By Aji Fatou Faal
The United States Ambassador to The Gambia has said that civil-military seminars present an opportunity to increase mutual understanding between the security services and citizens.
Patricia Alsup made these remarks during the closing session of the Civil-Military Relations Seminar held at the Joint Officers Mess in Kotu.
“I encourage you to work hard to strengthen public confidence in the security sector and to make sure that misunderstanding and friction between civilian leaders and security sector leaders have no place in the new Gambia,” she said.
“The truth is that every nation must grapple with these issues. The Gambia is no exception – as they have seen from the tragic and disturbing events in Faraba Banta last week, which devastated an entire community, and undermined the nation’s confidence in its police force.”
Ambassador Alsup revealed that the process of navigating the details of the civil military relationship is unique to each nation, but all are united under one principle: Civilians must always be in the driver’s seat and the role of the military is to serve the citizen and defend the nation.
“Your collective dedication to that goal is to be commended. You should all be proud that the new Gambia welcomes democratic civilian control of the military and that essential task involves civilian officials-task such as developing, issuing and overseeing defense policies, and managing the defense budget. It is our hope that this will assist you as you develop the structures and policies to formulate this new way forward,” she stated.