The director general of the State Intelligence Services Ousman Sowe has said that the SIS has for the past thirteen (13) months endeavored to register tremendous strides in not only shifting the perceptions of the general public by doing away with all operational excesses over the period, but also changing the mindset of its management and operational staff to focus more on relevant information gathering and intelligence generation.
He was speaking during the formal opening of its administrative building and Mosque.
Mr Sowe added that they have used training and capacity development as a tool in equipping their staff and operatives with the relevant knowledge and skills to face and overcome multi-faceted and sophisticated threats and challenges to our national security.
In this vein, our operatives are being continuously taught and reminded about basic human rights and skills for observance of these in their daily dealings with the public, he said.
Mr Sowe thanked the British High Commission and the Institute for Human Rights Development in Africa (IHRDA) for training over hundred intelligence officers including members of other sister services.
Such trainings have contributed immensely to the maintenance of very high standards and capabilities to effectively and efficiently operate in a challenging security environment, he said.
The DG said communities, nations and governments continue to rely on intelligence as an essential guide and tool in statecraft with some using intelligence as an instrument in pursuit of wars and military supremacy others seek dominance in trade and wealth creation for their peoples.
“In the case of the Gambian when the people voiced their will through the ballot box on December 1st, culminating in the advent of this democratic dispensation on January 19, 2017, demands have been made for fundamental changes in the nature intelligence is used as an instrument of government. This is because whereas previously the emphasis was on the security of the state and the survival of the regime, now there is a strong emphasis on human security and human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the constitution,” he said
In respect of this, he went on, our objectives are to serve, not as oppressors of the people but protectors of their security and well-being governed by policies that are ethical, honorable and in accordance with fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as international best practices.
“Whilst our operational techniques of covert collection of information are secret, the rest of our intelligence activities will be open and participatory so as to earn the confidence and full support of the public,” he concluded.
The occasion was presided over by the Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang and attended by senior government officials.