The GCCI business talk
Friday, February 15, 2008
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry's talk on Sunday 10th February, 2008 was most interesting as it was an evaluation of the recent annual dinner and awards programme which took place at the Sheraton Hotel.
About two to three years ago, civil society did not seem to know much about the Chamber's functions and activities.
As a journalist, I wanted to know more about the G.C.C.I and was gratified to have been given the opportunity to go and interview Mr Jallow the young director of this business enterprise. Since then it appears that the association has been put on the map and there have been articles published in the Daily Observer from time to time to inform the public about G.C.C.I activities.
Every year, a gala dinner is organized at our of our prestigious hotels an auspicious and elaborate affair. This annual event is usually a grand and exclusive one and in recent years, awards have been given to various individuals in the business sector, who have excelled in their services given to the community.
This awards programme is a noteworthy innovation, as it focuses on and selects all those whose efforts in the business sector have been recognized and appreciated by the G.C.C.I.
I regard this social event as exclusive when I discover how much is charged for an individual or a couple to attend this annual gala extravaganza. From The Gambia's perspective, the cost of ore than D1,000 for a social evening of this nature is exorbitant which not many individuals or couples can really afford.
The business community are the people in the country who have money on the whole to afford such grandeurs social events. Most people I have spoken to about these exorbitant rates for some of these dinners at the various hotels during the festive seasons agree that D1,000 for a dinner or a night out, is expensive for a poor country like The Gambia at a time when most people are grumbling about the high costs of living pertaining at the present time and we know that many families are unable to provide good nourishing meals each day for the family.
There are those Gambians who want to be included among the elite and affluent and will go through no end of expenditure to be numbered among these affluent groups of the society and will even borrow or beg just to be able to attend such prestigious 'dos', the name given to these social events.
This attitude is recognized as a Gambian failing and is very sad indeed. They must attend these functions at any cost.
I for one cannot afford to spend over D1,000 for a night out no matter how prestigious the event. It is folly to spend so much money on dinners when we know that the majority of our people ar struggling to feed their families daily and those of us who entertain in our homes obviously don't spend D1,000 plus for lunch or dinner.
This is what makes the G.C.C.I gala dinner expensive and unaffordable for the average Gambian. I hope it will not be misconstrued that I am opposed to these grandeurs social activities, on the contrary, The Gambia is rated a poor country, the cost of living has escalated in recent years and we must live within our means by cutting our coats according to the material available for our various circumstances and not indulge in luxuries we cannot afford or which leaves a huge hole in the family budget or resulting in large debt burdens within the family.
Finally, kudos to the two ladies who are members of the G.C.C.I, namely Beatrice Prom, media consultant and communications officer and Sarata, it is impressive that they displayed much knowledge about the organization, they were up to the task assigned to them and were eloquent in the way they responded to the questions put to them by Peter Gomez the proprietor of West Coast radio and a journalist. They are all commended for their performance and a job well done on behalf of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Congratulations are meted out to the G.C.C.I and entire staff in spite of the expensive nature of the annual celebration.