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 Speeches by Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 27 Apr 2021 : 21:20:47
Compilation of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara speeches
by Dembo Fatty



Your Royal Highness, Your Excellencies and Distinguished Guests,
We are very proud and happy to assemble here today to welcome Your Royal Highness, your graceful Consort, the Duchess of Kent, and all the distinguished guests who have gathered here to celebrate with us our country's attainment of Independence.

We are honoured that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to mark this great and historic occasion by appointing Your Royal Hignness to be here as Her representative, and we would like Your Royal Highness to convey to Her Majesty our grateful appreciation.

We would in particular ask Your Royal Highness to thank Her Majesty on behalf of the people of The Gambia for giving Her Royal consent to become Queen of The Gambia and for welcoming our new Nation to the Commonwealth of Nations.

We are pleased to hear that Her Majesty can look back with pleasure to her: visit to The Gambia in 1961, and we hope that we shall have the honour to receive another Royal visit in the near future.

We thank Your Royal Highness for your kind words and for your confidence in us as we take over full responsibility for the management of our country's affairs. We are very conscious that the task which lies before us is formidable; and, this being so, we are the more determined to strive relentlessly to overcome the difficulties that make the task so considerable. In all our aims to foster peace, progress and prosperity in The Gambia, the goodwill and co-operation of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and other Governments in Africa and other parts of the Commonwealth are essential, and, as Your Royal Highness has rightly predicted, such goodwill and co-operation will help us considerably to sustain and develop our aim to build a new, peaceful and prosperous nation.

We are a small nation, which likes to think that the orderly nature of our people can contribute something to the peace and stability of this continent. For this reason, we do not intend to concern ourselves solely with domestic affairs. With, The Gambia's characteristic tolerance, understanding and friendliness, we intend to align ourselves on the side of the world's peaceful forces, in particular with our friends in Senegal, and to contribute in every way possible to establish peace among other peoples of the world and a spirit of good neighbourliness among nations. Your Royal Highness has emphasized that the Commonwealth of Nations , of which The Gambia is now a full member, can contribute greatly to establish world peace and for this and other historical reasons, including the family feeling that has bound the countries of the Commonwealth together for so long, we shall play our part to the best of our ability.

In conclusion, we would like, once more, to extend to you, Sir. and to Her Royal Highness, our best wishes for your continued good health and happiness, and with humble duty I would ask you to convey to Her Majesty and to the Duke of Edinburgh the loyal greetings of The Gambian people.'

"Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara"
3   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Momodou Posted - 17 May 2021 : 23:32:26


Mr. Speaker,

His Excellency's presence in this House is certainly a historic occasion. Sir John served The Gambia during a momentous period in our history—on reflection Honourable Members of the House will agree with me that, looking back, it is difficult to believe that so much has taken place in a period of less than four years. During the many constitutional changes and sociological advancement during those years His Excellency has applied his wisdom, his knowledge and experience to the needs of The Gambia. His Excellency has proved himself singularly well adapted to the demands of our changing times, and his leadership has been of a quality and discretion which will long be remembered.

We look back with pride on the achievements of recent years in which The Gambia has attained her status as an independent nation. We, in this House, know that our people have gained strength and inspiration from independence and are applying themselves to the tremendous tasks which lie ahead for the economic and social advancement which we are all determined to achieve. And in our progress we have been impressed by Sir John's active interest and participation in the numerous facets of Gambian life: in this regard, Mr. Speaker, I would mention the devotion and dedication of Lady Paul to so many of the associations and activities which form a part of our pattern of life which we cherish so dearly.

His Excellency has referred to Senegalo-Gambian Association. I entirely agree that certain of our problems can best be solved in the context of closer practical association and co-operation to the benefit of both countries and their peoples ; and I regard the strengthening and widening of the fields of co-operation between the two countries as one of the greatest challenges that face us and our Senegalese colleagues. An obvious example is the possible joint economic development of The Gambia River Basin which is already the subject of a formal agreement between the two countries. Of course there are numerous other possible fields of co-operation perhaps less grand and less spectacular, but which can nonetheless be of great significance to the peoples of Senegambia.

His Excellency has praised the political stability of this country and I would stress that this is a vital requirement; for without it, we have observed with sorrow how, all too frequently, countries on this Continent which are otherwise so richly endowed in material assets have foundered in rebellion and confusion. We believe that a Government must be based upon democratic principles and must conduct itself from day to day in accordance with the provisions enshrined in its Constitution and its laws. The people we represent must see clearly that the activities of their Government are carried out for the general good. The Gambia has a record of which she may be justly proud. His Excellency has spoken of subversion and sedition and we must remind ourselves that the utmost vigilance is necessary to distinguish the differences between constructive, healthy criticism, which is an integral part of democracy, and subversive elements often aided from abroad, which produce chaos out of which only years of struggle and misery can restore something of the former equilibrium and contentment. In this we have faith in our people and they have confidence in us.

