By Aisha Tamba
President Barrow has said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2019 the judiciary has not stopped dispensing justice as required by the law.
Addressing the 2022 legal year opening ceremony yesterday at the Superior Court Complex in Banjul the president said: “Since the year 2019, the world has been battling a pandemic that continues to affect the socio-economic fabric of society, including judicial systems; however, this has not stopped our judiciary from dispensing justice as required by law…”
“Fittingly, let me pay special tribute to the men and women in the judiciary for serving justly and devotedly under the able leadership of the chief justice, Honourable Hassan Bubacarr Jallow. We are fully conscious of the sacrifices you make to protect the peace and stability of this country.
“I am pleased to disclose that the government will review the salaries, allowances and other benefits of the sector staff. Furthermore, the Judicial Officers Bill will be finalised and tabled before the National Assembly by the end of this year. “
The president also noted that within the last two years, the Ecowas sub-region experienced many conflicts and military takeovers.
“The developments in Mali, Guinea and, recently, Burkina Faso undermine the democratisation process and achievements made in the sub-region. These actions are against the letter and spirit of the Ecowas Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and should be controlled.
“It needs to be emphasised that taking over power in any country must be done only through free, fair and transparent elections, which the citizens of The Gambia laudably demonstrated in the December 4th presidential election. “
Chief Justice Jallow disclosed that construction of new court complex has commenced in Brikama and Bundung.
He advocated for special retirement benefits for retired judges.
“It is important to bear in mind that retired judges are prohibited by law from engaging in legal practice. Of course, while in office, they cannot do so either. This is a good law meant to promote and secure the impartiality of judges. But unless special retirement benefits are provided by law for judges, as obtained in other Commonwealth countries applying the same rule, judges will retire into penury and poverty following a lifetime of public service.”