Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in collaboration with Right 2 Know, a
civil society group of Gambian professionals from diverse groups on Monday
organised a conference on reforms and democracy.
The theme for the conference that was held at African Princess Hotel was ‘Diaspora Role in Constitutional Making Process.’
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, chairman Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), said they have created various platforms to get the ideas and aspirations of all Gambians.
Justice Jallow noted that Gambians have been alive to be consulted on matters of governance of their lives, adding that Gambians have taken the process seriously and continue to do so.
He stated that they want to draft a constitution that is not only comprehensive and represents the views and aspirations of Gambians, but a constitution that represents the interest of Gambians today and the future.
In conclusion he said, “we have to be realistic as to what can be achieved and what cannot be achieved for the greater good.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mamadou Tangara, said the Diaspora remittances amount to about 20% of the country’s GDP and that the government has recognised this fact and it has established a specific directorate at his ministry for Gambians abroad.
Minister Tangara added that he is convinced that the Diaspora can play a key role especially in the defining moment of our history.
He described IEC’s decision to allow Gambians in the Diaspora to vote and be voted for in the next elections as well as have representatives in the National Assembly as a welcome move, saying these are rights that have been denied for far too long.
He also urged all to do away with self interest and put the country’s interest first, noting that it is important “we have a well-balanced constitution based on the principles of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.”
Jeggan Grey-Johnson, advocacy and communications coordinator for AfRO Africa Regional office, said their commitment to building a democratic nation is unflinching.
“Our resolve to support the birth of the era in good governance, good democratic practice and anchored by strong institutions and empowered by the citizenry that places a premium in the demand for public accountability through the principles of the rights to transparency remains paramount,” he added.