By Baba Sillah
President Adama Barrow has assured his government’s readiness and willingness to provide redress to all citizens who have suffered human rights violations, saying ‘no Gambian will suffer from human rights violations without redress as far as his government is concerned.’
Addressing the legal staff and judicial officials at the official opening of the 2019 legal year at the law courts complex in Banjul yesterday for the first time since his presidency, President Barrow saluted the bench and the bar for their collective effort in ensuring the effective functioning of the judiciary.
“This is my first official engagement with the legal officials since I assumed office as president. I thank you all for the courage and dedication you demonstrated in 2016 which marked the end of 22 years of dictatorship in The Gambia. Since my government assumed power in 2016, we have restored public confidence, democracy and rule of law. After many years of judicial maladministration and interference, the judiciary has witnessed the appointment of Gambians in 2017 which demonstrated the government readiness to promote judicial independence and impartiality. I reiterate that my government will not interfere with the judiciary and its independence as far as my government is concerned. My government has approved special package for the judiciary since January of this year,” Mr Barrow said.
In light of this, President Barrow assured that his government will ensure good governance; democracy and protection of fundamental human rights which he said have been abused and denied for the past two decades under the former regime.
After his address, the president also met the staff of the judiciary and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice where they had a reception and discussion which centered on the judiciary.
On his part, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou also reiterated “the new government under President Barrow is committed to protection of freedom, justice and equality for everyone.”
He continued: “The new Gambia is not about winner and loser but rather we must work hard together as Gambians to achieve our desired goals. The new Gambia under President Barrow is committed to the protection of freedom, justice and equality for everyone.
The Gambia is undergoing serious transformation such as the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, the Constitutional Review Commission and the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. We have also witnessed significant drop in arbitrary arrests and detention. The Gambia has also achieved a lot in term of press freedom as it is ranked 122 out of 155 in 2018 in term of press freedom.”
The Chief Justice Hassan B Jallow stressed the importance of the day saying it ‘marks the beginning of a new year for all the institutions to be independent and impartial.”