Gambia: How Gambia’s Record Situation Began After 1965 NRS Director Explains

The director of National Records Service (NRS) has explained how first real attempt to address the records situation by the Gambia government began soon after Independence in 1965.

Mr. Bartholomew Marong made this revelation in a one-on-one interview with the Information Officer at PMO where he dwelt on the functions of his unit on Wednesday 1 June 2022.

“It was the request of The Gambia government. The British Colonial Office seconded for three months, a Records Officer, Mr. J. Smyth from the Colonial Office Records Section to the Gambia to assist the government in the establishment of a Public Records Office in Bathurst (Banjul) to preserve its official records,” Mr. Marong explained.

He described his unit as a center of excellence in managing all forms of Public Records and Archives Service using Innovative Technology, adding that the main functions of NRS was derived from its 1993 Act which includes: ensuring good records keeping within public service and other institutions.

According to Mr. Marong, the NRS’ mandate also includes the establishment and implementation of timely disposal of public records of no continuity value for preservation in the National Archives. He added some other Archival repository under the control of the director or in such other place of deposit designated by the advisory committee.

The Unit also preserves and makes available for consultation, public records in the National Archives or in any other archival repository under the control of the Director, establishes and monitors professional standards within the Service and conducts research into records storage, retrieval, rehabilitation and dissemination.

He informed that there was also 1986 legislation on the management of archives thus the 1986 National Archives Legislation limited not only to the management of public records at their archives stage.

Mr. Marong explained that in July 1990, The Gambia government funded a small scale project in co-operation with Overseas Records Management Trust (ORMT) now International Records Management Trust (IRMT) to restructure the registry in the office of the President as a model from which to draw lessons of best practice for the civil service.

“The achievements registered subsequently pave the way for a larger records management project and the involvement of the UK Overseas Development become a component of the ODA Administrative Reform Programme (ARP) and a Records Management project subsequently set up early 1990 at PMO to underpin the ARP,” Marong stated.

The project according to Mr. Marong, was aimed at developing uniformed methods and procedures to be applied in all ministries within civil service and for coordinating the restructuring of the registries.

Lamin B. Darboe Information Officer, Pmo


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