Home » Uncategorized » Now the Constitutional Commission doesn’t understand…….It says the Constitution Commission is wrong in its claims about media freedom, access to the courts, and powers of the security forces. It says the media and the courts are independent and that the security forces are subject to the country’s laws.

Now the Constitutional Commission doesn’t understand…….It says the Constitution Commission is wrong in its claims about media freedom, access to the courts, and powers of the security forces. It says the media and the courts are independent and that the security forces are subject to the country’s laws.

Fiji interim dismisses criticism from the Constitutional Commission

Posted at 08:28 on 19 July, 2012 UTC

The interim Fiji Government is rejecting the criticism levelled at its latest decrees by the Constitution Commission.

The Commission believes the new Constitutional Commission and Constituent Assembly Decrees are undemocratic.

Don Wiseman has more:

“The Commission says the push for immunity for the coup makers to be written into the constitution is undesirable. And it says controls on the media, lack of court access and the wide reaching powers of the security forces are particularly worrying. But the interim government claims the new decrees set out the framework for a free, fair, and open constitutional process. It says immunity is common in nations promoting reconciliation. The government says having the prime minister decide who can sit in the Constituent Assembly will ensure a broadly representative body is formed. It says the Constitution Commission is wrong in its claims about media freedom, access to the courts, and powers of the security forces. It says the media and the courts are independent and that the security forces are subject to the country’s laws. And it says none of the issues raised by the Commission have any bearing on its mandate as laid out by the decree that created it.”

News Content © Radio New Zealand International

10 thoughts on “Now the Constitutional Commission doesn’t understand…….It says the Constitution Commission is wrong in its claims about media freedom, access to the courts, and powers of the security forces. It says the media and the courts are independent and that the security forces are subject to the country’s laws.

  1. none of the issues raised by the Constitutional Commission has any bearing on what it has been mandated to do?
    wrong. all the issues are directed related. it raises the question of the kind of political environment Fiji has under the military government to make constitution making a genuine and democratic exercise.
    and the answer is that fiji does not have a conducive environment for it notwithstanding the interim powerholders’ claim to the contrary.

  2. prof ghai remember your personal -professional reputation and credibility is at stake here. you are the constitution making expert. you should know what facilitates constitution making and what impedes it – not the semi-literate military mob in power and not the mediocre lawyer Aiyaz . it doesn’t matter he was your student. some students turn out shitty no matter how good the teacher.
    prof ghai do the right thing by the people of fiji. do the right thing by your conscience.

  3. Fiji Constitution Commission strongly critical of new government decrees

    Posted at 16:50 on 19 July, 2012 UTC

    Fiji’s Constitutional Commission says two new decrees issued by the interim Fiji regime threaten to undermine the development of the new constitution.

    It says the consultation process requires the full participation of the people.

    Don Wiseman reports:

    “In a statement it says the Constitutional Commission and Constituent Assembly Decrees are an important step in adding certainty to the process, but it also says they ignore the essential principles of democracy. The Commission says the Constituent Assembly Decree gives the interim Prime Minister full control over the composition of the Assembly which will put together the new constitution. It says this is undemocratic and undermines the Assembly’s independence. The Decrees require immunity for those involved in the 2006 and earlier coups to be entrenched in the new constitution – a move the Commission says is most unusual and undesirable. It says the people of Fiji need to first be consulted on this matter with submissions to the Commission and debate on it in the Assembly. And the Commission says it remains concerned that there is not an atmosphere in Fiji that is conducive to open debate. It says controls on the media and the wide reaching powers of the security forces are particularly worrying, as is the lack of access to the courts.”

  4. Constitution Comission raises concern on two decrees

    17:00 Thu Jul 19, 2012

    Taken from/By:
    Report by: Maca Lutunauga

    The Constitution Commission believes that the promulgation of the two decrees relating to the drafting of the new constitution will mean that the essential principles of democracy are ignored and the independence of the Assembly negated.

    Maca Lutunauga reports.

    “Commission chair Yash Ghai made the comment at a press conference today.”

    “Yash Ghai says in light of the fact that members of the present government may wish to compete in the coming elections, it is important that they should not control the process that will set out the rules for elections.”

    “He says this will undermine the credibility of elections.”

