Sahba Supports Government Draft, and Party Update

The  Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has commended government for proposing a Constitution that should move the country forward.

Sabha trustee Pt Kamlesh Arya in a statement said the Council of Advisors of the Sabha met and gave a thorough attention to the provisions of the Draft and appreciated its contents which to them are inclusive, uniting and accepting.

Pt Arya said they support the idea of Fiji being Secular and of equal citizenry and appreciated the Bill of Rights provisions. They also acknowledge and appreciate the provisions of Freedom of Religion, Right to education and right to privacy and the removal of the race based politics and reducing the size of the Parliament to 45 representatives. The Independence of the Judiciary and provisions of the Right to equality and Freedom from Discrimination and the provision of the Constitutional authority to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption have also been welcomed.

The Sabha also notes the non electable position of the President and strongly submits that this provision be reviewed with a view of making the Office of the President electable by the general populace rather than limiting it to the Parliament. “The President holds the highest office in the country and as such ought to carry the mandate of the people rather than the elected representatives. The level of ownership in the proposed draft for the position of the President of the new Republic of Fiji is seriously compromised,” said Pt Arya.

On the issue of the Commander in Chief of the Military is vested in the Prime Minister rather than the President, Pt Arya said the authority of the Commander in Chief of the Military continues to be vested in the office of the President as has been the case so far. He said the shift seems to be entrenching too much of political and executive authority into the office of the Prime Minister. He added that declaration of interests be mandated by the Constitution and elected representatives should declare their interests and personal assets. The Sabha also supports the Bainimarama government’s stance on same sex marriages. The consultations on the draft Constitution will come to an end tomorrow. Source: Fiji Live


Other political news
The Fiji Teachers Union is meeting today  to discuss "The Status of Teachers in an Evolving Democracy:.  Secretary Agni Deo Singh said the union has major concerns with the Political Parties  Decree which prevents unions from forming political parties.

USP Land Management assistant lecturer Paula Raqeukai told Radio Australia any Fiji constitution must recognize indigenous rights, especially in land matters. He said if the constitution does not recognise indigenous rights then it will fail.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has repeatedly said landowner’s rights are well protected and government is not going to take land away. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new State Lands (Amendment) Decree 2013 would safeguard iTaukei land ownership and  prevent previous practices that were not transparent and used by previous Governments to profit at the expense of iTaukei landowners. He also said landowner’s permission was a priority for government and their approval is always sort first before using the land.

Ed. note.  I cannot understand why Government does not include a constitutional provision protecting iTaukai land.  It may be unnecessary, as Sayed-Khaiyum says, but its inclusion would remove doubts that are being used by Government opponents to generate opposition to the draft, and to Government itself.

Similarly, I can understand the positions of both Government and the trade unions on the Political Parties Decree and, indeed, the Essential Industries Decree. Some union leaders have been consistently anti-government but government has made the relationship worse by effectively cutting their links to workers at work places. This legislation is arguably necessary until the political situation cools but it should be seen as a temporary measure to be reviewed when an elected government is formed. Government conveys the impression the legislation will be there for all time.

Meanwhile, the old parties are waiting to hear from the Registrar of Political Parties on whether their applications have been accepted. Bernadette Round Ganilau's small  Green party seems a non starter. She says they are "monitoring the big parties for now" but for what purpose is unclear.

Many people in Fiji are crossing their fingers and hoping that the old parties, if re-registered,  have learnt something from the past six years and are now genuine about multi-racialism and a fairer Fiji.  Others doubt there will be any genuine change, and  pin their hopes on the now likely PM's party,  in the belief that it will remain true to its vision for a better Fiji, but with some doubts about some decrees and the future role of the military. Others hope that new political parties will be formed so that they do not have to make a choice between the old parties and Bainimarama's party.  There is time for this yet but the formation of a new political party that has the resources to be effective and to win votes still seems a long way away.   Whatever the final outcome, no one party seems likely to win a majority of seats in the new parliament.



Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/ganilau-yet-to-make-party-application/53725.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com
FIJI NEWS Ganilau yet to make party application April 29, 2013 02:11:38 PM A+ A- | print | email | mobile Bookmark and Share 0 inShare Follow @ Twitter Former politician Bernadette Rounds Ganilau is yet to apply to register a party for the 2014 general elections. “We are monitoring the big parties for now and have not decided on making an application to form a party yet," Ganilau told FijiLive. “A lot of them have submitted their applications, however we will not be doing anything soon except to just stand on the sideline and observe,” she said. She also confirmed that she will not be joining any proposed political parties soon. Ganilau’s former party Green Party of Fiji was dissolved after the introduction of the new Political Parties’ Decree earlier this year. Ganilau has previously served as former Minister for Labour, Minister for Tourism, Industrial Relations, Productivity and Environment.

Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/ganilau-yet-to-make-party-application/53725.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com

Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com
Any Constitution in Fiji has to recognise indigenous rights and this especially includes land, says University of the South Pacific’s Land Management Assistant Lecturer Paula Raqeukai. Raqeukai in his submission on the draft Constitution called for the protection of indigenous rights to land, culture and language, while balancing that with meeting the needs of other communities. In an interview with Radio Australia he said if the constitution does not recognise indigenous rights then it will fail. Meanwhile, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while responding to queries about I-taukei land issues said the landowner’s rights are well protected with regards to their land and government is not going to take land away. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new State Lands (Amendment) Decree 2013 would safeguard iTaukei land ownership and do away with previous practices which was not transparent and used by previous Governments to profit at the expense of iTaukei landowners. He also said landowner’s permission was a priority for government and their approval is always sort first before using the land.

Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/constitution-should-recognise-indigenous-rights-academic/53730.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com
Any Constitution in Fiji has to recognise indigenous rights and this especially includes land, says University of the South Pacific’s Land Management Assistant Lecturer Paula Raqeukai. Raqeukai in his submission on the draft Constitution called for the protection of indigenous rights to land, culture and language, while balancing that with meeting the needs of other communities. In an interview with Radio Australia he said if the constitution does not recognise indigenous rights then it will fail. Meanwhile, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while responding to queries about I-taukei land issues said the landowner’s rights are well protected with regards to their land and government is not going to take land away. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new State Lands (Amendment) Decree 2013 would safeguard iTaukei land ownership and do away with previous practices which was not transparent and used by previous Governments to profit at the expense of iTaukei landowners. He also said landowner’s permission was a priority for government and their approval is always sort first before using the land.

Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/constitution-should-recognise-indigenous-rights-academic/53730.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com
Any Constitution in Fiji has to recognise indigenous rights and this especially includes land, says University of the South Pacific’s Land Management Assistant Lecturer Paula Raqeukai. Raqeukai in his submission on the draft Constitution called for the protection of indigenous rights to land, culture and language, while balancing that with meeting the needs of other communities. In an interview with Radio Australia he said if the constitution does not recognise indigenous rights then it will fail. Meanwhile, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while responding to queries about I-taukei land issues said the landowner’s rights are well protected with regards to their land and government is not going to take land away. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new State Lands (Amendment) Decree 2013 would safeguard iTaukei land ownership and do away with previous practices which was not transparent and used by previous Governments to profit at the expense of iTaukei landowners. He also said landowner’s permission was a priority for government and their approval is always sort first before using the land.

Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/constitution-should-recognise-indigenous-rights-academic/53730.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com
Any Constitution in Fiji has to recognise indigenous rights and this especially includes land, says University of the South Pacific’s Land Management Assistant Lecturer Paula Raqeukai. Raqeukai in his submission on the draft Constitution called for the protection of indigenous rights to land, culture and language, while balancing that with meeting the needs of other communities. In an interview with Radio Australia he said if the constitution does not recognise indigenous rights then it will fail. Meanwhile, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while responding to queries about I-taukei land issues said the landowner’s rights are well protected with regards to their land and government is not going to take land away. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new State Lands (Amendment) Decree 2013 would safeguard iTaukei land ownership and do away with previous practices which was not transparent and used by previous Governments to profit at the expense of iTaukei landowners. He also said landowner’s permission was a priority for government and their approval is always sort first before using the land.

Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/constitution-should-recognise-indigenous-rights-academic/53730.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com
Any Constitution in Fiji has to recognise indigenous rights and this especially includes land, says University of the South Pacific’s Land Management Assistant Lecturer Paula Raqeukai. Raqeukai in his submission on the draft Constitution called for the protection of indigenous rights to land, culture and language, while balancing that with meeting the needs of other communities. In an interview with Radio Australia he said if the constitution does not recognise indigenous rights then it will fail. Meanwhile, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while responding to queries about I-taukei land issues said the landowner’s rights are well protected with regards to their land and government is not going to take land away. Sayed-Khaiyum said the new State Lands (Amendment) Decree 2013 would safeguard iTaukei land ownership and do away with previous practices which was not transparent and used by previous Governments to profit at the expense of iTaukei landowners. He also said landowner’s permission was a priority for government and their approval is always sort first before using the land.

Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2013/04/constitution-should-recognise-indigenous-rights-academic/53730.Fijilive
Copyright 2013 © Fijilive.com

Comments

Joe said…
The Sabha has addressed some good points and should be considered by the govt. Agni Deo Singh, like other unionists is there for himself it seems. A declaration of assets will expose these fat cats to the very people that they have been taking money off. I hope none of the old political parties are registered as it will defeat the purpose of the clean up campaign. A weed will grow back again if its not uprooted. All evil has to be disposed of because there may not be another chance. There is enough reason for the govt to liquidate these old parties aka UFDF as they are still advocating politics of race and religion.
john said…
I don't think that the govt should give in to the demands of unions, landowners or political parties. This is Fiji's (perhaps only) chance to become a modern state where rights of special interest groups such as unionists and landowners can be curtailed if it is for the common good. The PM should have the discretion to lease native land to anyone who pays for it. For too long, indolent landowners have been sitting on gold mines being too lazy to scratch the ground. I'd suggest that the govt goes a step further and declares all native land to be crown land. It can then be sold and proper titles can be issued as is the case in all successful and civilised economies.
MDG 2015 said…
@ John

We would not consider women a 'special interest group' surely? And it is noted that you do not list them as such. Perhaps we should remind ourselves that none of us, not one, would be here were it not for the nurturing nature of women. Therefore, their condition and their situation should be entrenched since they patently come from a place which is not, and never has been, equitable. The Millenium Goals with regard to the position of women in society need attention. They are coming on: fast!
john said…
This govt has done more for the MDGs than any other government before! Look at the poverty rates, how they have come down. Look at the growth in our economy and look at how many women we have in senior positions in the govt.
Odd focus of interest? said…
The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha in common with similar religion-based organisations in Fiji appears to operate on a number of levels akin to many of the reviled political parties. Their fawning and incestuous officials feed off each other. Indeed, some of their dealings have revealed undeclared conflicts of interest, nepotism even. Transparency is required. Odd that they should so lately show interest in an entrenched, constitutional role for an Anti-corruption Commission? They ought to see that they might well feature as a first focus of interest for such an entity. They are prodigious ingestors of public money. Furthermore, they know full well that they are? The public have a right to know precisely how this public money is utilised. Who is paid from it? What benefits are achieved by it, to the general welfare and not just 'jobs for the boys'?
Whistleblower Legislation with bite said…
It might be wise to add that 'jobs for the boys' will not in any way ameliorate the issue of conflicting interests and abuse of public monies were women to replace 'The Boyz'. There simply is no room in 2013 for anyone to abuse funds derived from taxpayer sources which ought to go directly towards education and health. Inserting intermediaries to catch 'Manna from Heaven' before it falls into the laps of the deserving poor, needy students or the elderly and disabled is entirely unforgiveable. It is also perceived to be corrupt as well as factually corrupt. So why do we choose to ignore this abuse and reward those who revel in it? These persons are discovered. They should be 'outed' and discarded. Their reputations rendered and sundered. It is time for Whistleblower Legislation with bite.
Who cares what they think said…
Nothing but foot washing slurpers!

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