By Ousman A Marong
David Charles Colley, former Director General of The Gambia Prison Services (GPS), has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that the structures at the Mile 2 state central prison were built during the colonial era.
“The structures at the Mile 2 Prison were built by the colonial masters and there was nothing I could do, other than to maintain them as they were. I was presiding over a system that was rotten to the core. I did all I could, to tackle the overcrowding system in the prisons, but to no avail,” David Colley said.
Colley 62, made these revelations on Thursday, while testifying before the country’s Truth Commission at Dunes Hotel in Kololi.
The witness has professed to be the most knowledgeable officer in the prison services when it comes to the laws governing the country’s prison system.
“Were you aware that prisoners were sleeping in the toilets,” quizzed Lead Counsel Essa M. Faal.
“Yes! I agree that prisoners were sleeping in the toilets during my tenure. There was nothing that I could do,” replied the witness.
“What have you done in order to prevent prisoners from sleeping in the toilets,” said the Lead Counsel.
“Yes! I have tried improving on their conditions and that was why I had to come up with that project, but the project fails,” the witness answered.
The former DG of Prison Services denied the allegations that he was responsible for the filthiness of the prisons.
“The cleanliness of the prison was rest on the shoulders of every prison security. It wasn’t a one-man show.”
The witness surprises everyone that he was a Grade 9 product, even though the grade system was not existing in the 70s, yet he was given the responsibility of administering the country’s Prison Services for 14 years.
Bad Foods In The Prison:
The witness said as the head of the prison services, he wouldn’t allow prisoners to eat bad food.
“The food in the prison were good because we do cook, ‘Domoda’, ‘Chew’, ‘Mbahal’, and ‘Pap’. I am not an expert to establish if the ‘pap’ causes ‘beri-beri’ or not,” said the witness.
Former Prison DG said his hands were tied because he was directly receiving commands from the top.
The Dead Bull In The Prison:
The witness denied having any knowledge of a dead cow been brought into the prison to feed the prisoners.