NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- The Youth Ambassadors of Peace (YAP) West Coast Region Zone on Sunday 13th February, 2011 held a discourse on Immigration mode of operations, and drugs related issues for the benefit of the young people in The Gambia.
In welcoming the gathering, Baboucarr Sambou Chairperson of West Coast Region, spoke at length on the importance of the forum saying that ‘”we deem it necessary to organized the forum to abreast young people an in-depth knowledge on Immigration laws, how they issued national documents, and drug abuse and trafficking as they are affecting young people in their daily lives.” Giving background information of PAG, Sambou said the organization is a youth service organization established in the Republic of The Gambia on the 17th May 2001.
The formation of the organization, Sambou maintained that it was conceived based on the perception that the whole generation of young people have scars on their minds and bodies as a result of wounds of armed conflict; civil, radical, political, genocide and religious wars.
Sambou says “ we are convicted that young people can and are ready to play a vital role in the building of conflict societies and strengthening of civil societies for building a solid base for the continued peace and development.
“We are also convinced that peace making required us to work and live together, encouraging dialogue and understanding, freedom and democracy and tolerance and forgiveness,” he buttressed.
He added the organization is also promoting congress of tolerance in the minds of young people aimed at promoting the ideas of culture of peace adding that ‘ we cultivate in the minds of young people the sprit of serving oneself and the other, the love for humanity and to strive for their welfare.”
Chairperson Sambou remarked that their role among others is too established for the promotion of the culture of peace and non-violence through advocacy and peace education programme in The Gambia and beyond.
Sambou explained young people are the most vulnerable group when we talk about conflict in our societies, adding that their organization is working hard to ensure that they inculcate peace in the minds of young people.
The Public Relation Office Immigration, Mr. Ensa Jawara gave a background history of Immigration saying that Immigration was under The Gambia Police Force since 1855, then the Ministry of Interior, and later as its own department. .
He added that Immigration stands on its own on the 22nd August, 1990 by an act of parliament.
National Drug Enforcement Agency’s Lamin Gassama said the menace of drugs is a global problem adding that it has affected many young people around the globe.
According to him, the eradication of drugs in the country needs concerted efforts noting “we all need to join in the fight against drug menace as the government of the day is calling on all in the campaign.”
According to Gassama, the rate of young people arrested, and sentence to jail on drugs and drugs related issues is at its alarming rate in the country.
Giving figure of drug cases, Gassama said that from January 2010 to October 2010, 267 cases of cannabis cases has been reported stating that of these cases, 212 cases that it 79.41 percent are possession .i.e. 2KG. He continued; 55 cases that is 20.59 percent of the cases that is more than 2ks adding that 267 cases involved 311 people, and 197 of the said figure are people with the age bracket between 13 to 25, which he said are all young people.
He called on young people to desist from drug abuse and trafficking noting that severe penalties are attached to drug crimes.
He concluded by commending YAPfor organizing such a forum noting that YAP is complementing the efforts National Drug Enforcement Agency, and the government of The Gambia.