'We listened to all'

Nasik Swami  in the Fiji Times, Monday, January 07, 2013

THE work to draft Fiji's new constitution by the dissolved Constitution Commission, its chairman Professor Yash Ghai and members has always been neutral.

These were the comments made by one of the commissioners of the dissolved commission, Penelope Moore following various media reports questioning the commission's neutrality.

Ms Moore said various questions were surfacing following the fact that Prof Ghai talked to political parties.

"I think they (media reports) were questioning Yash Ghai and the fact that he talked with political parties. To be honest, we talked with every possible person we could talk to," she said.
Ms Moore said the reason Prof Ghai communicated with any other people outside was to hear their views.

"The word neutral is interesting. I think they (media reports) are meaning our opinions. Definitely our opinions came from what we learnt from the submissions," Ms Moore said. "Therefore we did not have opinions. We were listening to people and hearing what people were saying. Some of the things concerned us greatly and we listened to them and some of the things that were not in line with the guiding principles, we also listened to it."

She said because the commission was guided by the principles it had to find ways to ensure submissions were accommodated as much as possible on all sides. "The guiding principles and the other two conditions, one was looking at history and another was looking at the basic practices and how to move Fiji to a different form. So those were the conditions we upheld," the outspoken commissioner said.

"But that does not mean we did not listen to all sides. In order to hear and to make decisions you have to be able to and I guess in a way that's neutral." Ms Moore said the commission was neutral in the way that it had the same respect for everybody irrespective of where they were from.

"The people in the commission were of great integrity. Professor Ghai is an internationally renowned person; commissioners were very hardworking with years of experience and knowledge. They were not biased and ensured that people were treated equally.

"I think that's why we were chosen," she said.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Which is why the commissioners should have avoided socialising with any one group of submittees. The perception created by the socialising supported by the pro chiefs and ngo bias in the draft is of a loss of neutrality. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.
listening said…
The public had high expectations of Yash Ghai because of his apparently good reputation. But he succumbed to the pressure of the elite groups backed by the various foreign missions most of whom are hostile to the government. Better to have remained aloof from any factions, pro or anti government.He should have listened to everyone but been friends to none.In a small place like Fiji everyone knows who is close to who.
Anonymous said…
No, the issue was that the commissioners didn't shutup and do what they were told and do what the military required, total submission and blind obedience. Boo hoo. They couldn't even control these three...now comes the bad mouthing and smearing of Yash Ghai their own appointee!! How often has this happened?
desmond said…
as we should expect, now comes the slagging off of the people the interim government appointed in the first place...how many judges, chiefs, magistrates, public servants, politicians, police, army officers all appointed by the junta have been through the same thing? This is why they can't get good people Croz, everyone knows what happens if you don't 'toe the line', military style. I for one was surprised the military government didn't just give them their findings, save themsleves the hassle and be done with the charade. I am sure they are thinking the same.
Anonymous said…
perhaps the commissioners were not going to be pushed around by thugs like the recent failed visit by ILO. Yes we get it Croz, we are all just so inflexible and noncompliant. Why should anyone feel constrained by 'amateur made up as we go along decrees' from an unelected regime?
Patriot said…
The draft doc is done. Thanks to Yash and the team. We now move to stage 2. The draft Commission is now history.All comments for and against..neutral or otherwise is irrelevant. We move forward. Thanks for your contributions and creating a draft copy. It will be debated and amended. That is the process. Sorry, but Draft was not the final doc. Remember, if you are not part of the process then your views will be missed. Sorry, but if the critics are not part of this process then they will be missing out! Too bad if the elite and privileged political parties missed out!! you all have missed the boat a long time ago. Good luck with the elections because the old elites are going to be voted out.
desmond said…
The point that has been made is that the regime lost control of three people and were not all happy with the outcome they got, how exactly do they expect to get the outcome they demand from 100 people?? You talk about 'moving forward' without even adressing the flaws...So when the assembly of free minded people come up with proposals the regime will not accept or inserts immunity which is hugely unpopular and the regime can't even bring themselves to speak about, what then? You seem to think it is all downhill from here and we are all just going through the motions of pretending to have a dialogue with the outcome already predetermined!!!Which no doubt, you think, it is.
Anonymous said…
How many people appointed to the new assembly are prepared to cop the threats and smears heaped on the commissioners when they appear to step out of line?! It seems everything the regime touches turns to sh*t. Sad really, if they had just turned it over to a truly independent body to navigate.
Anonymous said…
this suggests that the military are somehow neutral good faith players in all this, and we can see clearly they are not. Self interest is first and foremost in their minds, everyone else comes a distant second. I would imagine there are decrees being drafted now to cut the asseembly off at the knees.
Anonymous said…
Ghai didn't appear independent - I think that's the issue.

