The Minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, has called on Gambian youths to pursue activities that would promote national unity and to jealously safeguard the peace, tolerance and co-existence that we enjoy in the country.
The Minister, who was speaking in Basse at the weekend during the five-day National Youth Rally organised by the youth wing of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction, urged them to eschew all forms of negative tendencies that may derail the peace the country is enjoying.
“An ancient Greek philosopher was once asked what the difference between war and peace is. In war, he replied, the old bury the young. In peace, the young bury the old. I ask of you to remember the sacred covenant enshrined in our national prayers, I quote, “we strive and work and pray that all may live in unity, freedom and peace each day,” Minister Jammeh said.
“Let’s resist temptations to be used as weapons of mass agitation but instead submit every ounce of our being and fiber of our souls to the cause of the steady development of this country. With His Excellency the President we are assured to cruise at supersonic speed in this effort and strengthen our dignity as a people guided by our own value systems.”
Minister Jammeh described the youth convergence as a golden opportunity in a historic moment to concretize the gains that, all of them and in support of His Excellency the President, have worked so hard to register.
To elaborate some of those gains, he added, the youths have a Ministry that is closer to them by the day; that is more visible and has a staff compliment dedicated to duty working with appropriate policy tools and resources.
He added that at their regional youth and sports offices, the staff have been supported with the requisite tools and resources to reach and cover all parts of the country swiftly in providing for and responding to the needs of the youths.
“It was in that regard that His Excellency the President gave us seven tractors to support our farming activities. With those tractors and in strong partnership with the Regional Governors and District Chiefs, we started our youth farms initiative across the country. From here in the Upper River Region, all the way down to the West Coast Region, the Ministry inspired the setting up of youth owned farms and precisely a little over a year ago, an aggregate effect of those positive results, metamorphosed into a mega youth agriculture programme called The Gambia Songhai Initiative being run in the North Bank Region,” he affirmed.
“At that Centre, we train youth in diverse areas of agriculture to become agro-entrepreneurs; some of whom are already gainfully employed whilst others prepare to launch their private entities. It is in a similar light and as a result of efforts to address the negative impact of the so-called ‘back way’ syndrome that some youths were recently assisted with tools to venture into fishing and tailoring, for example a freezer truck, boats complete fishing gears and tailoring materials.”
Minister Jammeh further stated that within the framework of a very strong partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, they are training young men and women in agro-processing and aquaculture across the country. In addition, he said, youth are supported to attend international forums where they acquire essential competences and networking opportunities.
“These are activities and skills training for the youth are things that we continue to strongly believe as those that can sufficiently address the basic employment needs of the youth,” he said.
“Specifically in the sector of sports, our very tedious but relevant reform has led to the development of clarity of mandate and functions of the various stakeholders; modest refurbishment of sports infrastructure with investment at the Independence Stadium, the National Technical Training Centre, and some mini stadia in all regions, for example in Soma where an existing football field has been turned into a mini-stadium that will have a pavilion with a 15,000 sitting capacity.”
Minister Jammeh added that with their strong partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, they are looking at how talent can be tapped, nurtured and developed in the schools. This, he said, is also based on their firm conviction that it is only a bottom up approach from the communities, schools, together with infrastructure that they can achieve sustainable development and glory in all of our sports.