    “On the immunity decree announced yesterday, Yash Ghai says it is most unusual and they believe it is undesirable.”

    “The Commission is concerned that the people of Fiji have not been consulted in any way.”

    “They believe that if immunity is part of the process, it could be discussed through submissions to the Commission and debated in the Constituent Assembly.”

    “Yash Ghai adds a solution could be reached that citizens believe would promote the transition to democracy and contribute to a sustained democracy as envisaged in the two Decrees.”

    “Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is expected to respond to this statement soon.”

  5. Fijian activist rejects assassination plot link

    Updated 19 July 2012, 11:15 AEST

    New Zealand media reports say police and security intelligence officials have raided several Auckland homes in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Fiji’s leader Frank Bainimarama.

    Fijian activist rejects assasination plot link (Credit: ABC)

    A former Fiji cabinet minister, Rajesh Singh, says officials seized his daughter’s laptop computer and his mobile phone yesterday.

    The alleged plot is believed to have involved killing Commodore Bainimarama and his attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

    Presenter: Wayne Shields

    Speaker: Rajesh Singh, democracy activist and former cabinet minister

    SINGH: It was on Tuesday morning I got visited by the SIS and they came and they said they wanted to talk to me for ten minutes, and I said ok you’re most welcome. So I had to close the shop and sit down, but it ended up one hour ten minutes meeting.

    SHIELDS: Ok so they interviewed you in your shop for an hour and ten minutes.

    SINGH: Yes.

    SHIELDS: Did they have a search warrant?

    SINGH: Yes they brought a search warrant, they showed it to me but they didn’t give me a copy, because I asked them under the Privacy Act they have to tell me who reported the matter and if I can have a copy of the search warrant and they said it’s classified.

    SHIELDS: Ok so you weren’t actually able to look at it?

    SINGH: No I did look at it.

    SHIELDS: Ok so what details can you tell us about what was written on the search warrant?

    SINGH: No it was just that a search warrant was granted by the New Zealand government and they just wanted to search my premises. I said you’re most welcome to do it, and then they took my daughter’s laptop and also my cell phone.

    SHIELDS: Ok they took your daughter’s laptop, do you own a laptop?

    SINGH: No I don’t have a laptop mate.

    SHIELDS: No so they took your daughter’s?

    SINGH: Yes.

    SHIELDS: And that’s been taken away, that’s no longer in the shop?

    SINGH: No they took it and then my daughter woke up and my daughter was very furious about it because she’s an Auckland uni student and she needs some law papers to. And then she quoted them from the law and said you have breached the Privacy Act, you came in my room while I was asleep and you guys wanted me to wake up. It’s my room, I’m over 21, I have my right to sleep and all that, and my daughter said you breached the Privacy Act and I want my computer right now. And then later they brought it back, they brought it back at about 4 o’clock.

    SHIELDS: And what about your mobile phone, was that taken away?

    SINGH: They returned it at 4.

    SHIELDS: Ok and what type of questions were you asked during this hour and ten minute interrogation?

    SINGH: They just actually asked, they said oh do you know that there was a plot meeting that was conducted between Mara and Tony Fullman that they were planning to assassinate Bainimarama and Khaiyum I said look here, I never had this meeting here in this shop, nobody spoke on that nature and we were talking about other things, we were talking about rugby league, we were talking about the democratic movement, we were talking about the chiefly system. And we never even discussed that thing. I said all this time I met Mara and we never ever talked about all these stupid things and that is utter nonsense I told them.

    SHIELDS: So when did you last meet? When was that meeting that you’re talking about?

    SINGH: Normally when Mara comes to New Zealand he just comes and visits, he just comes and sits down for a little while and then he goes away and visits other people.

    SHIELDS: But that was a recent meeting?

    SINGH: Yes.

    SHIELDS: Ok just a few days ago?

    SINGH: Yes.

    SHIELDS: Ok and that was the reason for the raid on Tuesday?

    SINGH: Yes.

    SHIELDS: Alright. Do you know anything about the raids that happened elsewhere in Auckland?

