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City of Banjul
Monday, September 28, 2020

The repats

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In recent years, there has been a surge in people from England and/or America seeking to return to Africa and resettle here. There’s quite a good number of them who have chosen The Gambia as a country they would like to resettle in.

As these people are of African descent, one can argue that they have every right to return and contribute to the uplifting of the people of the continent. Equally, the people ordinarily resident in these countries can put measures in place to ensure that their repatriation is organised and regulated.

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While I lay no claim to any form of expertise when it comes to repatriation or its legalese, I would like to raise a few issues of concern on whether or not a comprehensive policy on the issue has been formulated to guide Government and her functionaries on how to go about it.

It is well-known that human beings are very complex; and thus there is no one rule fit all measure when dealing with people. There certainly are good people whose intentions are above-board. They intend to come, resettle and invest here in order to contribute their quota in uplifting our people and reduce, if not help eradicate, the poverty in which we wallow.

However, there are others whose intentions may or may not be so harmless. This is why there should not be (I am not sure what the policy is) an automatic citizenship just because someone claims to want to invest and has a few hundred dollars.

We have seen for instance the case of people like Art Cathay and those in her ilk who are constantly seeking ways to stir up trouble, particularly for Whites who are either here on tourism or live here permanently. I have sought repeatedly to raise concern about the activities of such people. I think this needs to be looked into properly before it is too late.

It has also come to my notice of late that some people who return from England or America are advocating for automatic passports when they come. There is a potential of this being abused were it to be granted and made into a policy. It is in human nature that amongst every people there are good and bad ones.

Thus, if because we want people to come and invest we were to just open the doors wide without any policies to do background checks and whatnot, we may end up inviting people who will do us more harm than any good their dollars may have. Citizenship is not something to be taken lightly. The world is littered with examples of people gaining citizenship only to turn out to be a danger or nuisance to society.

Of course, this piece is in no way discouraging anybody from repatriating to Africa or The Gambia in particular, it only calls for caution. There should be, if there isn’t one, a policy which will guide us as to how to go about this issue.

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