Let me hasten to place on record, my mammoth gratitude to you for urgently publishing in your reputable and widely read newspaper, my recent legal article entitled:- “Legal Analysis Of The Gambia’s 2017 National Assembly Election Results”, which was simultaneously published on Thursday 13th April 2017, in both The Daily Observer Newspaper (The First Gambian Daily Newspaper) and The Standard Newspaper.
1. The laconic phrase:- “…Mr Halifa Sallah himself was duly elected as the Honourable Member Of Parliament for the Serrekunda Constituency…” was wrong, it should instead be “…for the Serrekunda Constituency and my congratulations to him”. Honourable Mr Halifa Sallah’s well deserved re-election as an Honourable Elected Member of The National Assembly/Parliament, reminds me of Gambian-born the late Dr Lenrie Peters’s masterpiece novel entitled “The Second Round”.
2. The laconic phrase …the People’s Progressive Party (P.P.P), the party of our dear beloved First Gambian President, His Excellency Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara (K.C.M.G., G.M.R.C), now under the able leadership of Honourable Mr O.J. Jallow, won 2 seats…”, has an important omission because after “Honourable Mr O.J. Jallow”, this important addendum should be inserted after it (i.e. “now the Honourable Minister Of Agriculture”).
3. I also wrote:- “…The list of Honourable Gambian Speakers in chronological order, are as follows:-
(a) The late Hon. Sir John Mahoney – K.C.M.G, 1954 to 1962, (b) the late Hon. Alhaji Sir Alieu Sulayman Jack – K.C.M.G, 1962 to 1972, (c) the late Hon. Dr. S.H.O. Jones – 1972 to 1983, (d) the late Hon. Alhaji Mr Momodou Baboucar Njie, alias “Njie B.P.” – 1983 to 1984, (e) the late Hon. Mr Mustapha B. Wadda – 1997 to 2000, (f) the late Hon. Mr Sheriff Mustapha Dibba – 2000 to 2006, (g) Hon. Dr. Mrs Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay alias “F.J.C.” (my good friend), 10th February 2007 to 2009, (h) Hon. Mrs Elizabeth Renner – 18th June 2009 to 4th November 2010 (i) Hon. Mr Alhaji Abdoulie Bojang – 2010 to March 2017 and (j) Hon. Mrs Mariam Jack-Denton – Tuesday 11th April 2017 to date. Hon. Mrs Mariam Jack-Denton, is therefore The Gambia’s 3rd Female Honourable Speaker and the 10th Gambian Honourable Speaker….”
The aforesaid quotation from my legal article, was bedeviled by two egregious (very shocking) errors. The first error was that, I inadvertently and innocently omitted the name of the late Hon. Mrs Belinda Bidwell (C.R.G.), from the aforesaid list of Gambian Honourable Speakers, because the said list was taken “ log stock and barrel” or “line hook and sinker”, from my recently concluded Female Gender Law Book entitled:- “VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE GAMBIA (CASE STUDY)”, and the aforesaid list was under the impressive profile of the late Hon. Mrs Belinda Bidwell (C.R.G.). I am extremely grateful to “My Learned Friend”, Mr Mustapha Marong, a former Gambian Honourable Attorney General & Minister Of Justice, my good friend Mr Ousman Jagne, who lives at Clarkson Street in Banjul and my good friend Mr. Alhaji Alpha A. Khan (J.P.), a retired but not tired, Principal of The 22nd July Academy and The Deputy Chairman Of The University Of The Gambia (U.T.G.) Governing Council, for kindly and urgently bringing the aforesaid important omission to my attention. All of the aforesaid Gambian Gentlemen, are indeed very meticulous and eagle – eyed, I am very grateful to all of them. “Great minds think alike”, as the famous adage goes, or may I say that this is “Telepathy” (ie corresponding thoughts in two independent minds or “consensus ad idem” in Latin, which means – meeting of the minds). I have also made the necessary corrections in my aforesaid Law Book, which has now been finally edited for me free of charge, by Mr. James M.B. Abraham, an Oxford University – Trained Educationist and a former Member of The Independent Electoral Commission (I.E.C.), when the veteran Gambian writer and a former Director Of Education, during The Gambia’s 1st Republic, Mr. Gabriel John Roberts, was its able Chairman. The second error was the correct position of the present Gambian Speaker (Honourable Mrs. Mariam Jack – Denton, L.L.B. (Hons), B.L) vis – a vis the chronological list of Honorable Gambian Speakers.
