David Colley a true replica of the poor prison conditions
Written By Pa louis Thomasi
American socialist and trade unionist, Eugene V. Debs, once said ‘a prison is a cross section of society in which every human strain is clearly revealed’. David Colley as Director General of the Gambia Prison Services is a true replica of the poor prison conditions and a total embodiment of the decadence, decay and rottenness in our prisons during the Jammeh era. Watching David Colley give his testimony at the TRRC was nothing but torturous, painful, disheartening, discomfort and a slap in the face with his incoherent rambling, ‘opposing and proposing’ and consistently entangling himself in a cobweb of lies and self- contradictions. It is unbelievable that in the 21st Century an independent country of over 50 years like The Gambia will have a Prison Director General like David Colley.
The rotten state of our prisons reflects in every way the calibre of its chief Administrator, David Colley. How on earth has the Gambia failed its people by appointing a ‘Grade 9 graduate’ as the Director General of the prison services? Colley is a manifestation of every serious deficit of a good prison administrator. From what we heard, there was nothing good at Mile Two ; the cells were as dirty and filthy as a pig’s style ; the food was not only insufficient, but totally unfit for human consumption ; a handful of the officers have no training whatsoever, or are very poorly trained to work in a prison facility with all due respect to all those who diligently work there and serve the nation to the best of their ability. Stealing and brutality was the order of the day under David Colley’s watch.
The Jammeh regime was very much notorious for putting square pegs in round holes. However, the case of David Colley as the Director General of the Gambia Prison Services was not a square peg in a round hole situation. Most Square pegs can be quite competent, only that they are not allowed to function in their areas of competence. But David Colley is the total embodiment of incompetence, ineptness, emptiness, backwardness, imbecility, idiocy and eternal stupidity. Colley attested that he is a ‘Grade 9 Graduate’ when the Lead Counsel, asked him what is his highest level of education. But noting that David Colley was born in 1958 (if what he said at the TRRC is true) he should have finished his primary school education in 1975 at the latest even if he had started primary one at the age of ten. Noting that Grade 9 is only three years of secondary or high school education, then Colley left school in 1978 or 1979 at the latest provided that he had repeated a class during those three years.
However, we all know that there was nothing like Grade 9 in the Gambia’s education system during this period. The Grade 9 Grade 12 phenomenon came into being in the 90s. So, David Colley cannot have a Grade 9 Certificate. It is either a Secondary Fourth Certificate, failing which Colley is a school dropout with a fake Grade 9 Certificate and should therefore be investigated.
Backed with backwardness and total incompetence, Colley was a blindfolded loyalist of his master, Jammeh, and surrounded himself with a cabal from Kanilai dressed in uniforms of brutality who were ready to lay on the altar of sacrifice any prisoner for the regime. Colley’s utter incompetence turned the Mile Two prisons into a mental health facility, a torture centre and a place of death and doom even for the innocent, a great injustice meted out to the prisoners in total disregard to the Prison Act.
It is often said that no one truly knows a country until he or she has been inside its jails. Mile Two reflects Jammeh’s wickedness and inhuman nature. Following Colley’s testimony, therefore the Barrow Government must look at the issue of prison reforms more seriously. The Barrow Government must demonstrate the political will to put in place as quickly as possible the necessary changes for a standard prison. The ceremonial prison visits accompanied by flashy television cameras should all come to an immediate halt and be replaced by affirmative action. Prison reforms must go beyond repainting and the provision of an adequate diet for the prisoners. Prison reforms should also include putting in place competent and well-trained prison officers to man the institution with a well-equipped infirmary manned by a competent medical doctor assisted by well trained nurses.
Our prisons should no longer be a dumping ground for misfit officers like David Colley and his cabal. I submit that David Colley should be immediately arrested and charged with murder, man slaughter, torture, theft and negligence. Never Again.