25 Sep 2003

Academic questions moves to include Deed of Cession in constitution

10:27 am on 25 September 2003

One of the architects of Fiji's six-year-old Constitution says he cannot see any benefit from incorporating the historic Deed of Cession into the Constitution.

The Fiji Cabinet has met to discuss incorporating the 1874 Deed of Cession document, by which Fiji was handed over to Great Britain, into Fiji's present Constitution.

But Dr Brij Vilash Lal, who helped draft the Constitution, adopted in 1997, is questioning what those behind the move hope to gain by it.

Dr Lal, head of Pacific and Asian History at the Australian National University, says the Deed of Cession may have little relevance to contemporary Fiji.

"Harking back to the past, to the origins of our colonial history -how is that going to solve the enormous social and economic problems facing Fiji as it enters the 21st century?"