The public relations consultations to form a new constitution that were supposed to start tomorrow have been cancelled.
MINFO has given no reason for recalling the media alert to the talks and has only said news teams will be advised of a new date.
|PER lifted but Public Order Act brings new terror|
The consultations were supposed to be conducted by the Public Relations & Media Unit of the Strategic Framework for Change Coordinating Office, from the office of the unelected Prime Minister.
The regime's leader, Frank Bainimarama, talked up the 'consultations' in his New Year address when he revealed the public emergency regulations were to be removed.
In that address he said the lifting of the PER "marks an important step toward the public consultations for the formation of a new constitution under which truly democratic elections can be held. I shall give further details in due course of the shape and form of the consultations which will commence in February."
He said: "My fellow Fijians I am painfully aware that for decades, Fiji was mismanaged and hindered by greed and selfishness. Fiji has changed. We must however be vigilant. Corruption and prejudice must not be permitted in our modern nation. You and I must not allow a few to dictate the destiny of our country for their own selfish needs."
He added: "Therefore, when the consultations for the new constitution commences in 2012 your must think responsibly. You must think of and for the future. There are certain features of the new constitution that will be non-negotiable. The constitution must establish a government that is founded on an electoral system that guarantees equal suffrage – a truly democratic system based on the principle of one person, one vote, one value; We will not have a system that will classify Fijians based on ethnicity; and, Our young men and women, those 18 years old must have the right to vote.
"I will in the next few weeks announce the nationwide consultation process which will commence in February 2012. To facilitate this consultation process, the Public Emergency Regulations will cease from 7 January 2012."
From his speech on Friday January the 6th where he claimed "there is nothing I want than a truly democratic government", he turned again to the consultations as the way to move forward.
He said: "Ladies and gentlemen: As I announced in my New Year’s address, the Public Emergency Regulations will be lifted from tomorrow. This marks an important step toward the public consultations for the formation of a new constitution under which truly democratic elections can be held. I shall give further details in due course of the shape and form of the consultations which will commence in February."
We must remain alert to the consultations and if there is cynicism and suspicion, they are justified. This is, after all, the regime that did us over the removal of the public emergency regulations: the PER has indeed gone but we now live under a new reign of terror, the Public Order Act.
The writing is on the wall but the much hyped discussions will keep us in the game with this Machiavellian regime.
EDITOR'S NOTE Monday, Jan 23 11am: Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has since told Radio New Zealand "economic and social rights should be discussed as part of consultations on the new constitution" and that the "consultations start next month in time for the elections promised for 2014." He also criticised the existing Constitution comparing it with South Africa’s which includes provisions on socio-economic rights. Quote: "If you look at the 1997 constitution, it did not have those provisions it had purely what are generally termed civil and political rights but not the economic rights and the social rights. So these are the sort of things that are up for discussion.”