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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Judges Cannot Live on Honours Alone
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Apr 15, 2011, 17:12
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Information from Office of the President is that the Hon. Chief Justice will receive the countrys highest National Honour on Independence Day alongside other members of the Judiciary like Hon. Justice Patrick Hamilton who will receive the second highest National Honour. This will not be the first set of National Honours that both Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh and Justice Hamilton will be receiving. They have both been highly honoured before.

It is indisputable that these Judges all deserve their National Honours they will be receiving but the point here is whether it is enough to just honour our Judges and continue to pay them pittance of salaries because truly speaking, just as the Holy Bible says man cannot live by bread alone, Judges cannot live on Honour alone. I truly wonder what sort of country is Sierra Leone, which allows our Judges to live in such penury?

What is the use of rightfully paying the Anti Corruption Commissioner and his Deputy such applaudable and enticing salaries to ensure they capture corrupt operatives without fear or favour; only for such cases of corruption to then be sent to the Courts where the Judges are paid pittance and have to work under unbelievably harsh environments?

It is good to honour our Chief Justice and our Judges with National Honours but truly, truly I believe that Judges cannot live by Honour alone. If we can invest in physical infrastructure that produces four-laned roads and magnificent edifices, we should be able to invest in our Human Resource as well. No Barrister well-grounded in the Law, wants to become a High Court Judge in Sierra Leone because of the poor conditions of service.

We only have 15 Judges serving this entire country and, with all due respects to them, one or two of them are gray-haired and dwindling in brain-power. So, it is time to recruit more Judges but we can only do that when we are seen to be investing in the Human Resource at the Judiciary in the same way we have rightfully invested in the Human Resource at the Anti Corruption Commission.

This is just a commencement of my planned agitation for our Judges to be well remunerated. Man cannot live by Bread alone just as our Judges cannot live on National Honours alone. They need improved conditions of service. Much better conditions than now!

More Anon!


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