The PM on the New Constituton 2013

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The PM on the New Constituton 2013

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:12 am

2013 2013 2013 <div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vjkm0QtgVdc/Uha_Tt60KQI/AAAAAAAAOlc/_2x3FfKAJ_w/s1600/Bainimarama+bula+shirt.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vjkm0QtgVdc/Uha_Tt60KQI/AAAAAAAAOlc/_2x3FfKAJ_w/s1600/Bainimarama+bula+shirt.jpg" /></a></div><b><span style="font-size: medium;">Address at the opening of Certified Practising Accountants Conference in Nadi yesterday</span></b><span style="font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Attorney General, CPA Officials</span><span style="font-size: medium;">, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Bula Vinaka and a good morning. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We gather here today at an important juncture of our history – the unveiling yesterday of the new Constitution that will take us to the election next year</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It’s the job of accountants, of course, to take stock of the financial positions of individuals and companies. So I can think of nowhere better than to take stock of the position of our nation at this point and outline where I think we go from here.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It’s a great pleasure to be here in Nadi among you for this conference, which has become an important venue, over the years, to share ideas and improve the quality of the national debate.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">By now, most of you will be aware of the major points of the Constitution, that will pave the way for the first genuine democracy in Fiji next year of equal votes of equal value.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I’m very proud of this document. It embodies everything that I envisaged when I set out six and a half years ago to put Fiji on a different path, to put an end to the lost years, the wasted years.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We shared a vision that instead of being mired in communal politics and division, instead of corruption and self interest, instead of unsound economic policies, we would fulfill the dreams of our people at independence that Fiji be an economic powerhouse at the crossroads of the Pacific - a thriving, united beacon for our neighbours and the rest of the world – Fiji, the way the World should be.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Yes, that was the dream in 1970 but along the way, we lost our way. Well now, we’re back on course.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It has been a difficult process and I wish we could have been spared some of the pain. I wish more people – especially some of our neighbours – could have had a better understanding of what we were trying to achieve. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">But I’m convinced that for all the challenges, history will eventually judge us favourably. Because our revolution – and that’s what it is - has finally laid the foundations for a fairer, more equal society and the development of a modern, progressive state.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">By any measure, I believe the 2013 Constitution meets the standards of any of the world’s great democracies, which incidentally, we intend to become.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Instead of a discriminatory electoral system, we finally have equal votes of equal value – a true level playing field for every Fijian.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Instead of the rights of the elite being entrenched, the rights of every Fijian are entrenched.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Instead of entrenching division, we are a building and strengthening the ability of all of our people – whoever they are – to finally work together as One Nation. One People putting Fiji first. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Constitution also provides for strong and independent institutions, not a system in which only personalities matter. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I’m especially proud of a provision in this Constitution that may not be at the top of the list for some but may prove, in the long term, to be the most important of all…</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">And that is the requirement that every primary school child in Fiji be given instruction in how to speak i’Taukei and </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Fiji Hindi.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Imagine a new Fiji in which every citizen has a working knowledge of the two main vernaculars, moving freely in and out of each other’s languages, trading stories and jokes.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">My Government was determined to break the barrier of schools that were ethnically based and named . Now we go one step further in our vision to create One Fiji by breaking down the barrier of communication.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">So this Constitution is more than just a document to get us to the election next year. It is the manifesto of a genuine revolution that we had to have. And I firmly believe that future generations will look back and say “ 2013 was the turning point, when the principle of equality embraced by all the world’s great democracies, was finally embraced in Fiji”.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Like most revolutions, not everyone will agree. But it is a noble cause and we should not apologise for it.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We had to end the long but in the end, rapid decline of our nation, the entrenched corruption, the weakening of our independent institutions, the neglect of our infrastructure, the absence of sound financial and economic management, the entrenching of communal divisions and the overall loss of faith in Fiji that saw a large proportion of our people leave for greener pastures.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We had to destroy the notion that some people were more equal than others. We had to destroy the notion that those born to privilege had special status over the rest simply by right of birth. We had to restore hope for every Fijian – irrespective of their socio-economic background – that better days lie ahead. And that everyone has a place in our national life.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We were determined to create a level playing field for every Fijian and we have. We are determined to create the first genuine democracy in our history and we will. And the document that we released yesterday will take us there.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I’m pleased to report, even after 24 hours, that the response to the final version of the Constitution has been positive. In fact, people have said to me that any country would be proud of it. Because it embodies all of the major principles embraced by any advanced democracy – equality, liberty, an independent judiciary, a Bill of Rights. Plus accountability and transparency provisions that Fiji has never had and will guarantee the better standard of governance that we all know Fiji needs and deserves.