By Omar Bah
The executive director of National Youth Council (NYC), Lamin Darboe has expressed his institution’s regret and concern over the rising number of Gambians who continue risking their lives in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach Europe.
According to the United Nations International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the number from the Gambia is on the rise.
Responding to the IOM report, the NYC boss said: “As a council we are very concern and worried. This is a major concern that shouldn’t only worry NYC but the country in general,” he told The Standard yesterday.
He said the only way to remedy the situation is for the government to put up some practical efforts towards ensuring that they address some of the issues affecting young people in the country.
“It was apparent that young people were not ready to leave especially during the campaign when the Coalition were saying there would be no more Backway, but the reality is that, those expectations are not yet met and obviously we should still expect that the young people in trying to meet their dreams will continue to take the Backway journey,” he said.
Asked why despite all the efforts made over the years, the numbers are still on the increase, Darboe said the NYC can only serve as an advocacy group which it continues to do, but it is the duty of the service sector to deliver services to these young people.
“The provision of employment through agriculture should depend on the Ministry of Agriculture. We expect the Ministry of Agriculture to be more active and address the issues of young people, in terms access to seeds among others and a similar thing should apply to other service sectors”, he said.
The NYC boss also called on the government to expeditiously and critically look at the labour force to ensure that the foreign businesses operating in the country employ Gambians.
“There is a need for the government to pressurise the service sector and as well ensure that young people have access to skills training opportunities. There is also the need for government to establish a national youth development fund to ensure that youth-led initiatives are well funded to respond to their needs,” he concluded.