Tourism and Culture minister, Hamat Bah

The Tourism Minister has put smiles on the faces of Gambian artists as he pledges to enforce the new Copyrights law that will ensure that artists reap the benefits of their work.

Speaking to journalists, Hamat Bah lamented about the deplorable conditions Gambian artists have been living in for years regarding their products and rights.

He said government wants to remove poverty among Gambian artists, adding that the government aims at ensuring that even when an artist dies his or her family can benefit from his or her legacy work.

“We immediately signed the Copyright regulation and it is now functional the institution has now started and people are being recruited and we want to make sure that every artist benefits from his or her work,” he said.

“Our artists are suffering, people are cheating them and they are dying poor. Some of them died in the streets with all what they have done for their country. They were neglected.”

He said Gambians artists were neglected and being cheated leading them to die poor with no meaningful gains despite their contributions to national development.

He said a Copyright Officer has been employed and assigned to work with the Collective Society of the Gambia Board, adding that “they are charged with setting up royalties’ mechanisms and two copy rights inspectors have been hired.

“Their counterparts are millionaires why, because as a government we failed to do what we should have done and that is collecting royalties’ for their products. Their music, their cassettes, their shows what they have produce and this as a government we felt we must put an end to it.”

Meanwhile, he said his ministry has disbursed 500,000 dalasi to the National Centre for Art and Culture to empower cultural groups in the country.

He said due to that the government deemed it necessary to support the cultural groups in the country in order to revive the culture of the land.

He said Gambians need to go back to know who they are in knowing their cultural practices, adding “we cannot accept alien culture that is detrimental to our society.”

Mr. Bah said: “we believe our culture was fading into insignificance; we believe in this country we have to go back to our practices. Our cultural practices we are proud of.”

According to him, the only way this alien culture can be wiped out is if we embrace our cultural practices.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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