By Jariatu S. Bangura
European Union Representative to Sierra Leone, Manuel Muller, has stated that they recognized the effort made by the current leadership of parliament to realize the vision and to contribute to an open, fair and transparent and accountable society for the country.
The theme for this year’s Open day is ‘Bringing more people closer to Parliament’ and it commenced from 5th to the 7th May, 2022, across the four regions of the country.
He said under the fourth parliament of the second republic of Sierra Leone, they envisioned an independent and responsive legislator that contributed effectively towards national development.
He said the role of parliament in deepening the country’s democracy was evident in the strides made so far in opening the doors of parliament to citizens especially in the live streaming of parliamentary debates and establishing the first ever website.
He stated that since 2018, the EU has been supporting improved working environment and the capacity of members of parliament and staff contributing to the parliamentary services and that they remain committed in enhancing parliamentary role performance in the legislative process, improving delivery gender equality and to continuing their engagement.
He said they were looking forward to the establishment of effective legal department to further enhance the capacity and ownership of the legislative of gender in parliament.
In his welcome address, deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Segepor S. Thomas said the second edition of the Open day Parliament was to bring more citizens closer to parliament, showcase it and also make it accessible to the public so that citizens can have better understanding of what constitute their core mandate and activities as legislators.
He said it will raise the awareness and enhance public understanding of parliamentary work and increase the visibility of Parliament and promote the enabling environment for strategic engagement between parliament and its stakeholders.
He said the process was geared towards promoting parliamentary openness so that citizens can have access to more information that would better place them to understand and participate in the legislative process.
“In a bid to have a classic relationship between parliament and other legislative actors, we have decided to open up the space for better interaction and collaboration through this Open day event so that we demonstrate our commitment to external participation in parliament more responsive to the needs and aspirations of citizens,” he said.
He said they wanted to promote openness and make parliamentary information transparent and easy to access, adding that they also wanted to make parliament open up to better interaction to the people.
Hon. Bashiru Silikie said the open day was to bring more people closer to Parliament and also educate the citizens about the role of parliamentarians.
Delivering his key note address, deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru said the open day process was a good initiative that will bring more people to parliament, adding that it was also a reflection on the things people should do that will bring development to the country.
He stated that people should be at the center of every activity undertaken by Parliament especially in making policies that will promote governance issues.
He urged citizens to be responsive in performing their roles and responsibilities and also make sure that they do what is right.