NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: SELECT COMMITTEES ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENTS

By MUHAMMED S. BAH

Report of the Committee of selection on the composition of the committees and international Parliamentary delegations of the National Assembly for the year 2017-2022 was adopted with amendments by the members of the National Assembly on Thursday 20 April 2017 after 3 hours of debate.

During the intervention of deputies most of them pointed out that the selections should be based on expertise and experience towards national interest but not on party lines.

Hon. Saikouba Jarju member for Busumbala pointed out that changes should be made on the proposed list of people who served in the 9 committees to be able to give chances to other people.

This was also reiterated by several other members including Hon. Ousman Touray member for Sabach Sanjal.

Fatoumatta Njai Banjul South Constituency also said that in the committees they shouldn’t only consider experience and select former parliamentarians but rather give chance to new members to serve in those committees.

She pointed out that some people might never serve as parliamentarians but rather had served in various fields of expertise.

She also put emphasis on considering women in those committees, to create that gender balance.

Hon. Ya Kumba Jaiteh nominated member also dilated on the importance of considering women to be part of the committees.

She further suggested that the house should consider including a constitutional reform committee as part of the committees set.

Hon. Ndey Yassin Secka nominated member also reiterated the need to join the two committees which is the constitutional reform and standing order committee.

Hon. Alhagie S. Darboe member for Brikama North in his part gave a recommendation for people with experts and experience to be part of the Standing committee of the national Assembly.

“It is good that Hon. Halifa Sallah member for Serrekunda  be part of the standing committee because he is conversant with the standing orders, so therefore it will help as a guidance,” he underscored.

Hon. Darboe further reiterated the importance of putting National interest forward, rather than partisan interest.

He also called for representation of all parties in the committees if experience and expertise permit. He further suggested that people in 9 committees be considered as their effectiveness and efficiency will be questioned if they want to participate in all these committees.

He called for the number to be reduced to at least five committees.

He added that this will help to reduce the work load and allow others to be able to participate in order committees.

Musa Amul Nyassi Foni Kansala also raised issues of importance on the consideration of expertise and experience in the selection of members to be part of the standing committee of the National Assembly.

On his part Hon. Halifa Sallah member  for Serrekunda pointed out that some committees that are mentioned in the constitution didn’t reflect on the proposed committees, therefore he suggested that those committees be considered.

Hon. Sallah also pointed out the importance of parties despite their minority to reflect on the committees.

On his part Hon. Sidia Jatta, member for Wuli West,  also put emphasis of equality in representation of all parties in the committees, despite their number either majority or minority.

Hon. Jatta cited some of the international parliament’s criteria for e.g. the Pan African and ECOWAS parliament which indicate that there must be a member of the opposition party of a particular country as well as a woman.

He further noted that there is a possibility of equality despite the numbers, because he said, “If country representation was to be determined by size and numbers then China would have dominated the UN, but in such China has only one vote as Gambia, and he also said in the Pan African parliament there are five representatives for each country despite the size or population”.

He further expressed his gratitude towards the participation of parliamentarians in expressing their views to serve the country.

He said after 15 years of experience, he has never attended a parliament of such nature in the Gambia, where people feel free to express their opinions.

The adoption was made with several amendments on the proposed list of committee members and set committees which are expected to be dealt with by National Assembly members on Monday 24 April 2017 by 10 am as agreed.

This motion after the debate was moved by Hon. Sainey Touray member for Jarra West, seconded by Hon. Demba Sowe member Naimina West.