By Suntukung Darboe
The National Assembly Member for Banjul North has expressed his worry over the lack of effective enforcement of Covid-19 emergency regulations, adding that the police and local councils must ensure their full implementation.
Ousman Sillah also told The Standard that the National Assembly will ensure that every coin spent from the government’s Covid-19 fund is accounted for.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Sillah lamented that politics, denial and economic interests are some of the factors currently making the fight against Covid-19 in the country cumbersome.
“For the population, it is business as usual. Laissez faire attitude, complacency, denial, economic interests and politics are making the fight against Covid-19 very difficult. The police and councils should do something. It is understandable that the police are complaining of personal protective equipment. This is a legitimate claim but not insurmountable,” he added.
According to Sillah, the police should be empowered to effectively enforce Covid-19 rules so as to safeguard public health. He added that every approach towards Covid-19 must be science-based as the virus continues to wreak havoc in the world.
“Denial should be science-based and not politics. We have to put politics aside and see what benefits and harms people,” he warned.
He acknowledged that Covid-19 has caused some economic disruptions, highlighting the need for government to devise coping mechanism for businesses.
“We understand the need for the state to look at the economic disruptions adversely affecting businesses and see how responses can come in terms of relief. There are businesses that are really affected and in need of a bailout,” said Sillah.
He asserted that Covid-19 pandemic has exposed Gambia’s ill-preparedness not only in emergencies but also how the country operates.
“Covid-19 has shown that the country is ill-prepared to address not only emergencies. You’re talking of food distribution but we don’t [even] have a comprehensive data. There are data here and there but not comprehensive. I think this is one area the government should think about. How do we have data on unemployment, underprivileged families… We must be able to prepare for emergencies and post-emergencies. We need to get ourselves ready with a sense of preparedness,” the Banjul North NAM postulated.