The Gambian leader His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow on Monday presided at the swearing in of six new judges.
Administered by the secretary to cabinet, Ida Auber-Faal, the new judges took oaths of office, secrecy and allegiance. The six new judges, five of whom are Gambians were appointed as judges to the Supreme and Appeal Courts of the Gambia to strengthen the judicial system.
Speaking at the occasion, President Barrow congratulated all of them for their well-deserved appointments and assured them of government's firm commitment to the promotion of the principles of an independent judiciary and the rule of law.
"This is one of the key values that The Gambian people opted for when they decided to choose a new direction on the 2nd of December, 2016," he told them.
According to him, never again shall this country return to those dark days of impunity and blatant disregard of Constitutional order. To achieve this, he said, his government is determined to build strong institutions capable of transforming the state of this great nation from dictatorship to democracy and from despair to hope.
He told them that the role of the judiciary in this new dispensation cannot be overemphasized. "We count on all of you to effectively and honestly contribute to building a strong, open and just society underpinned by the respect for human rights, democracy and freedom for all".
The president told them that he is fully aware of the numerous challenges besetting the effective and efficient delivery of Justice in the country which, according to him, includes timely access to justice, limited resources and the capacity to retain competent legal practitioners.
"I have no doubt however, that with collective national resolve and commitment coupled with the continued support from our development partners, we shall be able to reposition the judicial sector to respond to the current realities of our country sooner rather than later," he told them.
Also speaking at the occasion, the chief justice of the Gambia, Justice Assan Jallow, thanked the Gambian leader for the step he has taken in making the appointments in the judiciary.
"This is a very important step which will go a long way in addressing the capacity challenge that we have within the judiciary. I have no doubt it will make an immediate positive impact for instance at the level of the Supreme Court which has not been able to sit for the past two years. From this afternoon, the supreme court will commence its sessions," he told the executive at the swearing-in ceremony.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, Justice Marie Mam Yassin Sey thanked the president for the confidence reposed in them to take on what is expected of them.
"I can assure you we will do our best, we would strive to deliver justice as is expected without fear or favour, ill-will or affection as we have recited in the oaths that we took. We wish to assure the president and the people of the Gambia that we will do our utmost and we ask for support in whatever we are doing and we also ask for the full cooperation of the Bar and Bench in making sure that we progress the cases that have been backlog so far," he said.
The minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe expressed his happiness at the occasion. He congratulated the newly appointed and sworn-in judges for their appointment. According to him, the occasion was a dream come true to see the judiciary of the Gambia, manned by people of integrity, knowledge and courage.
"The oaths that you have taken here am sure is not just a mare rituals, it is the oaths that I am confident that will be abide by," he told them.
The newly appointed and sworn-in judges include, Justice Marie Mam Yassin Sey, Justice Abubacarr Detty Yahya, Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, Justice Omar Momodou Musa Njie, and Justice Nah-Ceesay Sallah-Wada.