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Constitutional Review Implementation Committee can’t deal with new submissions – Chairman

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law-and-justiceThe Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) says it does not envisage dealing with a surge of new submissions on constitutional reforms.

It is, however, open-minded to public reaction on issues that have already been tackled by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), in their recommendations.

These statements were made by the Chairman ofCRlC, Prof. E. V. O. Dankwa, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the first since the inauguration of CRIC on October 2, 2012.

With him were two other members of the commission, Mrs Estelle M. Appiah and Dr Gheyshika Adombire Agambila.

He said that CRIC was working in camera most of the time because its work entailed ploughing through the 960-page report of the CRC titled: “From a Political to a Developmental Document” and to, in accordance with their terms of reference, to prescribe legislative changes or administrative actions.

The recommendations on independent constitutional bodies like the Electoral Commission (EC), for instance, on the number of commissioners needed to be distilled and the relevant body written to for specific action to be taken.

Other recommendations made in the CRC report affected various governmental ministries, agencies and departments, and while some of them needed to be put on paper for administrative action, others might need a change in the prevailing law.

The detailed nature of the report required that commissioners painstakingly read through it to come out with the various actions needed in the administrative reform, development of legislation where applicable and a referendum in the case of amending an entrenched provision of the constitution, he said.

“The recommendations are in many pages and we have to take them one by one and advise the agencies concerned and when doing that, the public may not be aware,” he said.

Prof. Dankwa said their work was also to summarise the salient points of the CRC report into information brochures that would also be in some local languages for all people to read.

He said these to debunk publications that the work of CRIC was supposed to have ended in December 2011 and the perception of CRIC’s seeming inaction since their inauguration.

He said CRIC’s tenure would rather end in December 2013.

Based on the chairman’s submission that CRIC was open to suggestions on recommendations made in the report; the Daily Graphic sought to find out what it made of the public reaction to gay rights and the recommendation by the CRC of a judicial redress, as well as the various calls for electoral reforms made by the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC).

But Prof. Dankwa would not be drawn into the controversy, preferring rather that CRIC, after considering the various public reactions, appropriately advised the relevant agencies.

He added that CRIC was also endeavouring to put the report online in order to make it accessible, and at press time yesterday, the Daily Graphic was able to access a copy of the 960 ­page report online.

Other initiatives being mauled over by the four-member commission, that includes Mr Bede Ziedeng, are educational initiatives to sensitise Ghanaians and having a media liaison to adequately get the media involved in their work before a referendum on recommended changes to some entrenched provisions.

On September 3, 2012 the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) and the National Constitutional Review Coalition (NCRC) held a press conference and advocated, among others; for online versions of the report, simplified versions of the report in English and other local languages, for the implementation committee which had then not been set up, to whip up the waning public participation and ownership of the constitutional review process since the end of the work of the CRC in December 2011.

The CRC was inaugurated on January 11, 2011 under the chairmanship of Prof. Albert Fiadjoe, to among other things, find out from Ghanaians their views about the 1992 Constitution and how it had served them.

Their work was completed on December 2011, followed by a White Paper on the report in June 2012.

CRIC was inaugurated to complete the process of constitutional reforms in proposing bills for amendment and preparing Ghanaians for a referendum on the changes to some entrenched provisions.

Source: Daily Graphic

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