SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY ADAMA BARROW,
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING CEREMONY OF THE GAMBIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY – 2019
DATE: 10TH JUNE 2019
VENUE: KAIRABA BEACH HOTEL
Your Excellency, the Vice President
Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly,
My Lord, the Chief Justice
Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Security Sector Reform Steering Committee
Honorable Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service
Excellencies, Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Community
The Chief of Defense Staff and Heads of Security Institutions
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure to be here with you today to launch the country’s first ever National Security Policy - NSP. This is a historic and an important event, as it demonstrates my Government’s commitment to the transformation of our Security Sector and prepares us to take a more positive, appropriate and decisive step towards securing our territory, our people, our welfare and everything that belongs to us.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
To set the stage, I compliment the people of The Gambia and our partners for the unity, resilience and determination we generated to dislodge dictatorship and restore peace, freedom and democracy.
The National Security Policy that will be launched today, together with other relevant legal frameworks, seeks to protect and strengthen these gains.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The National Security Policy is the outcome of a series of extensive consultations and validation exercises conducted nation-wide. It was developed through the participation of all stakeholders that involved Government, the private sector, bilateral and multilateral partners, civil society organizations and our local communities.
The product of these consultations laid the foundation for the formulation of this important document, as it revealed various forms of security threats, risks and opportunities associated with the security sector and the country at large.
Experience has shown that it is difficult to successfully reform any security sector in the absence of the necessary and appropriate framework to guide and direct its operations and management. Thus, the need for a policy and a strategic framework is most urgent and critical.
My government has launched a number of initiatives aimed at improving coordination between and amongst different institutions and transforming our country into a sustainable and economically viable democracy. We can safely predict that the impact of these initiatives will be felt increasingly over the next few years, and will result in a Security and Justice system that is more responsive to The Gambia’s needs. This is what the attainment of the National Security Vision is about; that is, establishing a safe and secure environment for the people of The Gambia.
My Government is mindful of the current reality regarding the safety and security in our society and its responsibility to secure our dear country. Fulfilling this responsibility implies establishing the basis to pursue the vision enshrined in our National Development Plan (2018-2021) and our national objectives. The basis of growth, development and progress are peace, security and stability. As a result we cannot ignore this responsibility.
Notwithstanding Government’s responsibilities, the overall aim of the National Security Policy, 2019 is for everyone to be responsive in countering security threats, while utilizing the opportunities that prevail.
The NSP sets out the directions Government will take to safeguard our people and natural resources.
The policy sufficiently provides a robust, coherent and strategic approach to respond collectively to national security threats through swift decision-making processes, clear lines of accountability and responsibility, prompt execution of action and commitment to building the Nation’s resilience to crime.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is important to note that this policy is not intended to duplicate nor overlap with other existing sector plans, policies and strategies on national security; rather, it is to strengthen effective coordination of their implementation. This National Security Policy has adopted the expanded concept of security, which now includes both traditional and new forms of security threats.
Such threats encompass border management and security, climate change, natural disasters, economic security, environmental security and human security, with focus on gender based violence and the fight against non-communicable diseases.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The National Security Policy we are about to launch will further strengthen coordination at the national level to achieve our security goals and strategic objectives, protect our national security interests and facilitate proper management of our resources.
As contained in our national security vision, the policy seeks to create a united and secure nation wherein the people’s core values, welfare and well-being, way of life, territorial integrity and sovereignty are protected and enhanced.
The Government of The Gambia will strengthen the pillars that hold the security of the nation and ensure that security becomes a top priority, considering the important link between development and security. Perhaps at this juncture, we should remind ourselves of the common saying that, “The policy should be as good as its implementation.”
Guided by this, I have directed that an implementation strategy be wisely crafted and, without delay, set in motion plans to implement it. When completed, the strategic document should help to guide, organize and harmonize our nation’s security policy efforts, and provide a common framework on which the entire nation should focus attention.
The National Security Strategy shall further assist in maintaining the stability of the nation through appropriate and sound use of our economic power, diplomacy, security and governance structures.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In an increasingly complex and interconnected strategic environment, no country can do it alone. Therefore, we can only succeed by working SMART and working together. As such, we will continue to work closely and effectively with our development partners, in the sub-region, the region and the international community. We will welcome the assistance of all partners in every way possible, especially through capacity building interventions, resources and timely sharing of experiences and expertise.
In this spirit, I acknowledge with sincere appreciation the support and assistance of our development and reform partners, such as the UN, EU, ECOWAS, AU and our diplomatic and bilateral partners. I pay tribute to the UNDP for supporting and leading the drafting process of the National Security Policy. I also wish to communicate our heartfelt gratitude to all those who contributed to the preparation of this National Security Policy. Let me emphasize that strong and effective coordination is as central to our collective success as building and maintaining mutual trust, close collaboration and strong partnerships.
To conclude, I am profoundly honored to present to you our first ever National Security Policy agenda to trigger The Gambia’s security leap forward.
Let it mark the beginning of a contract between Government and the Gambian people to build trust and confidence as well as a new foundation for boundless opportunities and shared prosperity. I thank all Gambians and our partners for their continued support of my administration, especially for supporting the security sector reform process.
It is now my pleasure to officially launch The Gambia’s National Security Policy, 2019. May Allah continue to guide us, protect us and abundantly shower His divine blessings and grace on us.
Thank you all your attention.