    SINGH: They went and visited a few other people, some members of the freedom movement, they went and visited a few of the people and I don’t know who else they went and met. But that’s why I asked them some questions and they couldn’t answer me. I asked them, the first question was look here, when we were part of the government our government asked for foreign intervention from the Australian government and the New Zealand government. I said why didn’t you guys come in? Why didn’t you guys come in because you guys were the signatory to the Bitekawa declaration Foreign force can be asked for if there’s political instability and all that. I said you didn’t come and support Fiji, but you guys were very quick to go and jump in Iraq, you guys were very quick to jump in Afghanistan, and I said you guys were very quick to go to Solomons and Tonga, why not Fiji?

    SHIELDS: Just go back to the most recent meeting that you said you’ve had with the former Fiji military officer Ratu Tevita Mara. When was that meeting and you were just talking about rugby league?

    SINGH: No it wasn’t a meeting, normally when Mara comes he comes and pays a visit, he just comes, we sit down and talk for five minutes or something like that.

    SHIELDS: So Mr Singh what do you think’s going to happen next?

    SINGH: I don’t know, like for me I told them straight I said I don’t care if you guys want to arrest me or you can go and shoot me or you can lock me up in prison for life, I’ll only say one thing and the thing I stand for is honesty. And there was no plan to assassinate Frank or anyone else, and why should I admit things that were not even talked about or never planned? This is utter nonsense.

    SHIELDS: And did the people that were investigating leave on good terms?

    SINGH: Yeah they thanked me and after that when they came they returned the stuff. But you know that’s why I just laughed and I said come on, what is all this? The other thing she said was for me not to talk to the media and she asked me another question, why do you text Frank and you’re asking him to publish the Auditor General’s report from 2006 to 2011, and also you’re asking him to declare the salary of each minister? I said that’s my right, I pay taxes in Fiji right? And I said that’s my right to know where was the money used? And any government that uses taxpayer money they have to be answerable and they have to submit Auditor General’s report. I told them, I said well our government was good, I was taken up to the barracks three times and it was luckily for Mara and all these people who saved me. Even Frank took me twice, you know? And I said luckily these guys were not there I would have been shot dead a long time ago. And I said when I came to New Zealand I thought I’d have a peaceful life, and now you guys are harassing me. I said what we’re fighting for is freedom and democracy and to restore the constitution and follow the rule of law and that’s it. And I said those texts were between me and Frank, you can go and have a look at it, … sometimes they’re ugly. And they said oh why don’t you, I said no, I will never support the illegal regime and if you guys are men you will restore the 1997 constitution and Frank and you guys and Khaiyum and everybody should face the rule of law, face the court. If PM Qarase can face the court, PM Chaudhry can face the court, other members of parliament and other prominent people can face the court, why are you guys exempt?

  6. Now the Constitutional Commission doesn’t understand…
    Why nobody understanding?
    Utopia they are making in Fiji.
    Everything will be perfect after the mob in power finish their work .
    It’s all for the good of the country
    It’s all for the good of the people.
    Nothing in it for THEM – you know Who…
    Why nobody understanding?

  7. No matter how often the AG harps about the independence of Fiji’s judiciary only fools would be ready to ignore what is right in front of everybody’s eyes: an unsavory dictatorship with a very strong need to control everything, judiciary included. What we will see is the emergence of a rigged constitution followed by rigged elections. Bainimarama will become president and Khaiyum will become PM.

  8. We will be ever suspicious and hope that this is not some kind of ruse ‘tiff’ to send people running into the constitution commission consultation process and EVR after being duped into thinking that (maybe just maybe) Ghai & Co have their interests at heart.

    The illegal and treasonous military regime is boxed into a corner as they have to now show evidence to the world that they have legitimacy and support in their proposed way forward.

    So the onus is now on them to produce the goods ie SHOW numbers of people attending the constitution consultation process plus EVR numbers. As aid/donors & the UNDP are paying for this exercise they will want to see results.

    My punt is on their inability to meet their intended 600,000 registration mark even tho’ they fluff up the numbers daily which I find still hard to believe.

    There is a notable dearth of images of these ‘hoards’ of people lining up to register or attend constitution consultations via the media or their own propaganda feeds. There are more folks lining up to purchase cellular phone credit, then there are those lining up to register to vote or consult on the constitution.

  9. @Paula
    You are spot one! I was thinking the same. That is the scheme, the agenda of the Bainimarama -khaiyum “government”. That is their “exit” strategy. And a Constitution guaranteeing them immunity will he handy!

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