#Article (Archive)

Settling disputes at community level

Dec 9, 2010, 1:40 PM

We have said it in this and other columns that there is the need for people to settle their disputes at the level of the home and within the community.

This would reduce the work of the courts and, more importantly, reduce enmity and tension in our communities.
The coming into force of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat in The Gambia is one such initiative that people should embrace.

Also, community policing should be encouraged, as it all helps in strengthening our family ties and relations.

In The Gambia, from time immemorial and traditionally, it was the custom that if communities or the people are confronted with a problem, they call on elders to mediate between the parties concerned, before it reaches the courts.

The main reason behind such arrangements was to prevent bad blood within the society. If every region or district were to create an alternative dispute resolution committee, then many of the cases that are today before the courts would not be there.

Indeed, the establishment of the Alternative Dispute Resolution office in the country will address some of this issues that are hindering the development of our society.

The simple fact of the matter is that, now the ADRS has inaugurated regional offices in the country, which is a clear indication that the organization is ready to work with people at the grass root level.

The creation of such important organizations within our community structures will surely bring peace, security, and stability in our society.

We would like to commend the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) for supporting such a laudable initiative in the country.

Meanwhile, let us allow the ADRS to do their work without any interference, as this will greatly help the secretariat to achieve their desired objectives.