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Rev. Yabaki worried ‘spoilers’ could set back progress

By Tevita Vuibau SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 4, 2012) - The Citizens Constitutional Forum has called on the people of Fiji not to take advantage of the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations

The call comes after Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced the PER would be lifted on January 7, 2012.

CCF executive director Reverend Akuila Yabaki said while the freedom would be welcomed in all sections of the community, people needed to be cautioned against abusing them.

"This freedom means that potential spoilers will also be allowed the same freedoms," he said.

"They must be allowed to express their views so the debate and discussion on key national issues and the way forward represents the view of all citizens of Fiji, a country of diverse people."

Mr Yabaki said the abusing of the new freedoms granted by the lifting of the PER would have setbacks for the country's road to democracy.

"The fact is if this freedom is not practised with responsibility, we may find ourselves back to restrictions and this may delay the processes that promise to return us back to sustainable democracy."

He further stated that with the lifting of the PER, political, social and church groups would regain their rights to meet and discuss issues.

Mr Yabaki said the lifting of the PER by the government was a good sign as it represented a credible step in the right direction.

He said it would allow the groups to assemble and talk freely on national issues.

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