By Juldeh Njie
Members of the National Assembly have begun a three-day seminar on good governance and the rule of law which aims at promoting transparency and accountability in executing their duties.
The seminar, themed ‘the role of legislators in promoting transparency, accountability, governance and human rights’ is funded by the US Embassy in collaboration with WANEP.
Patricia Alsup, US Ambassador to the Gambia said the session will not only build their capacities but will also indentify the ongoing capacity needs that they may have as legislators within a democratic governance structure.
She said the US government recognizes the challenges the Gambia faces in her transition from authoritarianism to democracy but they are confident that the current lawmakers will work tirelessly in restoring the integrity of this critical arm of government.
She said this assembly is different from the previous one which was dominated by a single party, saying now that there is diverse political representation it is left to them to carry their responsibilities to the people as a co-equal branch of government.
“Parliamentarians should ensure that the government is transparent, accountable to the people, approve a budget that reflects the needs of the people, repeal unjust laws and pass laws that protect the basic human rights and ensure that no one is left behind,” she noted.
She said as the first true representative NAMS in at least 22years, they have a chance to redraw the image of the National Assembly and rewrite its story.
“I have no doubt that you will fully and actively engage in the creation, debate, and approval of laws, policies and best practices that uphold democracy and good governance, whiles promoting the human rights of all Gambians,” she said.
Mariama Jack Denton, the Speaker of the National Assembly, thanked the US government for their support particularly to the NAMS, adding that the US is a true friend of the Gambia.
She said they will endeavor to be a transparent legislature that will enhance the welfare and the wellbeing of Gambian people, because the Gambia performed badly in the area of civil leadership and the rule of law for the past 22years.
“With the diversity, commitment and determination of the legislature there is a window of opportunity to strength structures and systems to build a better Gambia,” she said