Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission
(CRC) has reaffirmed the independence of the commission, saying that it does
not represent any particular interest group.
“This is a point we have been reiterating in all our public consultations. We are fully aware that the credibility of the CRC is paramount to sustain the public confidence that we are engaged in; an honest and meaningful exercise that is fair, transparent, participatory, representative and inclusive, and exercise the ultimate product of which Gambians can take ownership of,” he said
The CRC boss was speaking on Friday during a press conference held at the CRC’s headquarters at the Futurelec Building, along the Bertil Harding Highway. The public consultations, he said, involve among other things, written contributions, response to questionnaires, focused and thematic reviews, face-to-face dialogue and contributions through the CRC website.
Justice Jallow also reaffirmed the continuous commitment of the review panel to address issues regarding environmental protection laws, while describing the in-country consultations as being on its right track.
“Since the 4th of November, the CRC has embarked on in-country public consultations and has so far covered the North Bank, the Upper River, Central River, and Lower River regions. We have visited a total of 47 communities in these 4 regions to which all the neighbouring and satellite villages in the relevant districts of the communities were invited and were also able to participate.”
Justice Jallow added that the public consultations so far have been very impressive, interesting and interactive.
“Gambians want to be consulted on issues that touch on their lives and the lives of their families. Our assessment so far is that, they are appreciative of the fact that they are being consulted; so they can meaningfully contribute towards the constitution-building process,” he stated.
The CRC, he went on, continues to hold its sittings, coupled with the implementation of the in-country public consultation programmes as part of the execution of the constitutional review process.
The constitution review process therefore ensures that every Gambian at home and abroad and any other person who can bring value to the constitution-making process has the opportunity to do so in an open, transparent and impartial manner.
“The process will continue to be guided by the principles of participation, inclusiveness, representation, transparency and national ownership.”
According to him, securing adequate, tangible financial resources to make long term planning, including visits to the Gambian Diaspora unfortunately remains a big challenge that the commission continues to grapple with. However, he added, that is not to say that the government has not been supportive.
The public consultative process will also incorporate the views and aspirations of Gambians living in the Diaspora and it will cover some countries in Africa, Europe, Middle East, some states in the United States of America as well as Canada.