New and Comments Monday 15 October 2012.

FIJIANS IN AUSTRALIA. Some 300 former Fiji residents living on the Gold Coast celebrated Fiji’s 42nd anniversary of  Independence last week. Acting Head of Mission  Ms Cheryl Brown-Irava repeated the PM's message on building a better Fiji for all.With some 65,000 Fijians resident in Australia,the High Commission will also attend forthcoming Fiji Day celebrations in Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne and South Australia over the next few weekends and use the opportunity to brief Fiji Communities on the progress of Constitutional and Electoral reforms in addition to providing consular assistance.

GHAI ADVISES FIJI CAN'T HAVE BOTH. Declaring Fiji a Christian state  is incompatible with human rights.Fiji can't have both. He said human rights respected the different religions and faiths in the country. "Human rights support the freedom of worship of individuals and the right to go about as they wish, free from religious obligations ... A Christian State would restrict people from exercising their freedom because certain activities will have to be stopped during the day of rest."

MOORE'S REASSURANCE ON COMMON IDENTITY. Commissioner Penelope Moore has reassured Somosomo villagers in Taveuni that the constitution will not change the identity of the iTaukei people. "A person's identity could be their culture, traditions, language and customs which are sacred to them as it is something that keeps them original apart from the rest of the populace. In Fiji we have lived together for a long time now and the intermingling of cultures have produced a sort of culture that makes us unique as a multicultural nation."  She said other races, when they travel abroad, also have a uniqueness that tells others they are from  Fiji.

MADRAIWIWI'S RED FLAG.  Ms Moore referred to former Vice-President and respected Bauan chief Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi who said the use of the term Fijian as a common identity was being used by some as a red flag for their own reasons. Later, Ratu Joni was present in Suva when Yavusa Kubuna (the villagers of Bau, Lasakau and Raraososo) told the Constitution Commission all citizens should be called Fijians but that iTaukei be also called Fijian as a sign of unity of all the people in Fiji. They believe by calling the indigenous people iTaukei will continue to cause division.


  •  Fiji to be a Christian State but did not propose that this should be legislated or enforced by the government.
  • The President to be elect by the Upper and Lower House from a list of three names submitted by the Great Council of Chiefs.
  • Government to be formed from a coalition of over 50% MPs
  • The PM to be elected by the party with the most seats, and the PM to choose Cabinet.
  • Fewer foreign judges
  • A smaller military with more women and members of other ethnic groups.
VILLAGE BY-LAWS. The Commission has been told that Vuna in Taveuni wants some village by-laws made compulsory.

FWCC SPOKESPERSON SHAMIMA ALI had told the Commission the FWCC wants the total withdrawal of the Fiji Military Forces from all current governance structures and the reduction in the size of the RFMF.

SUBMISSION ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING. The Housing Authority submission to the Commission  proposed that government incorporated into the Bill of Rights, the provision of 'right to affordable housing for all its citizens'. Board Chairman Lt-Col Tikoitoga said, "It is the Housing Authority's vision to set goals and determine strategies that would tangibly establish a better living standard for all Fijians by the year 2020.

He said that the incorporation of the right to affordable housing would mean that the government that came into office after 2014 would need to guarantee housing security as an identifiable constitutional right of every Fijian citizen. The submission took note of the success stories of the Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius models and how best Fiji may adjust these models to Fiji. Lt-Col Tikoitoga informed the Commission Housing Authority total arrears stood at $17.6 million, or 15% of their total mortgage portfolio,  and their non-performing loans were 33.6% of their total mortgage portfolio.

PUBLIC NOTICE. A public seminar organized by the Constitution Commission and the Fiji National University will be held at the Fiji National University Nasinu Campus this Wednesday 17th October from 6-8pm.  All are welcome.

Summaries of other submissions will be made during the week.

ALLEGED BRIBE-TAKER DENIED BAIL  Rudra Maharaj has been denied bail.  It is alleged that when he was the information officer for Strategic Framework for Change at the PM's Office he accepted $2,000 cash and two cheques for $10,000 as a reward from a Avin Prakash on account of using influence in procuring the contract pertaining to tender number WSC 177-182/2012. In applying for bail his lawyer said Maharaj  is "not a hard criminal who should not be trusted." Really!


Militarise view ? said…
Croz, any idea what happened to the military's submission ? I remember Frank saying they would make one ?
yea said…
The military don't need to present. Frank has the ultimate say on the constitution so he gets what ever he wants in the end.
Anonymous said…
and they will be able to forge a party manifesto for all by incorporating as much as possible from the submissions made.

From bad to worse said…
It is going from bad to worse? The treasonous bainimarama family condemning coups? They are the cause of the coup? Sounding more and more like the retrat of the ghadafis?
Crosbie Walsh said…
Prof Ghai says the Commission will now consult with a number of experts on the economy, the military and so on. I presume this is when the military will make its submission.
Anonymous said…
The military submission should have been made publicly. Remember Frank criticising behind doors talks ?

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