“When we were in parliament, [Sidia Jatta] and I have spoken many times about it. There is a provision in the constitution that says we can enact a law to allow people to speak in the National Assembly,” he said.
“We failed in doing that. You [Sidia Jatta] and I have talked about it many times, but we must accept that we have failed in doing that and encourage others to get it done. That bill, we need to pursue it.”
He added that there is a clause in the constitution that makes provision for National Assembly Members to speak the country’s national languages at the Assembly.
“That means we must engage our legislators to make sure that that bill is done,” he said, adding that as a member of cabinet and as the minister responsible for culture, he would do his best to support that process because it is happening in Senegal and almost all the countries, except in The Gambia.
“Our women have become the biggest victims of that,” he added, saying: “They do all the campaigning, all the running, mosquito bites everywhere with us, running and campaigning when they cannot be in parliament because they cannot speak English, which is the saddest thing that can happen to our country.
He said that when the supreme law of land makes provision for the national languages to be spoken in parliament, it should be made to happen.
“You have the opportunity and others. We missed it. We now need to go back to the drawing board to make it happen,” he said
“So I think letting our various languages be spoken at the National Assembly will not only promote our languages but would give opportunity to other people who have not studied English to be in parliament as representatives of their people.”
The tourism minister concluded, saying: “If there are any challenges facing us as a nation of 58 years after independence, it is our inability to use our language to explain our development projects.”