4. The amended and correct list of Honourable Gambian Speakers in chronological order, is now as follows:-
“(a) The late Hon. Sir John Mahoney – K.C.M.G, 1954 to 1962, (b) the late Hon. Alhaji Sir Alieu Sulayman Jack – K.C.M.G, 1962 to 1972, (c) the late Hon. Dr. S.H.O. Jones – 1972 to 1983, (d) the late Hon. Alhaji Mr Momodou Baboucar Njie, alias “Njie B.P.” – 1983 to 1984, (e) the late Hon. Mr Mustapha B. Wadda – 1997 to 2000, (f) the late Hon. Mr Sheriff Mustapha Dibba – 2000 to 2006, (g) the late Hon. Mrs Belinda Bidwell – C.R.G., 2006 to 2007 (h) Hon. Dr. Mrs Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay alias “F.J.C.” (my good friend), 10th February 2007 to 2009, (i) Hon. Mrs Elizabeth Renner – 18th June 2009 to 4th November 2010 (j) Hon. Mr Alhaji Abdoulie Bojang – 2010 to March 2017 and (k) Hon. Mrs Mariam Jack-Denton – Tuesday 11th April 2017 to date. Hon. Mrs Mariam Jack-Denton is therefore, now The Gambia’s 4thFemale Honourable Speaker and the 11th Gambian Honourable Speaker….”. My profound apologies to all those persons, who were affected by my aforesaid errors. William Shakespeare, the erudite and prolific “Bard Of Avon”, ably wrote a masterpiece Play / Comedy entitled “A Comedy Of Errors”.
5. In my aforesaid Legal article I also wrote :- “… Also on 11th April 2017, Honourable Mr. Momodou Lamin Sanneh, a former Minority Leader of the aforesaid Assembly and a former Honourable Elected Member of the aforesaid Assembly, for Kiang West Constituency, was duly Elected as The Honourable Deputy Speaker of the aforesaid Assembly.” The laconic phrase “Kiang Central Constituency” was wrong. Instead it should have been “Kiang West Constituency”. I am extremely grateful to my good friend and sister, Dr. Mrs. Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay (C.R.G., M.R.G.), a former Honourable Speaker of The Gambia’s National Assembly / Parliament, for kindly and urgently providing me with this very important and accurate Parliamentary information.
6. In my aforesaid Legal article I also wrote:- “…According to Section 82 (2) of the aforesaid Constitution, His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow, the current President Of The Republic Of The Gambia, has the Constitutional power or authority to Officially nominate 5 Honorary Nominated Members Of The National Assembly, but these 5 Presidential Nominees, do not have any voting right”. It was a monumental Legal error to say that, the aforesaid 5 Presidential Nominees “do not have any voting right”. I was misinformed by one of my mischievous, academically jealous and ill – intentioned male L.L.B. .Undergraduate student, at The Faculty Of Law Of The University Of The Gambia (U.T.G.), who can rightly be Charged with the heinous Criminal Offence of: – “Giving false information to a Public Officer”, contrary to The Criminal Code Act of The Gambia, but I have decided “to temper Justice with mercy”, because he is a “first time Offender”.
7. The correct thing I should have said is –only 4 out of the 5 Honourable Nominated Members of The National Assembly / Parliament have a voting right, but the 5th (i.e. The Honourable Speaker) do not have a voting right. This was why, Honourable Mr. Halifa Sallah rightly told the first or prototype Session of The Gambia’s newly constituted National Assembly / Parliament, on Tuesday 11th April 2017 – that only 57 out of the Honourable Members Of The National Assembly / Parliament have voting right (i.e. 53 Honourable Elected Members and 4 Honourable Nominated Members), but the Honourable Speaker (Honourable Mrs. Mariam Jack – Denton), did not have the right to vote. Honourable Mr. Halifa Sallah’s aforesaid statement to The Honourable Speaker, The Honourable Lord Chief Justice , Gambian – Born Honourable Mr. Hassan B. Jallow, (C.R.G.), Honourable Members Of The National Assembly, Their Excellencies Members Of The Diplomatic And Consular Corps etc., was mathematically correct, but it may be Legally wrong or defective.
