Cabinet deliberated on a paper presented by the Hon Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure seeking approval for the ratification of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) between the Republic of The Gambia and twelve other countries around the world.
Bilateral Air Service Agreements are treaties signed between countries to allow international commercial air transport services between each other’s territories. These agreements provide the framework under which identified airlines fly into designated airports in each other’s country.
Although The Gambia does not have a national operator that has its own aircraft, a number of foreign airlines operate to and from the country at varying levels of frequencies. It is expected that the Bilateral Air Service Agreements will enhance the movement of persons, cargo, trade, and tourism in The Gambia.
The Hon Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure also presented a paper seeking Cabinet’s approval to amend the convention on the Offenses and certain other acts committed on board aircraft as stipulated in the Montreal Protocol 2014.
This Protocol clarifies behaviors which should be considered, at minimum, as an offense onboard aircrafts and encourages States to take appropriate criminal or legal proceedings against misbehavior onboard aircrafts. The Protocol represents a clear opportunity for governments to put in place an international legal instrument which gives them the means to deal with unruly passengers more effectively and deter future incidents.
Cabinet approved the paper especially in recognition of the escalation of the severity and frequency of unruly behavior onboard aircrafts that may jeopardize the safety of persons on board.
The third paper presented by the Hon Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure was for the ratification of the convention on the suppression of unlawful acts relating to International Civil Aviation and the Protocol supplementary to the convention for the suppression on unlawful seizure of aircraft otherwise referred to as the (Beijing Convention and Protocol 2010).
The Beijing Convention and Protocol urges States to criminalize the use of civil aircrafts as a weapon and organizing, directing and financing acts of terrorism. These treaties reflect the International community’s shared efforts to prevent acts of terrorism against civil aviation and to prosecute and punish those who would commit them.
The Convention encourages States to ratify and amend supporting domestic legislation to ensure that use of civil aircraft to cause death, serious bodily injury or serious damage to property or the environment are criminalized.
The Hon Minister of Tourism presented a Cabinet information paper on the conclusions of the first national tourism and culture conference which took place from 17th – 18th June 2019.
The conference came out with an 18 point recommendation aimed at addressing complex issues besetting tourism while assuring innovation for the overall development of the sector. The conference identified the need to strengthen the institutional framework of the tourism sector to formulate a long term tourism vision to render the sector more competitive. Other recommendations include but not limited to the urgent need to address the complex issue of land use in the Tourism Development Area to cater for short, medium and long term needs of the tourism sector as well as efforts to vigorously promote all year round tourism in The Gambia.
The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure also presented a Cabinet information on an official visit to Egypt in July 2019. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen cooperation in the area of ICTs and mobilize support towards the implementation of planned activities of the Ministry of Information and public institutions under its preview. The visit came out with some important outcomes including support to building the capacity of staff of Gamtel/Gamcel in the areas of big data science, optical fibre training, Cybersecurity, advanced computer systems, and networking and other specialized courses. The visit also saw the revival of the old agreement between Egypt and The Gambia for the training and capacity building of GRTS staff. An important outcome of the visit was the offer by Egypt to support The Gambia Postal Services with the Geographic Information System (GIS)technology gratis.