Amid surge in illegal migration and deaths among young Gambians smuggled on boats in the Mediterranean, President Adama Barrow has said his government is about to introduce new law that would  prosecute and provide long jail terms for persons or groups who organise boats to smuggle Gambians to Europe through the back way.

The government has faced criticisms for not doing enough to prevent the surge in irregular migration by providing jobs and opportunities for the young people.

Addressing the issue at Brkama Saturday, the president explained: “We will bring stricter laws and whoever is found wanting will go to jail. We will not allow or watch anyone smuggle the youths of this country to destroy them at the high seas. The youths are the foundation; the pillars for our development and progress. I am personally ready to take on these smugglers and I urge all Gambians to join me in this crusade to eradicate this ugly menace,” Barrow stated.

The president however called on the young people to believe in destiny and understand that they would get whatever is destined for them in life. “You will always get what is meant to reach you even if you are on top of mountains. I was born in a grass house and Allah destined that I will be the president of this country and it happened,” he reminded the youths.

President Barrow also used his Brikama meeting to attack the opposition UDP-led Brikama Area Council under Chairman Yankuba Darboe.

The chairman, who has cricitised some aspects of the current demolition exercise in the town, is reportedly working on constructing a temporary vending place for hundreds of women vendors who lost their structures in the demolition exercise.

But according to President Barrow, the Council should instead work on keeping Brikama and its environs clean and safe before thinking of building an alternative market for women. “Let the Council go and clean the town of Brikama. That is the lowest of their responsibilities but if you cannot clean your own premises, how can you help women build a market? Are you not laughing at yourselves? We don’t hate women vendors but if we are to develop this country, we have to do it in a proper way. The vendors occupy and block the roads to the extent that even the fire services cannot do its job during fire out breaks. Ambulance services too cannot move or access health centres when the need arises. Is that how a country is governed? When I was coming here, I heard they wanted to hold a protest. Yes, I would love them to but it did not hold. If I had dialogue with them and engage them, they would be thinking of something else but not a protest,” Barrow said.

Renewing his criticism of the council, he said there will be no council without the government.

“The council and everything it has belongs to the government. So let them relax. Council cannot construct any road, they cannot build markets, they cannot provide electricity. It is government that provides these services and if you are not going to work with that government, what do you think will befall your people? The council [BAC] does not have a market.

The market belongs to the government and we delegated council to manage it,” he said.

Source: The Standard

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