By: Landing Ceesay
Juliet Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Blaxit, a group of African descendants from overseas seeking citizenship in The Gambia said they do not want to be seen as outcast in the country.
“We don’t want to be seen as a sideline outcast minority here. We want to be included. We want equal rights and opportunities. We want to have the voice that will be heard here in the Gambia,” said Juliet.
Juliet, who goes by her Gambian name- Nancho Kujabi, said there are thousands of African descendants who want to come and settle in Gambia but first, people need to understand why they are coming back to the country.
She made these remarks at an event called ‘Unity in the Community’ organized by Blaxit and Council of African Descendants (COAD). It was meant to discuss citizenship and inward investment or business development & opportunities in The Gambia.
When asked why Blaxit and COAD organized such an event, Blaxit CEO replied: “I think it is very important to organize this kind of event because there are thousands of African descendants who have decided to make Gambia their home. Gambia is synonymous with roots because the number one story of repatriation is the story of Kunta Kinteh roots story.”
Juliet said people really need to understand why they are coming back to Gambia; saying they want to reintegrate into Gambian society, assimilate, grow, contribute and help create employment opportunities for Gambian youths.
“Everyone in the Gambia should know who we are and why we are in the Gambia. That’s why we started a desensitization programme. We are back in The Gambia because it is our root. We are back because Gambia is where our ancestors come from. It’s just that we are separated because of slavery.”
“We need a constitutional change for us to have our citizenship as soon as possible. The 15 years wait before we will become citizens is way too long to wait. That’s why we want an audience with President Barrow. Because we want immediate action to solve this issue, and President Barrow can help us in the easiest way,” she stated.
Juliet said they asked for commemoration day from the Gambia government to commemorate slavery because they realized that Gambia have not even a single day to commemorate slavery; or even Kunta Kinteh day to remember their ancestors who were forcefully taken to the Americas, Europe and other parts of the world by their colonial masters.