Thursday, May 26, 2011

LRR expected to become the 3rd region to drop the Knife

More news, courtesy of The Voice Newspaper....
  • LRR expected to become the 3rd region to drop the Knife GNOC officials has ‘no case’ to answer
  • Bakoteh resident denies been hired to tell lies
  • Youths trained on peace building, crime prevention
  • Gambia Govt. validates national transport policy
  • Prosecutor wants Indian man to be convicted
  • GFA beach soccer coaching course kicks off
  • GAMCEL Celebrate 10 years of existence

LRR expected to become the 3rd region to drop the Knife
Dr. Isatou Touray, the executive director of GAMCOTRAP is looking forward to seeing the Lower River Region becoming the third Region to drop the knife.
The Gambia Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) have been able to convince female circumcisers in the Upper River Region (URR) and the West Coast Region to stop the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
In an interview with this reporter, Dr. Touray noted that she is hopeful that in their quest to eradicate the practice, other regions will follow suit in dropping the knife.
She explained that GAMCOTRAP is currently steering a project in the West Coast, a region that has a high prevalence of the practice of FGM.
She said the project is aimed at raising the awareness of the people in the region as an advocacy tool in the fight against harmful traditional practices, such as FGM.
She said GAMCOTRAP has since taken a cultural response to this fight against FGM, since the practice cuts across class, irrespective of people’s positions in society.
During a recent training of trainers in Sukuta, Binta Sabally, a participant and a resident of Lamin said it could be easy to transmit diseases like HIV/AIDS through the practice of FGM. This, she said is because circumcisers uses the same blade or knife to circumcise different children.

GNOC officials has ‘no case’ to answer
On May 23, Defence Counsel Ida Drammeh filed a “no case to answer” submission in the trial of top officials of the Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC.
Beatrice Allen, Mr. Ousman Wadda and Mr. Muhammad Janneh, the 1st Vice President, Treasurer and Accountant Officer of the GNOC are standing trial on one count of theft at the Kanifing Municipal Court presided by Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally. The have since denied the allegation.
Beatrice Allen, IOC Member
On Monday, counsel Drammeh argued the prosecution has not put forward any essential ingredients for the charge before the court. They said the money is the property of the GNOC, but it was not proven that any of the accused persons falsely claim that the amount allegedly stolen is for Lang Tombong Tamba, former president of the GNOC.
“The evidence of the prosecution witness stated very clearly that no one stole the money (D34, 000). Without doubt, the accused persons are innocent,” she said.
She noted that the money did not belong to the GNOC, instead it belong to Tamba. The money was received by Seedy Kinteh (a witness) on behalf of Tamba and that the investigators find all the money kept intact. She further submit that the Court acquit and discharge the accused.
Prosecutor Darboe applied for an adjournment in order to reply to the submission of the defence. Darboe, who was holding brief for Inspector Mballow, had earlier applied for an adjournment.
However, Magistrate Tabally dismissed the application, arguing that the case has been dragging on for a long time. “I will either proceed or close the case,” he warned. The trial continues on May 31, 2011.

Gambia Govt. validates national transport policy
The Gambia Government in collaboration with the European Union (EU) on May 24, 2011 held a one-day workshop on the validation of the National Transport Policy Development at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
The policy document is being instituted to better improve the transport system of the Gambia. The policy is initiated by the Government of The Gambia and funded by the European Commission (under the EU Grant for Support to the National Transport Plan of The Gambia), undertaken to review the Road Sub-sector Transport Policy.
The WSP International Management Consultants, a UK-based Consultancy Firm was tasked with the execution of the Policy Review.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure Dr. Njogu L. Bah said the quality of any country’s transport system strongly lies on the quality of its transport policy and strategies.
Gambia Commercial vehicles (Taxi)
“This is necessary in enabling the Government to improve its transport system vis-à-vis achieving other development objectives in areas such as economic growth, poverty reduction and social inclusion,” he said.
“During the review process, the Consultants actively engaged all stakeholders in the day-to-day business of roads and road transport in The Gambia, through one-on-one or focus group meeting, adequate consultations was necessary in order to give the policy document a strong sense of National ownership.”
Mr. Sylvain Lequéré, programme manager of the European Union said the choices made in the Road Transport Policy are committing the government and all her partners, including the EU, on the future development and maintenance of the road network in The Gambia.
“This strategy will have an impact on every Gambian indeed, we all know how crucial the road network is for agriculture, tourism, trade, and access to education, markets and medical centers,” he outlined.
He noted that EU is an important partner of the Government of The Gambia. Indeed, the EU is currently funding a 76 million Euro project, which is about 3 billion dalasis for the reconstruction of 250km of trunck roads in the Country including the Barra-Amdallai Road, Mandina Ba-Seleti Road, Soma-Basse Road, the Trans-Gambia highway and the Basses-Velingara Road.
“In terms of maintenance, the project also aims to improve the capacity of the national roads authority, NRA. The NRA has now the software, the knowledge and the human resources to create an optimized maintenance programme,” he said.
On the specific issue of the Roads Fund, he said the EU knows that it is well managed thanks to an efficient board, and received 80 million Dalasis last year to feed the maintenance programme, the first step before a sustainable funding.
However, he noted that the road fund is still not sufficient to allow a fully operational maintenance programme, while exhorting that the private sector must be strengthened to create reliable contractors.

