PARTS of the 1997 Constitution were excellent but they clearly need amendment.
This is the view of Dr Shaista Shameem who presented submissions to the Constitution Commission.
Dr Shameem, a former director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, said parts of the 1997 Constitution did not make sense in the general scheme of things which caused tension between the Bill of Rights provisions and governance clauses.
"In 1997 good governance, transparency, accountability and good administration were not considered to be human rights issues, but now they are incorporated into international law. The new constitution should reflect that shift in constitutional law towards post-modernity," she said.
"The 1997 Constitution is amenable to amendment because that document itself makes it possible to do so (the 1997 Constitution was an amendment of the 1990 Constitution), and also because amending it is the only possible method for making important changes in the body politic of Fiji, particularly if significant interest groups still speak favourably of it."
Dr Shameem proposed that the amendments to the 1997 Constitution include emphasis on the social contract principle by defining rights, duties and responsibilities of both the State and the people from the Bill of Rights perspective; the Bill of Rights expanded to include duties of the people to each other as well as to the State and government; equal representation in Parliament, and responsibility of the public service and all arms and branches of the State, as well as the judiciary.