By Bakary Ceesay
President Adama Barrow on Friday, January 31, 2020, received in audience, the US Ambassador to The Gambia, Richard Carlton Paschall at the State House in Banjul.
The two leaders discussed critical issues of mutual concern to the two governments and two peoples.
Ambassador Paschall said the meeting was another opportunity to advance Banjul-Washington relationship; promote the ideas of accountability, transparency and justice in various aspects of the events and “important processes” that are going on in The Gambia.
In response, President Barrow reiterated his government’s commitment to promote democratic values, including the independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and the respect for the rule of law.
He maintained that the non-interference with the judiciary entrenches the rule of law that all citizens will equally enjoy.
The Gambian leader made a firm commitment to ensuring that the government acts on addressing the issues.
He had made public statements highlighting the concerns and efforts government has made to tackle illegal migration, the most recent was the tragedy of the boat accident in Mauritania.
Speaking to the press after a closed-door audience, Ambassador Paschall said the discussions also touched on steps being taken to address human trafficking in The Gambia.
“We are hopeful, particularly with the prosecution of some trafficking cases pending in the courts… That will send a clear signal that trafficking and exploitation in persons will not be accepted here in The Gambia; that Government will take all measures under the rule of law and consistent with the law, to make progress in this area,” the diplomat said.
The Gambia Government recently held a high level meeting with stakeholders to respond to the Human Trafficking report published by the US State Department.
Positive actions to address human trafficking and exploitation will enable The Gambia to continue to benefit from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Programme that is geared towards attracting up to $300 million US investment towards reducing poverty through economic growth.
The MCC programme focuses on energy, transport infrastructure projects, among series of others.