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It hasn’t been an easy process. We’d all hoped that the Ghai Commission would give us a blueprint that was workable, achievable and affordable. Instead, we were presented with a document that entrenched privilege and provided us with layers of governance, bureaucracy and red tape that we didn’t need.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">So we unashamedly set about formulating a Draft Constitution that incorporated the best of the Ghai Draft and which we then took to the people in a series of consultations around the country, inviting them to give us their views on what the final version should contain. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We received 1093 written submissions and countless verbal suggestions, as my ministers and I toured the country speaking to ordinary Fijians and hearing about their concerns.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">They told us they wanted certain changes. They especially said they wanted the final version to contain specific provisions that guarantee and strengthen the protection of I’Taukei, Rotuman and Banaban land. And to also strengthen the rights of those many Fijians who lease land from others.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">They asked and we listened. Those provisions are now entrenched in the final version of the Constitution. We have provided ordinary people with the security they requested. And the liars and the scaremongers who exploited their fears for their own base political purposes have been exposed.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Where do we go from here? Well, of course, to the election next year. I’m always bemused to read and hear that it will never happen. That Bainimarama will never give up power. That it’s all a cruel trick. As each month progresses, we are answering these critics not with words but with deeds. Each block is gradually being put into place to fulfill the promises that we made and we will honour. You have my guarantee of that.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We do not make any decisions for short-term political gain. We make decisions for the long term benefit of every Fijian.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Before September 30</span><sup><span style="font-size: medium;">th</span></sup><span style="font-size: medium;">, 2014, I will subject myself to the nation’s will under the provisions of the document we unveiled yesterday. I will form a political party and my party will submit itself to the collective will of the 540 thousand or so Fijians who have already registered for the elections.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We will fight a battle of ideas with our opponents, who were offered a briefing on the Constitution yesterday and didn’t show up. That contest will be free and fair. And we will stand on our record and on the many reforms we still plan for Fiji.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">When will I launch the new party? When I’m ready. Because right now, I am concentrating not on my own political fortunes but on the fortunes of the Fijian people, just as my government has for the past six and a half years.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We aren’t just promising better basic services to ordinary people like previous governments, we are delivering them. Better access to education, health, housing, transport, electricity, water, telecommunications, government services, legal aid. Better roads, better sporting facilities. That is my priority and the priority I have set my Ministers every waking hour of every day.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I appeal to the business community to match the Government’s commitment to higher standards of propriety and accountability. For the first time, our new Constitution establishes an Accountability and Transparency Commission that will cover all public office holders. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">They’ll also be subjected to a new Code of Conduct and we will be ruthless in enforcing it. We want that same transparency and accountability in the private sector. That means an end to the shady deal, the nod and a wink, the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mentality that has long been a feature of too much of Fijian commercial life.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Ladies and Gentlemen, we must stop these practices.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We also have a vision of Fiji punching above its weight in the region and the World. Our leadership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, of the G77 – the biggest voting bloc at the UN – of the world’s peak body for sugar. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Our large contribution to UN peacekeeping - keeping watch over vulnerable men, women and children for more than three decades in troubled parts of the world. Our ambition to be the economic hub of the Pacific – to lead our neighbours into a common market. All this isn’t for ego or to make us feel good. It’s because we are determined for Fiji to fulfill its promise – to fulfill its destiny.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Ladies and Gentlemen, we are no longer in decline. We matter. And together, we can make a difference in our region and the world. We are prepared to serve, not only the world through our peacekeeping efforts but our smaller and more vulnerable neighbours. We can be proud that even as we address our own problems, we are still capable of sending our retired teachers, nurses and other professionals to boost standards of education and health in those countries. Because Fijians deliver. Fijians care.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">At home, our many reforms over the past few years are starting to produce results. In recent days, we’ve all been buoyed by the news of a more buoyant economy. Projected economic growth will be one of the highest we’ve experienced. And whatever the real figure proves to be, there’s no doubting that there is a new mood in the country, a new wave of optimism about our economic prospects because of the policies of my Government. The tax cuts and investment incentives have helped. But people start spending and investing when they have confidence. And confidence in Fiji – which was once in short order – has not only rebounded but reached new heights.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We do not intend to rest on our reforms. We must continue them. There is still too much corruption, too much tax evasion, too much waste. Business still labours under far too much red tape. Some of our trade unionists still haven’t grasped the reality of 21</span><sup><span style="font-size: medium;">st</span></sup><span style="font-size: medium;">century labour relations. We must all work together to increase productivity, reduce inefficiency and provide the investment climate in which real jobs are created and sustained. And sustainable improvements in working terms and conditions are achieved.