29 Jul 2003

Acting Samoan PM calls for racially weighted Fiji constitution

6:14 pm on 29 July 2003

Samoa's acting Prime Minister Misa Telefoni Retzlaff says a racially weighted constitution should have been imposed in Fiji.

Linda Skates reports from Apia that Misa was officially opening the Pacific Islands News Asssociation or PINA conference when he made the call...

"Misa Telefoni had quoted a famous Kennedy statement on the media telling delegates I may not like what you say but I will always respect your right to say it, the message came with a clear warning, however that culture must be taken just as seriously into account in the context of reporting. The acting Prime Minister then asked how much economic and political suffering could have been avoided in Fiji, by imposing a racially weighted constitution. Misa went on to say that there was an unwritten social contract that independence in Fiji, was the Indians controlling the industry and Commcerce and the Fijians the politics. The call for the racially weighted constitution appeared to take many of those attending the opening ceremony by surprise .."