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SIS Graduates Maiden Batch of Recruits on Human Rights

May 12, 2017, 11:00 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The State Intelligence Service (SIS) graduated recruits at the Service’s Headquarters in Banjul on Wednesday.

The batch of officers are the first in conformity with its current transformation and restructuring phase, geared towards repositioning, refocusing, recasting and calibrating the institution to ensure a secure strong government, and a safe and stable country.

The graduation ceremony, which was presided over by the SIS Director General (DG) Mr Ousman Sowe, marked the end of a six-week training course covering subject areas pertinent to the day-to-day functions of the Service. The ceremony was graced by the Deputy Director General, line Directors and staff of the SIS.

During the course of the training, recruits were taught on relevant subject matters such as Gender and Gender mainstreaming, Human Rights issues, including the convention on the rights of women and children, refugee protection, counter terrorism and counter espionage techniques. The course also addressed the three major components of the learning process such as attitudes, skills, and knowledge with regard to intelligence operations and coherence with upholding and promoting peace, prosperity, freedom and democracy for all, consistent with the values enshrined in the Constitution.

Cognizant of ongoing reform and restructuring, under the dynamic leadership if the Director General Mr. Ousman Sowe, the SIS training curriculum has been designed to inculcate the core values of loyalty, dedication, commitment, and professionalism in the delivery of the Service’s core constitutional mandate.

Readers are reminded that whereas previously the emphasis on the use of Intelligence was on the security of the state and the survival of the regime, now there is a strong emphasis on human security and human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the constitution.

Delivering his keynote address, the SIS Director General Mr. Ousman Sowe, first thanked The President of The Republic His Excellency Adama Barrow for approving the training. He also thanked the training staff for sparing no effort during the 6 week training course to take the recruits through what was called a grueling, knowledge seeking adventure so as to prepare them for the arduous task of national duty.

To the graduates, the Director General, urged them to never compromise on the core professional ethics of courage, honesty and integrity, in view of demands for reforms of public institutions most notably the Security and Intelligence Sectors by Gambians as clearly expressed in the December 1, 2016 Presidential Elections.

The SIS DG expressed his confidence that the trainees have been inculcated with adequate knowledge of basic human rights and skills to observe in their daily dealings with the public as prescribed in the constitution and in line with international standard practice.

He wasted no time to call for cooperation as well as support from the SIS’s Counterpart Institutions, Government Officials in the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary bodies, NGOs, the powerful media, academia, all Gambians, representatives of friendly governments and citizens of other countries living in The Gambia, during what he called, ‘this teething period.’ to jealously guard our newly found democratic values”. He added that all of us have a stake in the security of this country and need therefore be ready to play our various parts to ensure we feel safe in a turbulent environment.

Below we produce an excerpt from the SIS DG’s address.

“...The State Intelligence Service is in its infant stage. Our objectives are to serve, not as oppressors of the people but protectors of their security and well-being governed by policies that are ethical, honorable and in accordance with fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as international best practices. Whilst our operational techniques of covert collection of information are secret, the rest of our intelligence activities will be open and participatory so as to earn the confidence and full support of the public. That might not have been the case before, but in any democracy it is essential that intelligence services behave in an ethical and lawful manner and we cannot afford to deviate on these values.

We envisage building an intelligence service that is fully conscious and proud of our democratic and constitutional foundations. We expect our intelligence operatives, researchers and analysts to be highly trained and sophisticated. The main function of our services should be the collection of true and relevant information that can serve as a basis for first class decision-making on security. Our intelligence services must rely on brains rather than brawn. We must be effective and efficient and deliver quality products superior to those ordinarily available. We are not and must never be another police service but certainly with powers sufficient to carry out our core mandates on terrorism, subversion, sabotage and all other threats to our national wellbeing.”

The SIS DG, Mr. Ousman Sowe concluded by recording his profound thanks to all counterpart institutions whose collaboration, cooperation and support have a made significant contribution to the security of our country and people.

It will be recalled that since his inception; the President and Head of State of the Republic of The Gambia who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow has renamed the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA): the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and is delivering on his promise of reforming and restructuring The Gambia’s Intelligence Service to make it a vibrant national security institution that is functional in the interests of the entire Gambian nation without prejudice.

It is against this background that the SIS is engaged in not only training new recruits but also conducting in-house and on-the-job training of its staff in a bid to galvanize the institutions reform and restructuring agenda.