By Sulayman Waan
Justice Chernor Jallow, chairperson of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has defended the recent external public consultation that CRC embarked, saying it would be rather unfortunate if the public places too much emphasize on money and overlook the value the country getting out of it.
“We have seen lots of sentiment being express with respect to the external consultation and I have said before a constitutional review process in the manner we design and implementing it. It cannot be expected to be changed.
“The question ultimately for us and all of us as citizens is whether we are getting value for money spent on this exercise. It would be rather unfortunate if you places too much emphasize on money and overlook the value we getting out of it,” he said on Wednesday in a press conference held at CRC secretariat.
This issue comes after a series of comments on the social media about the CRC external public consultation that raise concern among the public as some people opined that the commission should have done the external consultation online to save money.
However, Justice Jallow noted that the secretariat have seen series of speculation on social media and some are given their own figures as to how much public funds have been spend, adding some are saying how much public funds have been wastage.
“I would want to say that nothing with that can legitimately be describe as a wastage of public funds, especially where we are consulting our own citizens both at home and abroad,” he said.
“The total amount that was budgeted for the external consultation was D18.9 million and the total amount that had been spent is D14.6 million. That’s a saving of over D4 million,” he clarified.
Jallow commended the CRC officials for exercising patriotism in taking the most convenient travelling measures to broad while saying his team is not in the secretariat to arrogate money for themselves but they embark on a national exercise which he means need to be done wisely to ensure success of the CRC.
He said the alternative to the external public consultation would have been for the commission to stay in the secretariat to write the new constitution, adding if that was done there would have been possibility for the public rejecting the new constitution.
“I think we must not overlook the importance of consulting our citizens whether at home or abroad,” he argued.
According to him, Gambians in the diaspora had appreciated the external consultation, noting that they felt quite rightly that they deserve to be consulted regarding the constitutional review process as Gambians at home.
Jallow said the Gambians in diaspora had made it clear that if the external consultation was done online the participation would have not been up to expectation compare to their physical appearance in abroad.