Monday, July 8, 2013

US Ambassador Alford hails ‘vibrant’ America-Gambia relations

Speaking a day after The Gambia passes a “strict internet law”, Alford said freedom of speech and of the press played an important role in stimulating American civil rights movements.(Photo Credit: Sainey MK Marenah)

United States Ambassador, Edward M. Alford, has said the Embassy in Banjul is not only celebrating his country’s 237th Independence anniversary but also the “vibrant relationship” that the people of America and the people of The Gambia continue to cultivate.

Speaking Thursday July 4 at a luxurious hotel at Kerr Serign, West Coast Region of The Gambia, Mr Alford said the United States and The Gambia enjoy the fruits of pluralism in cultural practices, diversity in people and religious tolerance.

“The Gambia is a model for not only West Africa, but for the entire world,” he said.

Alford said the past 237 years have tested the United States’ vigor, integrity and resilience, and that the realization of America is ongoing, a process that began in 1776 and still continues today.

He commended great leaders and innovators like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks, by not only inspiring them with their words but pushed the evolution of democracy.

“With the efforts of the heroes and patriots, the right of full participation in public life and full access to our sacred rights has expanded. This progress has not been effortless, it has required “sweat, tears and sometimes blood,” the US Ambassador noted. 

Speaking a day after The Gambia passes a “strict internet law” that allows for publishers of false news against public officials jailed for 15 years or fined close to US$100,000, Alford said freedom of speech and of the press played an important role in stimulating American civil rights movements.

He recognized scarifies made by media professionals in America’s quest for self-rule and democracy.

Nana Grey Johnson, The Gambia’s Minister of Information, believes the pioneers of America’s independence should be commended for their resilience and commitment “for liberating the USA from the atrocities of centuries of colonial rule”.

“They should be hailed for empowering a country that has toiled through the hardships and injustices of colonial rule paving the way for the rise of the United States into a political and economic superpower,” he added.

Mr. Johnson, who represented the Foreign Affairs Minister, Susan Waafa Ogoo, ask the US to put the freedom and liberty of all nations into consideration, and to provide assistance to countries facing crises that are detrimental to the promotion of freedom and the recognition of human rights. 

The US Government provides technical support to The Gambia in the areas of education, health and the environment.

And Johnson noted the importance of strengthening these existing areas of cooperation, while commending the US Embassy in Banjul for playing a pivotal role towards the development of The Gambia.

“The efforts of the Peace Corps volunteers in providing quality education to The Gambian populace have gone a long way in enhancing The Gambia’s progress in achieving Millennium Development Goal Two (MDG2), Universal Primary Education,” he noted.   


Written by Modou S. Joof
 
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