Gambians on stormed MacCarthy Square Monday for the commemorative event marking their country’s independence from British colonial rule.
Punctuated by colourful parades, celebratory gunfire (fire of joy), this year’s event provided an opportunity to revisit the country’s attainment of sovereignty.
After leading guard of honour, President Adama Barrow said the “auspicious occasion” accords the nation the opportunity to take stock of the success, challenges and progress since the attainment of nationhood.
Th Gambia — smallest country on mainland Africa –is enjoying a new political dispensation transitioning from dictatorship to democracy and rule of law.
Independence, Barrow explained, carries multiple meanings and significance for us as a nation.
“It is not simply about self-rule and freedom from foreign domination; most importantly, it is about freedom of thought and action, leading to our growth and progress as individuals, families, communities, organisations and as a nation,” President Barrow said.
The two-decade long dictatorship has left the West African country facing multiple challenges. But the country’s leader wants Gambians to continue demonstrating what he termed as “patriotic citizenship”. In that they must stick to constructive action and service at all times.
“Let us express our political awareness and maturity by manifesting a high degree of civic responsibility, and by projecting the image and true value and honour of the typical Gambian through our shared values,” he said.
President Barrow explained how the country was able to break the vicious cycle of isolation orchestrated by the former regime. President Barrow said the world has opened up to The Gambia through mutually rewarding bilateral and multilateral relations and agreements.
He reiterated his government’s commitment to ensuring that lives and livelihoods improve meaningfully for every citizen as demonstrated by the authorities persistent efforts to reduce the cost living.
“Efforts aimed at stabilizing prices, reducing taxes and stimulating investment are typical examples,” he said.