Following a meeting on the 21st July, The Gambia National Bar Association nominated an Interim Executive Committee and unanimously appointed Barrister Lamin K. Mboge as the Interim President, whilst Barrister Ibrahima Jallow was appointed as Secretary General. Barrister Assan Martin was equally appointed as the Communication Secretary.
The committee also took the opportunity to draft a resolution spelling out its aspirations and the way forward for its members.
This comes in the wake of disturbing issues affecting young lawyers who are required to do pupilage without a right of appearance/audience before the courts whilst Police Prosecutors who are not trained at all without even a diploma in law are allowed to appear and prosecute on behalf of the Inspector General of Police.
The Public Prosecutors who are law graduates are equally prosecuting on behalf of the state but those who are trained as lawyers and have successfully obtained their Barrister at law degree, i.e. B.L, are not allowed to appear before the court.
The position of the interim committee is that pupilage is a good initiative to train the young lawyers but they should be allowed to practice and appear before the courts during the one year pupilage period before they are allowed to run their own law firms. Arguing alternatively, their colleagues on the bench who are appointed as magistrates are determining the rights of others whilst they are not allowed to represent any of the parties before the court.
In lieu of this, the interim committee called for a new bar in the New Gambia empowered with the freedom of expression and opinion to flow like the river Gambia into the Atlantic. To join the international media and social media for it to express its view collectively for the smooth administration of justice and fair play as well as issues affecting the country in the legal perspective.
The new Bar is geared towards collaborating with its members in expressing its opinion in good faith towards the Socio-Economic Development of our country. A free and fair environment is Sine Qua non for the peace, stability and development of The Gambia which is a necessity to prompt Socio-Economic growth that we need in a viable democracy. It should be in the forefront and take a leading and exemplary role in all issues of National Development.
Thus the new Bar will partner with the Chief Justice and profer solutions to deal with all issues affecting the smooth administration of justice such as opening a registry for filing in all the courts, support and encourage all stake holders in the administration of justice and even assist in filling all vacant positions on the Higher Bench up to the Supreme Court.
It is high time for the new Gambia to be responsible for filling all positions held by Non-Gambians rather than complain about an issue that can be solved by us.
The new Bar will also strive to be a development partner and work hand in gloves with the Government to facilitate the smooth running of the country.
The National Bar should be heard loud and clear on all issues of national interest and express the legal position clearly to the public to initiate and strive to maintain public confidence in the judicial system.
We, the members of this Noble Association have a very important role to play by clearly articulating the legal position, distinctly for the benefit of the public at large.
The new Bar will not be limited to issues within the Four Corners of the Bar but will encompass the length and breadth of The Gambia and the entire world to know that there is an active and vibrant Bar in The Gambia.