THE new constitution of Fiji will need to be regarded as a sacred document - created for the people by the people of Fiji so that no one can destroy it, says Prof Satendra Nandan, a member of the Constitution Commission.
Fiji has abrogated three of its constitutions since 1970 which, he says, speaks volumes of the ignorance and lack of understanding Fijians have towards the document.
Prof Nandan told The Fiji Times in Tailevu yesterday that when people had a sense of ownership of these new laws, then they would feel free to come forward and make their voices heard. At the same time, he said, the people should also treat the document like Fijians treasure their land and culture.
Prof Nandan said only 500 submissions were received by the commission since August 3.
He said this was not a "good sign" because a lot of people still did not understand how important the document would be in their lives and the lives of their children.
"A number of people talked about the Deed of Cession, obviously it's a sacred moment in history but why can't we regard our constitution as a scared document," Prof Nandan said.
He said people should regard the constitution sacred as they did for the Bible and other religious text.
The constitution was created by people for the people and should be treated as sacred, so no one could destroy it," he said.
Prof Nandan said people needed to feel strongly about it so people in high authority would hesitate to take it away from them.
He explained that this was about ordinary people's epic journey and they should come up with some worthwhile ideas to be included in the constitution.
"People need to understand that their submissions will be taken into consideration," Prof Nandan said.
He said some submissions were made on how people could defend the constitution, protect it in order to create a multiracial society.
He said there was a vision emerging from men, women, children and youths of Fiji.
"We stand on a very creative ground which we call Fiji and how we can ensure that this is a blessed land," he said.
He said everyone's submissions would have a huge difference to the future and present generation of Fiji.