Bakoteh resident denies been hired to tell lies
Mr. Janko Manjang, a Bakoteh resident and a witness in the trial of the national drug enforcement agency, NDEA Boss Ebrima Bun Sanneh, has denied allegations by the defence that he is been hired to tell lies to the court.
Mr. Manjang, who opened his testimony on Tuesday before the High Court in Banjul, said he knew not where the High Court was situated and for this reason, he was escorted to the place by an NDEA officer, Abubacarr Corr.
Under cross-examination, he further denied defence counsel kebba Sanyang’s position that he was escorted right from his house to the Court by officer Corr.
“You are hired to come to court and lie against innocent men, in fact you were escorted to the Court by the NDEA man who is sitting in the Court to monitor you testify fully,” Sanyang said.
At this point, the Judge asked the NDEA man (Abubacarr Corr) to show up and he stood up subsequently.
The former NDEA Boss Bun Sanneh, Karamo Bojang, Amie Sanneh, and Seedy Bojang are standing trial on 30 Counts on official corruption, abuse of office, financial crimes and related offences.
Bun Sanneh
The have since denied the charges during their plea. They are being represented by counsels Kebba Sanyang, Lamin Mboge, and Pap Cheyassin Secka. The trial is presided over by Justice Emmanuel Amadi.
Mr. Manjang, who is the 14th prosecution witness, said “I am escorted by the NDEA officer Mr. Corr to the High Court because I don’t know where the court was.”
Manjang added that he failed to mention in his statement that the 2nd accused (Karamo Bojang) took his phone number, while indicating that Bojang in fact took his phone number.
He also said Bojang had asked him to sell cocaine on his behalf but denies dealing in cocaine business. Hearing continues on May 26, 2011. 

Prosecutor wants Indian man to be convicted
Prosecutor Inspector Darboe on May 23, 2011 exhort the Kanifing Municipal Court presided by Magistrate Sheriff  B. Tabally to convict Maliesh D. Bhojwani, an Indian national.
Mr. Bhojwani is standing trial on one count of “prohibition of conduct to breach of peace”, which emanate from an exchange he had with a Gambian at his shop, Valencia Enterprise.
Bhojwani is alleged to have said “Gambians are lazy black monkeys” including President Jammeh. An accusation he denied.
On Monday, Prosecutor Darboe submitted that the defence counsel has failed woefully in his submission and urge the Court to convict the accused person as charged.
He noted that the prosecution has called three witnesses to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, adding: “the evidence of Isatou Singhateh (1st witness) is that the accused told her that all Gambians are lazy black monkeys and that is why he don’t like them and also instructed her to go and report the matter to their lazy President.
“This kind of words are discriminative and provocative in their nature and are words normally used by the racist against blacks,” the prosecutor argued.
According to him, the evidences of the 1st 2nd and 3rd witness are supported corroborate, thus they are all credible witnesses, “the Court can convict an accused person based on evidence given by on a single witness and no specific number of witnesses is required to prove any particular facts in court subject to certain statutory exceptions.”
“Your worship, Court is not a place where majority carries the vote,” he said.
During the previous sitting, the defence submitted that Mr. Bhojwani was referring to his store manager as being lazy and does not respect time. However, the prosecutor argues that the statement alone will not warrant the police to institute a criminal charge against Bhojwani.
The trial continues on May 31, 2011 for the defence to reply on the point of law.

