Leading lawyer faults CRC, as constitutional debacle shocks nation
Friday, 25 September | By Sainey Darboe
The Constitutional Review Commission led by Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow produced a fundamentally flawed document that failed to meet Gambia’s needs, leading constitutional lawyer Lamin J. Darbo has alluded in a scathing commentary as the failure of the draft constitution shocks nation.
“Although the idea that our nation requires a new constitution was properly conceived, the delivery mechanism selected was faulty in the extreme. Whether that was deliberate or incompetence is an open question. The authorities had the option of establishing constitutional or constituent assemblies or a constitutional commission. Ill advisedly it chose the latter with a truncated structure and clear shortcomings in the Gambian context”.
He added: “By every rational yardstick, the idea that the NA is bereft of competence to touch the Draft in any way is an incomprehensible proposition. The legislative domain denotes the core-competence of the NA and given the Constitutional provisions earlier referenced, it has the competence in law and doctrine to make appropriate amendments to this Draft.
Indeed, the meaning around the legislative jargon of Third Reading is another authoritative demonstration of what the NA can do with this Draft. It can debate and amend as necessary before the ultimate vote at the end of the Third Reading”.
Thumping his nose at the end product of years of work by distinguished lawyers and 116 million Dalasis later, Lamin J. Darbo enunciated what was presented to the law makers was of such inferior quality as constitutions go it would take Herculean efforts to make it fit for purpose; which only law makers can do in The Gambian situation to save the project.
Grasping for the jugular in his caustic comments on the constitutional saga, he assessed:
“With what the CRC ultimately produced, we know that very well in The Gambia. It may be a long and tedious process but only a Draft amended by the NA may save this project of a hundred and sixteen million Dalasis and counting.The chickens are truly home to roost but the knives of the Solons may save the Draft! They have the Constitutional right to remove the excess fat from the Draft”.