- Proposed security measures for the new Trans-Gambia Bridge
One of the key concerns of any country in the 21st century is security. As a key infrastructural element in our road network and soon to be commissioned, security for the new Yellitenda-Bambatenda bridge, and proposed subsequent bridges across the country are of utmost importance to our national economy, and of course national pride. We cannot afford to be complacent in this era of heightened global security concerns.
Moreover, a rule of thumb in business is the mitigation of risk when decisions are being made for capital budgeting (investments). As a part of the national development plan of the current government, for which we remain positive, all investments are capital in nature (“capital” in business jargon) and therefore, qualify for risk and damage control measures.
This will ensure the scaling of returns (tangible and intangible) through lifecycle index measurements. Let us now start being proactive about matters of great importance such as huge infrastructural investments, by setting standards that cover all grounds of importance in protecting national assets. Henceforth, we ought to apply principles of investment to infrastructural endeavors. Security is boundless in benefit. Security also means protection of human and material resources. I, therefore, propose the following as security measures for Yellitenda -Bambatenda bridge:
· Military and or paramilitary security post on both sides of the bridge for frequent patrols.
· Prohibition of fly-fishing on the bridge.
· Prohibition of loitering on the bridge.
· Prohibition of donkey carts unless where determined not regular for crossing passengers.
· Entrance by toll way only.
· Security foot patrols across the bridge.
· Below bridge security patrols.
· No human push carts (which is a traffic hazard).
· A national security sub-committee (responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of gazetted security law/measures, and report generation) committee should be set up, and answerable to the president with periodic reporting to the President.
· No littering off the bridge.
· Where applicable all measures should be carried punitive charges/fines for violation (National assembly should enact laws to the effect) Amend the traffic and security laws.
In the name of national interest, security experts should expand this list as deemed necessary Furthermore, a security sensitisation campaign should be undertaken to educate the surrounding communities in the Lower River and and North Bank regions about new security and safety rules. This should also be applied countrywide by media announcements on television and radio. Let us not leave things to change anymore. Civil education is complementary to national efforts.
University of The Gambia
The swift response of Halifa Sallah to the testimony of Mamat O Cham on the offer of ministerial appointments to him and Sam Sarr by the military junta was helpful. Truth is what TRRC seeks. Even though Halifa’s reaction or response will not form part of the evidence of the commission if he did not appear to give evidence, it has given us, the readers, sides of the story to ponder over.
Another perspective I derived from Halifa’s response is his tacit approval of the regime change, as well as the unsolicited guidance he provided to the regime in forming and shaping military governance structures. The basis of the perspective was anchored on the letter dated 25/7/94 which Halifa wrote to the junta to decline their offer.
When I saw in the Foroyaa edition of 17th January 2019 that Sam Sarr went with their letter of rejection to State House on Sunday but could not meet with the junta and left it there, I said to myself that the letter will certainly be one or two paragraphs, basically stating their rejection and possibly why. So when I saw the copy of that letter on Facebook and having perused it, I concluded that most Gambians either knowingly or by omission accepted the coup and helped the young and novice soldiers to get their acts together. And certainly Halifa did that, in my opinion.
Halifa wrote: “It is indeed an honour to be c
onsidered for such a post”. Indeed, what is honourable about being considered for a ministerial position by young soldiers who illegitimately overthrew a democratically elected government and suspended the constitution? I viewed this statement as diametrically opposed to the dogged position of Halifa and PDOIS on democracy, rule of law and tenets of constitutionalism.
As I have mentioned earlier, Halifa did not stop at declining the offer but provided unsolicited vital advice to the young, inexperienced and exuberant junta in the following words:
“…the most the provisional government can achieve without having to combat strong economic forces, is to maintain the economic programmes dictated by the IMF and so on.”
“…people will tend to appreciate any reforms you undertake that can make things somewhat better.”
“There is no doubt that to amend the laws on citizenship to ensure that anybody born in The Gambia becomes a citizen, the establishment of a proper system of registering voters as well as Independent Electoral Commission, the freeing of the media for national debates and holding of a free and fair election monitored internationally, will win your provisional government great respect and honour.”
“Furthermore, economic reforms such as the ensuring of accountability of municipal and area councils so that services, such as the cleaning of streets, the provision of water supply and so on so forth, will also meet popular appeal.”
The foregoing statements in Halifax’s letter, to my mind, were unsolicited, inimical to the disposition of a democrat who opposes any taking of the government without the people’s consent, and they became the reforms of the military council during the transition. I still believe that many Gambians have willingly or by omission contributed to the success of the coup as well as consolidating the council in power.