Pa Malick Ceesay, national assembly member for Lower Saloum and Muhammed Magassy from Basse made the demand during a two-day sensitisation forum of stakeholders at the National Assembly.
Pa Malick Ceesay said: “The youth bill is in conflict with the African Youth Charter when it comes to age which is 15 to 35 [in the charter] and it is also in conflict with the national youth council policy which defines a young person from the age of 13 to 30. Basically the youth bill is to be in place to harmonise all the different age brackets, and hence the need to have one age bracket that represents the entire young people of The Gambia. As the process has started let us all review the national youth institutions. The minister of youth and sports has said he has asked for the institutions to be revamped and restructured.
“It is a good proposal put before us as the MOYS wants to harmonise all its satellite institutions and programmes under one umbrella by establishing a national youth agency. But as the discussion unfolds, we came to realise that the national youth bill 2014 is different from the national youth council bill which to my opinion the national youth council bill should have been put before us first to scrutinise. [We will be able to] find out what are the gaps and how can we address those gaps and also to review the national youth act to meet the current needs and challenges of the young people in this country. After that we can look at other satellite institutions bill and programme of actions to review all of them to meet the current needs. After doing all that the satellite institutions under the ministry, then the national youth bill can be formulated to encompass all the youth institutions within the ministry youth programmes and activities in the entire country which will give the bill the power to ensure that all programmes and activities are put together and harmonised”.
National Assembly Member for Basse, Muhammed Magassy who raised concern over the definition of a young person as clearly stipulated in the youth bill said it is also in gross conflict with children’s act. “The definition of a young person as clearly stipulated in the youth bill is from the age of 13 to 35. Therefore I would like to ask how a child of 13 to 18 years would be referred to because a child is defined in the children’s act from between the age of 0 to 18 years.”
Meanwhile, the two-day forum which brought together lawmakers of the national assembly select committee on youth and sports and local authorities was organised by the National Youth Council in partnership with UNESCO. The forum was made it necessary to review the drafted youth bill and the mid-term review of the Gambia National Youth Policy of 2009 to 2018.]]>