News and Comments Friday 7 September 2012

WEEKEND READING. •Allen Lockington Column • One Man One Vote One Value Part II by Crosbie Walsh • The iTaukei Administration by Rodney Cole • Reflections on Wages by Fr Kevin Barr


A FAIR ENOUGH QUESTION. Mosmi Bhim asks why Government cannot be taken to court.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR LABOUR. The FLP has pledged its support to assist the Fiji Mine Workers Union put into effect their claims in relation to a 21-year-old strike. The party’s comment follows a FMWU meeting earlier this week where they decided they will only campaign and back a political party committed to help them in their cause fighting against harsh working conditions at the Emperor Goldmine in Vatukoula. [Any relationship between these two sentences is, of course, entirely coincidental.]  

TAUFA'S UNHELPFUL RESPONSE. A Naocobau villager Samuela Seru asked the Constitution Commission to explain why all citizens country should be referred to as Fijians. Responding to the question, commission member Taufa Vakatale said it was not the commission's duty to offer an explanation.

"This committee cannot answer that question because this is something imposed by the government and it is a decree by government that all citizens of this country be called Fijians — we cannot answer this question for you," she said. Surely Taufa and the Commission can do better than this!

FUTURE ROLE OF GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS? Constitution Commission chairman Prof Yash Ghai expected the GCC to have a less prominent role under the new constitution. He thought the role would depend on the approach taken in the constitution.

"If you take an approach which says the important consideration in the rights of citizens and their equal rights and if you say that the electoral system should promote political integration among different communities and national unity then you have a very different approach to the ones we have had in the previous constitution. And in this new approach there would not be much of a role for chiefs at the national level."
But the reduced political functions of the GCC at the national level would, of course, not prevent chiefs from forming an association and dealing with issues relating to the iTaukei people.

"I think the exact role of the council of chiefs will depend on the ultimate approach that is taken initially by us and then the Constituent Assembly as to how much we want political integration across races and we want a non-racial Fiji, so it depends on the vision of Fiji that emerges.

"At the moment it's difficult to say because we have received very diverse views — some have expressed support for a non-racial Fiji while others have supported communities still being separated as before and separate election seats and even separate schools. So we'll look seriously into this issue based on the submissions being made before making our final recommendation."


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