U.S. based Gambian lawyer responds to Dr. Ceesay’s deportation claims

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sarjo Barrow, a U.S. based Gambian lawyer has responded to Dr. Ismalie Ceesay, a political science lecturer at University of The Gambia (UTG) about the role and obligation of The Gambia government regarding her citizens facing deportation.

“I decided to weigh in and respond to Dr. Ceesay’s comment about the role/obligation of the government regarding her citizens facing deportation. It is very important that we do not confuse ordinary citizens about issues. Thus, the reason for my response. I plan to do live Q&A in the local language at some point. You can debate the issues or express your opinion but keep it civil,” he said during an interview with Talent Promotion.

During a panel discussion on Paradise TV last week, which centered on the issues surrounding the mass exodus of our youthful population in Europe and the Americas, the panelists identified several factors that forced our youths to embark on this perilous “back-way” journey.

“I couldn’t agree more with their many observations. Specifically, (1) our government’s failure to create a conducive environment that would encourage and motivate her youthful population to stay home, and (2) the ridicule the youthful population faced from family and the community for not volunteering their lives through the “back-way.”

Mr. Barrow registered his disagreement with Dr. Ceesay regarding the role of government on the issue of deportation, saying instead of just stating his opinion on a national issue, he encroached just enough by “providing a piece of misleading legal information to the public.

“Although a sensitive topic, I think it is imperative that we Gambians discuss this issue openly and candidly. My disagreement with Dr. Ceesay is about his statement that “the Gambia government should not only refuse to accept her citizen, but should dictate to other countries when, where, and how Gambians should be deported back to The Gambia.” To defend his position, Dr. Ceesay stated that accepting deportees would pose a security threat to the Gambia. He further opined that this is why Ghana refused to accept her citizens from the USA and Germany—due to a national security threat.

Now, I agree with Dr. Ceesay that no citizen of the Gambia is deported to the Gambia without the consent of the government. That’s no brainer—duh. Also, I agree with him that alienating 65% of the population can pose a security threat in any nation. However, for Dr. Ceesay or anyone in his standing to argue or even suggest that the Gambia government should refuse to accept her citizens from other countries is at best, a borderline security threat, and at the very least, an irresponsible statement.

“The USA is a sovereign country. Just like The Gambia and all the European countries. The Gambia cannot dictate how other countries enforce their immigration laws. Dr. Ceesay contends that because the Gambia came out of a dictatorship, followed by a fragile transition period, the government should abdicate her international obligations and refuse to accept any returnee. This argument is not only untenable but unrealistic even under the principle of comity,” he said.

Looking at the many comments about Dr. Ceesay’s position, he said, it is apparent that many of our brothers and sisters actually believed that the government could legally halt deportation. The Gambia government has no such power, legally, to stop the deportation of her citizen. “In fact, if they do, they would be exposing themselves to a lot of legal action by the citizens.”

Author: Momodou Jawo