Publish date/time: 16/08/2012 [17:11]
Suva lawyer, Rajendra Chaudhry said the Constitution Commission should not be bound by any of the non-negotiable principles set out by the Prime Minister.
Chaudhry said no matter what the non-negotiables are, if majority of the people think otherwise then the commission should take their point of view.
“There should be no pre-conditions set on what the constitution commission is to put in it’s final report. It should I think contain what the people have said and Bainimarama cannot set the parameters of the outcome of the commission report. That needs to be made absolutely clear to him. He is gotta stop bullying the process. He must recognize it and respect this commission. The constitution is above Bainimarama or any citizen. It will be the supreme document of the land and for that it must reflect the wishes of the people. At the end of the day it is what the people think and the people decide that should matter. Not a person by the name of Voreqe Bainimarama. As it is, he has no legitimacy.”Rajendra Chaudhry questions who is Commodore Bainimarama to set the guidelines and parameters for the new constitution.
“He cannot be making these pre-emptory statements to try and influence which I do not think will be successful for the commission to think the way he thinks and similarly on the issues of the non-negotiable principles. It is not for Bainimarama to lay down the guidelines for constitution review and if the views of the people in great majority say there should not be any non-negotiable principles then that is something I’m sure the commission will give due consideration. At the same time while you may not agree with what other submittees are saying, you must respect their right to say what they are saying. It is a basic right.”Commodore Bainimarama said the non-negotiables for the constitution are important because it is aimed at eliminating discrimination and race based policies.
“He has forgotten very quickly that in 2000, him and his father were put in one of the rooms in parliament for 56 days. The non-negotiables we trying to put into the next constitution is to bring about an environment that will stop him and his father from being put in the cell again as it was done in 2000, not that his father is going to come back into leadership position of this country, God forbid. But one of the reasons why he is attacking the non-negotiables, we know that the Labour like SDL don’t want one man one vote one value. They don’t want that. They want the communal voting still in place. In fact they want the 1997 constitution brought back, in fact they want us to go back to the judgement of 2009 and for us to go back to the SDL and Labour in government.”The non-negotiable principles include a common and equal citizenry, a secular state where there is no official religion and no religion will be given preference by the state, elimination of discrimination, one person one vote one value, the elimination of ethnic voting, social justice and the removal of systematic corruption.
Meanwhile, on the issue raised on who is Commodore Bainimarama to set the parameters for the new constitution, the Prime Minister had this to say.
“So who should be setting the parameters for the process. Him and his father?”Stay with us we will have more on this issue.
Story by: Vijay Narayan & Ronal Deo