May 11, 2020, 1:30 PM
Apart from the sea gate and air space The Gambia is bounded all over by Senegalese Territory. If it were for Senegal alone, there might not have been much concern over the vulnerability of our boundaries.
Since the Republic of Senegal has taken stringent measures to secure her own frontiers, The Republic of The Gambia must by all means necessary adopt the most stringent measures to control the flow of immigrants in to The Gambia.
The pandemic coronavirus with its catastrophic effects is now a global concern. It therefore goes without saying that The Gambia with its Open Door Policy must now more than ever be vigilant in the application of the strict measures controlling the entry of immigrants throughout The Gambia’s boarders. All sorts and category of aliens are entering this country by land Via Senegal. Legitimately, Senegal immigration authorities and frontiers guards let them through without hindrance. They travel to The Gambia. They don’t stay in Senegal therefore it is not for Senegal officials to check on their health conditions and the purpose of their mission to The Gambia, that’s the Gambia’s business. The point is that apart from the over congestion of our cities and towns, apart from the fact that tens of thousands of aliens who pour into our country are common liabilities with no legal documents, no money to live on, no even any known host to lodge them, many of these uninvited guests carry along with them diseases which they invest in our already sanitarily inadequate country. There are also thousands of blind and crippled aliens who inundate our commercial centers and increase the hazard to our problematic traffic. Our open door policy is of course paying some dividends in the capital investment sphere, and boosts the economy. But unfortunately, although evitable, we have to put up with the odd side if this capitalistic policy, which is eroding the very health conditions of our people, pollute our atmosphere, disrupt our free and normal movements. Enterprise and open Door policy of our frontier requires strict and free Enterprise and open Door Policy. Our frontiers require strict and well organize supervision. Immigration officers, Health Inspectors and frontiers guides must be marshaled along the entry points of our boundaries to thoroughly screen and inspect any Tom Dick and Harry who set a foot on Gambian soil.
In fact, it goes further than that. There has to be a limit to the number of foreigner this country can absorb. The Gambia cannot afford to be a refugee sanctuary. We provided refugee to the innocent victims of Portuguese aggressive colonialism from Guinea Bissau. But that war of liberation is long over, and Guinea Bissau is now a free, independent, sovereign republic. Yet thousands of refugees still linger on here. Many have acquired jobs, homes and even have so entrenched themselves that they cannot be distinguished from the citizenry.
There is another category of aliens known as Economic refugees. They flee their countries in quest for means of existence and they come in along with their skills and ideas, but also with their vices. The two are naturally inseparable. So long before the idea of ECOWAS was conceived, our country has been observing the right of free movement of Africans in Africa. But as mentioned earlier there is limit to what this country can take. Ours is a very small country, with very little living space and limited farming area.
We welcome guest of course. Our hospitality has been a watch word all over the world. But such hospitality should not lure us to ignore the dangers which go along with free movements of persons. There is no known country so open and easily accessible than ours. This is dangerous.
For example, the types of crime being committed in this country today were absolutely unknown in the past – armed robbery, arson, highway hold-up, counter feiting, drug trafficking , swindling etc etc, were definitely new some years ago.
Tight security is incumbent on our authorities for our boundaries. The pandemic coronavirus must therefore be attack from all corners in order to ensure that the economic damage and social disaster that occurred in other countries will never be given a chance to appear to in our peace loving and hospitable country.