The newly appointed United States (US) Ambassador to Sierra LeoneÂ David Reimer has issued words of guarantee to the chief justice of Sierra Leone Babatunde Edwards to support judicial reforms.
David Reimer, on his first courtesy visit on the Honourable Chief Justice, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, assured to strengthen cooperation with the judiciary.
Speaking today in the Chambers of the Hon. Chief Justice, the US Ambassador said that his visit is part of his familiarization tour to key decision makers in Sierra Leone to foster goodwill and solidarity.
He said, â€œwe have a good history of cooperation between the two countries through the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US/INL) program,â€ noting that he had received reports of remarkable progress made in the justice sector.
â€œBefore I came here, I spoke with representatives from INL in Washington and they were pleased with the program and the progress thatâ€™s being made and certainly, we would want to continue, if not that particular program, but another program.â€
He disclosed that his government is open to helping the judiciary address its priority needs.
The US/INL program is a US funded project, implemented by other partners such as the UNDP to primarily supporting the â€œFrom Prisons to Correctional Project,â€ improving the institutional capacity of Correctional Facilities in accordance with International Human Rights standards; strengthening the capabilities of Correctional Staff to improve inmates and staff welfare and to ensure rehabilitation mechanisms for suitable reintegration of inmates in society among others.
Receiving the US Ambassador, the Honorable Chief Justice stated that the Judiciaryâ€™s top areas of priority ranged from improving access to justice and enhancing expeditious trials.
He said the Judiciary has established the first Sexual Offences Model Court with huge success stories, noting that plans are under way to replicate same in other parts of the country. He said even though funds are being provided by the current government, their hands are widely opened to receive support to establish the Sexual Offences Model Court across the country.Â
â€œThe President has waged war on rape and other sexual offences and we should be improving our investigators as well as the Medical Doctors because they provide the evidence that come to court for the successful prosecution of cases,â€ the Hon. Chief Justice said. He continued that they are in dire need of support to establish the Courts across the country.
While commending the US government for their support to the justice sector in reforming the Criminal Procedure Act, providing training for judicial as well as Law Officers and the INL program, the Hon. Chief Justice said they will welcome any support from the US government.
The visit was concluded with the handing over of the Judiciaryâ€™s maiden magazine to the US Ambassador and the inspection of the Sexual offences model Court and other facilities at the main Law Courts building.
MTHE Engages CJCLDS on Capacity Building
The Ministry of Technical and Higher Education formerly intimated Church of Jesus Christ- Later Days Saints (CJCLDS) on its required help from development partners to strengthen the country’s education sector.
Deliberating on the purpose of the meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education, Mr. Gilbert Cooper, thanked CJCLDS for the help they have been rendering to the country over the years, referencing MTHE’s previous engagement trips with them, which led to the Ministry’s realisation of some tools and equipment up to the tune of $20,000. He noted the importance of Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) as far as national economic growth is concerned, adding that people trained in the areas of skills have a better opportunity of employing themselves, which is quite uncommon in the mainstream.
The West African Humanitarian Specialist in the Church of Jesus Christ-Later Days Saints, Mr. Mahmud Labinjo, uttered his heartfelt honour to be in such a strategic meeting. He mentioned that Later Days Saints’ Humanitarian Unit was established to provide aid to countries in need, and as a Unit, they have over the years undertaken many projects in Sierra Leone, approximated about $10 Million in the areas of education, clean water, food security, refugee issues etc.
He encouraged MTHE to articulate its needs to them in order to how to render support.
In her PowerPoint presentation, the Director of Research, Planning and Development, Madam Sia Fasuluku, started off by giving a brief background on MTHE’s establishment, noting President Bio’s prior commitment to dividing the Ministry of Education Science and Technology into two distinct but interrelated Ministries that would be mandated to pay attention to specific areas. She noted that the Ministry would require help in the area of providing the manpower needed for the labour market, providing the requisite equipment and tools to enhance the practical work of the Ministry, ensuring that instructors are well trained, engaging in agro-business, working with the Church to get Rtd. Professors come back to the country and help develop the education sector etc.
Agriculture Minister Swears to Serve S/Leone Â
Â The New Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Abu Bakarr Karim, has subscribed to the oath of office before His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio during a brief ceremony inside the office of the President.
The President congratulated the minister on his assumption of office as the substantive, having served in that capacity before as acting head, adding that the sector was a major component of the Human Capital Development programme of the New Direction government.
He further noted that as a country Sierra Leone was struggling to feed its people, and therefore challenged the new minister to make sure that food security was a priority.
â€œCongratulations and I wish you well. You can always count on me for the support that will make us all proud,â€œ he assured.
In his statement, the minister thanked President Bio for the confidence reposed in him to serve the country in the Ministry of Agriculture.
He noted that he was aware of the fact that food security had been a difficult challenge, but assured that he was going to work with all players in order to achieve the desired goal.
â€œThank you very much once again, Mr. President,â€he concluded.