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Speaker Tombong Jatta’s Inaugural Speech

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Fabakary Tombong Jatta

Speaker of the Sixth Legislature

My Lord, the Chief Justice of The Gambia,

The outgoing Rt. Hon. Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly;

The outgoing Majority and Minority Leaders and Hon. Members of the

National Assembly;

Hon. Members-elect;

Hon. Nominated members;

Hon. Ministers herein present;

Members of the diplomatic and consular corp;

Members of the Bar and Bench;

The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission;

The Ombudsman;

Political Party Leaders or represented;

The Secretary General & Head of the Civil Service;

The Clerk and staff of the National Assembly;

Senior government officials herein present;

Members of all political parties present;

Members of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning to you all!

Alhamdulillahi Rabbi alAAalameen (3 times)! I thank Allah (SWT) for the great favour He has reposed in me – to be nominated as member as well as been elected as Speaker of the National Assembly of our Republic. I register my special thanks and gratitude to His Excellency, the President for the trust and confidence reposed in me by nominating me as a member of this august Assembly. In the same Vein, Hon. Members, I thank you all for the trust and confidence reposed in me by electing me as Speaker of the National Assembly. Equally, I congratulate you all for your election as Members of the National Assembly, representing your various constituencies and The Gambia as a whole. I also have to thank the Clerk of the National Assembly for guiding us since yesterday. His priceless guidance will further be valued in future.

It is a great honour to be nominated and elected as Speaker of this Assembly. I see my presence here as a home-coming albeit with a greater responsibility. I am grateful to all who reposed resounding trust in me to make this possible. I pray to Allah (SWT) that I shall successfully travel the path pursued by various Speakers before me and my immediate predecessor, the legal luminary Rt. Hon. Mariam Jack-Denton to make the National Assembly a more vibrant and democratic Legislature responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Gambian people.

I wish to congratulate all of you Hon. Members for winning your seats. It is a unique opportunity to serve our dear nation. I therefore look forward to maximising the opportunities for every member to contribute. While I acknowledge that we are all elected or nominated from various political parties and come from various constituenciesI implore all of us at all times to be guided by the supreme interest of our beloved motherland in dealing with matters tabled before us. I trust the experienced members will mentor the new ones. I implore all of us to endeavour and ensure that the rules of debate as enshrined in the Standing Orders of this Assembly are respected and obeyed to the letter. As Presiding Officer, I intend to be fair to all and therefore seek your understanding in advance.

I encourage new entrants to prepare and present statements on matters of the day and apply the Question Time well. Your brilliant visibility will affect your re-election. I will meet with leadership on this and seek the support of the Office of the Clerk to help you deliver. A comprehensive induction process is vital for collective improved performance.

I need to remind the new members that the highly procedural nature of the National Assembly calls for an equally high level of commitment to the rules and procedures of the institution. Serious learning will therefore have to be undertaken to sharpen your competencies in order to enable all of us function effectively and efficiently.

Furthermore, both the majority and the minority sides of the Assembly must be guided by the mandate given to the government to build a vibrant society anchored on the principles of fairness and equality of opportunities. The promotion of good governance requires a parliament that can effectively perform the three core functions legislation, oversight, and representation. Let each one of us therefore represent our people with dignity, purpose, and honour. Let Parliament continue to be a living embodiment of nation building, solidarity, and unity. We must endeavour to be seen as a moral powerhouse and a beacon of hope for all Gambians.

Gambians everywhere are looking up to Parliament and government for the solutions to the problems that confront them on (a) daily basis. Our people expect us to help fix the economy, provide jobs for the unemployed, improve access and quality of our education, health care and above all give them hope. This is our mandate as a Government and as a Parliament.

This sixth legislature is for the people of The Gambia and they want us to be honest, accountable and responsive to their needs. I ask for cooperation from all and sundry to make our stewardship a success. 

Thank you!

Source: National Assembly on 14th April 2022

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