Ambassador Richard Paschall’s Remarks at State House Credentialing Ceremony

It was a pleasure to present my letters of credence to His Excellency President Barrow, and I am grateful to him and to his government for hosting this ceremony and for the warm welcome and statement of friendship, of partnership, and of a shared commitment to the democratic ideals of freedom, of liberty, of justice, of opportunity.  It is an honor and a privilege to represent the President, government and people of the United States of America to the President, government and people of The Republic of the Gambia.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate The Gambia for the progress made in promoting transparency, accountability, and inclusion in the democratic process following the historic, courageous choice made by Gambians at the ballot box just over two years ago.  The transition from despotism to democracy is just beginning, and I pledge that the United States will continue to support the people of The Gambia as they seek to achieve the bold aspirations embodied in the government’s National Development Plan.  We will work with Gambians to build the capacity of the government, of civil society, and of private business that will enable this country to become a leader in democratic reform and economic growth.  We will focus on strengthening democratic institutions, supporting transitional justice, bolstering education, reforming security services to ensure they better serve the great people of The Gambia, and we will encourage Gambian-led economic development.

My wife Jane Ellen and I look forward to travelling extensively in the country, to making friends from every community, to learning more about the rich tapestry of culture, language and tradition that together form the “One Tribe of Gambians” who live in a society energetically committed to diversity – something that our two countries share.  Already in our short time here, the friendly, warm welcome from Gambians from all walks of life make it abundantly clear why The Gambia is known as The Smiling Coast of Africa.

Thank you for this opportunity and your commitment to a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with The United States of America.