By Tabora Bojang
The public relations officer of the Gambia Market Union has called on the police to adopt a consistent approach to ensure full compliance with its new traffic enforcement initiative that restricts the use of commercial vehicles by foreign nationals and private vehicles for commercial purposes.
The police released a statement Sunday announcing that its mobile traffic department would conducting an enforcement program targeting the use of commercial vehicles by foreign nationals and use of private vehicles for commercial purposes on public roads.
This enforcement, according to the police, is necessitated to ensure public safety, and warns that the law will be strictly applied on anyone found wanting.
Sulayman Dampha, who contacted The Standard to react to its publication on the police initiative, said they welcome the police announcement with caution.
He argued that the police had introduced similar initiatives in the past with the ultimate objective of safeguarding national security and the Gambian economy but ‘failed to enforce them.’
“The police should try to get people to comply with this regulation. They should see that 95 percent of commercial drivers are citizens because that is the only way the economic benefits of the sector will stay within the country and these are our own brothers who will empathise with us in this complex traffic and ensure our lives and properties are safe. We are not saying no to foreign nationals; they are welcomed but certain regulations like this are needed to safeguard our national interest. This is a good move by the police. Jammeh started it here and it paid dividend because he was able to enforce it. We doubt that under this government because they always come with policies, considered helpful but they are not enforced because people don’t comply. So, we don’t know what will be the fate of this regulation but we hope the police will do their utmost,” he stated.
Mr. Dampha also called on the police to extend this enforcement on the Serekunda market in order to address the issue of unregulated vendors engaged in trading along the market road which has posed unprecedented losses to vendors renting in shops and paying taxes to government.
He said the market authorities have considered this a disadvantage to traders using shops and they are engaging in consultations and meetings to address the problem with the authorities.
“The youths of this country need to be empowered. They are not lazy; they are starved of opportunities. The government could even chip in and provide vehicles for youths through loans or subsidies to make them actualise their potentials,” Dampha said.