Gambia: The Diplomatic Passport Saga

opinion

The National Assembly has power to raise any question for a Minister to answer in order to keep the public informed of facts of public interest. Apparently diplomatic passports depend entirely on the executive to be issued.

It would be interesting to know which type of people received diplomatic passports under the first and second republics and during the transition. The Ministry of foreign affairs have started to reveal how diplomatic passports are acquired.

They say the individual has to write and apply to the ministry of foreign affairs who will make background checks and vet the applicant. The ministry would write to the office of the president on the eligibility or otherwise of the applicant. The ministry would thereafter write and advise the presidency on whether the applicant is qualified to possess the diplomatic passport or not. If a person wants to renew a diplomatic passport, he or she would have to write and apply and submit the expired diplomatic passport he or she has.

Those entitled to diplomatic passport include the President and his family, cabinet ministers and their spouses, permanent secretaries, director generals or managing directors of parastatals, foreign affairs ministry staff from permanent secretary to second secretary, staff of Gambia embassies with their families, and Gambians in international organisations occupying positions which qualify them for diplomatic status.

Apart from these people, the President can decide to give diplomatic passport to any Gambian.

We will continue to follow the revelations in order for Gambians to know the truth.

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