By Aji Fatou Faal
The Speaker of the National Assembly has said that since retreat is centred on the Oversight Committees of the National Assembly, they expect a higher premium to be placed on transparency and accountability in public service delivery.
Mariam Jack-Denton made this revelation when delivering her opening statement during the 5th Legislative Pre-Session Retreat for Oversight Committees. The five days intensive session is currently underway in Tendaba Camp, Lower River Region.
She revealed that the duty to learn and add value to their knowledge, processes and thoughts is only not prudent but also a scared virtue of humility and godliness.
She said that members come from diverse backgrounds and are currently in a learning curve to become good legislators to strengthen democracy in the new Gambia where accountability should be the order of the day.
Jack-Denton noted that the onus on the National Assembly Authority and the service with support from development partners to prepare members adequately to discharge their representative, legislative and oversight duties effectively and efficiently.
According to her, this training is therefore aimed at ensuring effective oversight over the next couple of years. “We are glad that institutions such as the International Republican Institute (IRI) have come forward (for the first time) to support harness their Democratic dividend! We will ensure that democracy is here to stay”.
She further added that given the lapses in the area of institutional governance and the role that Oversight Committees of the National Assembly can play in promoting good governance principles, they can say that this training comes at the right time and she is hopeful that it would add tremendous value to what they are doing as a country, to correct some of the challenges in development service delivery.
“We will endeavour to promote lawful oversight by ensuring that all the relevant committees are vibrant and are interfacing with the relevant sectors to promote the best interest of the Gambian people”, she stated.
Speaker Jack Denton urged members particularly those who are first timers to put particular effort in this programme as it is pre-requisite for effective performance at committee work. “We should leave Tendaba better equipped with requisite knowledge and poised to play our oversight responsibilities in the coming months and years”.
She assured all and sundry that the National Assembly shall continue to be pacesetters in the judicious and prudent allocation and utilization of public funds.