By Yunus S Saliu
As debate heightened at the National Assembly on Tuesday before the unanimous ratification of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Prohibition of Illicit Import, and Export of Cultural Properties, dozens of members of the National Assembly agitated for the construction of a purpose-built National Museum for The Gambia and also the increase of fund to the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to enable it carry out its mandate as expected.
Among other National Assembly Members (NAMs) that urged the government of The Gambia to erect a purpose-built National Museum for the country include Honorable Members from Wuli East, Upper Saloum, Jeshwang, Niamina West, Basse, Tuman, Sannehmenteng, Central Badibu, Brikama North, Banjul Central and they also requested the government to prioritize the construction of a purpose-built museum and increase funding for Arts and Culture in The Gambia.
The Minority Leader who is a National Assembly Member for Brakeman North enunciated that if the NCAC is well funded the latter and spirit of the Convention will be realized.
He said the National Centre for Arts and Culture has committed and passionate staff who know their work “Therefore, let them have more money to promote Arts and Culture.”
The NAM for Upper Saloum called on the government to quickly come up with plans to erect a new National Museum that can handle restituted cultural objects, improve tourism, and boost The Gambian’s sense of cultural identity.
National Assembly Member for Basse said a new purpose-built National Museum should be given urgent priority, therefore, he called for more funding to the NCAC so that they can realize their mandate to support Gambian Arts and Culture.
Also, NAM for Banjul Central said the Museum has educational values, and roles to play in national development and therefore, the NCAC should get more funding.
Adding to that was the NAM for Jeshwang who stated that the National Museum in Banjul is too small to fully reflect the Gambia’s rich cultural heritage.
During this debate at the National Assembly, this reporter observed that all the NAMs present spoke of the need to prioritize the building of a new National Museum and that the government should approve more funding for Arts and Culture.