Judiciary Goes Digital

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The Judiciary of Sierra Leone under the leadership of His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards has for the first time in its existence goes digital by launching a website that would serve as a repository of judiciary information.

The move, according to the Chief Justice, is geared towards the digitalization of the judiciary and transforming it to match with international best practices by providing a website that gives timely information on all judicial and legal issues in the country.

The occasion was also used to launch the maiden edition of the judiciary magazine with the name “The Judiciary”.

In his statement, the Hon. Chief Justice said that the launching of the first Magazine christened, “The Judiciary”, will serve as one of the conduits of accountability and transparency to the people of Sierra Leone and to build a reliable relationship with journalists.

“The Judiciary of Sierra Leone over the years had been very conservative. Modernization has no room for conservatism in the legal system and justice cannot be delivered in secrecy.” the Hon. Chief Justice stated. 

He said the Judiciary under his leadership has expanded full operation to places where it was not known. He mentioned Kabala, Kailahun, Moyamba and Port Loko which have enjoyed the deployment of resident judges for the first time. He stressed that in a deliberate attempt to take the judiciary closer to the people, his administration continues to hold criminal sessions in Magburaka, Karene, Pujehun, Falaba and Mattru Jong.

The Chief Justice further noted that the tremendous gains made from the High Court Criminal Sessions prompted the Sudan Judiciary through United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to consult him in trying to replicate same in their country.

Crediting the judicial reforms to the support from the Government of Sierra Leone, the Chief Justice disclosed that plans are underway to have resident judges in the Western Area Rural with ultramodern court building.

“All these land mark developments are happening because of the financial and other relevant supports from the current government to the judiciary,” he said, adding that we need more support, so I’m calling on donors to partner with the Judiciary in ensuring that justice is delivered in a more effective and expeditious manner.”

In his keynote address, the grand Chief Launcher who doubles as the Executive Director, Strategic Communications Unit in the office of the President, Dr. Patrick K. Muana, said that the biggest challenge the Judiciary is faced with is public mistrust. This, he continued, is badly affecting the reputation of the Judiciary.

He noted that the Judiciary is the most blamed arm of government when things go wrong. He reiterated that this belief has negativity affected the public perception in believing that equal and fair justice in Sierra Leone are impossible.

He stressed that the misconceived public perception about the Judiciary is far from what the reality on the ground is, adding that such gaps were created by the conservative approach of the Judiciary in handling public perception and opinion.

“The Judiciary of Sierra Leone is more visible today than ever before and it is appropriate now for the leadership of the Judiciary to affirmatively address this reputation problem through effective, swift public education activities and information dissemination,” he urged.

He encouraged the Judiciary’s leadership to ensure that they first break the news to the public and educate them on how certain legal decisions are arrived at, the effective use of social media particularly Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter to name but a few.

He went on to note that such move serves as link or source for opinion leaders to get reliable and credible information for effective dissemination at community levels. 

He said amid existing opportunities for the Judiciary to train journalists on accurate court reporting, there’s also need to caution them on the rights and privacy of others.

Dr. Muana officially launched the judiciary magazine and opened the website to the public with copies of the magazine were distributed to invited guests including the Inspector General of Police, the Acting Deputy Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Services, Honorable Judges, journalists and other eminent personalities.

“At Lifeline Nehemiah Projects we turn around the lives of young people, ” Executive Director

Mr. Prince Tommy Williams, Executive Director of Lifeline Nehemiah Projects

Mr. Jabba Pessima, Head of Training,  Betteh Tumara Technical and Vocational Institute

Cross section of the trainees at Betteh Tumara

By Abdul Hassan Fackie

The Executive Director of the Lifeline Nehemiah Projects at Kuntorloh in the east of Freetown has said that Lifeline offers young people the opportunity to reclaim their lives and realize their full potentials.

Addressing students and stakeholders at the Grand Launching of the Skills Development                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Project at the Hotel 5-10 in Kissy on Thursday, 22nd April, 2021, Mr. Prince Tommy Williams

 paid glowing tribute to the Founder of the Lifeline Nehemiah Projects,  the late Rev. Richard Mandewa Cole whose vision for the young people of Sierra Leone he described as prophetic as his work has continued to rehabilitate thousands of young men and women and transform them into useful citizens who are contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

Mr. Williams revealed that since the start of Lifeline in 1996, the institution has provided a home to over one thousand five hundred boys and girls, created educational and professional training facilities for thousands more, most of whom have become professionals and positively impacting their families, communities and the country.

He further disclosed that in partnership with Lifeline Network International, the Big Lottery and Comic Relief, under the Betteh Tumara Vocational and Technical Training Institute,  Lifeline has equipped over one thousand, two hundred young Sierra Leoneans with Income generating and vocational and technical skills from between 2012 to 2018.

He also revealed that in 2020 Lifeline accessed funding from the World Bank through the Government of Sierra Leone to train about three hundred young men and women in Information Technology, Hospitality, Motor Mechanics, Electrical Installation and Plumbing.

Mr. Williams maintained that their vocational and technical training programmes are  designed to lay the foundation to obtain significant and sustained reduction in youth unemployment in the country in line with Sierra Leone’s Medium Term National Development Plan from 2019-2023 which is geared towards youth employment and empowerment and stresses focus on a New Direction for improving people’s lives through education, inclusive growth and  building a resilient economy.

He concluded that for eighteen months the project will provide equal access to three hundred youths to be trained in skills, get internships, be given life skills, literacy, numeracy, mentorship and  hands on training in order to enable them to secure jobs or create jobs for themselves.

In his remarks, the Head of Training, Betteh Tumara Vocational and Technical Institute, Mr. Jabba Pessima, stated that the training project which started in 2012 is designed to give skills to young people to make them self employable and self reliant, as well as be trainers of other young people.

He reiterated that their major target are young vulnerable people, especially girls and women.

Mr. Pessima pointed out that their training courses are designed to be relevant to the job market.

He disclosed that they have a consortium of employers all over the country where they send their students for internship practicals, noting that most students have gained employment where they have been sent for practicals.

He also explained that they train their students in basic English Language and Mathematics to enable them communicate well and make quotations and estimates.

Earlier, the Chairman of the ceremony, who is also the Lead Mentor at Lifeline Nehemiah Projects,   Pastor Albert Bob Dimoh, explained that in launching the  Skills Development Project which is funded by the World Bank, they want the nation to know about the project and the positive impact that the training project has had and continues to have on the youths of the country over the years.

He stated that another reason was for them to stress their useful partnership with the Skills Training Department of the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education.

Pastor Dimoh maintained that the Betteh Tumara training projects has proved that the young people can be redeemed from idleness, crime, teenage pregnancy and become useful citizens of the country.

He revealed that they also mentor students wherein they counsel them as well as settle minor disputes that they may encounter. Highlights of the programme were the testimonies by some past students of the Betteh Tumara Technical and Vocational Institute and contributions from Chief Ya Alimamy Bangura, the Limba Section Chief at Kuntorloh, Chief Alimamy Wusu Kamara Kapen, the Temne Section Chief at Kuntorloh, the Councilor and the Police, all of  whom paid glowing tribute to  the good work of Lifeline Nehemiah Projects in their communities and the country as a whole and registered their continued support to them in order to  enable achieve their objectives.

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