Snipe in the air for migrants smugglers

Nov 17, 2023, 10:43 AM

Migration is a sensitive and topical issue in many developing countries and The Gambia is not an exception. Lack of better prospects, high unemployment to other constraints, are the main drivers forcing thousands of youths on this perilous journey.

Some have made it to Europe and are contributing significantly to their respective families, as indicated in the amount of remittances wired to the country these past years. However, a significant number also have died along the way. Just recently, about 21 youngsters from the coastal town of Bakau died in their attempt to reach Spain’s Canary Islands. This sent shock waves across the country with many criticising poor youth-friendly policies to enable them harness their talents right here at home.

Suffice it to state here that the number of Gambians venturing into the perilous journey either using the Atlantic Ocean to reach Spain’s Canary Islands or the Central Mediterranean route has reached a record high so far.

A recent presser from Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed that currently, 3 different boats have been intercepted and rescued by the Moroccan Royal Navy around Dakhla carrying on board 61, 46 and 26 Gambian migrants respectively. These has brought the total number of Gambian migrants being evacuated from Morocco to The Gambia at 133. It appears the issue is alarming on daily basis.

This indeed calls for national dialogue to address the root causes of irregular migration. Also, it is high time government came up with youth-friendly initiatives to enable the youth exploit their talents in country and contribute to national development. As a country, we can’t wait or watch our youth perish at sea.

The government owes it to the citizenry of the country to create an enabling environment that will enable every citizen to harness their full potential and participate in meaningful initiatives.

Due to the increase in the number of youth taking this deadly route, The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) has now devised new measures and approaches aimed at curtailing the surge of this deadly route widely referred to as the ‘back-way’. One of these new measures is to slam murder charge against migrant smugglers.

We commend the GID for the bold move. We believe that in as much as the youth are a problem, smugglers also played a big role in convincing and encouraging the whole equation.

And most of the times, these irregular migrants would give the smugglers significant amounts of money, which sometimes goes unclaimed “if the trip fails”. 

Unarguably, we all know that no nation can provide jobs for all its citizens. However, forging or strengthening Public Private Partnership (PPP) could help change the situation. Even in developed countries, PPP helps a great deal in complementing government in that regard.

To this end, we encourage the government to redirect its focus and approach towards building more partnerships with the private sector to help curtail the situation and menace.

The move will not only close existing gaps, it will also help create more jobs and support infrastructural development and other vital services.

This would in turn retain our youth to enable them contribute to the development of this great nation of ours.

May God help our youth!