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Not the last constitution

Nanise Loanakadavu
Thursday, December 13, 2012

THE Constitution Commission does not want the new document to be the one to end all constitutions.

During the launch of the Citizen's Constitutional Forum Limited (CCF) documentary, commission chairman Prof Yash Ghai said future generations should also have an opportunity to plan their own constitutions.

"But we do hope that our constitution, if adopted by the Constituent Assembly, will last a little bit longer than the previous constitutions of Fiji," he said.

"I don't want our constitution to be the one to end all constitutions."

Prof Ghai said there was universal condemnation of coups and they were asked repeatedly to make a "coup-proof" constitution.

He said it was a big responsibility to receive such an outpouring of views through the consultation process.

He said the commission hoped that it would do justice to their aspirations.

Prof Ghai said the commission found Fiji as a deeply-fragmented society, deeply divided society, full of anxiety and not able to perhaps cope with the rapid changes that had taken place in the past 20 to 30 years.

He said this was a picture of a country, society and community with a phase of great transformation and great changes taking place.

"It is a big challenge for us to give people sense of all things that are at work, how one can reconcile highly valued traditional principles with change and how we could build a nation out of very diverse communities who are always over suspicious of the others.

"It is a hope and indeed an expectation that when people of Fiji read our constitution they will see something of themselves in that constitution," he said.

Prof Ghai said the framework for decision-making in this particular case was composed of four elements which were: The principles in the decree popularly known as the non-negotiable principles; The views of the people; Past experience in Fiji of constitutions, what has worked and what has not worked; and Their expertise in this area in arriving at the recommendations.





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