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">And so, ladies and Gentlemen, I ask everyone in this room to commit themselves anew to Government, the private sector and employees working hand in hand to improve our economic performance and the lives of all Fijians. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I commend the final version of the 2013 Constitution to you and encourage you all to familiarize yourselves with its provisions. When the accountants among you do your sums, I’m sure you’ll find that it adds up to a sound blueprint for a new Fiji, a better Fiji - And for the first time in Fijian history - a credible and genuine framework for the achievement of true democracy.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I wish you well in your deliberations. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>Some other, mostly predictable, views:</b> </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Chaudhry's <a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&amp;id=230813432fd7d047fe102393ec31d5">FLP rejects</a> the new constitution</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Australia<a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?%20mod=story&amp;id=230813cd21329ba523fa4c7c675a79ion."> welcomes</a> the new constitution&nbsp;</span></div><span style="font-size: medium;">Shaista Shameem still <a href="http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=243506">wants the constituent assembly</a>&nbsp;</span><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">CCF <a href="http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/ccf-questions-credibility-of-fiji-constitution-process/1180168">questions process</a>&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: medium;">Transparency International Fiji <a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&amp;id=23081340a11169106731701222dfe5">welcomes constitution </a></span><br /><span style="font-size: medium;">Baba&nbsp; says they <a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&amp;id=2308136ce645f6e0df1fadd99e9614">may not contest</a></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Australian&nbsp; 2009 Appeals judge <a href="http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/coup-immunity-takes-precedence-over-new-fiji-constitution-powell/1180166">doubts validity</a>&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Brij Lal says it's a <a href="http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/new-fiji-constitution-a-mixed-bag-says-academic/1179948">mixed bag&nbsp;</a></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Jon Fraenkel <a href="http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&amp;id=78532">also negative</a>. <br />Steve Ratuva <a href="http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&amp;id=78507">welcomes land</a> and <a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx">other provisions &nbsp;</a></span><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a></div><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b><br /></b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><b>To download the constitution, </b><a href="http://www.fiji.gov.fj/">click here</a>.</div><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"><br /></a></div><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="blogger-post-footer">Your opinions are important. Please comment on this posting.</div><br> 2013 2013 2013 <br><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vjkm0QtgVdc/Uha_Tt60KQI/AAAAAAAAOlc/_2x3FfKAJ_w/s1600/Bainimarama+bula+shirt.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vjkm0QtgVdc/Uha_Tt60KQI/AAAAAAAAOlc/_2x3FfKAJ_w/s1600/Bainimarama+bula+shirt.jpg" /></a></div><b><span style="font-size: medium;">Address at the opening of Certified Practising Accountants Conference in Nadi yesterday</span></b><span style="font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Attorney General, CPA Officials</span><span style="font-size: medium;">, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Bula Vinaka and a good morning. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We gather here today at an important juncture of our history – the unveiling yesterday of the new Constitution that will take us to the election next year</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It’s the job of accountants, of course, to take stock of the financial positions of individuals and companies. So I can think of nowhere better than to take stock of the position of our nation at this point and outline where I think we go from here.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It’s a great pleasure to be here in Nadi among you for this conference, which has become an important venue, over the years, to share ideas and improve the quality of the national debate.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">By now, most of you will be aware of the major points of the Constitution, that will pave the way for the first genuine democracy in Fiji next year of equal votes of equal value.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I’m very proud of this document. It embodies everything that I envisaged when I set out six and a half years ago to put Fiji on a different path, to put an end to the lost years, the wasted years.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We shared a vision that instead of being mired in communal politics and division, instead of corruption and self interest, instead of unsound economic policies, we would fulfill the dreams of our people at independence that Fiji be an economic powerhouse at the crossroads of the Pacific - a thriving, united beacon for our neighbours and the rest of the world – Fiji, the way the World should be.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Yes, that was the dream in 1970 but along the way, we lost our way. Well now, we’re back on course.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It has been a difficult process and I wish we could have been spared some of the pain. I wish more people – especially some of our neighbours – could have had a better understanding of what we were trying to achieve. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">But I’m convinced that for all the challenges, history will eventually judge us favourably. Because our revolution – and that’s what it is - has finally laid the foundations for a fairer, more equal society and the development of a modern, progressive state.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">By any measure, I believe the 2013 Constitution meets the standards of any of the world’s great democracies, which incidentally, we intend to become.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Instead of a discriminatory electoral system, we finally have equal votes of equal value – a true level playing field for every Fijian.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Instead of the rights of the elite being entrenched, the rights of every Fijian are entrenched.