By Olimatou Coker
A two-week training on criminal intelligence analysis for various security personnel ended last Friday at the Ocean Bay hotel in Bakau.
Personnel from the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEAG), the Gambia Police Force, State Intelligence Services and the Gambia Immigration Department all took part in the intensive training.
Alhajie Bakary Gassama, the director general of DLEAG, said over the years, The Gambia has become a target of drug trafficking organisations, who are taking advantage of Gambia’s strategic location to both South America and Europe as a drug trafficking route.
“There are indications that the country can be used as a transit point for drugs coming from South America and some parts of Africa to the targeted markets in Europe and USA. Therefore, it is imperative for us to prepare well in terms of both human capacity and equipment to respond adequately to the illegal and clandestine activities of these organisations,” Gassama said.
The director disclosed that the most serious constraints faced by law enforcement agencies the world over, particularly Africa, is acute shortage in funding.
According to him, this creates lapses in their systems, placing “overwhelming rich criminal groups” at an advantage position.
“Good law enforcement and intelligence does not come cheap. However, the price of insecurity and instability is much higher.”
To address these lapses, Gassama explained how the DLEAG is closely working with counterparts in Senegal to sign an operational memorandum of understanding, which will serve as an instrument of coordinated action against trans-national crime and drug trafficking, particularly.
He also explained the goal of the Drug Control Act, which is currently undergoing review and overhaul.
“The objective is to merge the Act to international standards and best practices. It will cater for strategic approach to international cooperation including mutual legal assistance and extradition as well as the recovery and confiscation of criminal assets.”
The Regional Advisor of UNODC, Mr Kodjo Attisso, and the German Councillor to The Gambia all spoke at the closing ceremony.