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National Youth Parliament Convenes Stakeholders Forum

Aug 21, 2009, 6:12 AM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah

The National Youth Parliament of the Gambia as part of it activities marking the 30 days activism on Wednesday August 19th 2009, convened a one-day stakeholders briefing and breakfast show at the Paradise Suite Hotel in Kololi.

The briefings, entitled "In search of collective solutions to the youth illegal migration" provided young people the opportunity to discuss with stakeholders to map out the way forward for illegal migration in the Gambia.

The forum also provided young people the opportunity to dialogue among themselves and stakeholders in the sprit of partnership, and thereby create the enabling environment and build synergy in responding to the challenges posed by illegal migration.

Addressing youth parliamentarians, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Ousman Sonko said every human society is characterised by both internal and external mobility, adding that migration has now become an integral part of modern economic and social transformation.

In the last two decades, he added, many sub-Saharan African countries witnessed the mass exodus of their youthful population, including some of the continent's elite to the west where they look for greener pastures.

This, he stated, is not a new phenomenon, saying the magnitude of the problem and its alarming continuous increase presents a growing urgency for action as the consequences of youth migration threatens to stunt the overall development initiatives of the continent.

Migration, Minister Sonko went on, "can potentially harm the development prospects of a country as those who leave cause critical shortages of human capital".

According to him, the government of the Gambia, in consultations with other stakeholders, has legislated the menace as a fundamental crime against humanity.

He stated that the government through his ministry has created a whole unit within the immigration department, headed by the Commissioner geared towards monitoring, apprehending, and prosecuting offenders in all facts of illegal migration.

Interior Minister Sonko further said that the government has created numerous job opportunities for the youths, through its youth empowerment policy, noting that skill centres have been built in various part of the country.

For her part, the Speaker of the National Youth Parliament, Hon Maimuna Sarr highlighted some of the dangers posed by illegal migration, which she added, had negatively impacted on youths participation in national development.

The NYP Speaker said in order to combat illegal migration, youths need the full participation of stakeholders and the government of the Gambia, adding that youths should desist from undertaking perilous journey to the industrial world in search of greener pasture.

She therefore calls for strong partnership and collaboration in order to put an end to the menace.

Hon. Fatoumata Baldeh, Clerk of NYP gave a preview of the National Youth Parliament.

Other speakers at the briefing included the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sheriff Gomez, who advised youth parliamentarians to continue sensitising youths on illegal migration.

He strongly urged the youths to work towards national development, saying that there are lots of opportunities available to them in the Gambia.

The National Youths Parliament of the Gambia is a youth representative network of seven regional parliaments across the country. Its aim and objectives, among others, are to promote and uphold the principles of good governance, democracy, youth development, as well as to inculcate responsible citizenship in the minds and hearts of young people.