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Foni Bintang NAM Disagrees with Court's Handling of Cases

Apr 7, 2008, 8:45 AM | Article By: By Baboucarr Senghore & Abba Gibba

Hon. Ebrima Jammeh, the Independent National Assembly Member for Foni Bintang constituency, has expressed dismay over the slow pace of court proceedings in the country, calling on the judiciary to ensure speedy trial of cases.

Contributing to the motion for the debate on the President's state opening of parliament address on Tuesday, Hon. Jammeh cited as an example the recent Babylon crises in which over 80 people were arrested and arraigned for three criminal offences, a matter that has reportedly been before the court for over three years now.

According to Hon. Jammeh, the slow process of the case created a problem that led to a state of disaster because, as he put it, the present situation of the crises is totally out of hand.

"If at all things were tackled by ensuring a speedy trial, the situation would not have reached where it is today," he said, stressing that the judiciary should facilitate speedy trial of all cases before the courts.

The Foni Bintang parliamentarian vehemently noted that delays in court proceedings is retarding social cohesion in society as cases have been dragging on at the courts for four to five years, consequently resulting in societies being broken apart and friends being alienated. "How can a magistrate come and sit for five or ten minutes and eventually say that the case has been adjourned? On what grounds?" Hon Jammeh enquired.

Turning on to agriculture and forestry, Hon. Jammeh expressed serious concerns over police officers stationed around the forest areas seizing fire wood from women when ever they emerge from the forest. "Can you imagine a police officer seizing firewood from poor women who solely depend on this to earn a living?"

He however expressed hope that the Department of State for Agriculture, now under the President himself, would consider in an earlier form to provide our farmers with seeds to avoid a bad season as last year.

It would be recalled that 88 people were last Sunday arrested and arraigned the following day for three criminal offences of arson, conspiracy to commit felony and going armed in public.

This came following a land dispute between the people of Makumbaya and one Lamin Jarjue, the supposed Alkalo of Babylon, who was claiming Babylon as a separate village from Makumbaya, a claim that the villagers of Makumbaya deny.

The dispute, which has been in court for over three years now, has resulted to the destruction of ten houses including that of the supposed Alkalo and four vehicles belonging to him and another one which were also set on fire.