By Baba Sillah The Constitutional Review Commission, mandated to review the 1997 Constitution, has recently briefed the media on the achievements gained by the commission since it commenced the in-country consultations earlier last month. Explaining the scope of the work and the progress made so far, the chairman of the commission, Cherno Sulayman Jallow revealed that since the commencement of the consultation tour, they have visited a total of forty-seven communities in the four regions to which all the neighbouring and satellite villages in the relevant districts of the communities were invited and were also able to participate. According to him, the team is currently in the West Coast Region from where public consultations will extend to the Kanifing Administrative Area and Banjul as well. He continued: “By the time we complete these remaining administrative regions, we would have visited an additional forty-one communities, thus making an overall total of eighty-eight communities visited by the CRC. In addition to the public consultations in the various communities in the regions, the staff of CRC were also able to visit neighbouring villages to conduct face-to-face surveys and interviews of residents who were unable to attend the public consultations.” This process, he assured is a measure designed to ensure that CRC is able to reach as many Gambians in the various communities as possible to gauge wider public opinion on matters concerning the “New Constitution”. The public consultations process, he assured will also incorporate the views and aspirations of Gambians living in the Diaspora and will cover some countries in Africa, Europe, Middle East, some states in the United States of America as well as Canada. On the challenges confronting the commission, Chairman Jallow who is also a judge of the Supreme Court, highlighted the challenges such as financial independence and securing of adequate tangible financial resources to make long term planning, including visits with the Gambian Diasporas which remains a big challenge the Commission continues to grapple with. He finally urged the government and the institutions to protect the constitution so as the wills and aspirations of Gambians are reflected, while promising that the first draft constitution and report will be ready and issued in June or July next year. Meanwhile on Friday, the United Nations Development Program donated a vehicle to the CRC in a bid to facilitate the movement of the commission in their activities.]]>
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