Former Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties’ legislators, Senator Roland Cooper Kaine and Representative Vinicius Sona Hodges, and 16 others were over the weekend certified “Counties Focus Persons” for the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC).
They were certificated after an intensive three-day training regimen (procedure, course) held from Wednesday, December 4 to Friday, December 6, at the German Embassy in Congo Town.
The former CDC lawmaker, Kaine, was a member of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly and the 52nd Legislature (2006-2011), while Hodges, a former star radio journalist, was a member during the 52nd Legislature.
Named the Training of Trainers for Civic Education and Constitution Review Committee Facilitation, the workshop was organized by CRC in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Integrated Mission Training Center (IMTC) with sponsorship from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Deputy Chief of IMTC, Ms. Angelika Siaw, served as lead and chief facilitator.
Rev. Dr. Jasper S. Ndaborlor, Chairman of the Sub-committee on Civic Education and Media at CRC, told reporters that the workshop is one of three, designed to train at least 75 County Focus Persons as well as CRC’s civil educators.
He said the training is aimed at familiarizing the County Focus Persons with key components of the 1986 Liberian Constitution and to raise public awareness of it; the intention is to understand the mandate of the CRC and how it aims to stimulate a broad discussion and input from Liberians on how the Constitutions should be updated, modernized, and strengthened.
An ancillary (secondary) effect hoped for, is the promotion of this country’s long-sought (looked for) sense of national unity and reconciliation, with a view to contributing to the deepening of consensus (agreement) on national principles, customs and something that has long eluded this nation (people): ‘identity.’
The CRC’s Civic Education and Media boss said the training also seeks to teach Focus Persons how to educate and promote the principles and practices of democracy and how to protect the rights of all Liberians including minorities. The exercise also expects to determine conditions under which adults and youths learn best and design effective and interactive civic education programs to accomplish that.
However, the focus person of UNMIL, Tamrat Samuel, hailed the graduates for their sacrifices, but urged them to critically reach out to Liberians and get their views that the Constitution should reflect.
In August this year, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf commissioned a five-member Constitution Review Committee comprising Chairperson, Cllr. Gloria Scott, and four others including, Kennedy Sandy, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn, Madam Amelia Ward, and Soko Sackor, to discuss some of the critical concerns enshrined in the 1986 Liberian Constitution, and recommend amendments where necessary.
The CRC takes two forms, with the second portion witnessing an interactive forum with stakeholders, which is ongoing. The CRC recently met political parties and over the weekend sat with civil societies in Margibi County.
It may be recalled that Cllr. Scott pointed out that members of the Constitution Review Committee, in the discharge of their work, have determined that the vast majority of the population of Liberia does not know the provisions of the Constitution and what it intends to remedy.
The Constitution Review Committee Chairperson said that CRC wants members of the Liberian population to form a consensus and make informed decisions on what they [Liberian population] want their country to be like from now on.