By Omar Bah

The Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs has revealed that the security sector reform process is essential to sustaining peace and stability in The Gambia.
Ousainu Darboe was speaking at Kairaba Beach Hotel during the security sector reform retreat organised by the national security council with support from the UNDP, ECOWAS and EU.
“The security sector reform is very essential towards laying the foundation for sustainable peace, security and stability in the Gambia,” VP Ousainu Darboe said in his keynote address.
He said the SSR is key to achieving sustainable growth in the country, saying it is therefore important that a suitable synergy must exist between SSR actors to create sustainable partnership.
“All hands must be on deck to support the government in its democratization of the security sector. We should be ready to give our full commitment and maximum support to the success of our security sector reform,” he added.

He continued: “The reform of the Gambia security sector is a dynamic process that is multifaceted in both political and security contest where all should take ownership to ensure success”.
On the retreat, VP Darboe added: “This platform provides an opportunity for discussion and improves relations between the security sector reform actors in the pursuit of meaningful security, sustainable peace and good governance”.

The acting UN country rep, Perpetua Katepa-Kalala said the UN security sector reform funded by peace building component is aimed at supporting the Gambia to establish a critical foundation of laws to ensure a systematic exercise process.
She said the UN facilitated the nationwide consultation process of the security sector reform to ensure the view of the larger Gambian society formed an integral part in formulating the medium term directions of the security sector reform.

The ECOWAS Ambassador to the Gambia, Vabah Gayflor reaffirmed the importance the sub-regional bloc attaches to the SSR process, saying no nation can strive in prosperity and development with the absence of peace and stability.
She said there should be commitment to ensure that there are no relapses into the repressive cultural impunity of the past regime, adding “The good news is that the security situation in the Gambia is relatively calm”.

“The objective of the retreat is to establish or entrench a common understanding, identify specific factors responsible for the passive slow phase of the SSR, discuss reformed priorities and propose a common monitor measures,” she added.
She also called on the security heads to redouble their efforts in ensuring that they curb the current emerging criminal rate.

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