If you don't appear independent then you have lost your independence to a great degree.
Junta Stooges said…
The so called Constituent Assembly will be nothing but an assembly of junta stooges. Supporters of a human rights abusing military didctatorship.
Anonymous said…
you mean like the regime 'appearing' accountable and 'appearing' to want a Fijian representative democracy?
Anonymous said…
So now it appears a certain self proclaimed dictator and a former judge are engaged in Ugandan affairs
Anonymous said…
Of course, the Commission Chair and the Commissioners spoke with political parties. Political parties do not fade into the dusk. They are also not writ in stone. They would scarcely have done their job had they not. However, it is true that impartiality demands independence and it also requires a semblance of distance in decision-making. How else would a broad range of views be achieved were those who are former members of political parties not spoken to? Furthermore, a true democracy is run by: 1) civilians 2) politicians and they must have and sustain a mandate. This descent into 'nit-picking' as Croz Walsh would have it, is unseemly and unhelpful and borders upon bickering. Bickering is 'out of order'.Follow the arguments, wherever they lead. Emphasis upon WHEREVER.

Anonymous said…
The real test of those who sit in the Constituent Assembly and the test of those who appoint them is this: 1)Have they lied at any time in the past six years to the People of Fiji? 2) Have they been even economical with the truth? 3) Have they drawn one dollar Fijian in benefit of any kind?

This test must be applied with vigour. It will be. Now and in years to come. There is no statute of limitations even by arbitrary decree on Perjury and Abuse of Office using Public Money. That should concentrate the minds necessarily and sufficiently. The issue of immunity is also a matter of moment. Blanket immunity is both morally and legally repugnant. That is self-evident? Common Law - No appeal? Repugnant.
rusi said…
Pinochet also thought he was safe granting himself immunity forever, for everything...the Argentine military junta did the same... and then things changed. You can etch immunity in stone if you like, given the self intertes and blanket nature, why should wefeel bound by it.
Anonymous said…
@ rusi

Claro que si! The sheer stupidity that anyone might think otherwise? La Junta Argentina succumbed to the Senior Service. No immunity for tyrants, jamas! Ojala que nunca! Now they are 'at it again'? Senora Fernandez de Kirchner is making a sorry mistake. The Scribblers of Spin, the Hired Hands of Haram - an uncertain future awaits. Blow them all out of the water!
Anonymous said…
Lets just do a 'Speight'. Agree to what the military wants then get the key players when they relax. Works every time. We also need playing cards, just like Iraq with the key players faces and names, so we know who and where they are.
Anonymous said…
Even better, lull the military into a false sense of security, give them immunity but win the next elections by playing the race card ferociously then amend the constitution so we get rid of the immunity. Don't worry Papa Esdeall will always have a plan for its little children.
rusi said…
i see the military play the nationalism card when it suits...now blaming 'foreign influence' in the draft decree .....oh my how sneaky and oh how so paranoid the regime is. I presume it escaped them that they accepted foreign money to pay for the exercise (as you expect) and appointed two foreigners as commissioners..!?? But clearly they weren't actually the goons 'foreigners'.. next time they get some compliant sri lankans to do their bidding. Perhaps Croz could comment on the now entrenched militray view of a 'them and us' and how this sits with his view of the nirvana that will be a race free, democratic fiji dictated at the point of a gun.
Anonymous said…
Leave croz alone. He is busy buying a new suit for his next junta free trip to drool and slobber. If he keeps this up he could be a meber of the constituent committee rabble?

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons from Africa

Fijian Holdings Scandal: Betrayal by their trusted sons

The Ratu Tevita Saga, Coup4.5, Michael Field, the ANU Duo, and Tonga