The Chief Justice’s renewal of his commitment to ensuring a vibrant legal system for The Gambia is a remark that is both appealing to the ear and highly important for this country and anyone resident in the country. This, says Emmanuel Fagbenle, is line with the spirit and objectives of the leadership of President Jammeh.
An effective judicial system is undoubtedly a fundamental determinant for the advancement of any country as it guarantees a safe and conducive environment for the people to coexist in harmony. Needless to say, The Gambian judiciary has over the years seen tremendous evolution, especially if one considers the state of affairs few years ago. This is a country where travelling magistrates used to be the order of the day, moving back and forth to the various provincial regions to dispense justice to the common people. It was not the most ideal way of delivering justice to the masses away from Banjul and its environs.
The giant strides registered in the judicial sector by the current dispensation further resonated loudly with the Chief Justice’s interview with this paper when he acknowledged the donation of ten brand new executive cars for the new judges and a brand new complex for their accommodation and also “for giving us staff bus meant to reduce the problem of staff mass transit or movement”.
In efforts to bring justice to the doorstep of the people, the country has also seen the training on home soil a large of Gambian legal practitioners.
In what could be described as a major boost to the judiciary and in delivering on a promise made earlier to the judiciary, the Chief Justice has disclosed that President Jammeh has provided them additional personnel through the appointment of nine judges for the High Court and three judges for The Gambia Court of Appeal. This mammoth development also adds to the appointment of Cadis in all regions as well as scribes in District Tribunals.
Today, Gambians living upcountry are no longer burdened with the trouble of travelling to the urban centres with judicial officers deployed in all regions of the country.
As it stands, there is talk of an ambitious plan of action to modernise the courts by ensuring that all courts are automated to reduce the time consumed by judges in the recording of witness evidence. The icing on the cake in the quest for a vibrant legal system for the country is to enhance timely availability of records of proceedings.
This would be a game changer that would avert the impediment of the proverbial delay in justice that tends to be tantamount to a denial of justice. We commend the Executive and the Judiciary for their respectively roles in the latest progresses attained in our justice delivery mechanism.