Today His Excellency takes his formal leave of this House as Head of State. We are proud that a Gambian will henceforth take this office. We would not, however, be human if we did not feel a very real sadness in seeing Sir John and Lady Paul depart from our shores. In wishing them, on behalf of this House, our sincere good wishes for their future health, happiness and prosperity, I am reminded of these words in Milton's Paradise Lost:

"For solitude sometimes is best society
And short retirement urges sweet return."

Mr. Speaker, His Excellency and Lady Paul have earned the right to retire from the limelight and should they decide in the future to return as visitors they will indeed be assured of a "sweet return," and a hearty Gambian welcome.

All of us will mourn the passing away, within recent weeks, of two great figures from the Commonwealth and the International scene. I refer to Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, Prime Minister of India, and Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr. Shastri died suddenly after successfully negotiating the Tashkent Agreement, which was probably the greatest single diplomatic triumph of his career. He became the head of affairs in India at a difficult time, and none will say that he did not rise to the occasion. His handling of the many problems which beset his administration have marked him for all time as a great statesman and a humanitarian.

Alhaji Sir Abubakar's end is all the more lamentable for the tragic circumstances which surround it. That this great son of Africa should die by the hand of the assassin is indeed a poor reward for his selfless and enduring services to the Nigerian nation. He will be sorely missed, not only by those who knew and loved him, but also by those who value integrity and moderation in the conduct of international affairs.

“Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara”
Momodou Posted - 02 May 2021 : 18:45:29


Mr. President,

Please allow me to add my own and The Gambian delegation's warmest and most sincere congratulations to those of so many other distinguished delegates on the occasion of your election as President of the Twentieth Session of the General Assembly. Although we are relative strangers here, the services and achievements which have earned you this distinction are no secret to us and it is a matter of immense satisfaction to us, as I dare say it is to everyone here, and as has been evidenced by previous speakers, that your untiring efforts in the cause of world peace, international fellowship and co-operation should now be given the recognition which they so eminently deserve.

I would like to congratulate your immediate predecessor, Mr. Alex Quaison-Sackey, for having performed valuable service during a time of crisis.

It is with a sense of deep sorrow that I address the General Assembly: sorrow because of the fratricidal war in which two of our Commonwealth brothers, India and Pakistan, are at the moment engaged. It is my earnest hope that these two great countries would heed the counsels of peace emanating from this United Nations and bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities in accordance with the Security Council resolution.

But, Mr. President, it is also with a deep sense of pride and humility that I avail myself of the honour and privilege of addressing this Assembly. With my people, I take pride in the thought that, without ever departing from the path of peaceful and orderly progress, The Gambia has taken its rightful place in the family of nations. But I am all humility when I reflect that, in terms of size, population and resources, The Gambia is one of the smallest countries to accede to international sovereignty.

This presents very special problems when a country like The Gambia finds that it is expected to contribute to the expenses of the United Nations Organisation on the basis of a minimum contribution which is out of all proportion to its resources, and to join specialized agencies which intend to assess the country's contribution on the basis of the same minimum rates. This problem has been explained to the Secretary-General and, unless a solution can be found, it may well mean that my country may not be able to participate in the affairs of the United Nations to the extent which we would wish.

The Gambia, as you may know, is a very small country which, in material terms, has little to offer this organisation. With a population of just over* 300,000 and a one crop economy, our circumstances cannot be said to be exactly comfortable, and in this regard my people and I, are sincerely grateful to the British Government for the assistance which we have received in the past and are still receiving from them.

My Government, being conscious both of the close ethnic ties between the Senegal and The Gambia, and of the problems which a small independent country would eventually have to race, has always that the future of The Gambia lies in close and friendly relationship with the Senegal. With this uppermost in mind, my Government held discussions with the Senegalese Government which led to the commissioning of a team of United Nations experts, with the assistance of the Secretary-General, to whom I owe a personal debt of gratitude for this generous offer of assistance, to examine and report on the possibilities of closer association between the two countries on the attainment of independence by The Gambia. The report was considered by the two Governments and the Senegal and The Gambia have agreed to a partnership based on a loose "entente" regulated by treaties.

