Crime Rate, Price Escalation Take Center Stage During Adjournment Debate

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Lawmakers of the Gambia on Thursday 21st March 2024 expressed their concerns over the rising crime rate and the continuous price hike of essential commodities.

He made the statements during the adjournment debate of the legislature. They expressed that these situations are turning into nightmares for many of the citizenry and that all efforts are needed to combat and address them.

In his deliberation, the Member for Brikama North, Hon. Alhagie S. Darboe, moved the motion for the adjournment debate, and said the legislature had engagements with the executive in their quest and mandate to exercise oversight on them in order to ensure accountability and transparency, and as well on the status quo of their respective Ministries.

The National Assembly, he said, also confirmed motions such as the confirmation of the appointment of Justice Omar M. M. Njie into the judicial service commission; consider the various reports of the committees, and tabling of matters of the day.

“The trust and confidence bestowed by citizens on us with its corresponding expectations is well noticed within the Assembly. I want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Gambian people for their trust and confidence reposed in us. We assure them of the Assembly’s selfless resolve to serve the supreme interest of the Gambia without fear or favor or party affiliation. The Assembly is concerned with the escalating crime rate especially with resemblance of organized crime and sometimes the involvement of foreigners. It is therefore the responsibility of both Gambians and other non Gambian inhabitants to protect the peace and security of the country,” he said.

On his part, the Member for Jarra West, Alieu Baldeh, dilated on the uncontrolled hike in the prices of basic essential commodities, and said the Trade Minister told them that the country has a free market policy and there is no price control.

‘‘We can also conclude that those importing rice can also be giving price anyhow they want. We can see that when GGC brought rice, the price for a bag of rice was around D1,500,” he said.

He said when that rice finished, the price of rice soared to over D2,000 and said this is a serious concern for everyone. Hon. Baldeh said the executive and parliament should work together to proffer a solution to this menace, and warns that if the trend continues, the price for a bag of rice may escalate up to D3,000.

The Member for Foni Bintang Karanai, Hon. Bakary Badgie on his part said amidst the slogan of The new Gambia that is being ushered in, the country is faced with rampant killings and corruption as well as nepotism and inflation of the prices of basic essential commodities. He said these situations leave one doubting the kind of new Gambia that has been ushered in, and dismissed that this is not the kind of democracy and the new Gambia that Gambians have yearned for.

“This is uncalled for and should not be accepted,” he said, and continued to say that this is due to the fact students are graduating from tertiary institutions in the areas of agriculture and nursing, but said there are no job opportunities created for them. He adds that the current administration cannot even employ 15 percent of those graduating from the Gambia College and the UTG.

The Member for Niamina West, Hon. Birom Sowe, lamented that his constituency is still confronted with lack of electricity and a good road network, and as such, they are lagging behind in terms of benefits from the development activities that the country is currently witnessesing.

“The movement of students to and from the UTG Faraba Campus is a nightmare for them. It is a major issue and a hindrance to our students, and I urge the Government to come to their rescue in order to ensure that their transportation and movement is eased,” he said.

The Member for Tallinding Kunjang, Hon. Musa Badgie, reminded the executive that his electorate made a request to the president to assist them with a high School to which the President made a pronouncement.

“With support from MRC Holland, the foundation has been set up but to our surprise, the education Ministry executed the presidential directive by posting a new principal and staff, without bringing the required materials needed in their work,” he decried. He expressed his disappointment with the action of the education Ministry and tasked that the School teachers be paid, in order to ensure that the loan taken to provide teaching materials for the newly built high school, is settled.

The Member for Kiang West, Hon. Lamin Ceesay, said parliament and other entities must be respected, adding that some time ago, the president spoke about the audit report in a manner that took them by surprise. This he said amounts to discrediting a critical and pivotal institution like the National Audit Office (NAO), and said a similar unacceptable faith has been inflicted on the parliament by a state minister, and urged for this to cease.