Sabha raises concerns on draft constitution

Caption:?Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji??trustee and former president, ?Ambassador Kamlesh Arya. Photo: SUPPLIED.

By JOSEPHINE NAVULA

The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has submitted some issues which need to be looked into after they have endorsed the draft constitution.

Organization?s trustee and former president Kamlesh Arya notes in a statement that Non electable position of the President and strongly submits that this provision be reviewed with a view of making the Office of the President electable by the general populace rather than limiting it to the Parliament.

He also stated that the President holds the highest office in the country and as such ought to carry the mandate of the people rather than the elected representatives.

?The level of ownership in the proposed draft for the position of the President of the new Republic of Fiji is seriously compromised.?

Furthermore, Arya noted that that the issue of the Commander in Chief of the Military is vested in the Prime Minister rather than the President.

?Symbolic as it may have been, the Sabha is of the view and submits likewise that the authority of the Commander in Chief of the Military continues to be vested in the office of the President as has been the case so far.? The shift seems to be entrenching too much of political and executive authority into the office of the Prime Minister.?

?The Absence of Constitutional requirement of Elected Representatives declaring their pecuniary interests and personal assets the Sabha submits that declaration of interests is mandated by the Constitution.?

The Sabha applauds the Governments positions on same sex marriages.

Here is the full submission:

The Council of Advisors of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji have met and having given a thorough attention to the provisions of the Draft Fiji Constitution commend the Government and the Drafting Team for proposing a Constitution that given the opportunity moves the Country forward:

 

The Sabha therefore, in its statement to the Nation states:

  1. Appreciation of the Draft Constitution which is all inclusive, uniting and accepting;
  2. Acknowledgement of the new Fiji being Secular and of equal citizenry;
  3. Appreciation to the Bill of rights provisions;
  4. Acknowledgement and appreciation to the provisions of Freedom of Religion, Right to education and right to privacy;
  5. Appreciation to the removal of the race based politics and reducing the size of the Parliament to 45 representatives;
  6. Acknowledgment of the Independence of the Judiciary and provisions of the Right to equality and Freedom from Discrimination;
  7. Appreciation to the provision of the Constitutional authority to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The Sabha also notes:

  1. Non electable position of the President and strongly submits that this provision be reviewed with a view of making the Office of the President electable by the general populace rather than limiting it to the Parliament. The President holds the highest office in the country and as such ought to carry the mandate of the people rather than the elected representatives. The level of ownership in the proposed draft for the position of the President of the new Republic of Fiji is seriously compromised.
  2. That the issue of the Commander in Chief of the Military is vested in the Prime Minister rather than the President. Symbolic as it may have been, the Sabha is of the view and submits likewise that the authority of the Commander in Chief of the Military continues to be vested in the office of the President as has been the case so far.? The shift seems to be entrenching too much of political and executive authority into the office of the Prime Minister.
  3. The Absence of Constitutional requirement of Elected Representatives declaring their pecuniary interests and personal assets the Sabha submits that declaration of interests be mandated by the Constitution.

The Sabha applauds the Governments positions on same sex marriages.

Having said the aforesaid, the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji and its membership fully supports the proposed Draft Constitution of the new Fiji.