Banjul, Gambia (PANA)- Gambian President elect-Adama Barrow has urged Gambians to build on their strengths, work on their shortfalls and grab the opportunities that exist to improve the circumstances and develop their homes, communities and the country.
“This is the route we should take to attain the inclusive development we so dearly wish ourselves," he said in his Christmas message to the nation here Saturday.
“No matter what our religious or political beliefs are, we can reconcile as a nation by following proper procedures, adhering to the rule of law, and showing respect for each other. In the process, we must accept our mistakes, negotiate, and ensure that justice prevails.
"As Gambians, we should be proud that, despite the size of our country, we have attracted world attention due to our tolerance, respect for human rights, and freedom of expression,” he said.
He added: “More profoundly, our orientation towards multi-party democracy and devotion to the advancement of our dear motherland now distinguish us a nation of peace and progress."
"Let us continue to embrace and nurture these values in a stable environment and leave them behind as legacies for the younger generation and those unborn.
"We are taught that Jesus came to teach, save and guide. In his life is a shining example and inspiration for humankind to love, do good and help one another. I pray that God fills our hearts with love, our minds with wisdom, and our nation with peace and blessings,” Barrow stated.
According to him, this year’s Christmas will be celebrated with relief and remembered specially, as it comes in the wake of the unprecedented and successful 4 December presidential election.
“Despite the religious-secular divide, Gambians came out in their numbers to vote me into office for a second term. I thank the electorate for this show of trust and confidence in me.
"The peaceful and transparent manner in which the election was conducted indicates that we may have our differences as Gambians, but we can mutually accept our diversity and be tolerant of each other.
"Politically, we may have preferences, but the majority carries the day. As it stands, Gambians have spoken, and we must respect their voice. Therefore, as we pray and thank the Almighty God, let us also come together as a people and a nation,” President Barrow told Gambians.
The Gambian leader further noted the maturity and patriotism exhibited by the Christian Community, as evidenced by their civility and regard for the rule of law.
He pointed out that the Christian Community’s continuous engagement in charitable acts, alleviating poverty amongst vulnerable groups, and investments in education, health, and agriculture could not go unnoticed.
He commended the cooperation of the Christian Community, especially during the difficult periods when the COVID restrictions restrained them from holding their special religious feasts.
“The leadership in the various Churches demonstrated commitment during those trying moments, and contributed to the fight against the pandemic.
"They called on their congregations to abide by the health regulations, even when it was most inconvenient for them. With the emergence of the Omicron variant, I urge all of us to continue to take the health precautions seriously and cooperate to mitigate the spread of the virus,” President Barrow emphasized.
He stated that the social and spiritual values that bound Gambians made Christmas a moment of joy for Christians and their non-Christian friends and neighbours.
He also said the way Gambians jointly welcomed and observed Christmas and maintained social bonds, despite religious differences, made them the envy of many multicultural societies.
“In many cases across the country, we are connected through inter-marriage, thus further strengthening our blood ties. No wonder the Christian Community continues to adhere to their religious obligations without hindrance from the State or non-Christians,” he noted.
-0-PANA MSS/RA 25Dec2021