The Gambia’s Chief Justice, Hassan B. Jallow, has Friday urged newly enrolled legal practitioners to always keep in mind that honesty and integrity are cardinal virtues that should guide them in the exercise of their duty.
“Act at all times with honesty and with integrity,” C.J Jallow said in a statement delivered during a ceremony convened by the General Legal Council at the High Court in Banjul to confer certificate on 27 graduands.
The tiny West African nation is transitioning from dictatorship to democracy. Since the advent of the new regime, authorities have announced the Gambianisation of the judiciary as part of their effort to revamp a sector that was subject to multiple assaults by the previous gov’t, including an aggressive strategy of massive inteference to undermine the country’s judicial system.
Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow reminded the new comers in the legal profession that they have been studying the code of conduct. “Now you must live it,” he added while welcoming them to the Bar Association.
C.J. Jallow warned of challenging times lying ahead for them as they need to do more study, more learning, more hard working… He then added that their practice at the Bar will depend on their continued study of the law while updating themselves with major developments of the law on practices and procedures.
“What lies ahead of you is not easier than what you have gone through in the past few years,” he remarked.
Speaking on behalf of Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou, Ousainou Thomasi told the newly enrolled lawyers that what differentiates the legal profession from the others are the core values of integrity and honesty they exhibit as lawyers at all times.
“You have repeatedly been told at Law School that character and integrity are key to your profession. I do not know of any other profession that emphasizes the importance of these two,” he said.
Thomasi went on to tell the new lawyers that they must do everything possible to maintain their good character.
“Do not take advantage of your clients or anyone vulnerable,” he warned. “You are in a position of trust, and should therefore not abuse your position.”
As the country continues to emerge from the shadows of two-decade long dictatorship, Gambia Bar Association (GBA) President, Salieu Taal, seized the opportunity to refresh people’s mind on the turbulent years Gambians have gone through.
“Every generation of lawyers will have their fair share of societal challenges,” he indicated. “Our generation operated under a dictatorship, an oppressive regime which saw lawyers as a threat.”
GBA President, whose activism is well-known to the general public, said former President Yahya Jammeh did everything possible to make their job hard, to weaken them as a Bar Association.
“Our Constitution, our laws were tools of oppression,” he said while indicating that such situation made Gambia vulnerable to the whim of one man.
However, he further stated that the Bar made history on the 2nd of December 2016 when the erstwhile GBA President, Sheriff Tambadou, condemning the ex-President’s attempt to subvert the will of the people.
A move that had triggered series of reactions as pro-democracy groups followed suit in a domino effect…
Written by Abdoulie John
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