Wednesday, February 06, 2008
It was a proud ocassion to see a full bench of seosnoned African judges calling on our relatively young Head of State at State House yesterday. It was also marvellous to witness the intellect of our President at its sharpest best amongst this group of African sages whom he evidently admires so much.
The respect was quite mutual as the judges themselves appreciated with much laughter and clapping the wit of His Excellency. But the President's message was serious. It was scandalous that decades after independence Gambians paid so much money to go to the British Privy Council for justice.
"I am independent to the core", stated the President. The President also promised the judiciary independent action stating categorically that "The government will not interfere with the judiciary" as therein would lie anarchy. We wish the Supreme Court well as it gets down to work this morning.
Re- UK Visa Reject
We are indeed grateful with the response forwarded by the Deputy High Commissioner at the British High Commission in Banjul. This was indeed the motive behind the penning of our editorial piece, captioned Flagrant Injustice, which piece sought to explore visa application and processing at the consular section.
However, we insist on holding on to the strongest conviction that we do not reserve any authority to dictate the operations of the consular section of the mission. In the same vain, we do feel obliged to amplify social concerns of these nature. This is our own way of serving our social responsibility to Gambians and other inhabitant of the Gambia.
The point highlighted on the editorial piece is strongly supported by the avalanche of phone calls that inundated the Daily Observer yesterday.
The question common with all these callers was: why such an amount (D3,000-plus for a single visa application - which may be denied without a refund?) is taken from the many poor Gambians in the name of quality service provision; yet at the end of the process 90% or more of these applicants are refused entry visas on quite flimsy excuses. This we find quite difficult to understand.
And if UK High Commission's record of performance is anything to go by, poor Momodou Sanneh is set for yet another meaningless payment that will most likely see his hard-earned money not being refunded, just like it has been for thousands of Gambians.