Mistress of Ceremony, my Learned Junior, Ms Aji Ceesay,
Honourable Chairperson, Mrs Adelaide Sosseh, Vice Chairperson of T.R.R.C.,
His Excellency Professor Amos Sawyer, Ex-President of Liberia,
Honourable Mr Johnny Delange, Ex-Deputy Justice Minister of South Africa, Honourable DR. Lamin J. Sise,
Commissioners of The T.R.R.C. , including The Most Rev. James Allen Yaw Odico , Bishop of The Anglican Church, Bishop of The Gambia and The Chairman of The Gambia Christian Council (G.C.C.),
Distinguished participants, legal experts, the Press, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, all Protocols respectively observed.
In my capacity as the Official Representative of Honourable Mr. Alhaji Abubacarr M. Tambadou, Attorney General & Minister of Justice, let me first of all put on record, our mammoth gratitude to our able Madam Chairperson, Honourable Madam Adelaide Sosseh, Vice Chairperson Of The T.R.R.C., for graciously and wisely inviting The Honourable Attorney General to this very important Workshop, since The Honourable Attorney General and Minister Of Justice , constitutionally speaking, also officially doubles as The Chief Legal Adviser of The Gambia Government . Honourable Mr. Tambadou, would have loved to be here in person, but unfortunately he is unable to do so, because he is caught up with other pressing and important affairs of State, that is why he has wisely nominated my humble self, to represent him at this important Workshop.
Therefore, this famous Latin maxim in English Law, does not apply here:-“Delegatus Non Potest Delegare” (ie a delegated power, cannot be sub-delegated).
This timely and very important workshop has been rightly and officially dubbed “Experts Meeting On T.R.R.C.’s Reparations Regulations.” On 13th December 2017, our Honourable and Learned Attorney General & Minister Of Justice, tabled the Bill, for the establishment of The Truth, Reconciliation And Reparation Commission (T.R.R.C.), before The Honourable Speaker Of The National Assembly, My Learned Friend, Mrs Mariam Jack- Denton and Honourable Members Of The National Assembly, and it was successfully passed without any Parliamentary obstacle or objection , because The Honourable Members knew and fully comprehended, the paramount National Importance of this Bill. On 13th January 2018, His Excellency President Adama Barrow, The President of the Republic of The Gambia & The Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, officially assented to The T.R.R.C. Bill, and the said Bill then metamorphosed, to an Act or Statute of The National Assembly/Parliament.
The word “Reparations” otherwise called “Compensations” is a very important word, in the acronym “T.R.R.C.” It is of paramount importance because, after The T.R.R.C. has established the “Truths” in respect of all Human Rights Violations, that allegedly occurred under the 22 years dictatorship of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, from 22nd July 1994 to January 2017, it lies squarely within the Official mandate of The T.R.R.C., to provide reasonable “Reparations” or “Compensations”, to deserving victims, whose Human Rights had been violated with impunity, during the aforesaid 22 years of misrule.
It is also important to point out here, that “Reparations” or “Compensations”, is not always monetary. It can be either monetary or in kind, or a combination of the two. As soon as most victims of human rights violations hear about Reparations” or “Compensations”, automatically they have ” Great Expectations ”, to borrow the classic title of a masterpiece novel scholarly authored by Charles Dickens. This is indeed “Justice” in the real sense of the word. What now comes surfacing, to the landscape of my mind, is a very powerful and appropriate Judicial quotation, of the late Honourable Mr. Justice Hewart, a Lord Chief Justice Emeritus Of The U.K., when he authoritatively said in the locus classicus (Latin :- best known) British Case:- R. Vs Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy (1924) :- “Justice, must not only be done, but it must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”
To enable The T.R.R.C. to effectively execute its Official mandate, to provide appropriate “Reparations” or “Compensations”, to deserving victims, it is therefore very important, to come up with a very useful legal framework, for Officially doing so, “Without fear or favor, affection or ill will.” That legal framework, is indeed The T.R.R.C.’s Reparations Regulations, which hopefully the experts in this important Workshop, will come up with and finalize successfully, after two days of very productive and valuable brain storming sessions, pro bono publico (Latin :- for the public good). I therefore urge all the experts at this Workshop, to give their very best at this Workshop, so that at the end of the day, we will have a very useful finished product, that will be very useful to all Commissioners Of The T.R.R.C.. It is axiomatic or it goes without saying, that these new T.R.R.C.’s Reparations Regulations, will effectively satisfy the famous maxim in English Law :- “Ubi Jus, Ibi Remedium” (Latin:- where there is a legal wrong, there must be a remedy).
Madam Mistress of Ceremonies, Honourable Madam Chairperson, Mrs Adelaide Sosseh, Your Excellencies, Honourables , Legal experts, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, here ends my laconic statement. Finally , on behalf of Honourable Mr Alhaji Aboubacarr M .Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister Of Justice , I now have the singular honour and privilege ,to Officially declare , this Experts Meeting on T.R.R.C’s Reparations Regulations , officially open. I wish you all, very successful deliberations.
I thank you all, for your kind and undivided attention.
May God bless you all.