By Almamo Kaamaso
The Judiciary department is facing numerous challenges, some of which challenges include inadequate judiciary space, such as Court rooms, transport, and manpower, this was revealed during the launching of Road Map on the Rule of Law and Access to Justice. During a day’s long dialogue on the role and challenges of the judiciary in society, 3rd February at the Ocean Bay hotel at Cape Point, stakeholders were told that in order to efficiently deliver justice, the judiciary needs adequate resources in place.
Participants were drawn from various departments and the civil societies were also adequately represented. The police, local government, regional governors, the media and members of the National Assembly were all invited.
In her presentation the Judiciary Secretary, told the consortium that the judiciary do not have enough court rooms for sitting to take place concurrently , rather what obtains is that one judge in many cases have to wait for the other to conclude sitting before they can sit. She revealed that there is no Supreme Courtroom and therefor when the Supreme Court is sitting the Court of Appeal will have to wait as both courts are using the same room.
The Judiciary Secretary said not only does that affect the two Courts mentioned; but even at the High Courts , judges have to wait to allow others judges space before their cases can proceed. “This is all due to inadequate court rooms at the judiciary” Judiciary secretary said. She told the gathering that it did not only stop at the Courts in Banjul, but affects our magistrates in the provinces. She said some magistrates serve two regions and they do not have vehicles to facilitate their jobs. A case in point she said is the Lower Region and the North bank Regions, these two regions are served by one magistrate who do not have a vehicle.
The judiciary Secretary said it will be disheartening to know that some of these magistrates conduct their cases in open markets, whiles other sit in police stations in the provinces, these is all due to lack of judiciary facilities in the provinces. She called on the law makers not cut their budgets when it reaches them as the judiciary needs resources to fix some of these challenges.