Goodbye PER. There Were Two Public Meetings on the Constitution in Fiji This Week. This was one of them - And look who was there!

WEEKEND READING  • Allen Lockington column • Compulsory Registration and Voting by Richard Chappell • Landlubber Diplomacy Won't Work in Fji by Eni F.H. Faleomavaega

Press Release from the Citizens' Constitutional Forum, a non-government organization that educates and advocates for good governance, human rights and multiculturalism in Fiji. We are not aligned with any political party.

Book launch marks significant milestone towards 
Constitutional Development in Fiji

"The state of un-forgiveness and vengeance is a cold desolate place in which no one should linger for too long.” Those were the words of former Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi at the launch of the handbook “Constitution: Making and Reform; Options for the Processes” at the Holiday Inn, Suva last night (Wednessay), hosted by the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum.

Speaking in front of over 80 invited guests, including the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Fiji Labour Party stalwart Krishna Datt, High Commissioners and Ambassadors amongst others, Ratu Joni stressed that the handbook is timely as we are about to begin the process of drawing up a new constitution.

Ratu Joni outlined that if one accepts the need for a new constitution, the handbook sets out a number of options to be considered. He says if there is a real opportunity to devise a new constitution for which the process of public participation and consultation is thoughtfully and creatively devised and implemented, it may well be the best chance we have at laying the foundations for long term peace and stability.
In his review of the handbook, Ratu Joni highlighted the tasks involved in the constitution making process which include:

1. To think through and research the issues facing the country
2. To consider the choices of constitutional arrangements that will best respond to the issues
3. To educate and consult the people about the issues and the choices
4. To negotiate among the major political groups and those with powers of decision making about the legalized choices
5. To administer and manage the constitution making process
6. To debate and adopt a new constitution document
7. To make arrangements for implementation of the new constitution.

Ratu Joni stated that the focus of the handbook on constitution making as peace building is a relatively new and welcome concept. He says the emphasis enables the citizens of a state to come together with a genuine commitment and a passion to create structures, institutions, and systems that will be engaged in the betterment and welfare of society as a whole. He also stressed that the constitution is not only a symbol but to be a tool for building peace continuously.

The former Vice President stressed the need to search for and create the compromises necessary to healing and reconciliation as the past still weighs heavily on people’s minds and many find it difficult or impossible to forgive and forbear and it is true it cannot be forced, imposed or usurped.
Ratu Joni says he recognizes a new opportunity to build afresh and that this time there is a very real prospect of laying a foundation that lasts.

In his opening remarks, CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki also highlighted that it is by sheer coincidence that the handbook, recently published by Interpeace and co-authored by Professor Yash Ghai, Jill Cottrell, Michele Brandt and Anthony Regan, comes at a time when we are about to embark on our constitutional consultations.

Reverend Yabaki says the handbook notes Fiji’s various attempts at Constitution making and stressed not to leave the third time to chance and make sure that our third attempt will indeed prove to be a success.
He says drawing from more than a hundred constitution experiences including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the handbook stands as a relevant guide for us as we prepare to go into constitution consultation. It also provides practical guidance on how to design transparent, nationally led and owned processes that are also participatory and inclusive and through the book launch last night, CCF hopes to generate constructive Discussion, Debate and Dialogue and find ways to reach consensus on the path towards Constitutional Democracy.

A copy of the handbook “Constitution: Making and Reform; Options for the Processes” can be accessed through the Interpeace website or downloaded directly through the link:
For further information please contact the communications team at CCF on
Reverend Akuila Yabaki
The CCF is a non-government organization that educates and advocates for good
governance, human rights and multiculturalism in Fiji. We are not aligned with any
political party.


Johnny-Come-Lately said…
At the launch of “Tuimacilai”, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara' biography in Suva in October 2009, Sir Michael Somare, in his address, said:

“For me personally, Tui Nayau was my mentor who I have tried to emulate...”

In light of what has happened in PNG this week, his words do take on special significance, one would think.
Trading down to tourists said…
High time Fiji began touting for 'Travellers' : tourists were always all wrong.

Travellers come in for many purposes but they do not expect to be mass-packaged. Constitution-making; flood watching and assessing; even assisting flood victims and their families as part of the Full-On-Fiji-Experience. Some of them even take the trouble to learn the languages.

We lost our way when we turned to 'tourists'. A Departure Tax of $150, $250 even $500 Fijian per head is nothing to a dedicated 'Traveller'. We have been missing out and trading down.

Ask Abu Dhabi! They feast on travellers and have much to show for it.
Barking Dogs unlikely said…
So Bahrain is a nation on a journey? DESTINATION BAHRAIN tells us today. The Arabic Proverb which tells of barking dogs failing to delay the caravan, might consider the Fijian Proverb depicting hardship with not even scraps left in the house:

"Sa moce na koli e matadravu".

Not many dogs are likely to be a bother for a while in the Western Division of Fiji? There are exceptions of course. The general appearance and health of many of Fiji's dogs denotes not only their own neglect but also the poverty of their masters and mistresses: when they have them that is. Spare a thought that no resident Veterinarian is on call in the Western Division of Fiji. Perhaps a 'Barkathon' should be considered? Then they might spare a canine howl for the rest of us. We must, however, thank the visiting Vets who come in and work very hard on a backlog which has now endured for over four years. A sorry reflection of our increasing, callous disregard for animal welfare.
Wasteland of Losers said…
A roomfull of 80 Invited Guests? Another self-regarding, self congratulating 'elite'? A roomfull of all who have failed in the past and will surely fail again in the future. Because these are the very same persons who have participated in the past leaving a Legacy of Wasteland Losers for more than Fifteen Years. A Coterie of Shysters and Heisters parading themselves under a canopy of 'Constitutional Reinvention'?

Quit kidding yourselves!
Anonymous said…
@ Johnny Come Lately

Indeed, like KKT, Somare has passed his use by date but still considers himself indispensable to the future of PNG.

Mara died a disillusioned and broken old man because he clung to his dynastic ambitions, duly and rightfully thwarted.

Th remnants of those thwarted amitions in Fiji are now located in exile in Tonga where dynastic traditions continue.

Let them learn the lesson of their own time they will.
Davos said…
Time? What time? You believe there is time to spend on such folly? Learning lessons that should have been absorbed half a lifetime ago? Get real and urgently into gear. The world is falling into recession and approaching the possibility of real Global Depression. Only the foolish believe there is yet time. Why are we not at Davos? This is no time for second-hand information.

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