Apr 24, 2020, 11:10 AM
The Gambia has registered four cases of covid-19 with two having recovered, one under treatment and one death.
Deputies, however, rejected the initially proposed extension period of 90 days as indicated in the motion tabled by the attorney general and minister of Justice Aboubacarr Tambadu on Thursday.
Suwaibou Touray, member for Wuli East and the vice chairperson of Human Rights and Constitution Matters Committee at the Assembly said the concerns advanced by legislators include: whether Presidential Proclamations followed the due process; proclamation and subsidiary legislations were published in a Gazette; that the 90-day extension is justifiable and whether restrictions imposed are reasonable and justifiable under a democratic society.
According to him, the committee noted that the 21-day proclamation implied that the National Assembly was not in session and that the mentioned subsidiary legislations were published in the Gazette; with each subsidiary legislation imposing restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms, but without compensation.
Hon. Touray added that the committee is of the view that commercial businesses should not be totally banned, but only opening and closing times should be restricted.
He said there have been divergent views among deputies, but finally agreed on recommending for 45 days. “However, it is equally advised to take note of the seriousness of the pandemic,” he underlined.
He pointed out that the committee also recommends that the Finance, Health, Trade, Tourism, Transport and Interior ministries to work with Justice Ministry to come up with a compensatory mechanism to provide relief package to the most vulnerable during the times of restrictions. The committee also advised the Justice Ministry to clarify the reason that led to the declaration of the second proclamation and the non-applicability of the 21 days’ duration of the first proclamation as the National Assembly was in session.
In response, Aboubacarr Tambadu, the attorney general and minister of Justice, made reference to the first proclamation by the president on 18 March 2020, saying the situation dramatically changed in the country and around the world in the ensuing week with reports of three cases of infection and one death as a result of the viral infection in the Gambia.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), he added, the number of countries affected by the pandemic increased to 171 and the number of people killed also increased to 20,834 within a week.
“In response to this increased threat of the virus to the country, the President, on 26 March 2020, and acting under section 34(1)(b) of the 1997 Constitution, issued a second proclamation declaring that a state of public emergency exists in the whole of The Gambia,” the minister said.
He added that this was duly communicated to the speaker of the National Assembly with a request for the National Assembly to extend the president’s declaration of a state of public emergency pursuant to section 34(2) of the constitution.
The Ministry of Health has stated that a new laboratory confirmed case has been recorded in The Gambia from the mass samples collected in Bakau.
State Counsel A.M. Yusuf yesterday told the High Court in Banjul before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh that the prosecution would call three more witnesses in the murder case involving Yankuba Touray. He added that they received a call from the TRRC that they are putting more effort to produce the statement requested by Defence Counsel Sissoho.
The chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Emmanuel Daniel Joof, has said that they don’t invent rights, rather they uphold rights that are in the constitution, treaties and conventions that The Gambia ratified and is a party to.
Karpowership energy company yesterday presented five ventilators worth about D6 million to the government of The Gambia.
Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie, the newly-appointed coroner, presided over the inquest into the death of Januaro Wande Beducande Findon, a Guinea Bissau national.
Tida Jaiteh, a wife to late Baba Jobe, a former closed ally to former president Yahya Jammeh, yesterday testified before the TRRC, giving accounts of how Baba was imprisoned and killed through executive orders.