8 Aug 2012

Ghai says more work needed for open Fiji constitution debate

6:22 pm on 8 August 2012

The head of Fiji's Constitution Commission Yash Ghai says he has pressed the interim government again to make sure there is an atmosphere in Fiji for people to give their views on a new constitution.

The Commission has heard about 60 submissions in three days of public hearings and Professor Ghai says, while it is still early days, he expected more people.

He says public servants have told him they were not allowed to make submissions and some people were still applying for meeting permits, now no longer a requirement in Fiji.

Professor Ghai says he brought the participation issue up with the interim Prime Minister earlier in the week.

"If there are such fears of if there is legislation which inhibits them from coming forward then the government must deal with that situation. I said it could just be that these meetings were announced recently and people are at work but I said people have been telling us that people are a bit nervous about coming out openly."

Professor Ghai says Commodore Frank Bainimarama clearly wants full participation and he has urged public servants to start preparing their submissions.

Professor Ghai has called for a study of remaining laws which may be restricting debate.