Speaking Thursday evening at Coco Ocean Hotel and Resort in Kololi at a reception marking the 238rd independence anniversary of the United States, Mr Yoneoka said: “As the cooperation between the United States and The Gambia is strong and growing stronger, the cooperation between America and Africa at large is likewise stronger now than ever before.”
US Independence Day is celebrated on July 4 but as that day will fall in Ramadan, the US Embassy decided to celebrate the day prior to the commencement of fasting.
The diplomat said: “Our cooperation is strong and continues in the strengthening bound between our two peoples. Our cooperation is strong and continues in education. Our cooperation is strong and continues in law enforcement and security. Our cooperation is strong and continues in promoting exchanges between the people of our two countries. Our cooperation is strong as we work to support communities throughout The Gambia. Our cooperation is strong as we continue to development projects to build capacities in The Gambia. Our cooperation is strong as we continue to support business development in The Gambia. We just received US$300,000, about D12 million, to lunch a TechCamp for civil society, micro, small and medium enterprises, and set-up incubators to encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to become established and grow in The Gambia.”
The charge d’affaires told the gathering of US citizens, diplomats, government officials and other invited guests: ‘238 years ago a group of people made a declaration that would forever change the course of history. These patriots, our ancestor, provided a voice for voiceless, hope for hopeless, a dream not only for Americans, but also for people all around the world. While Independence Day is a day to remember where we come from, it is also a day where we focus on where we will go. We are a nation dedicated to moving forward, not dwelling in the past.’
The US diplomat stated: “I have been researching the history of the relationship between the two countries and it appears that the US first established relations as early as 1830, and records are sketchy but I found a copy of the 1881 appointment of one of our earliest diplomats, a vice consul to be resident in The Gambia. Our engagement with The Gambia, dating back at least 130 years was re-energised 50 years ago at the time of The Gambia’s independence and remains as strong and important today as ever before. However, we are not merely satisfied with closeness of our relationship in the past; we are committed to maintaining and growing the collaboration between our two nations into the future. I hope that just as we did with England, we will continue to turn forward and look ahead. Our cooperation is strong and continues to grow. “
The representative of the government of The Gambia, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Kebba Touray, also thumped up Banjul-Washington relationship saying it is growing from strengthen to strengthen.
“The pioneers of American independence should be commended for their resilience and commitment for liberating the United States of America from the atrocities of centuries of colonial rule. As we join you on this auspicious occasion of freedom and the recognition of fundamental human rights, I am hopeful that the government and people of the United States will celebrate this day bearing in mind the importance of these core values in ensuring world peace and order,” Minister Touray.
The minister said: “We live in a globalised world, where instability in one nation wills in one way or the other impact us all; therefore, as the United States celebrates freedom day today, it should put the freedom and liberty of all other nations into consideration. We should redouble efforts to strengthen our existing areas of cooperation, which include education, health and the environment, and to broaden the scope of our cooperation.“
By Sainey Marenah