VP Touray with Queen Baton

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.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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