By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly has resolved to summon the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources James Gomez over the mass wastage of fish resources across the coastal areas of The Gambia.
The motion to summon the minister was tabled by the National Assembly Member for Banjul South, Touma Njai in line with the Standing Orders of the Assembly.
According to the Banjul lawmaker, her motion is necessitated by the indiscriminate exploitation of the country’s main source of protein informed by the activities of mainly industrial fishing companies “without any regulations” at the detriment of the population.
“Honourable Speaker, I beg to move a motion under S53 of the Standing Orders to summon the minister of fisheries and water resources as a matter of urgency to answer to this august Assembly as to the state of the Fisheries Department, the coastal line as well as the wastage of resources. Our citizens deserve to know the state of their resources and this is in line with section 77(4) of the constitution,” Touma addressed the Speaker on the matter yesterday.
She further alleged that Minister Gomez misled the parliament when he told lawmakers that images of mass fish mortalities reported last September were pictures from overseas.
“This matter was brought here sometime ago and the minister [James Gomez] gave us false information and stated that the pictures are not in The Gambia but a foreign country,” she claimed.
However, the motion was not all-smooth sailing before it was agreed upon by other legislators.
The member for Busumbala Saikouba Jarju brought a counter motion urging fellow lawmakers to instead establish a special committee or make use of the parliamentary committee on fisheries to investigate the matter.
However, NAM Jarju later relaxed his argument following consultations which saw the majority of lawmakers accepting the motion to summon the minister.
Speaker Mariam Jack-Denton followed this with an announcement that the Assembly will summon the minister.