The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: British MP Visits the Gambia

Claire Perry, a Conservative member of the British parliament, Friday arrived in The Gambia on a weeklong visit as a guest of the people of Gunjur in the West Coast Region.

Her visit is expected to strengthen the over thirty-year link between Gunjur and Marlborough in the UK.

Commenting on the visit, the founder of Gunjur Marlborough link, Dr Nick Maurice, said: "When Claire Perry comes out for a private visit she will of course pay her respects to the Village elders, the Nyansimba, the Alikali, the Imam and the Chief.

"She will spend time with TARUD and the Gunjur Link Committee and visit the projects in which we have been involved over the past years; that is, water and sanitation, women's livelihoods, health education, malaria programme, etc.

"She will formally open the central market place built by young people from Marlborough in August 2012.

"Claire Perry is the Chair of an all-party parliamentary group 'Connecting Communities' and I want her to understand the mutual benefits that community partnerships can play in addressing some of the development needs of partners in The Gambia and also the educational needs of young people in the UK and ultimately in bringing peace, prosperity and justice to the world."

He continued: "I know that the experience she will have living with a family in their compound in Gunjur and in The Gambia more widely will inform her in her political career and I hope she will understand the need for the UK Government to be firmly involved in development in Africa through partnerships at community level and understand the necessity for providing the resources to achieve that. We all, wherever we live, belong to a 'Global village' and we all have responsibilities for each other. Claire Perry is bringing her 13-year-old daughter Eliza with her and I know that the two of them are looking forward to their visit enormously."

Dr Maurice said further: "I believe piped water and electricity will be arriving in Gunjur for the first time this year. 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 (Trust Agency for Rural Development) who works in Gunjur and Kombo South so effectively, to ensure the best possible adaptation to living with these essential resources. We will be sharing with Claire Perry the results of the discussions we have been holding this week."

For his part, the British High Commissioner to The Gambia, David Morley, said: "I am delighted to hear that Claire Perry MP, accompanied by her daughter, is visiting The Gambia in a private capacity under the good offices of the Marlborough Brandt Foundation, and will be based within the Gunjur community.

"The Marlborough Brandt Group and the community of Gunjur have been working together for over 30 years and I am pleased that Claire Perry MP will be able to see the results of what can be achieved by two communities who have sustained a close and effective relationship even when thousands of miles apart.

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

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