1 Jul 2009

Three-year delay to Fiji constitutional debate called a charade

8:05 pm on 1 July 2009

An Australian based NGO, the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, says the three-year delay before the country begins debating a new constitution is a charade to ensure the military regime prolongs its hold on power.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has unveiled what is ostensibly a road map back to democracy with elections in 2014.

But he says the country will remain without a constitution for at least another four years, with discussions on a replacement for the abrogated 1997 document now due to begin in 2012.

The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement's spokesman, Usaia Waqatairewa, says there's no explanation for such a delay, and he says he wouldn't be surprised if the election date was put back further.

"It's two and a half years that he has reigned as a dictator in Fiji is littered with reneges on promises, littered with lies, so I wouldn't be surprised that come 2014 he says two years to put together a constitution was a too short a time period and now they're going to extend it again."

Usaia Waqatairewa