United States Ambassador to The Gambia, Ambassador C. Patrica Alsup, said the
US government recognises the challenges The Gambia faces in her transition from
authoritarian rule to democracy.
She made this statement while delivering a speech during the opening of a three-day seminar for parliamentarians on Good Governance and Rule of Law at the Paradise Suite Hotel.
The seminar was funded by the US embassy and implemented by WANEP.
She said the project was made possible by funding from her mission in Banjul and the US State Department for Africa Regional Service office in Paris, France.
She said they would be discussing the challenges confronting them in their work to promote transparency, good governance and human rights in the new Gambia.
Ambassador Alsup further said the session would seek not only to build their capacity, but also to identify ongoing capacity needs as new legislators within a democratic governance structure.
“I am confident that Gambian lawmakers will work tireless to fully restore the integrity of this critical arm of the government. We are political parties and one independent member, all elected in a free and fair election,” she said.
She stated that the diverse political representation within the assembly was one of its most notable strengths, adding that it was now their responsibility to the Gambian people as a co-equal branch of government.
She told the parliamentarians that as elected leaders their responsibilities to their constituents are to provide strong oversight of the executive branch, ensure that the government is transparent and accountable to the people, as well as establish a budget that reflects the needs of the people and pass laws that protect basic human rights.
For her part, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Rt. Hon. Mariam Jack Denton, said the National Assembly of The Gambia was glad to be associated with the US embassy in its long term partnership on forum of good governance and rule of law.
She said the forum would expose the national assembly members on co-values and good governance, adding that the US embassy is a good development partner of The Gambia and the National Assembly in particular.