By: Kebba AF Touray
The Minister of Defence, Sheikh Omar Faye, has informed lawmakers that he is not aware of any reinforcement coming to The Gambia from Senegal.
Minister Faye made this remark on Tuesday 7th September 2021 at the National Assembly, while responding to the motion without notice, moved by the member for Kiang Central, Bakary Camara.
“I am not aware of any reinforcements coming from Senegal. What I am aware of is that there is a rotational annual change that happened last year, and is now one year. They are doing change and I am aware of that,” he said.
Camara, in accordance with clause 53(K) of the standing orders of the assembly, asked the minister to clarify to the assembly whether the information about deploying 625 Senegalese soldiers into the country was true.
Camara’s motion interjected the debate on an earlier motion which was tabled by the defence minister on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty for legislative consideration and ratification.
Taking turns on the motion on nuclear test ban treaty, Sunkary Badgie, member for Foni Brefet, who seconded the motion, said the document came at the right time and he implored his colleagues to give their consent to the motion.
“The effects of nuclear weapons are not a secret to any human being and their effects are beyond imagination of mankind. We remember that in 1948, America dropped a nuclear weapon in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It has caused devastating effects and as such banning the testing of such weapons is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Ousman Sillah, member for Banjul North, supported the motion. But he said he will not support the banning of nuclear study and research.
“What Gambia should do now, is to invest and develop in research to develop and support its scientists in all aspects of human endeavors, which include research in nuclear studies, not for militaristic purposes, but for development because we need energy to develop,” he said.
Sainey Touray, member for Jarra East, said nuclear weapons could be both destructive and helpful and that as a nation the country cannot stand on its own.
“I rise to support the ratification of the nuclear test ban. Reasons being that it has the potential to cause adverse damages on both human lives, properties and as well as the environment and its radiation can take years which can affect the generation yet unborn,” he said.
He said having the nuclear test ban treaty will help the country in sanitizing its already endangered environment, adding the assembly must be cognizant of the generation yet unborn because the task is on them to protect their lives and livelihood.
Landing J Sanneh, Member for Brikama South, said the problems of nuclear weapons and explosives are they do mass killing not only to the human beings, but they affect the environment too in terms of production and animals.
Suwaibou Touray, Member for Wuli East, said it is better for a small nation like The Gambia to take protective precautions and not to engage in any form of nuclear activity.
“It is not good for our country, environment, properties and it will create a lot of suspicion. It’s my belief, we should create any suspicion that we are engaged in such an enterprise. Nuclear weapons are dangerous weapons and that is why the world is thinking about eradicating it,” he said.
He said the benefit that the country would gain from the treaty in terms of training should be viewed from a bigger perspective, which should be to protect the people, environment and properties.
“A test of a nuclear weapon in this small territory is dangerous for us, because of the radiation and we cannot handle that. So, we should not think about nuclear weapons in any way,” he said.
After the debate on the motion, the National Assembly ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.