yesterday donated 40 pickup trucks to The Gambia, as the two nations ponder
fresh endeavours to stem the problem of irregular migration.
The Italian government is seeking the support of The Gambia in dealing with a problem that has seen the country take in hundreds of thousands of migrants including Gambians over many years.
The vehicles are donated to the Gambia Immigration Department to boost the department’s border security and migration management efforts.
And at a handover ceremony held yesterday at the GID Irregular Migration Monitoring Centre in Tanji, Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty, presiding over the event, said the development was in sync with the vision of President Adama Barrow.
Fatty stated that, “The vision of the President is a Gambia that is strong; a Gambia that is secure; a Gambia that is prosperous; a Gambia where her citizens can build a strong and sustainable future; and a compassionate one where every citizens can find her/his place.”
And he added: “Beyond that, His Excellency believes in fostering greater collaboration between The Gambia and nations. Our special relationship with Italy is one of those that this government will nurture and will continue to consolidate.
“We believe that issues that confront nations generally are shared obligations that every nation must contribute in its solution. Migration is just one issue. Irregular migration is one of international concerns and The Gambia has a role to play in its solution. That is why today is very significant. It is significant because it demonstrates the commitment of two nations towards resolving this imbroglio.”
Italy has said it can no longer be expected to deal single-handedly with the vast number of asylum seekers, most of them economic migrants, streaming across the Mediterranean.
And Minister Fatty who said The Gambia was ready to work with Italy on the issue said a solution can be found.
He said: “We have a vested interest in ensuring that conditions that are conducive for keeping our nationals are evolved. The Italians and the Europeans have an interest in ensuring that their borders are safe and people who travel to their country go there through the legal route. Both sides have the moral and the legal obligation to ensure lives are protected – and that people who embark on these perilous journeys are protected.
“The concern of the President is the lives that are lost along the way. This government wants to do something about it. The evidence of our seriousness is that we are now working to create a migration policy. It has never happened in this country.
When President Barrow was ushered in by the Gambian people, the Gambia had no migration policy. The commitment of this government is reflected through the validation of a migration profile. Consultations are ongoing among all stakeholders both our local institutions and international partners such as IOM and EU in order to build a very strong migration policy. That is the first towards ending an endemic challenge. The consultation will be expansive and thorough. We will come with a solution.
“The President has made it clear to a visiting European delegation that for migration to be stalled, the economy has to grow and we inherited a bankrupt economy. The volume of our seriousness must match the compassionate understanding of our partners.”