I am happy to be able to inform this Assembly that the two Governments have agreed to co-operate in the fields of foreign policy, and of security and defence. In implementing these agreements, The Gambia and the Senegal have exchanged High Commissioners with a view to furthering the cause of closer cooperation I must also mention that a team of F. A. O. specialists, who were seconded to the United Nations Senegalo-Gambian Mission, have examined the implications, for agriculture, of economic integration between The Gambia and the Senegal, and have laid ground work for a development survey of The Gambia River Basin. The report has been examined by both Governments and the recommendations accepted in principle. Arrangements to provide the finance required for a feasibility survey of these projects are being examined.

Whilst admitting that The Gambia has many problems particularly economic and financial, I take comfort from the fact that, having regard to the sympathy and impartiality which characterize the brotherhood of nations, my country is no longer alone in her struggles now that she has gained admission to this society.

I am happy to say, and I am sure every member here will support me in this that despite its temporary difficulties over contributions to the United nations peace-keeping operations, this Organisation is becoming a more potent factor year by year in the maintenance of world peace. This notable achievement is in a great measure attributable to the dedication and the vision of its Secretary General. We in the Gambia have always followed with great interest and admiration his efforts and those of his predecessors to settle international disputes, and their successful interventions in various political and economic crisis.

Everything therefore which can be done should be done to maintain and further strengthen such an effective instrument for the improvement of the lot of mankind. It is in this spirit that I pledge the unqualified support of my country for any cause which this Organisation may decide to make its own, and which aims at recognising the uniqueness and the value of the individual and the common humanity f all peoples.

Before I finish I would like to express my personal gratitude and that of my Government and the people of The Gambia to all those nations which have, at various stages in the proceedings, sponsored my country's admission to membership of the United Nations, as well as to all those distinguished delegates who have spoken so eloquently today to bid us welcome to this Assembly.

Finally, I must say that this day will live with me for as long as memory lasts, and I pray that the Almighty will watch over the liberties and the destinies of all members of this organisation which, it is true to say, has upheld the finest traditions of this century and all that is noble in humanity. May continued goodwill and success attend its deliberations.

"Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara"
Momodou Posted - 28 Apr 2021 : 20:41:20


Fellow Gambians

I last spoke to you on the eve of Independence, and before I leave tomorrow morning to meet the leaders of Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone to discuss with them the main topics of the forthcoming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference which is to be held in London next month, I thought you would like to hear about my Government's achievements in the field of Foreign Affairs, the plans we have made to improve the agricultural output of the country, and finally to tell you about the recent elections that have been held to replace some Chiefs whose services had come to an end.

In the field of Foreign Affairs, you will remember that the Joint Communique issued at the end of the Senegalo-Gambian Conference on Foreign Affairs which was held in Dakar from the 27th to 29th March, spoke of the identity of views of the two countries on the issues discussed during the conference. I propose to tell you of the main themes of discussion and of the decisions reached at these talks.

The Conference assembled in accordance with the Agreement between The Gambia and the Senegal on co-operation in the field of 'Foreign Affairs. In particular, we discussed:-
- The recognition of The Gambia by Overseas Countries and our Diplomatic Representation Overseas.
- The Diplomatic Representation by Overseas Countries in The Gambia.
- The Organization of African Unity and the F. A.O. Report on the Integrated Development of The Gambia River Basin.
- Ninety countries have, in one form or another, recognised The Gambia as a sovereign independent nation.

As you know, The Gambia already has a High Commissioner in the United Kingdom and plans are well advanced for the exchange of High Commissioners with the Senegal. The possibility is also being explored of opening a small mission in New York.

We have no other immediate plans to establish missions in other countries. The Senegal will be asked to represent The Gambia in non-Commonwealth countries where we do not have diplomatic missions. In Commonwealth countries where we have no diplomatic representation however, we will follow the accepted practice and a Commonwealth member country will be requested to look after our interest.

As regards overseas diplomatic representation in The Gambia it has been decided that those countries which wish to establish diplomatic relations with us should do so, preferably through their existing missions in the Senegal. A number of countries have so far expressed a desire to establish such relations with us. Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Federal German Republic, Ghana, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Lebanon, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal, the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and South Vietnam to name but a few. The United Kingdom, of course, has already established a High Commission in the Gambia.

Turning to the United Nations, The Gambia's application for membership of the United Nations, sponsored by the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Jordan and the Ivory Coast, has been recommended by the Security Council and, will be put before the General Assembly when it meets next in September. Consultations with the U. N. Secretary General will be necessary before a decision can be reached on the most suitable method of representation in New York. Meanwhile, the Senegalese Government are prepared to allocate an office in the Senegalese Embassy in New York for the use of our representative.

