By Baba Sillah
After long tours and Bantaba meetings across the country, followed by reception of volumes of ideas and proposals, the Constitutional Review Commission has completed consultations within The Gambia.
Addressing the media yesterday the chairman of CRC, Cherno Sulayman Jallow said the widespread national consultations will ensure that a new Gambian Constitution is designed and developed upon the basis and spirit of all-inclusiveness, participation and ownership.
“The CRC would like to register its appreciation to all Gambians who participated actively in the public consultations for their invaluable contributions or simply attended the public consultations to express support and give value to the constitutional review process. Special mention must be made of the exemplary role and commitment that communities in the rural areas played during the public consultations. Despite the end of the farming season and the chores related to harvesting, they found time and space to attend public consultations in large numbers and showed a high level of commitment, interest and dedication to the whole constitutional review process.
The Regional Governors, particularly in the North Bank Region, Central River Region and Lower River Region participated and attended nearly all the consultations that took place in their regions and were very supportive of the process in their respective regions. The Chiefs demonstrated sterling leadership in the manner they organised their respective communities to participate effectively in the public consultations and the CRC cannot thank them enough. In like manner, the Alkalolu, youth leaders, women leaders and Area Councilors also rendered their full support to the public consultation process for which the CRC is enormously grateful,” Chairman Jallow commented.
He further outlined that consultations involve, among others, written contributions, responses to questionnaires, thematic reviews and contributions through the CRC website.
The commission according to the chairman has received and is processing position papers submitted by Gambians and other stakeholders in hard copies, adding that submissions have been received from stakeholders like, religious bodies, educational institutions, government bodies and non-governmental organisations among others.
“In addition to these, the CRC has received numerous opinions online and has been reviewing opinions expressed through the social media and the print media. The deadline for the submission of written opinions was the end of December 2018 and the CRC wishes to thank all those who took the initiative to be a part of the constitution-building process. We value their contributions and assure them that their opinions will be seriously considered alongside the views and opinions expressed by others, including opinions gathered during the public consultations that just ended on 26th January, 2019.
The consultative process would also incorporate the views and aspirations of Gambians living in the Diaspora and it will cover some countries in Africa, Europe and some states in the United States of America. We have prepared the following preliminary draft which is currently under review through dialogue with the Attorney General. The CRC hopes to be in a position to finalise the list of venues for the public consultations with Gambians in the Diaspora and to publish the final list as soon as we are able to confirm the availability of funding for that aspect of our public engagement.”
In order to ensure that all Gambians and each community has the opportunity to express opinion on the constitution-making process, the chairman assured that separate platform will be provided whereby individuals and communities that feels that their views may not have been adequately represented at the public consultations to seek special audience with CRC and effort will be done to accommodate them.“