The New Forum

I was hoping the new forum would assist people to think about the new constitution and prepare submissions for the Constitution Commission. I also thought  the collection of opinions on separate issues could assist the Commission.   It still can but so far not one person has made a comment.  Would you please start the ball rolling this weekend?

Comments

Satendra Singh said…
CONSTITUTIONAL AND ELECTORAL REFORMS

Amend the Electoral System as follows:-

1. Lower house (House of Representatives) be downsized to 61 and new electoral system to be
designed which is not race based( ALL Open Seats) or simply 1 person, 1 vote, 1 and equal value ONLY and prefer still to use Preferential Voting system similar to 1997 Constitution.

2. Upper House (Senate to be downsized to 31 not race based( ALL Open Seats) or simply 1 person, 1 vote, 1 and equal value ONLY and prefer still to use Preferential Voting system similar to 1997 Constitution.

3. A minimum qualification, moral and ethical standards enshrined for all contestants of Senate, House of Representatives, Head of state and all other Govt CEOS and political and Constitutional Appointees.

4. Eliminate the race based ministries and Boards like Fijian Affairs (FAB), transfer FAB and provincial Fijian boards and management to NLTB and let them get their own funding from NLTB since NLTB owns 90 % of all land in Fiji. The taxpayers should not be burdened with any of the expenses related to FAB or GCC.

5. President to nominated by the Prime Minister and can be any person who is a qualified Fiji Citizen and not only reserved to indigenous High Chiefs and to be confirmed by majority in Senate.

6. The Prime Minister must command majority in House of Reps and shall be appointed by President.

7. All cabinet Ministers either from House of Reps or senate, nominated by Prime minister and confirmed by majority in senate.

8. Other Checks and balance related clauses to be included so that all future based governments are based on Consensus rather then race or partisan politics.

9. Clause to prohibit and punish any one who uses any race based slogans, intimidation, etc or Scare tactics or stirring of indigenous nationalism in Political Campaigns,etc.

10. Change the current legal Voting Age from 21 years to 18 years.

11. Cabinet size to be enshrined into the constitution and not to exceed 18 in any
circumstances unless approved by the legislature.

12. Remove all political powers of GCC from politics and downgrade and recognize GCC to that of traditional and cultural significance ONLY. This will enable all political powers including the appointment of President and Vice President to the elected people
(PM, house and senate as discussed above) This will also Remove all VETO powers of GCC nominated Senators with major majority (2/3 or 66%) required in both
houses to pass any legislation dealing with Indigenous Lands, Resources and Rights and protection or heritage. Since Indigenous population are more then 52
% and thus will always be at least 52 % in the House so no such legislation can be passed without overwhelming indigenous support and as such they will
remain protected BUT by the elected People and not some unelected body called GCC.

13. Remove the Multi Party Concept clauses as it creates more political and legal problems then it was actually designed to solve.

14. Redesign the electoral boundaries that is fair and representative of constituents including the current census for accurate voter counts and designing of a systematic and methodical voter
registration system that is fair and free of political bias with some audit trail to ensure that no voter is missed out or left behind due to corruption and political bias

15. Ensure that Elections office and staff are free from political bias to avoid any errors or mishandling including vote rigging.

16. Minimum qualification and character to stand for Public Office to include following:-
(1) At least High School Completion (Form 6)
(2) Must be of good conduct with no criminal records as required of any Govt Jobs
(3) Must have at least 5 years experience in Community service, Social service or at a supervisory level
Satendra Singh said…
LAND REFORMS

17. All current NLTB board to be sacked and replaced with competent professionals. Also review all middle and upper managers and regional managers and sack all incompetent, inefficient and or political/national activists and replace with competent professionals.

18. NLTB needs to be completely restructured, reorganized and streamlined like the rest of Govt.
appointed Boards.

19. NLTB must be corporatised and such all owners made shareholders and should operate a business.

20. NLTB to open its Employment doors to all qualified Fiji people and not restricted to indigenous ONLY as it is currently. I don’t mind if they include in per-requisite as "Must be fluent in Fijian language" or Must be able to speak Fijian and Hindi, etc. As there are many non-Fijians including rotumans and Indians that speak, read and write Fijian and are better qualified BUT can not work in NLTB because of their birth race being non-Fijian. Not sure BUT this must also be in breach of Constitution that advocates no discrimination on the
basis of race, colour or creed, etc.

21. To avoid inefficiencies bred by monopolies, NLTB should be decentralized in 4 corporations
(Eastern-Fiji, Western-Fiji, Central-Fiji and Northern-Fiji) or alternatively based on Fijian
Provinces so they can compete for the business and remain efficient

22. NLTB CEOS, Managers and Board must be restricted from Politics or influence of Politicians, Chiefs or nationalists

23. Good Business governance Policies must be put in place to make NLTB transparent, accountable and responsible with 6 monthly audits

24. Govt's only responsibility should be to be a watch dog that the principles fair trade practices are not breached and that tenants are treated fairly.

25. Long term leases (preferably greater then 99 years) with fair market rents and proportional profit sharing of profits in cases where leaseholds are sold/ transferred at huge profits.
10. Equitable and fair mechanism put in place so that the NLTB profits are fairly shared by grassroots indigenous and not just some elites and or chiefs.

26. An independent Body of competent professional (consisting of stakeholders, Land owners, and govt. appointed members) created as a watchdog to over see activities of NLTB and its board.
Satendra Singh said…
26. FISCAL AND MONETARY POLICY


27. Enact into legislation that all fiscal and monetary budgets must be balanced. In other words no
expenditure to be allocated if there is no source of funds. This has been done in province of BC in Canada and just recently the Democrats have joined forces in USA to enact a similar Legislation. This will force the elected governments to be more responsible and accountable.


GOOD GOVERNANCE

28. Enact Anti-corruption Legislation that includes the creation of Anti Corruption Tribunal headed by a Qualified Judge with team of qualified investigators including forensic team of accounts, IT professionals, Auditors, etc.

29. Enact a Code of standard practice (including ethical, moral and professional standards for all
Government CEOs and political and constitutional appointees. Breaches to be severely dealt with including heavy fines, prison terms and or suspension or sacking where appropriate. These two combined with other good policies and procedures should become checks and balances for
accountability, transparency and responsibility and serve as the foundation of the good governance.

CITIZENSHIP REFORMS


30. Change Citizenship Act to Allow Dual Citizenship - Citizenship by birth in Fiji and children of Fiji born in another country to be guaranteed and retained, regardless if some one has acquired a citizenship of another country by immigration( Allow Dual Citizenship similar to NZ, Australia and Canada. This MUST be a persons birth right and humane thing to do. This will encourage many former Fiji Residents like me who have made a lot of wealth overseas to go back
to Fiji and semi-retire while investing in business ventures, land developments or Eco-tourism related projects or simply take the role of Financiers for local businesses. This will speed up the foreign investment and economic recovery process in Fiji. Currently if you acquire Citizenship of another Country then you automatically lose the Fiji citizenship and unfairly substituted ONLY by residency rights for former Fiji Citizens that only gives free entry, residency and exit rights but restricts from working, doing business and or voting etc. Unless you pay $5000 FJD to apply for Fiji citizenship by registration that seems unwarranted when a person is already a citizen of Fiji by birth. Many countries including Canada, USA, Australia, NZ and UK allow dual citizenship, simply because it is good for their economy, familial and social reasons and it is guaranteed to be very good for Fiji as well.

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