By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow has called on the five-member land commission set up to probe into land disputes to be transparent and impartial in executing their duties.
The members of the commission which included Justice Raymond Sock as chairperson, Buba Barry, Nancy Nyang, Momodou S Jobe and Kemo Conteh as members were yesterday sworn-in at State House.
The President said the commission’s primary mandate is to serve as an adversary role in policy matters relating to land administration to ensure policies are implemented and there is transparency in land transition.
The Gambian leader further said the land commission is not an appeal court and thus will not handle cases that are already being handled by the courts.
He reminded the commissioners that integrity, professional ability and experience are among the qualities required to command respect.
“When we came to office we have been faced with many challenges regarding land issues. To address such challenges we have commissioned another commission to look into challenges in the administration of land in the country,” he said.
The commission’s mandate, he added, will include investigating disputes and monitoring the registration of properties by working closely with the ministry of lands.
He said the establishment of the land commission marks another milestone in government’s efforts to put the country on the right part in ensuring that conflicts emanating from land administration are addressed.
“As a country we are being hurt because our democracy has been shaken and corrupted…The former government abused the rights of citizens and many communities lost their lands because of politics or dubious reasons,” he added.
The Minister of Lands and Local Government, Musa Drammeh said the commission is also mandated to investigate disputes in land ownership and occupation in any area of the country, access land rent and premium for properties, monitor registration of properties and inspect registers and records, all land matters relating to national boundaries and to perform such other actions that the minister may assign the commission.
He also called on the commissioners to expedite their findings and quickly submit their report for further actions.
The chairman of the commission, Justice Raymond Sock reassured the Gambian leader that the commission will execute its duties diligently without fear or favor.
Meanwhile, the Gambian leader also sworn-in the new secretary general and deputy secretary to cabinet, Ebrima O Camara and Rohiatou Kah, respectively, at the same function.