The year 2010 is receding into the background; it has presented us as a country and as individuals' achievements and challenges, trials and tribulations. Those who are able to see the future from the present are already aware that even though we have made giant strides, much more work needs to be done to accomplish the national development blueprint -Vision 2020.
As we enter into another year in our lives as individuals and as a sovereign nation in pursuit of growth and development, it is incumbent on us all as citizens of this country to have a moment of reflection and reassess our position in the collective endeavours to secure the economic growth, social advancement and political reorientation, so as to achieve the highest welfare of the citizenry; as inline with the national development blueprint which seeks to transform The Gambia into a financial centre, a tourist paradise, a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector sustained by a well-educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population and guaranteeing a well-balanced eco-system and a decent standard of living for one and all under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry.
Cognizant that we have only seven more years to reach its target in national development; time is more appealing now than ever before for all citizens to work collectively towards our common good, be progressive in thought and action and be oriented towards the national objectives of self-determination and sustainable development. The promotion of national identity and unity as well as the improvement of the lives of our people in both the moral and material sense cannot be left entirely in the hands of the government. The entire country must be engaged constructively towards its accomplishment as one people in pursuit of one goal. Remember the national pledge -if we insist on pursuing our personal goals without keeping the collective in mind, we shall be divided and we shall fall.
Advancement in the political process, economic development, social emancipation and progress, cultural revitalization and promotion are ongoing. Our duty as Gambians is to complement the efforts of government in the establishment of a modern state, whose people would be infused with a sense of national unity and purpose. To this end, a national ideology which will take critical note of the limitations of our country's circumstances on one hand, and on the other, our faith in the dignity of efforts as opposed to despair is required in redirecting our development efforts.
It is imperative that as the country enters a new year, the citizenry should join hands to ensure that barriers to growth and progress are removed and reactionary forces that seek to void national sovereignty and development are tackled effectively. The government is not relenting in its efforts to ensure that the country becomes a bastion of growth and progress in the continent. Taking ownership of the social, economic and political space and exploiting them efficiently should be our prerogative as citizens.
This entails that a change of attitude particularly on the part of our youths is essential to complement the efforts of the government in our development process. It is widely argued that every government is a reflection of its people. Therefore, the extent of popular participation will determine how well a government will serve its people. As stated by William Scranton, the value of government to the people it serves is in direct relation to the interest the citizens themselves show in the affairs of the state.
Time is of the essence. Every Gambian should therefore wake up from his or her slumber and become an active actor in national development.