High Hopes For Constitutional Process In Fiji

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Draft constitution coupled with book for public’s benefit

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 24, 2012) – Fiji's new draft constitution, which was handed to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau by the Constitution Commission on Friday, is one that holds a bright future for the nation.

This was revealed by commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai in an interview on Friday night.

Outlining some of the important key inclusions in the draft constitution, Prof. Ghai said it had areas of economic prosperity, social peace and the wonderful rich culture.

He said the draft constitution would bring the people of Fiji living in different communities together.

Prof. Ghai said together with the draft constitution was another book which explained the background to the constitutional process.

"My message to the people of Fiji is thank you very much for your co-operation and participation. The draft constitution is ready and another book which explains the background to the process as well as explanation of what is in the constitution," he said. Prof. Ghai said for anyone in Fiji, the book was to begin with because the draft constitution was a legal text and not easy to follow by itself even though simple language had been used.

"Begin with the book and understand the reasons why we have adopted the draft constitution," he said.

Prof. Ghai said the commission had done its job. He said it was now time for the people of Fiji to take responsibility of the draft constitution.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, Fiji's Labour Party claims there is secrecy surrounding the draft constitution which will affect the document's credibility. Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry says a meeting scheduled to brief political parties and NGOs was cancelled under pressure from the regime. Constitutional commissioner Peni Moore, however, says the meeting was not cancelled due to intimidation. Moore added that once their role in the process was completed, the prime minister's office reportedly told them they could no longer discuss the constitution.]

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