Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gambia to tighten punishment for breakers of tourism laws

The terminal of Banjul International Airport, ...
The jurisdiction of the 24 hour Tribunal will also include the Banjul International Airport and the tourism development area, known as the TDA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Gambia has presented amendments to the country’s tourism laws endorsed by the parliament to impose severe fines for offenders.

“Tourism Offences (Amendment) Bill 2014” which seeks to amend the “Tourism Offences Act 2003” by increasing the monetary penalties for persons convicted of offences related to tourism, was approved by the parliament on April 8.

The amendments have to be assented to by President Yahya Jammeh for it to become law. If he does, the new law would impose harsher fines to a minimum D50, 000. Terms for imprisonment will remain not more than two years.

Fines for offenders use to be a minimum D5000 but Tourism and Culture Minister Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie has said it has “lost weight of deference over time.”

The laws are targeted people who beg, harass or hassle; stalk, threaten or insult tourists; and those who idle around the tourism industry to beg, follow, stalk or harass tourists.

It also targets tourists (holidaymakers) who expose their genital organs to children, in any place, for sexual purposes.

Offenders could also be face both fine and imprisonment if found guilty of the above offences.

Special tribunal

The Bill also seeks to establish a 24-hour special tribunal which the minister of tourism and culture will have jurisdiction to try any offences committed under the Act or within the tourism development area which involves a tourist.

It shall be presided over by a principal magistrate to be designated by the Chief Justice, who shall ensure that cases brought before the tribunal are given accelerated hearing, Mrs. Jobe-Njie said.

Some cases under the Act will be dealt with expeditiously outside the schedule of the court system, she said. The jurisdiction of the Tribunal will also include the Banjul International Airport and the tourism development area, known as the TDA.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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