Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr. Hamat Bah,
Honourable Cabinet Ministers,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Honourable Members of the National Assembly,
Chairman and Members of the National Organising Committee, Janjanbureh Bicentenary,
Our distinguished partners,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you here on this auspicious occasion, the highlight of which is this Breakfast Meeting organised by the National Committee for the Janjanbureh Bicentenary Commemoration.
On behalf of all those at the core of this event and the entire Gambian nation, I most sincerely thank you, our distinguished partners, for finding time to attend this function, despite your busy schedules.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There comes a time in the annals of every nation when it pays very much to reflect on the past in relation to the present in order to determine how far we have come, learn lessons, draw conclusions, enrich our experiences, draw inspiration, and prepare ourselves for a better future. This is the essence of historical data.
As human beings, we must admit that history is an integral part of existence and, thus, influences our lives and contributes to shaping our nations and development trends.
History has proven to be instructive as a source of reference for all shades of people, young and old, all types of communities, rich and poor, and all categories of institutions, formal and informal. The reason for its prominence is obvious.
History embodies all actions and events associated with space and time; hence we are making history by holding this event here. Wisdom dictates, therefore, that we occasionally make reference to history as the sum of human endeavours and their consequences to inform our decisions, plans, and actions.
In fact, nations often lean back on their glorious past to mobilise their people for constructive and sustainable development.
In times of crisis too, our shared history becomes a rallying tool to unite us to strive towards a common destiny. This is why, personally, I have high regard for history and people who make history.
As you know, history and culture are inseparable and they have a telling effect on progress and development. With this in view, my government positions culture and history at the centre of our national development efforts.
This is channelled through policies and strategies that, among other things, are aimed at boosting tourism, building a cohesive society, and forging a strong sense of cultural awareness and pride among Gambian citizens.
It is for this reason that we have resolved to commemorate the Bicentenary of the settlement of Georgetown with a festival from 4th to 7th January 2024 in Janjanbureh, CRR. The theme for the festival is: Celebrating Homecoming and Our Heritage.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are gathered here as part of the preparations for the commemoration of that proposed historic and uniquely significant occasion.
A key objective of the initiative is to make the forthcoming bicentenary commemoration of Georgetown, now Janjanbureh, a sustainable, independent, more effective, and successful national event.
As distinguished citizens, it is critical that you participate effectively in the preparatory process and stages leading to the celebration, which is intended to feature some of the major facts recorded in the history of The Gambia.
Your support to successfully valorise the Gambian history and culture, through the proposed commemoration, will be deeply appreciated and acknowledged. It will go down in the history of this country as a symbolic act of generosity and appreciation of the Gambian cultural heritage. Significantly also, your support will reflect your desire to see our dear country develop faster.
I am hopeful that you will support us to ensure a successful festival. This is just the beginning; so, please enjoy the warmth and company offered to you here, as well as the prominent settings at your disposal and your fabulous breakfast.
To conclude this brief statement, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my singular honour to formally launch the official start of the Preparatory Activities of the Georgetown/Janjanbureh Bicentenary Commemoration Festival, scheduled for 4th to 7th January 2024.
I thank you for your attention.