Oct 4, 2013, 10:25 AM
The hunt for Osama Bin Laden was just one of the topics addressed by the recently appointed United States Ambassador to The Gambia, Mr. Barry Wells, in a wide ranging interview carried out by the News Editor of The Point Mr. Ebrima Sawaneh. Please read the full transcript below.
Mr. Ambassador can you give me a brief background of who you are?
born and raised in the
When did you start your diplomatic career?
first international assignment was as a Peace Corps director in 1978.Where I was stationed in
Where was your last assignment
before coming to The
at the State Department in
What were your feelings when you
heard that you were being posted to The
Oh I was delighted, excited and proud frankly it's quite an honour to be selected to represent your country to another country and to be the president's personal representative so it was quite an honour and one that I still consider quite an honour.
Under you stewardship what can we
expect to gain in this country from the
Well as a
diplomat our primary responsibility is to represent the interests of the
Are you satisfied with the level of
co-operation that exists between your country and The
The US and The Gambia have enjoyed a long history of co-operative relationships particularly in areas of things like regional stability and counter terrorism where forces of the Gambian armed forces are now serving overseas in peace-keeping operations.So those are areas that we have long co-operated on and look forward to co-operating on. Having said that there are always opportunities to improve co-operation and I look forward to just finding out and ferreting out those areas where we can improve our co-operation.
Do you have any target areas that you particularly want to address during you tour of duty?
general I think our mission in
Health is a key area to us as well as education. We promote education because some of our embassies provide scholarships for girl's education but, in general education and health, is where Peace Corps volunteers are working a long.
Your country is viewed by many as a
champion of freedom of expression and a free press, how would you gauge The
Freedom of expression is really a key part of championing democracy and as I think in any case it is always a work in progress.
Since the tragic events of September 11th, Gambians
and people from many other nations, have found it extremely difficult to travel
Well first of all, let me say that I don't have an involvement with visa's, I'm glad to say, we rely on our vice consul to enforce our visa regulations and laws and to apply them accurately across the board. So, that's an area that I can't really comment any more on because that's not my area of expertise.
Many citizens of the
decision was based at the time on well researched and highly believable
intelligence and he decision to take that action was based on our concerns that
With the number of people dying on a
daily basis in
it's premature to talk about failure in a situation like that. In recent months
there as been significant progress in the security situation in
Do you think Osama Bin Laden will ever be found and captured?
know if he will be captured or not I do know that through our efforts we have
disrupted, if not virtually dismantled, his terrorist network, uprooted him
from his base in
Who is you favourite candidate out
what is now essentially a choice of three vying to become the next President of
Well first of all it's not appropriate for a sitting ambassador to comment on a political candidate. I can only say that it's certainly an historic campaign that we are engaged in now and certainly all of us as Americans and I know around the world are interested in this campaign and we are excited that it is gaining the kind of attention that it is and we look forward to the election in November
Any final words?
Well only to say that I'm very pleased with the warm welcome
that I have received since coming to The