REBRADING THE BAR ASSOCIATION WITH FORWARD LOOKING EXECUTIVE
By Elkass Sannoh
The Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) over the years had received an overwhelming criticism from the media, colleagues at the Bar and members of the public for either being a toothless bull dog or a politically infamous rubber stamp Association.
In one of his articles, Rashid Dumbuya Esq also wrote, "I am emboldened to say that the Bar was overtly weak and nebulous." Even the just convicted Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah Esq didn't spare the SLBA because the Association outlived its usefulness as a vibrant pressure group.
Over the past ten years to be precise, the SLBA didn't only present itself as the mouthpiece for the previous administration but woefully disappointed the people. For instance, when former President Ernest Bai Koroma "illegally" sacked a Constitutionally elected Vice President (Samuel Sam Sumana), the then Bar executive endorsed the action. Before his death, the former Bar Association President, Jenkins Johnston Snr. lampooned the Bar Association and described the Executive as dysfunctional.
In the jam-packed hall, Albertson Hotel, Nongowa Chief in Kenema, the out-gone Robert Kowa led executive didn't only receive a standing ovation from the traditional authorities in Kenema, they were commended for taken the Bar Association to the people to revive its usefulness as a potent pressure group.
The AGM in Kenema, according to many legal pundits, alluded to the fact that the Bar is on the rebranding path to fully wake up from its deep-seated slumber.
Since its establishment, this is the first Annual General Meeting held in Kenema with barrage of lawyers including the former Bar Association President, Elvis Kargbo.
The Judiciary is one of the branches of the Government of Sierra Leone headed by His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards.
The Judiciary was well represented and the Hon. Chief Justice delivered one of the best thrilling and inspiring speeches. Among the Hon. Justices that were in attendance are: Justice Allan Halloway, Justice Deen Tarawallie, Justice Sengu Koroma of the apex Court of the land. The Director of Public Prosecution, Easmon Ngakui Esq, Justice SO Taylor and Justice Musa among host of other dignitaries graced the occasion.
During the ceremony, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards catalogued his impressive achievements and further encouraged the Lawyers to move forward as the legal conscience of the people.
NEW FACE OF THE BAR
The current SLBA executive enjoyed an overwhelming support from their colleagues.
The President-elect, Michaella Eddinia Swallow Esq has envisioned the SLBA as the best professional Association in the country. She is of the view that the legacy of its founding fathers in upholding the rule of law, enhancing the democratic dispensation in the country and providing access to justice will be upheld under her leadership.
"As Lawyers much is expected of us from the public," President Swallow said and assured that she will ensure that the SLBA seeks to upholding the highest professional and ethical standards.
"Let us start a new path, where there is recrimination let us build trust; where there is hatred let us share love; where there is division, let us embrace unity; where there is despair let us breath hope; where there is individualism let us carry each other with collectivism; where there is indifference let us choose compassion and where there is emptiness let us fill with the Bar Association," she said.
On his part, the General Secretary-Abdul Karim Koroma Esq said they will continue to strive for a perfect justice system that has the confidence of members of the public. He therefore used the moment to commend the Judiciary in enhancing the efficiency of the system.
The President-elect graduated from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone with LLB Honours and BL from the Sierra Leone Law School. In pursuit of higher education she enrolled for her LLM in Commercial & Business Law (Distinction). As a multifaceted person, she also acquired Diploma in Mass Communications.
The administrative engineer of the SLBA, Abdul Karim Koroma Esq holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a first division, a Bachelors of Laws degree (LLB Hons) with a first class, and a joint Masters of Advanced Studies degree (LLM) in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. He is currently the Board Secretary of the National Revenue Authority, Legal Adviser of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and Board Secretary of Kamboi Eagles Football Club.
Let me join Sierra Leoneans to congratulate the New Face of the SLBA: Michaella
Eddinia Swallow - President; Abdul Karim Kamara - Vice President; Abdul Karim Koroma - Secretary General; Ibrahim Fayia Sawaneh - Ass. Secretary General; Matilda Egbenda - Treasurer; Tenneh Smart - Asst. Treasurer and Michael Charles - PRO. Congratulations and continue to do us proud in rebranding the SLBA.