8. I am 50% in agreement with Honourable Mr. Halifa Sallah, and I am 50% in disagreement with him. I am humbly submitting that since presently there are 57 Honourable Members Of The National Assembly with voting rights, (i.e. 53 Honourable Elected Members and 4 Honourable Nominated Members), therefore if a Parliamentary matter is put to the vote, there will never be a tie or deadlock, because “57” is an odd number. But if one of the Honourable Members with a voting right is unavoidably absent, (be it an Elected Member or a Nominated Member), from a Sitting Of The National Assembly (due to illness, overseas travel etc), and in his or her absence, an urgent Parliamentary matter is put to the vote, then there will be a high probability of a tie or deadlock (ie 28 votes for the motion, and 28 votes against the motion). In such a Parliamentary scenario, how can this tie or deadlock be instantaneously solved? Having due cognizance of this probable Parliamentary scenario, let me therefore humbly advise, that a new Standing Order should urgently be promulgated, which will empower The Honourable Speaker (Honourable Mrs Mariam Jack-Denton), to have “A CASTING VOTE”, which will tilt the Parliamentary Scale to one direction or the other, so that the aforesaid Parliamentary tie or deadlock, will be immediately solved. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, as the famous adage goes. In Britain, the Honourable Speaker of the British bicameral Parliament, (i.e. a two – House Parliament), which is composed of 2 Houses namely:- (1) The House Of Commons, the “Lower House” and (2) The House Of Lords, the “Upper House”, also has“ A CASTING VOTE”. According to Google “: The Honourable Speaker of The British Parliament, does not take part in debates or voting, except when there is a tie”. I am extremely grateful to a competent female Ghanaian Secretary, Ms. Julie Amako, who works at Unique Graphics at Jimpex Road in K.S.M.D, for kindly making an urgent Google research for me, on this important Parliamentary matter. Similarly in the U.S.A. on the other side of The Atlantic Ocean, in March 2017, when The Senate (i.e. one of the two American Parliamentary Houses, the other is Congress), there was a Parliamentary tie or deadlock when Honourable Members of The Senate were voting on the suitability or otherwise of some Ministerial appointees of His Excellency President Mr. Donald Trump. According to The Standing Orders of The Senate of The U.S.A., before any Resolution can be Legally passed by The Senate, 51 of the Honourable Senators who are eligible to vote, should vote in favour of a particular Motion. In the aforesaid Parliamentary scenario, there was a tie or deadlock (i.e. 25 Honourable Senators voted in favour of the Motion, while 25 other Honourable Senators, voted against the Motion). In order to urgently solve the aforesaid Parliamentary tie or deadlock, His Excellency, Mr. Mike Pence, The Vice President Of The U.S.A., had to instantaneously go to The Senate, to urgently cast his Parliamentary “Casting Vote”. Since Honourable Mr Halifa Sallah publicly made his aforesaid statement during the aforesaid Parliamentary Session of The National Assembly/Parliament, the matter is therefore in the public domain, and as a bona fide(Latin ie in good faith) Member of the Gambian public, I am hereby exercising what is called in law, “my right of reply” pro bono publico (Latin ie for the good of the public).
9. The present Gambian Coalition Government, under the dynamic, progressive and visionary leadership of His Excellency President Mr Adama Barrow, should also be warmly congratulated, for collectively having the majority of seats in The National Assembly/Parliament. This will effectively facilitate the smooth passing of their Bills and other policy matters, provided they work together as a team. “United we stand, and divided we fall”, as the famous adage goes. The present two Opposition Parties in Parliament (ie The A.P.R.C. with 5 seats and the G.D.C. with 5 seats), will hopefully not be a political force, to be reckoned with.
10. Finally, as a Canadian-Trained Theologian, let me end this important corrigendum/reply, by appropriately quoting Stanza 3 of Hymn No 658 of The Methodist Church (ie my church), ably authored by James Montgomery (1771 to 1854), a late prolific and erudite British Hymn writer, which reads:-
“Forever with the Lord,
Father if tis thy will,
The promise of that faithful word,
Even here to me fulfil,
Be thou at my right hand,
Then can I never fail,
Uphold thou me and I shall stand,
Fight, and I must prevail”.
Yours In The Rule Of Law
DR. Henry D. R. Carrol (M.R.G)
Senior Oxford-Trained Lawyer
PhD Honoris Causa (Laws) U.K
PhD Honoris Causa (Philosophy) U.S.A.
Honorary Doctorate Of Letters (Cambridge) U.K.
Note: The Author of this well researched Corrigendum / Reply, Dr. Henry D.R. Carrol – M.R.G, is a Solicitor General Emeritus Of The Gambia (i.e. The Deputy Chief Legal Adviser Of The Gambia Government from 2007 to 2009), a Founder Senior Law Lecturer Of The Faculty of Law of The University Of The Gambia from 2007 to date, a Visiting Professor Of Land Law (2012) at Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science & Technology, Ghana etc…