October 12, 2012

Chief queries motive

Luke Rawalai
Friday, October 12, 2012

EVERY new constitution made for Fiji does not guarantee an end to the coup culture in the future, says Cakaudrove paramount chief Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

He made the comment as part of his submissions to the Constitution Commission which visited Somosomo Village on Tuesday.

Ratu Naiqama, in his submissions, also questioned the coup of 2006 and the grounds of the coup.

"It has been said by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama a lot of times that one of the reasons for the coup in 2006 was to put a stop to the coup culture as a part of the clean-up campaign," said Ratu Naiqama.

"What is the rationale behind this move of a person who executed the coup and is now trying to come up with a way of stopping a coup from happening in the future?"

Ratu Naiqama said the coup culture could not be stopped through a drawing of a new constitution every time a coup happens.

But Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama has pointed a finger back at Ratu Naiqama and questioned the reason of his involvement in the 2000 coup.

"Dou lesu tale vua dou tarogi koya mada ga (Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu) me baleta na yavu ni vuaviri ena 2000 ena nodratou a taura vakaukauwa na keba ni mataivalu e Labasa, me solia mada mai nona vamacala me baleta na vuaviri ena 2000 ni bera ni mai via kila na vuaviri ena 2006. (Go back and ask the Tui Cakau about the 2000 coup, when he was involved in the takeover of the military camp in Labasa. Ask him for his explanation about the 2000 coup before he queries the basis of the 2006 coup.).

Ratu Naiqama said the 1997 Constitution was very much alive referring to the Supreme Court decision in 2009 which ruled that the coup was wrong and the ruling in the Chandrika case where Justice Gates ruled that a constitution could only be amended by an act of Parliament and nothing else.

"I strongly believe and make this presentation that the 1997 Constitution continue to be retained and fully recognised. If amendments are to be made, then amendments need to be made within the confines of the 1997 Constitution," said Ratu Naiqama.

Ratu Naiqama said the constitution needed to be simple and flexible in order for it to remain valid and effective.

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