Penda Gibril-Tommy made the lamentation on Tuesday while presenting a report to lawmakers comprising the public accounts and public enterprises committee of the National Assembly in Banjul.
“It was disheartening to know that there were many other people within the country that could not have access to services of the ADRS due to the lack of decentralisation and sufficient funding for the existing offices”, she said. “The goal of the secretariat remains that alternative dispute resolution should be used as the first means to resolve a dispute… A sense of compassion and understanding is evident among parties, and a willingness to cooperate and comply with each other is paramount in resolving a dispute, and for a good relationship and peace to prevail. These are the attributes of that, and making the use of ADR attractive to those that have utilised the services of the secretariat, especially in the rural areas, where it has been welcomed with open arms.”
The ADRS boss said the secretariat registered 727 complaints from June 2008 to December 2013 which points to the growing appreciation of its work in the country.
She added: “The secretariat as ever, is grateful to the government; its development partners in particular the United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of Justice and various stakeholders in ADR for their continued support to the secretariat. In late 2009, the ADRS secured funding from the UNDP Access to Justice Programme, under the Governance Unit, which kicked off a long running partnership. Also, since 2010, the UNDP has assisted in sensitisation and in the establishment of two regional offices, among other projects, and one of the first activities funded by the UNDP was a capacity gaps assessment, which has been used as a strategic plan for the secretariat.”]]>