Dida Halake

Dear Lawyer Mandela Darboe,
I use your earned honorific title “Lawyer Mandela Darboe” most respectfully – and I believe I was the first to use it on KairoNews and JollofNews when Bandit Yahya Jammeh murdered Solo and arrested you and your colleagues.

I write this first letter to you because 4 Gunjur Environmental Activists are standing charged in the Brikama Magistrates Court today – just as you stood charged in the Banjul Magistrates Court when the Bandit denied you and your colleagues food – food that was brought to the court by your family (appalling behaviour from any human-being, let alone an African).

This first day of the trial of the 4 Gunjur Environmental Activists has, from solid evidence given in court by Golden Lead’s own manager, shifted the moral ground of this dispute and planted these 4 Activists feet firmly there – even though the facts viewed objectively convict the 4 Activists as charged.

The facts, from a simple perusal of the earlier media reports – and the 1st day of trial report reproduced below are clear:- … The court would likely find the 4 Gunjur Environmental Activists guilty as charged (I explain below);… The generally public will consider the 4 Gunjur Environmental Activists moral victors and heroic (I explain below).

We no longer have Jammeh’s Kangaroo Court that convicted you Lawyer Darboe, but I respectfully suggest that their conviction will, like yours, be seen by the general public as “unfair” because, like you, they are fighting a righteous cause – against environmental damage.

They will be convicted, but they will be seen as moral victors – just as Lawyer Mandela Darboe and colleagues were seen as heroes when they fought for Gambians Rights and were convicted and jailed by Bandit Yahya Jammeh: Golden Lead’s pollution of Gunjur and Sanyang Beach is, I think, a direct result of JAMMEH’S BANDITRY – Golden Lead would not have been allowed to establish in The Gambia without bribing Jammeh himself heavily and, once Jammeh has been adequately bribed, not even the NEA had the power to stop Golden Lead from doing what they wanted in The Gambia.

In fact, that is a question that should be put to Golden Lead’s manager: “Would you and the NEA had any power to tell Golden Lead ANYTHING – and wasn’t your trip to Senegal and Mauritania therefore a waste of time?” – that is assuming that the 4 Gunjur Environmental Activists get a lawyer. But I do see the point of the charges.

In the New Gambia, free of Jammeh’s terror, people are taking the law into their own hands and trying to deal with the mostly legitimate grievances they have had for years. But, even when people have a righteous complaint like these activists, they must not take the law into their own hands – and I would have thought that a man of Dr Amadou Scattred-Janneh’s education should have known much better.

CONCLUSION:
In conclusion, I think it would be a just outcome if:-
… The state, through the police prosecutor, withdraw the charges against the 4 Gunjur Activists;
… The state, through the NEA, rigorously ensure that Golden Lead MUST
a) stop the pollution entirely
b) put in an advanced, “not standard”, treatment plant
c) ensure that Sanyang Beach is cleaned up to its previously prestine “Golden Sands” condition – which I know well having pick-nicked there.
I paste below the Foroyaa report of the 1st Day trial with my comments.
Yours sincerely, and wishing you all a blessed Haj,
Dida Jallow-Halake,
Notting Hill, London.

…………………………….
Foroyaa Report
The trial of four activists continued yesterday, June 5th at the Brikama Magistrates’ Court presided over by Magistrate Omar Cham.

The four activists who were not represented by a legal practitioner are charged with the following THREE counts:
1. Conspiracy to commit a felony, contrary to section 368 of the Criminal Code Cap 10.01 Vol. III (Comment: CONSPIRACY simply means they planned to do an unlawful act together)
2. Criminal trespass, contrary to section 285 (A) of the Criminal Code Cap 10.01Vol III (Comment: TRESPASS means they were on private property without permission)
3. Wilful damage to property, contrary to section 312 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 10.01 Vol III Laws of the Gambia 2009. (Comment: WILFUL DAMAGE simply means the decided to remove/destroy the pipes)
……………………………..
Comment: This is serious, because from all the evidence that was in the news, the police have formulated the charges carefully and these people will almost certainly be found guilty as charged. BUT, WHY “NOT REPRESENTED”?
WHERE IS MADI JOBARTEH AND ALL THE “HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS”? Why hasn’t Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh made sure that a lawyer is in court to represent these people?
………………………………
Comment: BUT ALTHOUGH THEY WILL “almost certainly” BE FOUND GUILTY OF THE CHARGES, THEIR POLITICAL AND MORAL CASE SEEMS VERY STRONG INDEED:- “PW1 said prior to the Golden Lead operations in Gunjur, their management together with one Mr. Dibba of the National Environment Agency embarked on an assessment study at two similar factories in Senegal and Mauritania respectively” which suggests that …
Comment: NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY WAS GUILTY, DURING JAMMEH’S TIME, FOR GIVING THE GO AHEAD FOR THE
POLLUTION:-
………………………………
PW1: “The primary intentions of our visit was to ascertain how those factories managed their waste products and we realised that the said two companies discharged their waste directly into the Atlantic Ocean,” .
Comment: BUT YOU DID NOT ALSO “ASCERTAIN” WHETHER IT WASSAFE TO DO SO!!
PW1: “He said upon their return to The Gambia, they also “thought that they could do the same thing since it is the same Atlantic Ocean” and that is why they (Golden Lead) too connected pipes to discharge their waste into the Ocean”.
………………………………
Comment: GOLDEN LEAD FAILED TO DO WHAT THEY WERE TOLD TO DO (DURING BARROW TIME?)
PW1: “He admitted that after some time, the NEA recommended that they should put in place a standard and a functional “treatment” plant before continuing to discharge waste into the Ocean but they (Golden Lead) failed to
meet this requirement …”
………………………………
Comment: “DRAGGED TO COURT” BY THE SAME NEA THAT GAVE THE GO AHEAD TO THE POLLUTION.
PW1: “ … and then they (Golden Lead) were dragged to court by NEA and charged with 4 counts of offence”.
………………………………
Comment: “NEA WITHDREW THE CASE” – NO REASONS.
“PW 1 testified that during the course of the hearings, the NEA withdrew the case but he failed to state the reasons for such a move.” The case was subsequently adjourned till 19th June at 10.00am.