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H.E Barrow’s remarks at the Swearing -in of Justice Saho Ceesay

President Barrow and Justice Amina Saho Ceesay

It is with great honour and privilege that I welcome you again to the swearingin formalities of the Honourable Justice Amina Saho Ceesay, which have just been administered in accordance with Government procedures.  

It is certainly not by dint of luck, but by virtue of hard work, talent, experience and trust that the Honourable Justice Saho Ceesay was recommended by the Judicial Service Commission for appointment as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. In view of her track record, I granted approval without hesitation, confident that it was a decision very well made.

While I warmly congratulate her and her family onthis meritorious elevation to The Gambia Court of Appeal as a Justice of the Court, I trust that her presence will entrench the work ethics of the legal profession in the country and further solidify the jurisprudence of the Court of Appeal.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The occasion calls to mind and underscores the eminence of the Honourable Chief Justice, Honourable Hassan B. Jallow and his contribution to strengthening the Gambian Judiciary in various ways. Under his leadership, the Judiciary has continued to make distinct progress since the beginning of the transition.

It is clear that, during this short period, significant building blocks to enhance justice administration in the country have been solidly laid within the sector. This has been matched appropriately by open access to and competent dispensation of Justice.

I thank and commend him sincerely. By the same breath, I urge the entire legal fraternity to sustain the momentum.

It is also fitting on this occasion to acknowledge, with appreciation, the improvements recorded by the Judiciary as regards the disposal of cases. The innovative approaches adopted as a result of the circumstances imposed upon us by the COVID-19 Pandemic, make these achievements even more appreciable. I encourage the personnel within the Judicial system to continue to be guided by the principles of independence, impartiality and objectivity in the decisions they make and in upholding and safeguarding the rule of law.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the solemn promises we made as a government was to work towards making the Judiciary very Gambian. Today, I can boldly say that we have already fulfilled that promise.

It is even more remarkable and a source of pride to observe further that we have not only attained this, but also have struck the much needed gender balance at all levels of the Superior and Lower Courts of The Gambia. This is a commendable achievement.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

My Lord, the Chief Justice,

Notwithstanding the achievements realised, it is obvious that there is still much more to be done. I am comforted, however, by the expectation that the new Judiciary Strategic Plan will considerably address most of the gaps and lapses that require attention as we embark upon modernising or reforming the Judiciary.  

I have noted in particular that, among other objectives, the Plan seeks to: first, upgrade and expand the existing physical infrastructure in order to improve the work environment; second, harnessICT to support court functions; third, develop the requisite human resource and, fourth, build the capacity required for a modern judiciary.

My government approves of these novel ideas and objectives without reservation, and will support the necessary resource mobilisation endeavours.

Turning to a developing trend, I must state with honesty that the current security situation in The Gambia is of great concern to the Government, but I believe that it is equally troubling to the Judiciary.

As a result of this, the congestion of the prison remand wings and other shortcomings in our criminal justice system that can hinder our response capability to the rising crime rate need to be examined urgently, and appropriate solutions sought and administered.

Mindful of the crucial role of the Judiciary in a democracy, all of us have to continue supporting the Judiciary for the fulfilment of our collective aspirations of promoting, protecting and enforcingthe rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights in The Gambia. A well-functioning independent and transparent Judiciary is an indispensable asset for a democracy such as ours.

In return, public trust and confidence are key values that the Judiciary should always engender in the administration and dissemination of justice. In this way, sustainable peace and development would be achieved more readily.

Your Excellency,

My Lord, the Chief Justice,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Once again, I congratulate the Honourable Justice Amina Saho Ceesay and wish her a very successful career in the Judiciary.

I thank you all for your attention.

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