We were outsiders on foreign lands; we can’t be outsiders in Africa – Juliet Ryan

A community made up of African descendants from Europe, America, and the Caribbean who reside in the Gambia is calling on authorities, especially President Adama Barrow to grant them the needed recognition, rights, and privileges as all other citizens of The Gambia.

During a recent meeting organized to discuss citizenship, development and investment opportunities in The Gambia, Mrs. Juliet Ryan who is the spokesperson for the community stated that members of the group already suffered from slavery and all kinds of discrimination in the hands of foreigners and do not need to be subjected to same treatment back home.

“We have been robbed of our culture, robbed of our language, robbed of our family, robbed of legacy, robbed of our heritage and when we come back, we do not want to be seen as outsiders anymore; we were outsiders over there, we do not need to be outsiders here” Juliet who goes by a Gambian name, Nyancho Kujabi said.

The group is demanding equal rights as true indigenes of The Gambia as well as a common playground as citizens; “we want equal rights; we do not want to be treated as others or outsiders…we do not want rights taken away from us. We want to be investing here on an equal basis and on equal footing as Gambian residents and as those of Gambian citizens. We do not want to be discriminated against anymore and we do not want to wait 15 years to become citizens.” Mrs. Ryan added.

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The group’s spokesperson stated further that, “there is no separation between us; If we hadn’t have been taken, our ancestors had not have been taken in slavery, we would not have had to make this journey. We did not have a choice, we were taken by force and 400 years to wait for a welcome is too long.”

“There need to be facilities put in place for us, we’ve gone through trauma, pain, discrimination; we’ve gone through poverty. Many of our brothers and sisters cannot even make it back. Not even for a visit, so we’re privileged ones and let’s all appreciate the fact that, we are privileged just to be here today. But we need or voice to be heard. That is why we are requesting audience with his Excellency Adama Barrow” she said.

The community is looking forward to work with authorities in terms of investment opportunities in areas including recycling and agro-processing geared towards the development of the country. “Inwards investment is important for the development of the Gambia; we all see and we know it and we want to do it so let’s make it inviting for us.” The group said, adding that, “we want to learn the language and the culture but we refuse to be ignored any further.”

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