Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Constituent Assembly re the draft Constitution

from w

No Constituent Assembly and a hurry up for discussion – a speech on Fiji’s radio last night indicated that instead of an Assembly as planned, there will be opportunities for comment and questions in various meets throughout Fiji.   But very little time to ponder the implications.

From Fijilive

Draft constitution out, but no assembly: PM March 21, 2013 06:32:39

Fiji’s draft constitution has been released but there will be no Constituent Assembly to discuss and pass the document as initially planned. Instead, members of the public will deliberate and decide on the final constitution. Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the decision to do away with the Constituent Assembly stem from the “lack of commitment by the political parties to  register  under  the  requirements  of  the  law.” “There are allegations of   fraud andimpersonation.  This  does  not  provide  a  conducive  climate  to  hold  the  Constituent   Assembly.  We cannot be delayed  by  such  circumstances,” Bainimarama said. “Racism and corruption cannot form the basis of a new beginning for our beloved country.” He said the decision will also ensure the country keeps to the timeline set to ensure elections are held by September 2014. The draft constitution is ready and is available to the general public via the media and government websites. Members of the public are advised that they have till 5 April for their thoughts and recommendations on the draft constitution. “In  assessing  the  draft,  please  understand  that  it  has  been  put  together  by incorporating  the  positive   aspects   of   the   Ghai   draft,   and   with   the   view   to   withstand   the   test   of   time.  Constitutional,  political  and  economic  stability  is  critical  to  create  a  prosperous  Fiji,” he added. 

Read more at:
Copyright 2013 ©

The text of this new draft constitution can be found on the Fijilive site as or on the Fiji Government website though I got a warning that this file might harm my computer.
Two parts I think are of interest;
One is about immunity  which is controversial , the other is about Fiji as a secular State.

Secular State

4.––(1) Religious liberty, as recognised in the Bill of Rights, is a founding principle of the
(2) Religious belief is personal.
(3) Religion and the State are separate, which means––
(a) the State and all persons holding a public office must treat all religions equally;
(b) the State and all persons holding a public office must not dictate any religious
(c) the State and all persons holding a public office must not prefer or advance, by
any means, any particular religion, religious denomination, religious belief, or
religious practice over another, or over any non-religious belief; and
(d) no person shall assert any religious belief as a legal reason to disregard this
Constitution or any other law..

1 comment:

Andrew Thornley said...

Dear Wendy,
I think the Methodist Church had to accept the inevitability of Fiji being declared a secular state in this proposed (and deeply flawed) constitution. No political principles or systems in Fiji, either under the British or subsequently, have entertained Fiji being declared a Christian state