CRC Spends D14.6M on External Public Consultations
The Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), Cherno Sulayman Jallow said the Commission has so far spent D14.6M on its external public consultations, out of a budget of D18.9M.
In June, CRC teams left for Europe and the U.S. for external consultations with Diaspora Gambians in the United Kingdom, United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Sweden, France and Spain. They also visited Senegal and Mauritania.
Critics at the time questioned the need to spend so much money on overseas travels for the external consultations, with some suggesting cyber or virtual consultations with Gambians in the Diaspora in order to cut the cost.
But Chairman Jallow told a press conference Wednesday that the external consultations were worthwhile, arguing that such consultations were cardinal to the constitutional building processes and the need to reach-out to both nationals either within and outside country was crucial to the process.
“We have seen a lot of sentiments being expressed in respect to the external consultations that we have embarked upon and I have said it before that in the manner and the way we want to design our new constitution and how we want it to be implemented, we cannot expect it to be cheap,” he said. “What is important for us is whether we are getting the value of what we desired to attain.”
He said it would be unfortunate for Gambians to put more emphasis on the money being spent by the commission to come up with a new constitution rather than what the new constitution intends to deliver.
“We’ve already seen some pundits on the social media giving their own estimated figures as to how much public funds have been spent and some even described our spending as waste of public funds. What I want to say here is that we haven’t done anything yet that can be regarded as a waste of public funds, especially when we went out to consult our own citizens.”
“We are not here to arrogate money for ourselves or to do anything otherwise. We are here to embark on a national exercise that is needed to be done prudently and wisely and I believe this is what we have been doing to the best of our abilities in our quest to attain the desired result that every Gambian can be proud of,” said Chairman Jallow.
He assured that that “everything is in place and both the commissioners and secretariat staff are working round the clock in ensuring that a new Gambian constitution is delivered by the 1st of December, 2019.”
In May, the CRC announced it has spent D13 million on consultations within the country, which also raised eyebrows and sparked criticisms from some quarters.