Commenting on the decision of parliament to have a sign language interpreter to cover the reading of the 2019 budget on Friday, 2 November 2018, Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said: ‘I want to thank parliament for bringing in the Sign Language Interpreter, Woman Police Constable, Fatu Kamara during the reading of the 2019 Budget – The Appropriation Act 2018 – by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa.’
‘As a voting bloc, the Deaf and Dumb deserve to know the issues that are being discussed in parliament, especially those which affect their lives,’ she added.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles called on parliament to follow the example of the Sierra Leone Police which recruited it’s first-ever sign language interpreter Fatu Kamara following recommendation from the Board.
‘We can help Parliament recruit a good Sign Language Interpreter like we did for the Sierra Leone Police in May 2017,’ she said. ‘We work closely with the Deaf and Dumb by virtue of the fact that they are our clients, and stand ready to recommend one to parliament. We will be facilitating a meeting between them and parliament once we can agree on a date,’ she added.
Fatu Kamara was one of two members of the Deaf and Dumb Association recruited into the Sierra Leone Police following recommendation from the Legal Aid Board. The recommendation was made at a meeting between the Sierra Leone Police and the Legal Aid Board and representatives of the Deaf and Dumb Association on the one hand and the Executive Management Board (EMB) on the other.
Prior to the meeting, the Board had provided legal assistance to three suspects from the Deaf and Dumb Association – Ibrahim Kamara, Mohamed Kargbo and Mohamed SaiduJalloh – who were arrested at PZ/Abacha Street in the Central Business District on the 16 April 2017 by police officers from the Victoria Park Post.
The Deaf and Dumb persons had clashed with the police who were trying to enforce the ban on street trading on Sundays. The confrontation between the two resulted in the alleged assault on one Assistant Superintendent (ASP) of Police Victoria Sesay.
When the matter was brought to the attention of the Legal Aid Board, Fatu Kamara stepped in voluntarily as a Sign Language Interpreter to facilitate communication between the Board and the three suspects. ‘We were so impressed with her that we decided to recommend her for recruitment into the Police Force,’ she said. ‘We believe the clash between the two could have been mitigated if they were able to communicate with each other.’