Tuesday, December 5

GID launches MIDAS to fight smuggling of migrants, others

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Officials described the MIDAS as an ICT border management solution with the capability of collecting, processing, storing and analysing traveller information in real time and across an entire border network by capturing both the biographic and biometric information of travellers.

Travellers’ documents that are scanned in the system are equally examined under sophisticated security lights to test their legitimacy, according to officials.

Seedy Touray, the director general of the GID who was speaking at the launching ceremonies in both Darsilameh and Misera, said: “The renovation of this magnificent edifice and the accompanying MIDAS system is an activity conducted under the United Nations PeaceBuilding Fund project.”

This cross border project, he said, is jointly implemented by IOM and FAO both in The Gambia and Senegal together with relevant government institutions and it is “aimed at supporting cross-border cooperation for increasing community resilience and social cohesion in The Gambia and Senegal.”

“The project’s main objective is to address the causes of instability and conflict in border communities of The Gambia and Senegal, which include weak border management practices fuelling mistrust between border authorities and communities, rising transnational organised crimes, such as smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons as well as addressing the illegal exploitation of natural resources leading to environmental degradation,” DG Touray added.

“The system which is now installed at seven of our strategic border posts have greatly enhanced the efficiency and accuracy of our immigration border management especially of monitoring those entering and exiting the national territory while equally providing a sound statistical basis for migrants policy related planning for the government of The Gambia,” Touray posited.

The GID, Touray said has contended with a weak border management system due to several factors. “Key among them is the lack of the necessary skilled human resources, proper border infrastructure as well as the requisite technical equipment necessary for the implementation of an effective border management system.”

Stephen Matete, the interim chief of mission at IOM, who was speaking at Darsilameh Border Post, said: “Social transformation to impact human lives is a reality. When I arrived in The Gambia in 2018, there was no existing border management information system in place. Most of the travellers’ registration was done manually, and some of the border posts were in a dilapidated state.”

“The opening of the border crossing point signifies a gateway of opportunity for all those who seek to cross our borders legally and with a purpose. It is a testament to our commitment to providing pathways for individuals to explore new horizons, contribute to our societies and enrich our communities through cultural diversity.”

“In addition to the support of this border post, this project will continue to work closely with local communities in Darsilameh and neighbouring Senegal to continue fostering peaceful co-existence and social cohesion through dialogues, social mobilization and support for community livelihoods initiatives all geared for greater peace and security.”

“I am so happy to be part of the inauguration of this edifice structure. This will greatly help to facilitate the movement of people. It will also help to monitor people moving within and outside the border with a view to maintaining security in the area. I will also urge the officers to take great care of the facility and also to strengthen the cordial working relationship between The Gambia and Senegal as demonstrated by the two heads of state of both countries,” Seedy Lamin Bah, the governor of LRR said.

Ousman Badjie, an IOM official, who was speaking at the Misera border post, said: “The opening of the edifice structure is a significant milestone in fostering unity. The structure is equipped with MIDAS to international standards. The officers are also trained with a view to be able to operate the equipment,”

Famara Colley, GID Commissioner in LRR, deputy governor of WCR, Babagalleh Jallow and Mariama Nyang, the regional GID Commissioner all spoke at length on the importance of having the MIDAS at the country’s borders.