By Kebba Mamburay
The fire incident at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources on 2nd December, is under investigation.
The Minister of Fisheries, Mr James F. Gomez revealed this yesterday 5th December, 2019, at a press conference held at the Atlantic Hotel.
He said: “There are three different agencies that are doing this investigation, so by next week we should be able to get a report to tell us what the cause of the fire was.”
Regarding files dealing with financial matters, the Minister stated that his Ministry does not handle any financial matters except for salaries and emoluments of their staff.
He said the process is such that when somebody applies for a licence, he/she goes to the directorate and when he/she is given a bill to pay, he/she goes to the Central Bank.
He added: “You then come back with your receipt to the directorate and your application will be forwarded to the Ministry for approval.”
Regarding the state of the confidential files at the ministry, the Minister said they are kept in two places, namely, his office and that of the permanent secretary’s.
“Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get any of those files. Every company has a file, we have some companies that are diligent and we deal with them, and they are in those files. So for posterity, even if we leave, if some people come they will be able to make reference to see who they are dealing with, whether they are trustworthy or not,” he asserted.
The Minister also asserted that there is a great potential in the fisheries industry but unfortunately, they took over a government that was bankrupt.
“So we were looking for partners to enable us reach out to potentially do what we cannot do without financial support.”
He went on to say that they had an agreement with the EU, through which they can develop the capacities of fisher folks and much more importantly to control the sustainable use of Gambia’s resources.
He remarked: “Unfortunately, we are one of the few countries in the world that cannot police its borders but technology has advanced so much that with partnership, you can get your partners to tell you what is going on in your own waters and you will take appropriate actions.”
Through this partnership, he said, government will provide boats and nets to fisher folks particularly the youths so they can get involved in the industry, more importantly, so the women.