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Instead of entrenching division, we are a building and strengthening the ability of all of our people – whoever they are – to finally work together as One Nation. One People putting Fiji first. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Constitution also provides for strong and independent institutions, not a system in which only personalities matter. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I’m especially proud of a provision in this Constitution that may not be at the top of the list for some but may prove, in the long term, to be the most important of all…</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">And that is the requirement that every primary school child in Fiji be given instruction in how to speak i’Taukei and </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Fiji Hindi.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Imagine a new Fiji in which every citizen has a working knowledge of the two main vernaculars, moving freely in and out of each other’s languages, trading stories and jokes.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">My Government was determined to break the barrier of schools that were ethnically based and named . Now we go one step further in our vision to create One Fiji by breaking down the barrier of communication.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">So this Constitution is more than just a document to get us to the election next year. It is the manifesto of a genuine revolution that we had to have. And I firmly believe that future generations will look back and say “ 2013 was the turning point, when the principle of equality embraced by all the world’s great democracies, was finally embraced in Fiji”.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Like most revolutions, not everyone will agree. But it is a noble cause and we should not apologise for it.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We had to end the long but in the end, rapid decline of our nation, the entrenched corruption, the weakening of our independent institutions, the neglect of our infrastructure, the absence of sound financial and economic management, the entrenching of communal divisions and the overall loss of faith in Fiji that saw a large proportion of our people leave for greener pastures.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We had to destroy the notion that some people were more equal than others. We had to destroy the notion that those born to privilege had special status over the rest simply by right of birth. We had to restore hope for every Fijian – irrespective of their socio-economic background – that better days lie ahead. And that everyone has a place in our national life.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We were determined to create a level playing field for every Fijian and we have. We are determined to create the first genuine democracy in our history and we will. And the document that we released yesterday will take us there.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I’m pleased to report, even after 24 hours, that the response to the final version of the Constitution has been positive. In fact, people have said to me that any country would be proud of it. Because it embodies all of the major principles embraced by any advanced democracy – equality, liberty, an independent judiciary, a Bill of Rights. Plus accountability and transparency provisions that Fiji has never had and will guarantee the better standard of governance that we all know Fiji needs and deserves.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">It hasn’t been an easy process. We’d all hoped that the Ghai Commission would give us a blueprint that was workable, achievable and affordable. Instead, we were presented with a document that entrenched privilege and provided us with layers of governance, bureaucracy and red tape that we didn’t need.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">So we unashamedly set about formulating a Draft Constitution that incorporated the best of the Ghai Draft and which we then took to the people in a series of consultations around the country, inviting them to give us their views on what the final version should contain. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We received 1093 written submissions and countless verbal suggestions, as my ministers and I toured the country speaking to ordinary Fijians and hearing about their concerns.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">They told us they wanted certain changes. They especially said they wanted the final version to contain specific provisions that guarantee and strengthen the protection of I’Taukei, Rotuman and Banaban land. And to also strengthen the rights of those many Fijians who lease land from others.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">They asked and we listened. Those provisions are now entrenched in the final version of the Constitution. We have provided ordinary people with the security they requested. And the liars and the scaremongers who exploited their fears for their own base political purposes have been exposed.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Where do we go from here? Well, of course, to the election next year. I’m always bemused to read and hear that it will never happen. That Bainimarama will never give up power. That it’s all a cruel trick. As each month progresses, we are answering these critics not with words but with deeds. Each block is gradually being put into place to fulfill the promises that we made and we will honour. You have my guarantee of that.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We do not make any decisions for short-term political gain. We make decisions for the long term benefit of every Fijian.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Before September 30</span><sup><span style="font-size: medium;">th</span></sup><span style="font-size: medium;">, 2014, I will subject myself to the nation’s will under the provisions of the document we unveiled yesterday. I will form a political party and my party will submit itself to the collective will of the 540 thousand or so Fijians who have already registered for the elections.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We will fight a battle of ideas with our opponents, who were offered a briefing on the Constitution yesterday and didn’t show up. That contest will be free and fair. And we will stand on our record and on the many reforms we still plan for Fiji.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">When will I launch the new party? When I’m ready. Because right now, I am concentrating not on my own political fortunes but on the fortunes of the Fijian people, just as my government has for the past six and a half years.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We aren’t just promising better basic services to ordinary people like previous governments, we are delivering them. Better access to education, health, housing, transport, electricity, water, telecommunications, government services, legal aid. Better roads, better sporting facilities. That is my priority and the priority I have set my Ministers every waking hour of every day.