Lawyers asked to honour Mensah Sarbah in grand style As Cape Coast celebrates 100yrs birthday of the great barrister
4/30/2012 2:30:08 PM -
By: David Allan Paintsil, Cape Coast
The Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa Doe, has made passionate appeal to lawyers and judges in the country to make a great sacrifice to honour John Mensah Sarbah, the first Gold Coast Barrister, in grand style, for his immense contribution towards development of law and human rights in Ghana.
Speaking at the 100 years birthday celebration of the great barrister on Saturday in Cape Coast, Benyiwa Doe pointed out that Mensah Sarbah left written documents that were being used by lawyers as references, and also blazed the trail for gender parity in the field of law in the country.
The Minister again, pointed out that Mensah Sarbah, as a great barrister in the Gold Coast era, did not lord himself on Gold Coasters, but rather worked selflessly in the interest of his country.
She said Central Region was endowed with great men, and that Mensah Sarbah was one of them, and therefore, called on the youth in the region to emulate the shining examples of great men like Sarbah to raise the image of the region.
She said it was high time the youth in the region worked hard to shrug off negative tags such as high teenage pregnancy and the rising threat of HIV/AIDS among others.
She said Central Regional Co-ordinating Council was ready to help in any activity taken by stakeholders to honour Ghana's great barrister, and praised the organisers of the centenary celebration for recognising the role played by Sarbah in the area of law and justice.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Kwamena Ofei, said the centenary celebration marked the virtues Sarbah bestowed upon Ghana, and that the great barrister was selfless in the formal education of people, adding that his nationalist mentality to free Ghana from colonial rule was second to none.
Professor Ofei went on to say that it was Sarbah's achievements within the shortest possible time that inspired Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana, to construct a hall at the University of Ghana and name it after him on 19th December, 1963, to demonstrate the patriotism exhibited by Sarbah, which he said, had inspired many Ghanaian lawyers.
The Sarbah Hall Master, Dr. George Dapaah, however, appealed to the Oguaa Traditional Council to release the abandoned first High Court building in Ghana, which was formerly occupied by Pitmass Commercial Institute, to the university to rehabilitate and use it as a Sarbah Museum.
But The Chronicle investigations showed that the old court is a Judicial Service asset that contains vital information about the judicial system in Ghana. It was recently retrieved from Pitmass Institute after a marathon legal battle.
A representative of the Sarbah Hall alumni, Cornelius Nartey, maintained that although Sarbah did not live long, the Mfantsipim School product accomplished much, adding that the great barrister dedicated his life to the country.
He said Sarbah rejected a 100 guinea reward for defending his country which indicated his selfless service to the country.
The Omanhen of the Cape Coast Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, said Mensah Sarbah was God's gift to Ghana, and urged the present generation to be inspired by the good deeds of the Cape Coaster.
Earlier, Osabarima Atta II and his chiefs, as well as Ama Benyiwa Doe and the Sarbah family unveiled a plaque at the Aquarium Garage junction to Pedu Junction road, which has been named after Sarbah, and is now called John Mensah Sarbah Road.
Mensah Sarbah was born in 1864 and died in 1910. He spent 46 years on earth, but his legacy, as exceptional barrister, still lingers on.