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State Opening of National Assembly in Focus

Mar 30, 2009, 5:59 AM

On Friday 27th March, the National Assembly was formally opened by His Excellency Prof. Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, President and Head of State of the Republic.

The session, which lasted about two hours, was attended by all members of the National Assembly headed by the Speaker, Honourable Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay and graced by former President Sir Dawda Jawara, Vice President Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, members of the diplomatic and consular corps and representatives of the Gambian Bench and Bar.

It also opens the legislative year thus paving the way for the introduction of new bills and legislation from government as well as from private members. Amendments to existing laws are also entertained in the course of the year. A second feature of the ceremony is an exposition by the President on government projects and plans for the current and ensuing year. Similarly the citizenry through their elected representatives may and should ask questions about government policies, programmes, and projects.

While delivering his address, President Yahya Jammeh gave an insight into his government's plans for the coming year, and outlined some major achievements attained over the past years.

"The Gambia continues to maintain its attraction as a highly competitive tourist destination. Efforts would continue to be directed not only at enhancing and consolidating the traditional source market but also penetrating the new markets in Central and Eastern Europe," President Jammeh affirmed.

Specifically, the president said that despite the challenges caused by the global economic and financial crisis the sector has registered impressive development in all forms. In disclosing this information, the President was directly saying that The Gambia has already been affected by the economic and financial crisis.

"It is particularly worrying that the world is going through a deepening economic and financial crisis that has brought about difficulties and adverse effects to both the developed, and the developing nations such as The Gambia. "Notwithstanding this, the Gambian economic fundamentals continue to be intact and are directed at maintaining sustained levels of positive economic growth and price stability," he maintained. This is good to hear but we should also endeavour to ensure its sustainability in the long run.

"Government through the Central Bank would not relent in the use of appropriate monetary instruments that would lead to the sustained stability of the Dalasi," President Jammeh further affirmed.

This also goes to show that the President wants stringent measures that would yield desired results so long as such measures are for the benefit of the state. It is therefore up to all the stakeholders in the country's economic and financial sectors to do at all times what they think is right for not only the development of the economy but also its sustainability. Given the global crisis with which we are squarely confronted, no message can be closer to the mark.

Citizens may take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through their representatives, and at all times have a right and duty to defend the constitution.

(S 2 et al, Gambian Constitution 1997)