Sponsored by the Senegal; The Gambia was accepted as a member of the Organisation 'of African Unity during the meeting of Foreign Ministers held in Nairobi in February. The Organisation is, as you know, going through a crisis brought about by the divergent attitudes of member countries on a number of problems affecting the African continent, particularly the Congo. There has recently been intense diplomatic activity on the part of the O. C. A. group, of which Senegal is a member, and countries such as Ghana, Mali, Algeria. For the present the meeting of O. A. U. Heads of State scheduled to take place in Accra in September still remains uncertain. This is one of the matters 1 shall be discussing next week when I meet my West African Commonwealth colleagues.

An Agreement was signed on Independence Day, setting up an Inter-State Sub-committee of the Senegalo-Gambian Inter-Ministerial Committee, to study the F. A. O. Report and make recommendations on implementation. The first meeting of the Sub-committee is expected to take place in Bathurst in the second half of May.

Other matters we discussed at the Conference were: attendance at overseas conferences, to see in what way Senegal and The Gambia could share representation, the anti-Portuguese resistance movements, the possibility of abolishing visas between The Gambia and the Senegal, the problems of reciprocity in road transport and the question of the reconstruction of the Trans-Gambia road.

I am pleased to tell you that this successful conference, the first since we became an Independent country, was one of the most many we have had with our Senegalese friends, and justifies the view of my Government that the future of this country lies in a close and friendly association with our neighbours.

This is an opportune time for me to tell you of a decision which my Government has recently taken to change the rule of the road by driving on the right instead of on the left. We are convinced that this will reduce accidents, particularly when we realise that traffic between Senegal and The Gambia is bound to increase. The changeover will I hope take place at the end of the rainy season.

I should like to take this opportunity of referring to the work of the Cabinet Committee on Agriculture which was set up shortly after The Gambia attained full internal self-government. The Report of this Committee is being printed and will shortly be published and laid before Parliament as a Sessional Paper. It contemplates a fairly rapid expansion of the services provided by the Department of Agriculture, particularly in the way of increasing extension staff and in widening the scope of the Mixed Farming Centres. A substantial increase in agricultural credit for the purchase of fertilizer and ox-drawn equipment is recommended and a request for assistance in this field has been made to the Federal Republic of Germany. These and many other recommendations of the Committee have been accepted by the Government as the basis of agricultural policy over the coming years. I hope that all those who can will read and study the Report when it comes out and that its important recommendations will lead to an even better agricultural season in 965/66 than the one which we have been fortunate in enjoying in this our Year of Independence.

Now to the question of Chiefs: towards the end of last month, certain days were set aside during which persons wishing to be considered for vacant chieftaincies were invited to present themselves before meetings held by the various District Authorities. Candidates should have the support of twenty persons, who were themselves voters registered within the district.

In Fulladu West District, it being very large, thirty supporters were required. In one district, that of Kombo South, only one nomination remained after the voluntary withdrawal of N' Yonkoling Touray, and arrangements have been made to appoint Sulayman Dabo. In other districts, candidates range from three to fifteen, as in Lower Baddibu; whilst elsewhere after considering these names of candidates very carefully, the number was reduced to about two or three. Thus persons who were eligible to vote, that is to say, those yard owners who are on the Area Council's tax assessment lists, and who were also registered as voters in the district, could concentrate on choosing among a few names rather than dissipating their votes on several names. The elections were held from 4th — 13th May. I am very happy to say that those eligible to elect their chiefs had done so with creditable orderliness, and peacefully. The results of the secret ballots have disclosed a strong preference for one or other of the candidates. This preference has been upheld by me in the advice tendered to the Governor-General with regard to appointments.

It says much for the stability of this country to be able, so soon after Independence, to conduct elections of such a nature without untoward incident. This success is an indication of the stability which exists in the Provinces today, and also illustrates the harmonious atmosphere which has developed increasingly between Government and people, I take this opportunity of reaffirming what the Minister for Local Government, Labour and Lands said to you in a radio broadcast which he made in the middle of March. As you will see from the new appointments Government t is fully committed to upholding and preserving the institution of Chiefs. As evident in these recent elections, this institution is a popular traditional link between Government and the people, and Chiefs still have a very important part to play in public life of this country. The new Chiefs, I am sure, will continue to uphold the dignity of their offices and win the respect of their peoples. They are required to give impartial and indefatigable service to their people, coupled with the strict observance of the laws and customs to be honest and just in all dealings, and to strive constantly for the increased prosperity, peace and welfare of their districts.

"Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara "

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