4 May 2010

Decree on term Fijian could be imminent

7:54 am on 4 May 2010

A member of the committee that helped draft Fiji's now-abrogated constitution says he expects the new regime to use the term "Fijian" to mean all citizens when it writes a replacement document.

Fiji's Attorney General, Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum, has told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation that all Fiji citizens should be known as Fijians, a term previously used only for the indigenous community.

An Australia-based Fiji academic, Dr Brij Lal, who helped write Fiji's 1997 constitution, says he would not be surprised if the term was used inclusively in the next constitution, or if the regime acts soon to pass a decree on the word.

"Things in Fiji have been done by decree since April 2009, and there's nothing stopping the military regime from publishing a decree saying that everyone from henceforth be known as Fijians."

Brij Lal says he sees no reason the term Fijian should not apply to everyone from Fiji.