As part of deliberations, the Cabinet discussed two important papers brought before it for consideration and approval by the Honorable Minister of Interior.
• The Gambia Prisons Amendment Bill 2022
• The Motor Traffic Regulation, Motor Vehicle Inspection, and Drivers Testing Programme Regulations
Introducing the Cabinet paper on The Gambia Prisons Amendments Bill 2022, Cabinet was informed that an act of parliament established the Gambia prison service in 1957. That up-to-date remains the fundamental instrument of prison administration without being aligned with our present-day realities regarding Criminal Justice Administration. The Cabinet was further informed that the formulation of this Bill, once approved, will not only improve Justice Delivery but would also accommodate International best practices on prisons management and governance in The Gambia.
The impetus for this inspiration by the ministry of the interior was derived from The Gambia National Security Policy and Strategy, particularly the security sector reform assessment, findings and recommendations, which was approved by a cabinet decision in 2017. The Ministry of the Interior, through policy, guidelines, and strategies and working in consultation with stakeholders and Development Partners, both local and international, initiated the amendment of The Gambia Prisons Service Bill.
Following a critical review of all the integral elements of the Bill, the Cabinet finally approved it. The Bill seeks to establish The Gambia Prisons Service and The Gambia Prison Service Council to regulate Prisons, custody treatment, and prisoners’ rights in line with international best practices and connected matters.
The next paper for consideration and approval was The Motor Traffic Regulation, Motor Vehicle Inspection, and Drivers Testing Programme Regulations. The purpose of this cabinet paper is to provide the legal and technical framework for a comprehensive Motor Vehicle Inspection mechanism. It also looks at driver testing programs to enable the Ministry of Interior through The Gambia Police Force to enforce the Motor Traffic Act and fulfil its mandate. The regulations aim at controlling and managing road traffic to curb accidents and safeguard lives and properties.
Non-empirical evidence reveals that several courses may be responsible for road accidents in The Gambia. However, the three most important among them are;
1. The technical State and age of the motor vehicle.
2. The nature of our road infrastructure.
3. And the drivers driving qualifications or skills and attitude while driving.
Cabinet was informed that 354 deaths from Road accidents alone were registered within the past three years. These alarming death rates have precipitated increasing concern for the government and the Gambian populace in general. Statistics from The Gambia Police force revealed that traffic accidents are the 7th highest cause of death and the 12thhighest cause of physical disability in persons between the ages of 5 and 49.
Road traffic requires critical oversight management and regulation as well as motor traffic law enforcement and strict penalties to reduce the high rate of road accidents in The Gambia. This can be achieved reliably through frequent and periodic motor vehicle inspections and driver testing programs for effectiveness and efficiency. However, given that some critical stakeholders have not been active in the process, Cabinet has advised that the paper will atone for more consultation with binding Partners.
Source: State House, Banjul, 21st July 2022