12 Mar 2012

Hopes Fiji's constitutional consultation will be open and transparent

6:48 am on 12 March 2012

One of the architects of Fiji's 1997 constitution, the Canberra based academic, Dr Brij Lal, says the involvement of Kenyan professor, Yash Ghai, will lend credibility to the interim regime's process for developing a new constitution.

The process, which includes public consultations and a constituent assembly, will be overseen by a five-member Constitutional Commission, headed by Professor Ghai.

He is joined by a former deputy prime minister, Taufa Vakatale, and academic and former MP, Satendra Nandan, with two more names to be announced.

Dr Lal says on the face of it the process the interim government has outlined is positive, but it remains to be seen just how inclusive it is.

"Because a number of decrees are already in existence which curtail the freedom of speech. There is an atmosphere of censorship and self-censorship in the country. It remains to be seen whether political parties will be allowed to participate in the process, but if the regime says this is going to be open, transparent and inclusive, then this is certainly a positive development."