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US Ambassador on access to information, as he wraps-up tour

May 17, 2010, 1:21 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The United State Ambassador to The Gambia Barry L. Wells has said that access to information in democracy, human rights and good governance is something valued by the President of the United State of America Barrack Obama.

Ambassador Wells, who was speaking at the Kerewan Community Radio Station in the North Bank Region as part of a three-day tour of project sites under the US Embassy, said "information is key to success and development for any nation."

According to the US diplomat, the station has a history of broadcasting lots of programmes on democracy and human rights, noting that the Democracy and Human Rights Fund of the US Embassy will help the station to expand their coverage to other communities within NBR. 

From the North Bank Region, Ambassador Wells proceeded to Kaur Upper Basic School in the Central River Region, where he visited the school library that was funded by the Ambassador's Special Self Help Project in 2009. The Principal of the school informed the Ambassador that the rehabilitation of the library cost them an amount of D79, 500.

At Jentaburi village in CRR North, Ambassador Wells visited the village coos milling machine, which was funded under the Ambassador's Special Self-Help Project.

Ambassador Wells later visited Wassu Stone Circle in the CRR, where the tour operator, Pa Sanyang, explained to Ambassador Wells the significance of the stone circles.

Pa Sanyang informed Ambassador Wells that the largest stone circle in The Gambia is Wassu stone circle, while the second largest stone circle is in Kerr Batch also in CRR North.

Ambassador Wells after the tour expressed his impression with the facilities at the sites, as he urged the tour operator and the management of the Wassu stone circle to take proper care of the sites.

From Wassu, Ambassador Wells then proceeded to Dikiri Kunda Bee-Keeping Association, where the villagers appealed to the US diplomat to support them carry out honey production as an income-generating activity. The project has already produced 125 beehives, 16 uniforms, 16 shoes and 36 gloves as requested under the project.

In Basse, Ambassador Wells attended a brief interview at Unique FM Radio Station, moderated by the Station Manageress Nafie Senghore, who later took him on a conducted tour of the station.

At Demba Kunda in Jimara, Upper River Region, Ambassador Wells inaugurated four bathrooms and four toilets at the village health centre. He also inspected the solar panels, provided by the Office of Security Cooperation (OSC) in the US Department of defence, through their assistance programme.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman of the health centre, Ba Kanja Drammeh thanked the US Embassy in Banjul for bringing so many projects to their doorsteps. He said the solar panels are now giving them 24 hours access to water and electricity. Drammeh stated that through consultation with other catchment villages, the community had named the health centre after Ambassador Barry Wells.

Ambassador Wells, in reply, commended the villagers of Demba Kunda for the warm welcome accorded to them and his team. He also expressed gratitude to the people of the area for naming the health centre after him. He however advised them to take good care of the facilities.

In a related development, US Ambassador Barry L. Wells also presented certificates of appreciation to those instrumental in the development of their communities.

The awardees were Kalilu Fatty of Kinteh-kunda Janneh-ya in the North Bank Region; Hamang Kanyi, English teacher Kaur Upper Basic School in the Central River Region; Baboucarr Nyang, milling machine operator and a youth leader of Jentaburi village in CRR North, Samba Baldeh Project Manager Dikiri-kunda Bee Keeping Association CRR South; and Babireh Cham of Jimara district in the URR, who is also a youth adviser.