By Almamo Kamaso
The Senegal /Gambia Fishing Agreement that the Barrow administration put in place is illegal the Daily News can state. The National Assembly after numerous complains coming from various quarters of the country on fishing and fish spoilage, sermons the Fishery minister to update the members on the state of affairs of the fishing sector Monday.
The legality of the Senegal /Gambia fishing Agreement was challenged by nominated member Ya Kumba Jaiteh who told the minister that until the said Agreement is ratify by the National Assembly, the Agreement is deem illegal.
She backed her argument with section 79 (2) b of the Constitution, which reads: The Gambia shall not (b) become a member of any international organisation unless the National assembly is satisfied that it is in the interest of The Gambia and that membership does not derogate from its sovereignty..
The Fishery minister gave contradictory responses on the said Agreement; at one point he admits that his ministry had gone ahead with the Agreement which Agreement was never ratify by the National Assembly which is an infringement. Then at another point he argues that the Agreement was not new but is one that was in existence since the first republics.
After a barrage of questions by members of the National Assembly in order to verify the legality of the Agreement, Minister James Gomez was ordered to submit the Senegal/Gambia Fishing Agreement to the Assembly with immediate effect as a matter of urgency for review.
Earlier in a written statement as a result of a motion put moved Hon Fatoumatta Njia of Banjul South and seconded by members, the Fishery minister informed members that the fishing sector , from 2017 to date had accrued four hundred and sixty-one million, six hundred and twenty-one thousand and twenty-two dalasi , one butut (D461,621,022.01).
The members were told that fisheries contribute 12 per cent to GDP and the livelihoods of well over 200,000 Gambians are critically dependent on it and its related activities.
Minister Gomez, told members that all is not well with his ministry and that among such difficulties are ; poor implementations of policies and weak enforcement of existing laws; inadequate registrations of vessels , especially small scale boats, widespread use of illegal nets along the Gambian coast; high post-harvest losses in co-management initiatives due to poor sanitary conditions; exposure of fisheries sector workers to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions ,especially women and youth involved in the practice of fish smoking and distribution.
Senegal /Gambia Fishing Agreement is Illegal
By Almamo Kamaso