetheless cuffed to the uniformed policeman and he started complaining that the cuffs were too tight.
The irony of the whole drama, as the people got around to witness this and murmur in low voices that ‘this is not civilised’, happened when the suspect revealed that the phone in question belonged to the arresting, non-uniformed officer’s girlfriend, and that he was willing to reyanteh with the policeman should he (policeman) insist on using forceful physical assault to arrest him and take him to the station.
Due to the intervention of the other uniformed men, who were less brutal and civil in their approach, a full-blown fist fight was averted. But the officer was heard cursing, mbeh cu kella nying na ning futa ta stationo to… (Meaning, I will do something drastic to him when we reach the station).
I hope the readers will draw lessons and share their views on this. I couldn’t do much but go home to write this story for your paper. Thanks for the space.
Renewing calls for action on climate change
I am writing to express my opinion on your notable newspaper on recent efforts by The Gambia government on its renewal of calls for action to fight against climate change.
Firstly, as the impacts of climate change continue to gather strength around the world, it’s important that we examine its causes in wholeness; realness and immediacy to enable us carve tidy solutions. Scientific evidence, for instance, has arrived at hard-and-fast conclusions that greenhouse gas emissions have reached disturbing heights and as a result, the ozone layer is depleting at a faster rate. This scenario is indeed man-made and has further led to the rise in sea levels, changes in climatic variations, and extreme weather events. Seriously, these impacts could go to great trouble to fix.
In the past decade, environmentalists have made too much of the matter and as global warming continues to take its rightful place in the world; there’s still a protracted debate central to which is the issue of man and the environment. In as much as countries like Australia are backtracking because they cling to the notion that climate change is not man-made, others are certain that it is – including The Gambia.
Put more bluntly, the Gambian effort to address the issue of climate change has taken varying directions and the recent open letter sent to President Barack Obama of the United States by Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia’s environment minister is indeed laudable. This underscores the importance of reigniting a new global conversation on the issue. And for those who sit on the pessimistic side of the historical events of climate change, it’s important for them to know it’s high time that they paid more attention to this 21st century development challenge.
Finally, it’s my place to urge all Gambians to aptly regard climate change as a reality and for government to develop a rigid set of adaptive strategies to mitigate its impacts. But least developed countries including The Gambia need to press the matter even further targeting multi-lateral institutions like the United Nations. These institutions will also have to put some pressure on industrialised countries that have contributed significantly to the impacts of climate change. The world needs to know how to learn from past mistakes and prepare for what’s left of the future. We can no more afford countries continuing to give scant regard to this reality.
Lamin Nyang Gaye