IN SOLIDARITY WITH GAMBIA FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES – EX NIHILO NIHIL FIT (Nothing comes from nothing)
By David Kujabi
The Gambia Fire and Rescue Services (GFRS) has come under heavy criticism following a string of failures to respond and attend to fire incidents. Many are heaping blame on the embattled institution calling it useless, a failure and a disappointment. Gambians should stop the hypocrisy, be critical, objective and stop the uninformed blame game.
Yes, GFRS has on so many occasions failed in its duty but let us ask ourselves WHY rather than rain all sorts of accusations and insults on them. We all know how dangerous fire is and no one plays with it. Fighting fire has nothing to do with bravery but rather knowledge, experience, equipment, and adequate training.
Can you believe that for an institution responsible for fire fighting and rescue services has only 11 Stations with the equivalent of one fire tender per station. Presently, the fire tenders in Brikama and Bakau stations are not functional and meanwhile, standards require at least two fire tenders at a station. And beware that most if not all of the fire tenders were donated Avon in the UK. Furthermore, the distance and population size between Brikama and Churchill’s town requires a Station in between.
GFRS like many other government institutions have personnel trained and yet poorly equipped to carry out it’s functions. How do you sow millet and expect to harvest corn. Nko dukut le ka dakat bondi.
Have you asked yourself why our education system produces poor quality education?
Have you asked yourself why NAWEC is not able to provide consistent water and electricity supply?
Have you asked yourself why the Gambia transportation system sucks?
Have you asked yourself why the health sector is in shambles?
Have you asked yourself why even though the green on our flag denotes agriculture we still cannot feed ourselves?
Have you asked yourself why despite our sea and river with its rich tributaries, fish is so expensive?
How can you expect perfection from Military, Police, Fire Service etc. when there are imperfections everywhere?
How can elected officials get away with taking bribes and you expect a Police Officer to refuse one?
How does a government official have two cars to their service, when a police station has none or a fire tender has a broken part waiting forever to be replaced?
Our lands have been hijacked by private agencies, owning a small plot of land has become an near impossibility for the working class Gambian.
Our security is under the auspices of a foreign force, yet we frown at acts of resentment by our security personnel. I do not in any way justify this, but we have to look at the problems squarely.
Corruption is prevalent, it is gnawing at us with increasing intensity yet we celebrate the canker that perpetuates it. We are all suffering the ripple effects of a defective fundamental part of our machinery. We either fix the defects or change them. These defects are not new, they germinated since Independence and instead of weeding out the weed they are, we let them suffocate the crops we have. More worry, we are adding manure, watering and nursing them.
Unless we learn to dissect our problems honestly and objectively, we won’t have solutions to what is holding us down. We all know that we are enmeshed in a fast decaying system, and like with fish, we all know where it begins to rot from.
We should be bold enough to ask why and be confident enough to ask why not. Surely, we deserve much more than we are at.