EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Deputies at the National Assembly have unanimously adopted a 45-day state of public emergency extension in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, but the Minority Leader and member for Niamina Dankunku, Samba Jallow said they were given a hard pill to swallow.
‘Honorable speaker, this is one of the most difficult tasks us National Assembly members are facing. We are facing a situation in which we do not want our electorates to be sick and we do not want any of them to go hungry.’
President Adama Barrow has earlier decreed a seven days state of public emergency which until last Friday, the government was seeking to extend for 90 days.
Minority leader Jallow said to him, government’s request to extend the public emergency to 90 days is not the problem but his concern is the regulation that will be put in place for the state to govern the country within the period of 90 days.
The government’s proposal for the 90 days extension was tabled before the deputies on Thursday but it was referred to the standing committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Matters who suggested for 45 days instead of 90.
Law makers say reducing the 90 days to 45 will allow the executive to put together regulations as measures to control the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Health minister, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, said the reason for the extension of the state of public emergency is to help in the containment of the virus.
He told deputies that the 500 million-dalasi COVID-19 emergency fund that the government approved is still with the ministry of Finance.
Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abubacarr M Tambedou said by seeking for the extension of state of public emergency, government is not proposing a lock-down but a fight to prevent COVID-19 pandemic from spreading in the country.
After approving the 45 days extension, which was opposed by some parliamentarians and the Gambian people, lawmakers also recommended to the government to come up with financial compensatory mechanisms in order to reduce the hardship imposed on the people by the state of public emergency.