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Address the root causes of illegal migration first!

Jan 21, 2011, 12:52 PM

While we welcome the move taken by the Italian government to donate vehicles towards addressing illegal migration, we are of the view that the best way to tackle the menace is by addressing the root causes first.

The Italian government on Wednesday donated 12 Toyota Land Cruiser Pick-Ups to the Government of The Gambia as part of a bilateral agreement to combat illegal migration.

The vehicles, according to the donor, would help to boost The Gambia's efforts in combating illegal migration. Italy previously made a similar donation to The Gambia for the same purpose, and invited Gambian police officers to Italy to be working with that country's border police, which is not what is really needed.

We firmly believe that the money used to buy the 12 expensive cars and the ones previously donated could have been used to sponsor projects that would create employment for the youth.

What is really essential is for the government of Italy and other partners to help create more job opportunities for The Gambia's unemployed youth.

Intercepting migrants is not what should be the main focus; rather, more energy and efforts should be directed at creating opportunities that can encourage the youth to stay and work for their country.

Illegal migration, we know, is a costly and a deadly venture but to succeed in fighting the menace we must first address the main factors of poverty, unemployment, human rights issues, democratic misconduct and other deficiencies of the socio-politico system.

While we are not encouraging people to seek greener pasture through dangerous ventures, we however believe that the root factors of such ventures must be the priority focus.