Openness, transparency and impartiality will prevail during the constitutional review process according to the chairman Justice Chernoh Sulayman Jallow at a news conference held at the Commission’s headquarters in Kotu.
It could be recalled that the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) was established as per the Constitutional Review Commission Act passed on 13 December 2017 by the National Assembly and assented to by the president on 13 January 2018.
It is established for the drafting and guiding of the process of promulgating a new Constitution.
The Commission comprises of a Chairperson (Chief Justice or a judge of the superior court), a Vice Chairperson (legal practitioner of not less than 10 years standing nominated by the Minister of Justice and nine other members nominated by the President.
Justice Jallow maintained that in its bid to review the constitution the commission will at all times maintain its independence and will shy away from representing any particular group. He declared that all sections of society in the country and in the diaspora will be given the opportunity to contribute to the review process.
He noted that the process would involve stakeholders and local communities across the country and part of this will be to embark on a pre-consultation exercise with traditional leaders and Governors and this will hopefully take place in September. Justice Jallow asserted that in-country public consultations will be done in phases, at District and Ward levels with a view to engage the population there, and thus make the process as inclusive and participatory.
Justice Jallow noted that the timeframe for consultations is scheduled from October to June 2019, and in this respect solicits the cooperation of the Media in particular, and the citizenry in general, to help them meet this target
On financing the work of the commission, the Chairman indicated that this is a crucial challenge and that the Commission will have to struggle initially with, in order to implement its Action Plan, and carry out consultations with the Gambian public at home and in the diaspora as well as running the Secretariat.
Justice Jallow further noted that 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.
During the press conference Justice Jallow solicited the support of all Gambians to ensure that the process is guided by the principles of participation, inclusiveness, representation, transparency and national ownership, which will produce a good Constitution which will reflect the values and aspirations of the Gambian citizenry.