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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Chief US diplomat calls for accountability in the legislature

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At a project launching ceremony at the President’s Award Scheme on civic involvement in legislature and popularisation of the Local Government Act organised by the National Youth Parliament (NYP) last Friday, charge d’affaires George Staples, a former US ambassador to Cameroon said: “Responsive government starts and ends with the accountability of the people. Civil society, citizens, residents, you all have a role in keeping your legislatures informed about your concerns, your values and your priorities. You cannot just elect people and then never talk to them again and if parliamentarians are elected and never go out and talk to their people in the constituencies, then the system isn’t working. Legislatures need to be accountable and responsive to the people who put them in office and that’s you!  They need to know about your concerns, hopes and dreams and work harder to fulfill your ambitions. When you are aware of your rights and responsibilities, that’s when democracy really works and works well.”

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According to Ambassador Staples, “In a country where the ordinary citizens don’t know what they are entitled to and they don’t make the proper demands of the government, no one is accountable and the country doesn’t progress”.

He added: “You should be in touch with your National Assembly members, to let them know where you stand. If you have good ideas as the youth parliament, the elected parliament should be listening to you and I hope that they do.”   

He expressed his satisfaction with the work being done by the youths, emphasising that his embassy has a commitment to the youths of this country.

He further highlighted some of the interventions and assistance his department has rendered to Gambian youths highlighting international visitor programmes.

Other speakers at the ceremony which was interspersed with musical performances by the scouts band include  Brikama Area Council chairman Bakary Saibo Sanyang, NYP-Gambia speaker Samba Bah and the executive director of the National Youth Council, Lamin Darboe.  

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