March 29, 2013

More time for law talk

March 29, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom
Requests prompt PM to extend draft constitution consultations

Consultations on and submissions towards the draft constitution have been extended to April 26.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday during a talkback show on the Radio Fiji One iTaukei Na Vakekeli programme and FBC TV.

“Sa toso na tiki ni siga mai na i ka lima ni Evereli kina i ka ruasagavulu-ka-ono baleta e so na kerekere sa mai ciqomi. (Date has been extended from April 5 to April 26 because of proposals we have received for its extension),” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“There have been requests from members of the public for its extension and this will allow Fijians more time to put in their submission in the formulation of the constitution.”

He reiterated that the new constitution should safeguard Fiji’s future, the rights of Fijians and ensure that our country is on par with the rest of the world in development and progress. He called on Fijians, local and abroad, to work together in progressing Fiji.

“I assure the nation that this constitution will take Fiji forward. We will look at the submissions and accept those that will be good for the country and not those that caused past differences,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“We need support and as Fijians, we should change our mindset. We should remove (the kind of) talk that leads to racial hatred. Those were the kinds of talk that past politicians used, which caused a racial divide. They caused fear and that led to the events of 2000 and 2006.

“We do not want to go there again. We want unity and this Government has been trying to do that for the past six years. This constitution is about all Fijians. An Indo-Fijian from Fiji living in Australia is still called a Fijian and that is what this new constitution is all about. We want a constitution for all Fijians.”

Commodore Bainimarama said the new constitution will have Fiji as a Secular State rather than a Christian State. This is because of our multi-racial and multi-belief composition.

“We want a constitution for all. We want it to respect the rights of all races, all people and all Fijians. A Secular State represents that instead of a Christian State. We have our own religions and we should respect all races.
Christians will still be Christians, but what we should do is live like Christians,” he said.

He said the draft constitution called for a 45-member parliament.

“We have a small Government but I am thankful for the civil servants, the permanent secretaries, the commissioners and officials for their hard work,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“They have recognised what this Government is trying to do and are working towards making Fiji better. A small Government saves money.

“That is what we want in the new constitution. Those who enter parliament should work hard and not those who want to enter parliament just for the sake of it. Before we used to have people who just talk, but we want people who can work and take Fiji forward.”

He said irrespective of gender in parliament composition, all should work to improve the country instead of talk and no action.

“Last Friday I said I was going to contest. I was asked at the grounds and I joked about my answer,” Commodore Bainimarama said.

“Yes, I will contest, but nothing has been done yet. I will form a party. I have seen the hard work of Government officials and thought that if I contest, I will be able to help them complete the wishes of this Government.”

Meanwhile, there were calls from around the country during the show asking Commodore Bainimarama to contest and continue to lead Fiji.

This is because of the developments done by his Government for Fijians compared to those in past leaderships.

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