The First Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), Tuesday began a three-day meeting with stakeholders from the member countries at a local hotel in Kololi.
Delivering his official statement, Hon. Dodou Bammy Jagne, the Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, stated that the need for individual countries to establish independent accident investigation units calls for significant resources. He emphasised that the investment requirement seems to outweigh the resources available.
“A regional accident investigation organisation caters for and eliminates the duplication of efforts by pooling human, technical and financial resources; it facilitates the recruitment and retainment of investigators by States and improves regional solidarity, hence enabling investigators to gain experience more quickly,” he noted.
According to him, a lot has been achieved since the inception of the Banjul Accord, adding that some of those achievements would be reported by various centres during the course of the deliberations. He further disclosed that six of the seven BAGAIA countries have nominated members to the commission. “In accordance with Article 8(3), I have nominated Colonel (Retired) Lawrence Jarra of The Gambia to the Commission.”
Minister Jagne described the discussions on a possible enlargement of BAGAIA to cover other countries in West and Central Africa as an interesting initiative.
For his part, Baboucarr Cham, the Acting Director General of The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the GCAA is very grateful to host the first meeting of the BAGAIA Commission in The Gambia.
“As individual states, we may have different perspectives or divergent views to the ever changing facet and challenges of the aviation industry, but that does not grant us the liberty to forget that we need to work as a group. In yearning for the best, we would sometimes disagree and agree in order to come to a common consensus that would lead us to further the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers,” he said.
According to him, the occasion is yet another significant manifestation of the fact that the cooperation that exists between the various states would continue to grow from strength to strength in the process of realising the mutual aspirations in aviation safety.
He stated that the existence of BAGAIA has augmented the existing human resource pool participating states for the effective discharge of their international obligations in respect of Aircraft Accident Investigation.
Cham stated that when the founding fathers of this Banjul Accord met in Banjul about twenty years ago, little did they know that they were pioneering a cause that would become recognised as a reliable vehicle for bringing about positive changes in the aviation industry, not only within the region, but the world at large. The pioneers, he added were firmly bonded at that time because they were aware of the responsibility ahead of the time and continued to work tirelessly towards a collective goal.
Caj Frostell of the BAGAIA Commission thanked the GCAA for hosting this important meeting, while urging them for the need to continue this meeting in the future and wished them a very fruitful deliberation during the course of the meeting.