MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AT IT AGAIN.
It could be recalled that few weeks ago, country’s fisheries Ministry was hit with a hard corruption scandal involving its permanent secretary, to an extent that he had to be put on administrative leave. During his interview with Malagen, the permanent secretary was presented with an audio evidence where he was overheard saying how the bribery money would be shared between himself and his boss (the minister).
However, both the permanent secretary and his boss refuted claims of accepting bribery and called it a propaganda. You could as well recalled the mysterious fire outbreak that almost put the entire Ministry complex into ravages, and the investigation report of a high calibre incident like such was thrown through the window.
Who is the minister working with that might render him untouchable? The most heartbreaking incident occured on Wednesday the 18th of November 2020.
The Gambia Navy on 29 October 2020 whilst on routine patrol arrested a Senegalese fishing vessel BETTY for fishing at the prohibited zone which is an offence. The Navy arrested the vessel and escorted her to Banjul port for further actions by the relevant authorities. The captain of the fishing trawler accepted to have committed an offence and this was confirmed by the fisheries observer onboard. The Navy team took some pictures of the arrested trawler at the time of arrest for evidence. Also the trawler’s log book showed that the vessel was fishing in the prohibited zone.
Initially the agent of the fishing trawler Mr Gabi Sosseh denied that the vessel has committed an offence and opted to go to court. After a week the owner of the trawler in Senegal wrote to the Ministry of fisheries that he would want to settle the matter amicably instead of going to court.
A consultative committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of fisheries, ministry of defence, ministry of justice Gambia Maritime Administration and the Gambia Navy, met and agreed on imposing a fine of 5 million dalasi on the vessel BETTY for the offence committed.
Interestingly on the 17 of November 2020. The Minister of Fisheries and water resources James Gomez wrote and ordered for the immediate release of the fishing trawler Betty alleging that there was controversy on the arrest. The Navy guards were withdrawn from the vessel and the vessel left without paying a butut to the Gambia Government.
This happened after another Senegalese trawler FATIMA was arrested and released under the instructions of the Minister of Fisheries and water resources Mr James Gomez.
As events of such sinister actions and unpatriotic conducts continue to persist, i believe genuine and patriotic Gambians would want to know if our Sea and maritime resources are as well sold to our big brothers just like the way our seat of presidency was sold to them. We are watching for as long as the sun rises in the East and set in the West, then no condition will forever remain permanent, and all those in the dark will surely come to light. We will regain our dignity in due time.