By Omar Sabally
The Vice President of the Gambia, Dr Isatou Touray received the Queen’s Barton on Wednesday at the State House on behalf of President Adama Barrow.
The Queen’s Baton arrived in The Gambia on Monday and was received at the Banjul International Airport by the Baton Manager for The Gambia Abdoulie Jallow.
The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay which departed for the British High Commissioner’s Residence shortly after a brief ceremony at the Airport is expected to spend three days exploring the culture and community of The Gambia before departing for Sierra Leone.
The Queen’s Baton Relay celebrates and connects communities from across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Commonwealth Games.
The Relay began on October 7th 2021 at the Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.
VP Touray ran with the Baton from State House to McCarthy Square where she delivered a brief statement.
In her remarks on behalf of the President, The Gambian Vice President said hosting the Relay reminds her of the decision taken by her government to rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations in 2017.
She stated that the decision to rejoin the Commonwealth was very simple, noting that the Games, whilst encouraging healthy competition, also help to renew the strong bonds of brotherhood and friendship amongst each other.
VP Touray encouraged everyone to embrace the cultural diversity of the Commonwealth whilst continuing to collaborate with each other to pass on the ideals of the Commonwealth to the next generation.
“Sports is one of the biggest platforms through which our youth can contribute to the development of the Nation. As a result, my government is committed to creating an enabling environment for its youth to engage in both leisure and professional sporting activities,” she said.
David Belgrove, the British High Commissioner to the Gambia said the Baton will take an incredible 294-day journey through all nations and territories of the Commonwealth, arriving back in England in July 2022.
He added that the Baton will travel an epic international route, spanning an impressive 269 days, spending between two and four days in each nation or territory, covering approximately 90,000 miles (140,000 kilometres), with over 7,500 Baton bearers trusted with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Queens Baton.
He further said that the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay will visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth yet will travel almost half a distance than the previous Gold Coast Queen’s Baton Relay in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint.
He highlighted that the Queen’s Baton Relay will bring a message of hope and unity in collaboration as well as “remind us that there is more that unites us than separates us”.
He further said that the Gambia’s rejoining of the Commonwealth in 2017 is a reminder that we are unified in the challenges that we are facing particularly with Covid-19 and climate change.
Meanwhile, during each visit, nations and territories stage host events and activities that showcase untold stories from Baton bearers, athletes, and young people who are striving for change in their community alongside showcasing of projects that address at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Baton will be visiting sustainable projects within Banjul, KMC and West Coast Region. It will additionally take a boat trip from Lamin Lodge to Denton Bridge enjoying our beautiful mangroves and various bird species.
The global journey will conclude at the opening ceremony of the Birmingham Games in 2022 where the final Baton bearer will return it to Her Majesty the Queen.