President Barrow has appointed Justice Raymond Sock as chairman of the newly constituted Lands Commission at a ceremony held last week at State House. The commission is tasked to look into the challenges of land administration in order to address conflicts emanating from land matters in the country.
Justice Sock will be assisted by four other members; Buba Barry, former Director of Lands and Surveys; Momodou S. Jobe, former Senior Physical Planning Officer and Director General of Gambia Tourism Board; Nancy Nyang, retired Permanent Secretary, Office of the Vice President; Kemo Conteh, Director of Local Governance, Ministry of Lands and Regional Government.
President Barrow told commission members that the commission was necessitated by the need to address the numerous land-related problems orchestrated under the former government.
‘’As a country, we have been hurt because the foundation of our democracy had been shaken and corrupted. The former government abused the rights of the citizens and many communities lost their land for political or dubious reasons’’.
President Barrow described the event as ‘’another milestone in our effort to put the country on the right path in ensuring that conflicts emanating from land administration are addressed’’.
On the mandate of the Commission, President Barrow stressed that the commission is not an appeal court for land matters neither will it handle cases that have already been dealt with or before the law courts. He emphasized that the Commission has an advisory role on policy matters relating to land administration to ensure that the policies are implemented and there is transparency in land allocation.
“Its role includes investigating disputes, assessing premium of properties, monitoring the registration of properties and matters of national boundaries working closely with the Ministry,” he explained.
The President said the tasks of the commission are important parts of the strategic priorities of the NDP, in “restoring good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and empowering citizens through decentralization and local governance’’.
As members of the commission, the President said they have been entrusted to guide the country in land administration in order to promote peace and stability. Thus integrity, professional ability, and experience are among the qualities required to command respect, trust and preserve confidence in the execution of their tasks.
Justice Raymond Sock, Chairman of the Commission, said their appointment is indicative of the confidence that the President has in their ability to carry out the mandate of the Commission.