By Yankuba Jallow
Italy yesterday donated 40 pickup trucks to The Gambia Immigration Department to help them to battle the irregular migration of Gambians.
The Gambia like many other countries of the world is working towards combating irregular migration but faces constraints such as enacting a Migration Policy which serves as a major constraint to the country.
These vehicles came as a fruitful bilateral relationship between the Gambia and the Republic of Italy who signed an international agreement way back in the year 2010. According to the authorities, this is not the first time Italy has supported GID as in the year 2012, 12 vehicles and computers were delivered to GID.
The driving force responsible for irregular migration basically is the search for new opportunities including the desire for wealth, educational pursuit, unemployment in the home labour market and the gap between skills and labour and market forces. The main course that can be attributed to the high level of migration is the poverty. However, the stiffening of European policies on entry visa requirement and the increased control measures to combat irregular migration has not served to reduce the mass influx. The phenomenon of clandestine migration could better be enhanced through the provision and facilitation of better living standards and through enlightenment, education to redirect perceptions and attitudes.
The Department of Immigration being the first contact of the migrants after a crucial and frustrated journey has inadequate facilities in terms of material resources to help to control this menace. The lack of facilities such as centres for guidance and counselling makes their work tedious.
These vehicles will be used to combat the high trend of irregular migration on the porous borders of the country and will promote the mobility of security personnel at the borders as well as serve as a means to promote efficient and effectiveness in GID.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Minister Mai Ahmed Fatty said the vision of President Adama Barrow is a Gambia that is strong, secure and prosperous.
“We believe that issues that confront nations generally are shared obligations that every nation must contribute in its solution. Migration is just one issue. Irregular migration is one of international concern and The Gambia has a role to play in its solution” he said.
He said when President Barrow was ushered in by the Gambian people, the Gambia had no migration policy adding that the commitment of this government is reflected through the validation of a migration profile. He also said an expansive and thorough consultations are ongoing among all stakeholders both our local institutions and international partners such as IOM and EU in order to build a very strong migration policy.
In conclusion, the Minister of Interior said the President has made it clear to a visiting European delegation that for migration to be stalled, the economy has to grow as we inherited a bankrupt economy. He said the volume of our seriousness must match the compassionate understanding of our partners.
Chief Superintendent Foday Gassama, the Commissioner of Irregular Migration Unit of GID said the Migration Monitoring Center (MMC) of the GID was established in the year 2008 and over the years played a pivotal role in stemming the tide of irregular migration. The MMC was established by GID to abate and combat the trend of irregular migration of Gambians. He said GID is doing all it can to curtail all forms of migration that falls outside the regular norms as mandated by law but challenges remain in the overall border management. He said the vehicles will be better utilised in order to curtail the menace of irregular migration and reinforcement of other security mechanisms cannot be overemphasized. He added that with the vehicles, it will boost up their efforts to quell the migration syndrome in the country and the services will be more effective and efficient.
The Director General, GID described the donation as the biggest in the history of the department since inception. The Chief of Defense Staff, Inspector General of Police, Director State Intelligence Service (NIA), and many other service chiefs and the Consul General of the Gambia to Italy where all present. The Gambia Immigration department was established by an Act of Parliament on August 22, 1990.