By David Kujabi
At a recently concluded workshop on integrated Border Management (IBM), representatives from the different security institutions that have a stake in border management pledged to collaborate more in border management. The workshop which was coordinated by the Office of National Security (ONS) in partnership with DCAF, brought together representatives from the Immigration Department, the Army, Police, Customs, Fire Service, Prisons, and Drug Law Enforcement.
The objective of the workshop is to achieve a more coordinated and collaborative approach to border security and immigration management between security institutions toward developing and operationalizing an IBM concept for security institutions in The Gambia. Addressing participants at the opening ceremony of the event, the National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Momodou Badjie commended DCAF for its contribution to the Security Sector Reform process in The Gambia. He noted that porous borders, inadequate border infrastructure, challenges in migration data processing and cross-border crimes are challenges which are further exacerbated by limited coordination between security agencies. “Only an approach that is developed jointly can ensure that all relevant institutions are working towards a common set of objectives”, he said.
In his remarks, the DCAF Senior Border Management Adviser Irving Vidal said that many of the security institutions overlap in their mandate due to a lack of clarity on their role, outdated legislation and a lack of coordination and information sharing. “With this activity, DCAF, along with the ONS, GID, and the participants present, will be able to identify these gaps aiming to develop an IBM Concept adapted to the current conditions and realities of The Gambia,” he said.
During the workshop, each institution made a presentation on its mandate and how they operate especially concerningborder management. These were followed by discussions and the adoption of action points to facilitate coordination on border management. Commenting on the outcome of the workshop, Major Ambrose Dacosta of the Gambia Armed Forces said, “border Security is assumed to be a responsibility of the Immigration Department, but the workshop has given me insight on our responsibility and how we can complement each other to ensure national security”. The event was organised as part of DCAF’s activities under the Swiss Government funded GID project which seeks to strengthen the efficiency and accountability of the Gambia Immigration Department as part of the SSR agenda in The Gambia.