Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Follow the Constitution, Bainimarama tells Govt

Opposition Leader Voreqe Bainimarama says the 2013 Constitution in essence envisages and sets out processes that ensure all its provisions must be adhered to and the sanctity of the independent institutions and its heads and the law must reign supreme both in spirit and practice, despite a change in Government.

Bainimarama in a live video address stated that since the evening of 24 December, over the past 7 days, they have seen indirect and direct assault on the very essence, values and principles on which the 2013 constitution was formulated.

“My purpose here is not to list all incidences that have directly or indirectly or in an insidious manner undermined the 2013 Constitution but rather to inform Rabuka and his ministers that they should immediately stop doing what they are doing.”

“Rabuka, we think is caught in a time warp. He thinks that this is still the 80s and 90s. He and his 29 Ministers and Assistant Ministers believe that being in government they can do anything they like, they believe they can remove or appoint anybody they like from the civil service, boards and commissions and diplomatic positions without following the Constitution or the law.”

“I want bring to their attention that the year is 2023 and we have the 2013 Constitution.”

He said they have heard reports that personnel from the Prime Minister’s Office contacted Commissioners from the Constitutional Offices Commission and from the Public Service Commission to tell them to resign because there is a new Government.

“Anyone with basic acumen would know that these Commissioners stay on despite a change of Government. These Commissioners weren’t informed that they had the right to stay on.”

“And why was the Prime Minister’s office involved in this matter when the Constitutional Offices Commission and the Public Service Commission are independent bodies? Where is the Attorney General in all of this? Does he understand what is happening?

“Why are we having a meeting this afternoon of the Constitutional Offices Commission to have and I quote “consideration of offices under the constitutional offices commission” when clearly these offices are not ‘under’ the COC?

“We also have been reliably informed that the Attorney General visited the Honourable Chief Justice telling him to advertise various positions that fall under the Judicial Services Commission.”

“Why is the Attorney General doing so? Doesn’t he understand the separation of powers? Doesn’t he understand that the Judicial Services Commission is an independent body?

“Why is the Minister for Home Affairs asking the Commissioner of Police to tender in his resignation when clearly he has no powers to do so? And then why all of a sudden, the Constitutional Office Commission is having a meeting this Sunday afternoon? Are they trying to pre-empt the setting up of a Tribunal? Isn’t the entire process now tainted?

“Why is the Minister of Home Affairs making statements about a complaint, which he lodged when he was not a Minister against the former Attorney General? Does he understand conflict of interest? Why then all of a sudden is a border notice issued against the former Attorney General, which has his name misspelt and the date of departure is incorrect?

“Why are there volunteers and staff of NFP and Rabuka’s party walking around in Government offices giving instructions to civil servants and monitoring the work and communications of civil servants?

“We also have to ask, was His Excellency our President who appoints various Commissioners of independent bodies informed that his appointees were constructively forced to resign?

“I wish to inform the uneven three legged stool government of Rabuka, that you have to follow the Constitution. You have to follow the law. You cannot do whatever you like. This is not the 80’s and the 90’s.

“Please follow the Constitution and the law. Respect our civil servants, our permanent secretaries, and all those appointed to various boards, commissions and independent bodies.”

“I also wish to inform all permanent secretaries and other civil servants and those serving on various boards, organizations and independent bodies – you must not resign from your positions, even though the new Government and their supporters will bully you, intimidate you and even threaten you. Please be strong. You have not done anything wrong.”

“You have been appointed through a due process and because you had the skill sets, know how, knowledge and acumen to contribute to your organisations and to Fiji.”

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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