By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) yesterday convened a press briefing to respond to what it calls “widespread unfounded rumours” regarding the issuance of the new national identity cards.
Seedy Touray, the newly-appointed director general of GID said the issuance of the new biometric cards is in progress and that so far 9,602 cards have been issued in Banjul and Kanifing municipality with 49 applicants rejected.
According to DG Touray, the new biometric card contract is based on a build, operate and transfer policy, which means that after a specified period the project reverts to government ownership.
“We are aware that some concerns have been raised and we are taking measures to ensure that the privacy of Gambians is secured. We want to ensure that whatever is being done in the issuance of these cards our officers are in the picture to make sure that the interest of Gambians is well protected,” he assured.
He said the security features imbedded in the ID card are the first of its kind and there are measures in place to ensure that the cards are not prone to forgery and can only be obtained by bonafide Gambians.
“We are also aware that previously, a lot of ID cards issued by the GID have fallen into wrongs hands and we do not want to replicate these mistakes. The ID card is for Gambians and Gambians alone”
According to DG Touray, the allegation that Gambians are being denied ID cards without justifications is misleading.
He said his department is guided by laws which clearly spelled out the requirements to obtain a Gambian ID card, cautioning that even after the applicant provides all other supporting documents but fails to provide satisfactory profiling answers to approving officers, he or she may still not get the document.