Assembly’s Defense Committee Asks Government to Give Paramilitary More Weapons 

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By Kebba AF Touray

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence on Monday, 4 December 2023 recommended that the Gambia Government should give more weapons to to police paramilitary unit, particularly AK 47 rifles.

The Defence Committee made this recommendation in its report concerning its visit to security institutions countrywide. The report was tabled before the whole National Assembly for consideration and adoption by the lawmakers.

Sheriff Sarr, the Member for Jeshwang presented the report. Honourable Sarr said the Committee is recommending the Gambia Government to provide AK 47 guns to the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).

Honourable Sarr said at the end of their tour, they came across cross-cutting issues affecting all the security sectors they visited and key among them are insufficient fuel allocation, inadequate mobility and inadequate food and food services. He highlighted that the issues affecting the security entities include the inadequate accommodation for personnel, and the lack of standard communication infrastructure. He also stated that the border demarcation issues remains a concern.

The Committee also recommended that the Gambia Government should allocate sufficient fuel to the security sector. The report further challenged the Government to address the mobility challenges faced by the security sector.

“The committee also recommended that they provide feeding and accommodation for the officers especially the ones in the provinces. The Government should work with the relevant stakeholders on the border demarcation to avoid any potential conflicts,” Hon. Sarr said.

The Committee also recommended the Gambia Government to come up with a promotion board to end the stagnation affecting the security sector. The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Defence to fast track the review of the Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS). The Ministry was also tasked to supervise and ensure that all military barracks or garrison are well secured and fenced.

The Committee asked the government to provide standard communication infrastructure for the entire security sector.

The Committee asked the Government to pay the prison service men and women night allowances, and to pay the outstanding allowances owe to them.

“The committee also observed that there is delay in promotion, inadequate operational issues. There is the need to review personnel emoluments, fast track the review of TACOS, and the need to fence military and police barracks or station,” Sarr said.

Sarr said the security installation they had visited  include but not limited to Sare Ngai Police Station, Fajara Barracks, Drug Law Enforcement Agency Gambia, Police Intervention Unit, Anti-Crime Unit, 1st Infantry Battalion in Old Yundum, Kartong Military and Navy Posts, Drasilami Military Post and Giboro Border Post. 

The legislators in their reaction to the report  hailed the committee for what they did and opined that it will go a long way in augmenting the living  conditions of the security officers.

The lawmakers indicated their concerns because the Committee did not come up with timelines for the enforcement of the recommendations.

The National Assembly  adopted the report of the Standing Committee on Defense on its visit to the security installations across the country with amendments.