By Ramatoulie Jawo
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence and Security has suggested that the Gambian government address the remuneration of personnel within the country’s security sector.
This recommendation was put forth in the committee’s report, detailing their visit to various security installations and facilities nationwide.
The committee’s oversight visit covers the North Bank Region (BR), Upper River Region (URR), Central River Region (CRR). Lower River Region (LRR) and West Coast Region (WCR).
Honourable Sheriff Sarr, a committee member, presented the recommendations during the report’s presentation to the plenary for deliberation and approval. In an effort to address overarching challenges within the country’s security sector, the committee proposed and resolved on the following measures:
“1. That Government look into the personal emoluments of the security sector.
2. The Ministry of Defence should fast-track the review of the Testing Automation Compliance Observability (TACOs).
3. That the Ministry of Defence supervise and ensure that all military barracks and garrisons are well secured and fenced, and that the government provide standard communication infrastructure for the entire security sector.
4. And that the government provide additional weaponry, mostly side pistols and AK47s, to the PIU.”
Hon. Sarr also conveyed the committee’s recommendation for the prompt settlement of night travel allowances owed to personnel of the Gambia prison service. He emphasized the need for adherence to legal and policy frameworks in ensuring timely payments.
During the subsequent debate on the committee’s report, Hon. Sainey Jawara, the Member for Lower Saloum, acknowledged the merit of the recommendations but highlighted a critical challenge—security concerns were not adequately budgeted for.
“All the recommendations made by the committee are good, but there is no money to address them. Security is not factored into the budget.”
While appreciating the committee’s proposals, Honourable Amie Colley, the National Assembly member for Foni Berefet, expressed concern over the insufficient provision of essential resources for the country’s security forces.
“It is very sad that those mandated to serve and protect us are not provided with what they need to do their work effectively. In some military barracks, security forces are sleeping on beds that are not suitable for human beings,” she said.
Despite the financial constraints raised during the debate, the members unanimously adopted the report with certain amendments.