Honourable Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North, has recently been touring police facilities and the Mile Two Central Prison which are situated in his constituency.
Hon. Sillah said as the sitting National Assembly Member for Banjul North it is incumbent on him to be concerned about not only the issues and welfare of the constituents but also the situation of institutions and facilities that exist and offer services within the constituency.
He said the main objectives of these visits were to familiarise himself with the operations and conditions of these public institutions and facilities and to get information on the issues and challenges they are contending with for the purpose of advocating and pushing for more support and improvements.
The Banjul North law maker’s first port of call was the Inspector General of Police Mamud Jobe, at his office at Police Headquarters in Banjul to commence the process before proceeding to the Police Barracks and the sub Police station at London Corner as a continuation of the familiarisation tour to public and private institutions and facilities within his constituency which began last year.
From there the Banjul North NAM, accompanied by Alhagie Mansery Njie, proceeded to the Police Barracks (formerly called Old Lines) which is saddled between Box Bar Road and Thomas Street and serves as accommodation for the police residing in Banjul. He was received on arrival by Inspector Abdoulie Bojang who escorted him to the Guard Room where he met with the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sohna Jawara, the Officer Commanding the PIU in Banjul.
Hon. Sillah explained that the purpose of his visit to the barracks was to familiarise himself with the work they are doing and the condition of the facility to enable him pursue advocacy for more support.
The officers, in sharing their concerns, identified some needs and challenges regarding their work and conditions at the barracks.
The Banjul North lawmaker was later taken round the barracks by Jammeh Sarr, a PIU officer who also doubles as the Alkalo of the police barracks.
From the barracks the Mr.Sillah proceeded to the sub-police station situated at London Corner and within the perimetre of the former Crab Island School. He was received by Inspector Musa Bah, Station Officer (SO), in the presence of Sub-Inspector Samba Kah.
The Banjul North NAM accompanied by Alhagie Manserry Njie and Birahim Jagne, also visited the Central Prison at Mile Two in Banjul.
The lawmaker was received in his office by the Mr.Ansumana Manneh, Director General of Prisons, in the presence of Prison Commissioner Lamin Sowe, who expressed appreciation in receiving the lawmaker under whose constituency the prison is situated. He described the visit as the first of kind for a NAM in Banjul North or anywhere else coming to for a formal familiarisation tour of the facility. He elaborated on the issues, achievements, challenges and constraints.
The Banjul North NAM told the Director General of Prisons that he has already started advocating for prison reforms and the relocation of the facility to a more environmentally conducive place than where it is presently. He said one of his first intervention at the floor of the National Assembly was centred on the prison and related issues. He assured that he will continue advocating for reforms and better conditions for both inmates at the prison and remand wings as well as the officers.
Hon. Sillah was taken round on a conducted tour of the central prison which took him and his delegation to the training centre, clinic, main yard, library, infirmary, kitchen, bakery, carpentry and metal workshop, remand wing, old and new quarters of the prison staff in residence and the auto mechanic unit.
The Banjul North NAM held discussions with officers and inmates in both the main prison yard and remand wing. He identified the challenges and constraints being experienced by the administration, officers and inmates.
The Banjul North lawmaker concluded that he is not claiming to have a solution to all their problems but has promised to be a strong advocate for the prison both in and out of the National Asembly in terms of promoting reforms to make the facility operate on standards of best practice that ensure the protection of the rights of the inmates, improved working conditions, training and motivation of staff, among other issues.
He told the prison authorities that he will be writing a report to submit to the National Assembly Select Committee on Security and Defence which is assigned the oversight responsibility of the prisons and copied to the appropriate authorities in the executive.
The Banjul North NAM concluded by thanking the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Assan Tangara, the IGP and DG Prisons for facilitating the familiarisation visits.