By Adama Makasuba
The Home Office inaugurated the new National Maritime Security Committee. The meeting was convened expressly for the inauguration of the Committee and allowed members to discuss ways to strengthen coordination mechanisms to effectively address maritime security issues at the national level.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Interior, Hon. Seyaka Sonko, welcomed the members and thanked them for honoring the ministry’s invitation. Minister Sonko said the purpose of the committee is not to divert the efforts of any individual but to complement each other.
He added that joint efforts to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment in The Gambia can be more effective than individual efforts. And it can attract a joint approach with international organizations under one maritime security authority.
He said, “The Home Office has a broad homeland security coverage that is not just about what is happening within his department or the ministry, but includes other institutions. This brings the need to join our efforts to find ways to solve maritime security problems.
He expressed the need to strengthen concerted efforts to ensure safe and secure shipping in the country. He called on all members to collaborate effectively and in the same vein, he charged them to continue their commitment.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Abdoulie TB Jarra, said: “It should be recalled that, unlike the National Civil Aviation Security Committee, The Gambia does not have an effective national security mechanism and coordinator responsible for national maritime security.
“We have been discussing this for a while now and it was deemed necessary for the Home Office, which is responsible for internal security, to coordinate this so that our individual efforts can be combined to have a concrete and effective mechanism in which we address maritime security in the country,” he added.
PS Jarra said the inaugural meeting of the committee will serve as a roadmap to begin discussions on the terms of reference and an action plan strategy for the committee and other issues related to maritime security.