17 Aug 2012

Fiji regime leader accused of harming consultation process

3:00 pm on 17 August 2012

The leader of Fiji's United People's Party, Mick Beddoes, says the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, could undermine the constitution commission through his daily denunciations and threats against the submitters.

Commodore Bainimarama has been critical of some submissions and told the commission chair, Professor Yash Ghai, his calls for freedom of expression are misplaced.

He also told Mr Ghai he was in breach of the Decree establishing the Commission by meeting privately with some groups but Mr Beddoes says it's the Commodore who's at fault.

Mr Beddoes says a little more humility, respect and trust in the people, the commissioners and the process might be a worthwhile investment by the regime.

"It begs the question, why on earth would anybody who is making a submission would want to make a submission that perhaps differs in some way from somebody else's or the regime's if they know they are going to be pounced on and attacked by the prime minister or the regime, because they happen to express a point of view that is at odds with somebody else's. I mean why would anybody want that."