By Lamin B. Darboe
Information Officer, PMO
Director, National Records Service (NRS) has explained how first real attempts to address the records situation by the government began soon after the country gained its independence from the British in 1965.
Bartholomew Marong made this remark in an interview with the Information Officer in Banjul where he delves into the functions of his office.
“It was the request of The Gambia Government the British Colonial Office seconded for three months, a Records Officer, Mr. J. Smyth from the Colonial Office Records Section to assist the Government in the establishment of a public records office in Bathurst to preserve its official records,” director Marong explained.
He described his unit as a centre of excellence in managing all forms of public records and archives service using innovative technology. Its main functions derived from the 1993 Act, borders on ensuring good records keeping within public service and other institutions.
He said the NRS is also mandated to preserve and make available for consultation, public records in the national archives or in any other archival repository under the control of the Director, establish and monitor professional standards within the service and conduct research into records storage, retrieval, rehabilitation and dissemination.
The director explained that there was also 1986 legislation on the management of Archives thus the 1986 National Archives legislation limited not only to the management of public records at their archives stage.
Mr. Marong explained that in July 1990, Gambia Government funded a small scale project in cooperation with Overseas Records Management Trust (ORMT) now International Records Management Trust (IRMT) to restructure the registry in the office of the President as a model from which to draw lessons of best practice for the civil service.
“The achievements registered subsequently pave the way for a larger records management project and the involvement of the UK Overseas Development Administration (ODA). In the financial year 1990-1991, records management became a component of the ODA Administrative Reform Program (ARP) and a records management project subsequently set up early 1990 at PMO to underpin the ARP,” Marong stated.
The project, according to Mr. Marong, was aimed at developing uniform methods and procedures to be applied in all Ministries within civil service and for coordinating the restructuring of the registries.