Africa-Press – Gambia. He informed the committee that the government is mindful that the TRRC White Paper has been published around the media at a time that government budget was already casted.
“We do not have resources available for the implementation of the TRRC this year,” he noted.
According to him, if some of the resources were available then some of the things would not have been at wait, but would have started by now. He said the major challenge the government is faced with is the mobilisation of resources.
He, however, assured the committee that the government is really sensitive to the plight of victims and that their issue is central to what we are doing.”
The chairperson of the committee Hon. Madi Ceesay, asked the minister whether the “government was not expecting that the outcome would require resources?”
Justice Minister Jallow responded that the government anticipated some of the recommendations but considering the fact that the TRRC was independent, they could not know what they were going to recommend. He further added that the government had put over D150 million in the budget which was approved by this parliament in anticipation of reparations.
Hon. Yahya Sanyang, a member of the committee and the legislator for Tallinding, told the minister to ask the president to visit the victims in order to show solidarity and not only to go to their constituencies for political gains. He added that if the president could not visit every family, he can show them solidarity through the Victims’ Center.
However, the Justice minister, who agreed with this suggestion, said “we appreciate the importance of national reconciliation and we have our plans which we would make public very soon.”
Hon. Muhammed Kanteh, a lawmaker for Busumbala Constituency and a member of the committee, urged the minister to come up with the policy to fast track the reparation benefits to victims.
In response, the Justice minister accepted the comment of fast tracking the reparation benefits but noted an assumption to the committee that “even if the government is ready to pay another D50 million or D100 million, the issue of who to give and who administers the funds would be a challenge.
The Justice Minister pointed out that his ministry is setting up a special prosecution division which will aim at hiring knowledgeable and experienced people to train Gambian lawyers on how to prosecute the offences revealed at the TRRC.