11 Jan 2013

Fiji party leader calls constitutional process a scam

2:22 pm on 11 January 2013

The president of Fiji's United People's Party, Mick Beddoes, says the regime's promise of a constitution in a fair and transparent process has always been a sham.

The interim government has dumped the draft constitution it commissioned last year and given its legal team until the end of the month to produce a new one.

It says the draft will then go to a constituent assembly for debate, and a new constitution should be in place by March.

The draft which was dumped was based on 7,000 submissions, amounting to the most comprehensive stock-take of people's concerns and aspirations in years.

Mr Beddoes says he had warned Pacific Islands Forum Foreign ministers in a meeting about what might happen.

He says the regime has managed to convince the international community to foot the bill for its scam.

"I alerted them to the fact that what is going to be put in place is rather an elaborate sham to lure the international community into believeing that some serious genuine steops are being made towards democratic rule. Their interpretation of democratic rule is based on how they see it not how the people see it."

Mick Beddoes says he suspects the regime has already written up a constitution.

The President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau defended the dumping of the draft of the Constitution Commission by saying it

succumbed to the whims of the few who have an interest in perpetuating divisions within Fiji society.

He says Fiji has to break with its past and ensure that unelected people no longer make decisons for the general public.