By Baba Sillah
The chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission, Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow has disclosed that the commission set up to review the constitution is independent and does not represent any particular interest group.
Mr Jallow, who was addressing the media during a press conference yesterday, pointed out that all the members of the commission recognise that the objective is all interests have to be received and considered in accordance with the guiding principles as enshrined in the Commission Act, 2017.
The constitutional review process he claimed will be open, transparent and impartial and will give an opportunity to all strata of Gambian society at home and abroad to contribute to the process.
The Commission according to him will also receive and review recommendations that will emanate from the consultation process which in turn will inform the conclusions that the Commission will arrive at.
Mr Jallow, who is also a judge at the Supreme Court, solicited the support of all Gambians to ensure that the process is guided by the principles of participation, inclusiveness, representation, transparency and national ownership, the end product of which he said will be a sound Constitution which reflects the collective values, beliefs and aspirations of all Gambians.
Mandate of the CRC
Outlining the mandate of the Commission, the chairperson stressed that the Commission is tasked with the responsibility to draft a new Constitution, and by so doing to review the 1997 Constitution, seek the opinions of all Gambian citizens at home and abroad through consultations, make appropriate proposals and draft within a period of eighteen months a new Constitution that will stand the test of time.
“We recognize and appreciate that this is no mean task, but it is one we are committed to and will work towards in achieving for our country and indeed for all Gambians,” he assured while outlining the challenges of the Commission such as financial independence and resources which he said will be one of the biggest challenges the Commission will have to grapple with in order to implement its action-plan as expected.
On the achievements made so far since its establishment earlier this year, the chairperson revealed that they have held ten sittings, coupled with the development, review and finalisation of key strategic protocols and documents to guide its work and facilitate the execution of the constitutional review process. All these protocols and documents he stressed, were developed by the members of the commission and were considered, approved and adopted by the full membership of the commission which includes a detailed action plan for the period June 2018 to November 2019 among others.
The Vice Chairperson, Hawa Sisay-Sabally in her closing remarks also outlined the challenges of the Commission such as finance and other resources. Mrs. Sabally however promised that despite the challenges they will execute their mandate to review the Constitution such as the Election Act which she said will be amended before next elections.