By Kebba Jeffang
Eleven members of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), were sworn-in with the mandate of reviewing the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia. The swearing in ceremony was done on Monday June 4th 2018, at State House in Banjul.
The newly sworn eleven member Commission are Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow (Chairperson), Hawa Sisay Sabally (Vice Chairperson), Janet Ramatoulie Sallah Njie, Fatoumata Jallow, Amie Joof Cole, Salimatou Touray, Gaye Sowe, Lamin Camara, Yankuba Dibba, Dr Melville O George and Yankuba Manjang.
The Gambia’s president said the event has moved the country towards a democratic path of freedom, peace and prosperity; that the new Constitution will avail Gambians the opportunity to enjoy their rights as citizens.
“When we came to office last year, I made it clear that Gambians have learnt an important lesson from the 2016 Presidential elections, in which they realised and used the Constitutional power vested in them, to root out dictatorship. Before that event, our collective experience was one of suppression and bitterness. Hence, the journey to regain our freedom and democracy has been risky and difficult,” the President said at the event.
Barrow said Gambians have been badly hurt because the bedrock of the country’s democracy had been shaken and tampered with.
He called on the newly sworn Commission members to work to redress the wrongs and come up with a Constitution that will stand the test of time.
“As members of the Constitutional Review Commission, you have been carefully selected, entrusted and assigned the responsibility of guiding the country to build a strong foundation for a Constitution,” the president said.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the CRC Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, said the Constitution is about the people of the Gambia. “While we may have our personal opinions on issues and various subject matters, it is not what really matters. At the end of the day, it is what the people think. Our responsibility is to facilitate those discussions with the public, to ensure their views are properly taken account of, issues properly rationalised and a proper Constitutional document prepared and presented to the President, at the end of the exercise,” he said.
Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow, said he aspires to see a consultative process during the review.
“We must ensure the product we have at the end of the day is truly a people’s Constitution, reflecting their views and aspirations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou tasked the members to review a Constitution that will last for years.