Aguilera made these remarks during a courtesy call by members of Operation No Back Way to Europe in her office along Bertil Harding Highway Thursday.
She said: “I think what is key in this situation [irregular migration] is creating jobs here in The Gambia, creating possibilities for the young to convince them that going to Europe is not the only way because there is future for them here in The Gambia. There are people living in Africa and The Gambia who have ideas about Europe that are not very correct. Now in Europe, specifically in Spain, the economic crisis is very bad and the employment situation is not very good. So I think now it is better to try and improve the situation in The Gambia. Try to get a job here because I think it is much easier to stay in your country and get a job.”
Aguilera said the courtesy call was “very good because it is a way of improving the relations in terms of cooperation between Spain and The Gambia. The relations between Spain and The Gambia are very limited in terms of cooperation but there is an urgency for cooperation to improve the situation here in The Gambia and prevent people from going to Spain in an illegal way.”
The founder of Operation No Back Way to Europe, Baboucarr Jabbie said: “This meeting is very important because we want to have more partners on board like the Spanish Embassy. The representative is new here in the country and that is one of the reasons we have come to meet her to tell her who we are and what we are doing with other partners like the immigration, police and the Ministry for the Interior as well the youth and sports ministry. We felt that with partnerships, we can achieve our objectives.”
Jabbie said irregular migration has intensified because of peer pressure. “A friend in a camp in Europe will start sending pictures and telling his friends here in The Gambia, ‘look I’m here in the camp [and it is okay]’ or telling those stories about Italy or Europe which are not true. That is one of the reasons forcing young people to go on the journey. Most people believe that there is nothing here in The Gambia but I find that hard to believe. We have everything. We have a good educational system, we have skills centres, we have the sea, we have fertile land. We should make the best use of these. Why don’t we venture into farming or fishing? If we engage in either of these, the trend of illegal youth migration will come down.”]]>