U.S. ambassador to The Gambia has recalled that the coalition government led by
President Adama Barrow promised to serve a transition period of three years.
“But I did understand that many people who voted for the coalition also
recognise that the constitution sets the term to five years,” she said in an
interview with this journalist recently.
“I think, I, like everyone, understood that the coalition government would stay in for three years as a transition government. But you know circumstances change, and my take is, perhaps they realised three years is not really long enough to really turn things around. But I would leave that to the members of the coalition to decide what they are going to do,” Ms. Patricia Alsup explained.
Counting blessings in U.S.-Gambia ties
Ambassador Alsup also outlined some of the activities the U.S. has been engaged in, in supporting the transition programme of the coalition government.
• In October, U.S. had a programme for National Assembly members to build their capacity to be able to represent their constituents effectively, take up their responsibilities such as making the executive accountable to the people; ensure transparency, pass a budget that reflects the needs of the people, laws that protect basic human rights.
• USAID has recentlycommitted to providing debt management assistance to Ministry of Finance
• The Treasury Department of the U.S. is also committed to providing budget formulation assistance to the same ministry
• The U.S. Department of Justice and that of Homeland Security are also helping to build capacity to investigate financial crimes, in the light of all of these things that are coming out in the Commission of Inquiry.
• U.S. is also working to help The Gambia provide vital services to its people. Example, the USAID provided $50,000 emergency assistance to restore water access and rebuild sanitation systems after last year’s flood in LRR and CRR.
• Also, USAID has started an assessment of healthcare systems in order to provide guidance in healthcare delivery improvement in The Gambia.
• U.S. is also working on promoting economic development and supporting economic growth in The Gambia. One example of that is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which in this summer will begin a regional cashew value-chain project in The Gambia and will focus on roads. This will help all agricultural products, in terms the ability of farmers to be able to get their goods to the market place. They will also focus in processing to add value to Gambia’s exports.
• We had for the first time ever, to the best of my knowledge, a delegation of the U.S. Chamber of commerce in Banjul, comprising 10 companies, coming here, meeting with Gambian companies to partner with them to invest in The Gambia.
•US support to Gambia’s economic growth in the renewed eligibility of AGOA and the selection of the Gambia for the MCC program.