Speaking on behalf of the Indian government on Sunday at new NA building in Banjul, Ambassador Paerha Satpathy said he considered the country as a ‘true friend’ noting that the construction of the edifice with support from India will further strengthen the relationship between two states. He added: “For the government of India, this is one of our most visible symbols of friendship that the government of India has with the people and government of The Gambia. As you all know, democracy in India is not only practised but every time we have our elections, it is a visible symbol to the world. Democracy gives people the opportunity to elect their own people so that in turn they can govern the country. Therefore, the building symbolises true friendship between India and The Gambia. India has been a big friend of Africa, and continues to be a good friend of Africa. India is a strong friend of The Gambia and West Africa. In India, we know the difficulty a nation has to face to give democracy to its peoples.
“We are here to celebrate the vision of The Gambia and President Jammeh. Nothing is more important than the parliament because it presents the people. The parliament draws power from the people. The parliament helps in the governance of the people. It is a big honour to be associated with the building of this edifice for the people of The Gambia. This building is symbol of hope and strength for Gambians.”
He added: “Gambians should be proud of the leadership of the country. The new assembly is one the most beautiful edifices you will see in The Gambia and West Africa and Gambians should be proud of it. This house is a house of the people of The Gambia. The Gambia today is a country that provides peace for the people and gives her people every opportunity to grow and flourish. This is a significant achievement not only for me but for the government of India too.”
The speaker of the National Assembly, Abdoulie Bojang, described the inauguration ceremony as historic in the sense that it is the first National Assembly complex purposefully built by a government in The Gambia.
Mr Bhupinder Singh, regional general manager of Shapoorji Pallongi, the contractors of the building, commended the government and all those who supported them in the realisation of the project. “The journey to this day has not actually been smooth all the time; we had to face some difficulties along the line but here we are today, we have overcome many of those challenges,” he said.
The minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Ousman Badjie and the Mayor of Banjul, Abdoulie Bah, underscored the importance of the new building stressing that the July 22 Revolution has ushered in “immense” development in The Gambia.
About the complex
According to officials, the complex, which started to be constructed in July 2010, houses offices, waiting rooms, a state-of-the-art chamber that can accommodate up to 400 guests. The new building also has committee rooms, group offices for parliamentarians, an auditorium with a capacity .