By Elkass Sannoh
Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards has vowed to promote gender equality and empowerment as envisioned by President Julius Madda Bio.
In his address in the well of Parliament, President Bio said his Government will promote gender equality, equity, empowerment, and the protection of the rights of women either as mainstreamed interventions, or as standalone initiatives.
Immediately after his appointment on 19th December 2018, the Chief Justice avowed that he wouldn’t only defend the Constitution, but he would bring sustainable reforms and promote gender equality in the Judiciary.
“I am here to create the platform, although very competitive, but also encouraging for qualified women to apply and prove their mettle to serve the Judiciary from senior management to the lowest cadre,” Justice Edwards said.
To translate this thought into visible reality, the Judiciary has contracted the services of four qualified women to serve in various senior management positions ranging from Master and Registrar; Court of Appeal Registrar; Human Resources Manager and Court Operations Manager.
Elaine Thomas Archibald, the Master, and Registrar is a British educated Sierra Leonean lawyer with over a decade of experience working in Criminal Courts and Court Administration. She served as Senior Crown Prosecutor in England and Wales. Also, Chief of Court Management for the Special Court of Sierra Leone and later the Residual Special Court. Until her new appointment as Master and Registrar, she was the Coordinator for the Commissions of Inquiry from its inception to closure.
The Master and Registrar attended the Annie Walsh Memorial School and later ferried to the United Kingdom where she completed her Advanced Levels at the Padworth College in Berkshire. Her dream to become a razor-sharp lawyer motivated her to study law at the Oxford Brookes University where she graduated with LLB Honours. She later got admission to do her Legal Practitioner’s Course at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice.
The Appeal’s Court Registrar, Ms. Grace Coleridge-Taylor is a graduate of Fourah College, University of Sierra Leone, and the School of Law, University of East London, where she obtained her LLB Honours Degree. To actualize her dream of being a Barrister and Solicitor in the country, she gained admission at the Sierra Leone Law School where she graduated with a BL in 2006. She also holds a postgraduate Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the Lancaster University.
As an Alumni of the great Annie Walsh Memorial School, Madam Grace Esq. is joining the Judiciary again with huge international experience as a Registrar of the County Courts in the UK, and one of the managers at the British Telecoms Company. She had served the Judiciary before as Deputy Master and Registrar. She was the Vice-Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission and Supervisory Lead of the Complaint and Legal Directorate.
At the helm of the Human Resources Management is Mrs. Joanitta B. Dauda, who is bringing in her international and local experiences to build the staffing capacity for effective and efficient service delivery. She attended the Saint Joseph Secondary School in Freetown and later enrolled to study Data Processing and Administration. Her insatiable desire for quality education encouraged her to pursue her Master’s Degree in Global Human Resources Management from the University of Liverpool, UK.
She got her maiden work experience at the Sierratel Telecommunications Company. At the Special Court of Sierra Leone, she got employed as the National Professional Personnel Officer. She thereafter got strategic employment in the mining sector, Human Resources Advisor, at the London Mining that was operating in Lunsar and later joined a German nongovernmental organization, IBIS, as the Human Resources and Amin Manager.
Court Operations Manager, Mrs. Olayinka Laggah, is coming in with a wealth of experience after serving as the first Commissioner of the National Commission for Children in Sierra Leone, UNICEF as Child Protection Officer, and both Justice Sector Development Programme and Justice Sector Coordination Unit.
Mrs. Laggah is a product of the Annie Walsh Memorial School. In her quest for higher education, she pursued her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and English at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. She briefly sojourned at the Institute of Public Administration and Management where she bagged a postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration. She also moved to pursue her Master of Arts in Human Service Management and Policy at the Charles Sturt University in Australia.