11 January 2013

Gambia: British MP Due in Banjul Today

A conservative member of the British Parliament, Claire Perry, will arrive today in The Gambia for a weeklong visit as a guest of the people of Gunjur, who have had a longstanding relationship with the Marlborough Brandt Group in the United Kingdom. The relationship between the two communities has spanned over a period of 30 years during which they regularly exchanged visits.

Speaking ahead of Perry's visit in an exclusive interview, the founder of Gunjur-Marlborough Link, Nick Maurice, said the visiting British lawmaker, who is on a private visit, will pay respects to the Gunjur village elders, the opinion leaders, the Alikalo, the Imam and the chief of Kombo South. "She will spend time with Trust Agency for Rural Development (TARUD) and the Gunjur Link Committee and visit their projects in areas such as water and sanitation, women's livelihood projects, health and education facilities among others" he said.

He also disclosed that the British MP, who is the chair of an All-party Parliamentary Group "connecting communities", will formally open a market place in Gunjur, built in August 2012, by the young people from Marlborough. "I want her to understand how community partnership can play in addressing some of the development needs of partners in The Gambia and also the educational needs of young people in UK; and ultimately, in bringing peace, prosperity and justice to the world," he underscored.

Maurice further stated that he hopes Perry would understand the need for the UK government to be firmly involved in development in Africa through partnerships at community level. "Wherever we live, we all belong to a global village and we all have responsibilities for each other. The impact is going to be great and we need to examine what that impact is likely to be and how we can collaborate with our partner NGO TARUD that works in Gunjur," he concluded.

Reacting to this development, the British High Commissioner to The Gambia, David Morley said he is delighted to hear that Claire Perry, accompanied by her daughter, will make a private visit to The Gambia under the auspices of the Marlborough Brandt Foundation. "The Marlborough Brandt Group and the community of Gunjur have been working together for over 30 years and I am pleased that Claire Perry will be able to see the results of what can be achieved by two communities who have sustained a close and effective relationship despite thousands of miles away," he stated.

Morley posited that Perry has a special interest in partnerships between communities, adding and the British High Commission hopes to show her some of the work they have been carrying out with a range of communities across The Gambia in a number of different sectors.

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