GFA Boss Kinteh
GFA beach soccer coaching course kicks off
The Gambia Football Association (GFA) in partnership with the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) on Monday kick started a weeklong Beach Soccer Coaching Course at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, The Gambia.
The five day course ending on Friday May 27, 2011, is being handled by Brazilian FIFA Course Instructor; Mr. Gustavo, whom the Gambia Football Association Boss Mr. Seedy MB Kinteh described as “a game changer”.
Kinteh said football has recorded substantial and tangible progress over the years, due largely to dedicated volunteers. This training programme is a clear demonstration of our commitment in building a better future for Beach Soccer in The Gambia.
He noted that Gambia, like many African countries is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches, skilful and enthusiastic players with positive attitudes, who are ready to play beach soccer and to represent their country in the future international competitions.
He also noted that they are looking forward to establishing a “Beach Soccer League” in the country by 2012.
“The training will offer a great deal of opportunity to learn new things and to hugely improve its application and dispensation in the game. It is the first of its kind in Gambia and it is crucial in the promotion and development of Beach Soccer in the country,” he said.
He urged the participants to do everything possible to make this special event hugely successful and to be ready to share your knowledge and experiences gained to the wider community.
Anna Jobe, a representative if the Minister of Youth and Sports Sheriff Gomez, urges the GFA to train referees on key elements of the game, such as the laws, rules and regulations governing Beach Soccer.
She said: “With better coaches and referees, Beach Soccer Tournaments in The Gambia will enjoy a boast in quality that can make us qualify for FIFA Beach Soccer Tournaments in the near future.”

GAMCEL Celebrate 10 years of existence
The Gambia cellular company, GAMCEL on May 25, 2011 marked its tenth year anniversary at its head office along Mamadimanjang Highway, Kanifing.
GAMCEL, which is the 1st GSM Company in The Gambia, was established on May 25, 2001 and has registered significant strides in the mobile telephony industry, with numerous services for its customers and an unrivaled cooperate social responsibility.
The public institution has also continued to complement government’s efforts stepping up development in the education, agriculture, sport, health, and religious sectors.
On Wednesday, Kebba Bojang, Senior Manager Customer Service said GAMCEL is established to make communication easier, affordable and accessible to Gambians and residents of The Gambia, especially the rural folk.
Considering the achievements gained, Mr. Bojang said it would have been difficult without the hard work of their staffs and Gambian people who have taken the company as their own. He commends President Jammeh for being the brainchild behind the establishment of Gamcel.
Mr. Phoday Sisay, the General Manager GAMCEL said since its establishment, the company has been providing the best of services to its customers.
He stressed that GAMCEL will never give poor service to customers, knowing that without the customer, the company is meaningless. He also noted that more services are in the pipeline.    
The Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) Yankuba Colley said: “I can comfortably state that despite all the noises in the local advertising and marketing sub-sector, Gamcel has credibly earned itself the role of a pioneer and leading GSM services provider in The Gambia.”
He said the company has expansive network coverage over the years underpinned by affordable rates.  “As you celebrate your tenth year, it is our obligation as authorities to refer to your records in fostering and nurturing public-private partnership within a broader framework of complementing the development agenda of the government,” he said.

Youths trained on peace building, crime prevention
Youth Crime Watch The Gambia, a youth organisation in Banjul has embarked upon a four-day training of 30 youths on in peace building, crime and violence prevention from May 24-27, 2011 at the TANGO Conference Hall at Kanifing.
The training, funded by the United State Embassy in The Gambia, is held under the theme “Building the institutional capacity of Youth Crime Watch The Gambia for Youth Participation in National Development and the Promotion of Peace”.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr. Marcel Mendy, executive secretary National Youth Council (NYC) said youths are an important component in existence and development of human societies and the future of any societies can only be guaranteed by its youths.
He was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sport Sheriff Gomez. He added that the energy and resourcefulness of the youths serve as new fuel for the development of society.
“The problems and challenges posed by crime and violence in The Gambia have been for some time a vexatious issue for the government and it is noteworthy that the government is taking an increasing interest in the subject,” he said.
“I am encouraged that the theme of the training is centered on the issue of crime and violence prevention which gives rise to peace building, illegal drugs and empowering young people towards building a culture of peace and non-violence.”
He also noted that education and training are the most critical aspects of youth empowerment, while noting that youths facing numerous challenges hindering the full realization of their aspirations and key amongst these include crimes and drugs.
The US Ambassador to The Gambia, Pamela Ann-White said statistics have shown that 63 percent of the Gambia population is made up of youths, who represent the future of The Gambia and the world.
She said youths will be responsible for critical issue such as employment, health, governance and leadership. She also noted that the Government of The Gambia has taken a bold steps to ensure that illicit activities such as drugs and violence don’t distract the country from reaching its’ development potential.
She added that the US Embassy is committed to assisting groups such as Youth Crime Watch The Gambia to promote peace and development.
The Chairperson Board of Directors of Youth Crime Watch The Gambia, Mr. Ibrahim Ceesay said youths are not only the future but the presently  they need to be informed and empowered with skills in circumventing problems affecting them at all.
“Youth crime watch the Gambia is committed to curbing crime, illicit drugs and violence in communities and it seek to promote peace and stability, as well as good citizenship,” he said.
“Criminals seek to maximize profits and minimize risks and therefore attracted to parts of the world where governance is weak due to conflict and corruption and security and development are crucial to reduce vulnerability.”  


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