AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF TOURISM & CULTURE ON DISCRIMINATION IN THE GAMBIA DURING THE TOURIST SEASON
Gambians can be peaceful, patient and law abiding but “lu opah turu”. You have been making statements that are not appreciated by the youth of this country. Yet your ministry is coming with degrading measures during the 2017/2018 tourist season.
As you may be aware, your Ministry has put in place measures which are unpleasant and degrading to the local people.
People particularly blacks have been restricted from going to certain places such as the beach and Senegambia because of tourists.
It has been noted that many Gambians have been restricted from entering Senegambia from 5:00 PM to midnight. Victims have been sharing their ordeals on social media and we believe that your Ministry needs to pay attention to the outcry of those people.
How can your Ministry request for the restriction of the movement of the people because of tourists?
How can your ministry with its disappointing measures stop a local from having a meeting or dinner in Senegambia or anywhere around the country? If these measures have been copied from another country, well we should know that our beloved country is different and we should adapt anything copied somewhere else to our realities.
Why are locals required to identify themselves while white foreign nationals who may be the real danger to our society are not bothered?
How can men in uniform be given directives/orders to harass and ridicule local people particularly our brothers and sisters labeled as “Bumsters”? It is deplorable to have a Minister use such a contemptuous term. Instead “bumsterism” is at your Ministry.
How do you expect to stop illegal migration with such harsh measures?
As nationals, are we not entitled to enjoy the goods of our own country? Your Ministry needs to envision better and more vibrant tourism policies that will include the locals.
Everybody should be able to enjoy their holidays in this beautiful country without discrimination.
The tourist season will end, the tourist will leave the country but the locals will remain and will patronize the places that are currently restricted to them .
We perfectly understand that the tourist sector is a generator of income for our economy but are we supposed to prostitute ourselves, institutions and country?
As Gambian (either in uniform or civilian), we need to bear in mind that the sequels of 22 years of tyranny and last year’s tragedy have not even begun to heal yet. The trauma is still there.
As servants of the people, your Ministry needs to always remember that without the assistance of the people, your policies may awfully fail.
Therefore, you should consider amicably cooperating with the people instead of abusing the use of directives/orders that our brothers and sisters in uniform blindly follow because of fair to be sanctioned.
We need to be very careful with our actions as the Gambian people won’t tolerate abuses anymore.
We expect your Ministry to make The Gambia a better place for the Gambians, tourists and everybody at large. We have no other p lace but our dear country and we will do our utmost best to protect it as we previously did.
This unacceptable and unbearable approach need to immediately stop. We don’t want anybody to be discriminated in this great nation. We all want what is best for this great country of ours,The Gambia.
Together we should work in safeguarding our dignity and keeping the coast smiling.
Please accept, Hon. Minister, the assurances of our patriotic consideration.