Friday, September 24, 2010

Interior Minister On Prison Programmes, GAMBIS…

“Biometric Identification Cards on the Process of Decentralisation”

VOL:1 ISSN:21 The National Assembly, in its fourth meeting in the 2009 legislative (Budget session) engaged the Minister of Interior, Hon. Ousman Sonko in a question and answer session on Tuesday 15th December, 2009.

The Member for Wuli West, Hon Sidia Jatta asked the Minister of Interior to inform National Assembly Members (NAMs) what social programmes exist in the prison system that are designed to give education or skills training to prisoners in accordance with their capacity.

In response, the Interior Minister said that The Gambia Prison Service has built skill centers to train interested and willing prisoners to develop skills during their term in prison. These include a tailoring workshop where some of the prisoners’ uniforms are sewn; they are also trained in motor mechanic, carpentry, masonry, electrical wiring, wielding, plumbing and tailoring.

He explained that juvenile prisoners are equally trained on the above mentioned skills and that plans are under way to build a modern multi-skill training centre at Jeshwang Prison Camp.

Hon. Member for Banjul South, Baboucarr S. Nyang asked how far are preparations for a well tailored new Driving License Scheme to be introduced next year. Hon. Sonko said that all necessary logistics are in place and preparations are at an advance stage to introduce the Biometric Driver’s License next year. “The consultant firm is currently training personnel of The Gambia Police Force, to this end.”

Hon. Njie Darboe, member of Jarra West asked when the Biometric system is going to be decentralized to help the rural populace to have easy access to the new ID Cards. Hon. Sonko said the decentralization process with regards to the biometric identity card has started. A new branch was inaugurated in Kanifing along Jimpex Road on Wednesday, 18th November, 2009 to give access to the communities in the Kanifing Municipality.

“A survey has been done and site identified in various administrative regions, in Lower River Region, a structure has been identified at Soma, at the old Trust Bank Building situated about 60 meters from the immigration post,” he said.

In North Bank Region, He explained that a site has been identified along the Farafenni/Bamba Tenda Highway, about 90 meters from the main junction linking Farafenni to Lamin Koto.

In Basse, he noted that two strategic locations have been identified (Mansajang Highway just opposite Basse Area Council and on the Basse Highway, 125 meters from the police station. “Refurbishment will begin soon before operations commence in 2010,” he promised.

Still on the list of site for the decentralization of the Biometric ID Card System, he told law makers that a place has also been identified in Brikama along the Gunjur Highway for the residents of Western Region.

“In addition to these, a mobile Unit of GAMBIS has been introduced to increase access to the public. This unit will be visiting different venues and the initial focus shall be strategic institutions such as government ministries and parastatals.

On his part, the Member for Kiang Central, Hon. Babading KK Daffeh asked the minister of interior, the amount of money paid by commercial vehicles to his Ministry collected on behalf of Municipalities or Councils during the year 2009.

Minster Sonko then stated that a total amount of D20, 817, 415.00 (twenty million, eight hundred and seventeen thousand, fifteen Dalasis) was paid to the appropriate account at the Central Bank as sum collected on behalf of municipalities or councils from January to October 2009.

Hon. KK Daffeh added whether the Minister of Interior could consider providing a vehicle for Kwinella Police Station in Kiang Central, to ensure effective patrol along the border and easy access to other areas within their jurisdiction.

Hon. Sonko told him that the Police High Command is working urgently towards providing vehicles to all stations that are without vehicles, including Kwinella Police Station.

Hon. Ebrima Manneh of Niani also asked whether the Ministry of Interior have plans to provide a vehicle for Kuntaur Police Station, which oversee Karantaba Police Post and Firdaussy Policy Post which are situated 25 and 12 kilometers from Kuntaur respectively.

In his final response on the subject of his Ministry, Hon. Sonko cited that Kuntaur Police Station is currently under maintenance and will soon be located on the road. He reiterated that plans are under way to provide vehicles to all stations, including Karantaba and Firdaussy police posts.

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