Speaking at the ceremony, the Honourable Minister of Interior, Mr. Seyaka Sonko, welcomed the members and thanked them for honoring the Ministry’s invitation. Minister Sonko stated that the objective of the committee is not to hijack any individual’s efforts but to complement each other’s efforts. He added that joint efforts to ensure a safe and secure Maritime environment in The Gambia can be more effective than individual efforts. Thus, this can attract joint approaches with international organisations under one authority on Maritime security.
Furthermore, the Honourable Minister said the Ministry of Interior has a wide coverage on internal security which is not only about what happens within its department or the Ministry but it includes other institutions. Thus this brings the need to collaborate and join efforts to find ways to address the issues on Maritime Security. He expressed the need to strengthen concerted efforts to ensure a safe and secure maritime in the country. He called on all the members to effectively collaborate and in the same vein challenged them to continue their commitment.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mr. Abdoulie T.B. Jarra said it could be recalled that unlike the National Civil Aviation Security Committee, The Gambia does not have an effective and coordinated National Security mechanism responsible for National Maritime Security. ‘’We have been discussing this for a while now and it was thought necessary that the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for Internal Security should coordinate this so that our individual efforts can be put together to have a concrete and efficient mechanism in which we address Maritime security in the country,’’ he noted.
PS Jarra said that the inaugural meeting of the committee would serve as a road map to commence the discussions on the Terms of Reference and an action plan strategy for the committee and other Maritime security related issues.