Deal with galamsey, Jammeh - GBA charges Akufo-Addo
The Ghana Bar Associated has charged the incoming Nana Akufo-Addo Administration to deal ruthlessly with the issue of illegal mining popularly known as 'galamsey' when it assumes office on January 7, 2017.
The Association of Lawyers believes the galamsey operation has led to an indiscriminate and rampant pollution of the country's water bodies and must be addressed head-on.
While congratulating Ghana for once again showing leadership by organising a violent free election in the sub-region, the GBA chided Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh for supervising a "constitutional coup d'etat."
In a New Year message released and jointly signed by Benson Nutsukpui and Justin Amenuvor, National President and General Secretary respectively, the Association charged ECOWAS to do all it can to bring sanity to the West African country.
A NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM THE GHANA BAR ASSOCIATION.
The GBA notes that while 2016 has been a challenging year in many respects, it ended on a positive note with Ghanaians, once again, demonstrating to Africa and the world, their democratic credentials, love for peace and their resolve to be governed by the rule of law.
As we take stock of the events in our nation and our continent Africa, we cannot but remind ourselves of the leadership role that lawyers are expected to play in the defence of Democracy, the Rule of Law, and in attaining the promise of liberty for all persons regardless of wealth and social status. We should also not lose sight of the hardships occasioned by the several conflicts and wars on our continent.
The GBA deplores the indiscriminate and rampant pollution of our water bodies and our environment in general by "Galamsay” operators and reiterates the need for institutions mandated to protect our water bodies to fulfill their mandate in order to curb the danger of a severe water crisis in the near future. The GBA also notes with serious concern the pathetic response of state institutions to deal with illegal foreigners and their Ghanaian accomplices in the small scale (Galamsay) mining activities and urges the relevant institutions to take the needed steps to protect the environment.
The GBA calls upon the incoming administration to take a very serious look at the environmental pollution issues facing the nation.
The Ghana Bar Association has noted with concern the strike action of the Association of State Attorneys which has had a crippling effect on the administration of justice in the country, particularly the rights of remand prisoners and other accused persons currently on trial.
As a new government is taking office, the GBA will plead with the Association of State Attorneys to return to work to afford the incoming government the opportunity to acquaint itself with their grievances and concerns.
The GBA is mindful that the issues leading to the strike have been long outstanding and will appeal to the incoming government, which coincidentally is headed by a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, will deal with these matters expeditiously to bring finality and closure to all matters affecting the terms and conditions of the employment of State Attorneys.
The Ghana Bar Association notes with serious concern the situation in The Gambia where President, Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh who initially conceded defeat and agreed to leave office at the end of his tenure has changed his mind, and has purported to unilaterally annul the election results and has refused to hand over power to the winner of the election, Adama Barrow, at the expiration of his constitutional term.
The GBA unequivocally condemns the actions of President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and in solidarity with The Gambia Bar Association, we urge our sub-region and the international community to take all necessary action to stop this brazen constitutional coup d’état in The Gambia.
The GBA reminds member states of ECOWAS, of the “ constitutional convergence principles” embodied in Section 1 of the ECOWAS PROTOCOL A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, which affirmed that “Every accession to power must be made through free, fair and transparent elections.
The Protocol also affirms the principle that “The party and or candidate who loses the elections shall concede defeat to the political party and or candidate finally declared the winner, following the guidelines and within the deadline stipulated by the law”.
The GBA therefore urges ECOWAS to ensure that the principles enshrined in the Supplementary Protocol are enforced in The Gambia.
The GBA calls on all Judges and lawyers in The Gambia not to be part of any charade or judicial chicanery aimed at perpetuating the stay in power of a defeated candidate against the freely expressed wishes of the people of The Gambia.
The GBA urges countries on our continent to resolve and commit to working towards entrenching democracy, support for the Rule of Law and opening up the governance processes in African countries in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
The GBA finally urges all lawyers and judges to individually sign and commit to the principles of professional integrity and ethical conduct enshrined in the anti-corruption compact agreement, an initiative by the International Bar Association which is aimed at fighting corruption and protecting judicial integrity.
As we enter the New Year, the GBA is encouraged to note that we, as a people have remained committed to the democratic path. However, there is the need for us to continue to take inspiration from the ideals and aspirations in the 1992 Constitution as we seek to assure a better life for the citizens and residents of Ghana.
It is the hope of the GBA that the ideals of the 1992 Constitution can inspire us all in our shared journey to build a better future for ourselves, our children and generations yet unborn.
The Ghana Bar Association wishes every Ghanaian a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
DATED IN ACCRA, THIS 30TH DAY OF DECEMBER 2016
Benson Nutsukpui National President
Justin Amenuvor National Secretary