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I appeal to the business community to match the Government’s commitment to higher standards of propriety and accountability. For the first time, our new Constitution establishes an Accountability and Transparency Commission that will cover all public office holders. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">They’ll also be subjected to a new Code of Conduct and we will be ruthless in enforcing it. We want that same transparency and accountability in the private sector. That means an end to the shady deal, the nod and a wink, the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mentality that has long been a feature of too much of Fijian commercial life.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Ladies and Gentlemen, we must stop these practices.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We also have a vision of Fiji punching above its weight in the region and the World. Our leadership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, of the G77 – the biggest voting bloc at the UN – of the world’s peak body for sugar. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Our large contribution to UN peacekeeping - keeping watch over vulnerable men, women and children for more than three decades in troubled parts of the world. Our ambition to be the economic hub of the Pacific – to lead our neighbours into a common market. All this isn’t for ego or to make us feel good. It’s because we are determined for Fiji to fulfill its promise – to fulfill its destiny.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Ladies and Gentlemen, we are no longer in decline. We matter. And together, we can make a difference in our region and the world. We are prepared to serve, not only the world through our peacekeeping efforts but our smaller and more vulnerable neighbours. We can be proud that even as we address our own problems, we are still capable of sending our retired teachers, nurses and other professionals to boost standards of education and health in those countries. Because Fijians deliver. Fijians care.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">At home, our many reforms over the past few years are starting to produce results. In recent days, we’ve all been buoyed by the news of a more buoyant economy. Projected economic growth will be one of the highest we’ve experienced. And whatever the real figure proves to be, there’s no doubting that there is a new mood in the country, a new wave of optimism about our economic prospects because of the policies of my Government. The tax cuts and investment incentives have helped. But people start spending and investing when they have confidence. And confidence in Fiji – which was once in short order – has not only rebounded but reached new heights.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">We do not intend to rest on our reforms. We must continue them. There is still too much corruption, too much tax evasion, too much waste. Business still labours under far too much red tape. Some of our trade unionists still haven’t grasped the reality of 21</span><sup><span style="font-size: medium;">st</span></sup><span style="font-size: medium;">century labour relations. We must all work together to increase productivity, reduce inefficiency and provide the investment climate in which real jobs are created and sustained. And sustainable improvements in working terms and conditions are achieved.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">And so, ladies and Gentlemen, I ask everyone in this room to commit themselves anew to Government, the private sector and employees working hand in hand to improve our economic performance and the lives of all Fijians. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I commend the final version of the 2013 Constitution to you and encourage you all to familiarize yourselves with its provisions. When the accountants among you do your sums, I’m sure you’ll find that it adds up to a sound blueprint for a new Fiji, a better Fiji - And for the first time in Fijian history - a credible and genuine framework for the achievement of true democracy.</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">I wish you well in your deliberations. </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>Some other, mostly predictable, views:</b> </span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Chaudhry's <a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&amp;id=230813432fd7d047fe102393ec31d5">FLP rejects</a> the new constitution</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Australia<a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?%20mod=story&amp;id=230813cd21329ba523fa4c7c675a79ion."> welcomes</a> the new constitution&nbsp;</span></div><span style="font-size: medium;">Shaista Shameem still <a href="http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=243506">wants the constituent assembly</a>&nbsp;</span><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">CCF <a href="http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/ccf-questions-credibility-of-fiji-constitution-process/1180168">questions process</a>&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-size: medium;">Transparency International Fiji <a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&amp;id=23081340a11169106731701222dfe5">welcomes constitution </a></span><br /><span style="font-size: medium;">Baba&nbsp; says they <a href="http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&amp;id=2308136ce645f6e0df1fadd99e9614">may not contest</a></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Australian&nbsp; 2009 Appeals judge <a href="http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/coup-immunity-takes-precedence-over-new-fiji-constitution-powell/1180166">doubts validity</a>&nbsp;</span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Brij Lal says it's a <a href="http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/new-fiji-constitution-a-mixed-bag-says-academic/1179948">mixed bag&nbsp;</a></span></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Jon Fraenkel <a href="http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&amp;id=78532">also negative</a>. <br />Steve Ratuva <a href="http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&amp;id=78507">welcomes land</a> and <a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx">other provisions &nbsp;</a></span><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a></div><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><b><br /></b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><b>To download the constitution, </b><a href="http://www.fiji.gov.fj/">click here</a>.</div><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"><br /></a></div><a href="http://www.3news.co.nz/Fiji-govt-reveals-final-version-of-new-constitution/tabid/417/articleID/310183/Default.aspx"></a><br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0cm;"><br /></div><div class="blogger-post-footer">Your opinions are important. Please comment on this posting.</div><br>2013 2013 2013 <br> <a href="http://www.matrixar.com/" title="Matrix ">المصفوفة : أجمل الخلفيات والصور</a>

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