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City of Banjul
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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The police should be empowered to be able to serve better

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By Modou Lamin Faye

One of the reasons why the public pay taxes to the government is to fund the police, national defense, and a justice system that effectively serves and protects its citizens. In other words, taxpayers’ money is for the government to invest and generate more revenue, through meaningful infrastructural development projects that citizens could use to create opportunities for themselves and NOT for the government to use for their political agendas.

In the Gambia, history shows that Jawara, Jammeh, and Barrow’s administrations uses taxpayers’ money to fund or support their political agendas by making unnecessary travel expenses and Per Diem that no result is being delivered from, partying and the list goes on. This is part of the reasons why the government struggles to take good care of our security sector, health care system or even create a structured system that citizens could benefit from. This forces the government to heavily rely on external support for security training and medical supplies, security sector reform materials such as riot gear that they sadly use to oppress the same people they have sworn to protect. The bizarre thing is that even with the external support/aid that the government receives, there is no progress being made because everyone is doing what they know best “filling their pockets” before the project even commence, when they can be using the privileges, they have been given by the Gambian people to build a legacy not only for themselves but also for generations to come.

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The security system of the Gambia has been a mess and unstructured for decades, and leaders that are supposed to be using their status and work hard to make a difference and take the country forward are busy fighting each other at every chance that they get. Citizens/victims are using their personal vehicles or getting a taxi for police officers to make an arrest and I personally experienced that, where I had to cancel my appointments and used my vehicle to transport a suspect that stole from me with some officers to different police stations. Police officers in the urban areas and other small cities are being left with less than four weapons and not enough ammunition in their stations to protect a whole village or a city and some do not have any weapons to begin with. Our organization need the government to understand that the days where people are scared of an unarmed police officer are far gone. We have seen situations in Senegal where criminals are now using guns to rob people and possibly crossing our borders to use those guns on our police officers.

The question now is: where does taxpayers’ money go? Do taxpayers know why they pay taxes to the government? Why aren’t our police officers and other security personnel being provided with proper gear to effectively protect themselves and the citizens? Why can’t we behave like a country that is independent and has its own flag?

I urge the president and other senior government officials who are in a position to bring the change they were soughing for when former president Jammeh’s administration led the country to start doing right for the Gambian people and learn from the mistakes that Jammeh’s administration made. Gambians should learn from the mistake/slogan of former president Jammeh who used to say that he would rule the Gambia for a billion years and no one would ever find out all the wrong doings. Taxpayers should NOT be paying taxes to the government and using their vehicles or paying for taxis for police officers to conduct their police business.

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Security goes beyond what the naked eyes can see, it’s been long overdue for our government to invest in our security system and take proper steps to respect and protect its tax payers.

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