The Fiji Democracy and Freedom of Australia has called for the reinstatement of the Great Cuncil of Chiefs and warned the regime's continuing efforts to decimate Fijian institutions could lead to a backlash from the Fijian people.
In a statement signed by the president Suliasi Daunitutu, FDFM denounces the decision by the illegal prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama to formally disestablish the GCC and to appoint Professor Yash Pal Ghai, Professor Satendra Nandan and Taufa Vakatale to Fiji’s Constitutional Commission.
FDFM says the decision by Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to abolish the GCC without consulting stakeholders reveals what they say is Bainimarama and Khaiyum's arrogance and abhorrence towards Fijian paramount chiefs and the Fijian people.
It says the justification used by Bainimarama - that since the Great Council of Chiefs was created by British colonialism and has become “politicised to the detriment of Fiji’s pursuit of a common and equal citizenry” - is without substance.
"If Commodore Bainimarama genuinely believed this, then why didn’t he de-establish the Fiji Military Forces including the Fiji Naval Forces and Fiji Police Force at the same time because they are all creatures of British colonialism too - but more “politicised than the Great Council of Chief to the detriment of Fiji’s pursuit of a common and equal citizenry?"
FDFM says the decision raises serious doubts about the authencity of the constitutional talks.
"The Military Regime’s choosing Professor Yash Pal Ghai, Professor Satendra Nand and Taufa Vakatale to head Fiji’s Constitutional Commission, in our view is utterly compromised and doesn’t resemble any form of respectability; legitimacy or inspires any degree of confidence at the outset with the majority of the people of Fiji or the world and we concur with former Prime Ministers Laisenia Qarase (SDL) & Mahendra Chaudary’s (FLP) statements objecting to their selection because it should have originated from Fiji’s Stakeholders at its meeting instead of being unilaterally imposed by the Military Regime."
FDFM says if the regime wants to be taken seriously it should:
(a) reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs and let its future and role be decided by its stakeholders during the constitutional talks;
(b) stop any further dismantling of Fijian Institutions;
(c) allow the Stakeholders, consisting of Political Parties; Church Leaders; Religious & Civic Leaders; GCC; NGO’s & Youth Leaders to determine the composition of the Constitutional Commission;
(d) allow freedom of association, press, movement and speech;
(e) allow foreign organisations to monitor the discussions leading up to the selection of the Constitutional Commission; constitutional discussion; formulation and promulgation of the Constitution and subsequent General Elections in 2014.
"Anything short of the above makes a mockery of Fiji’s Military Regime’s claim of a fair and transparent constitution discussion and only reinforces the view held by FDFN, that this is all a façade.
"It’s a facade to keep the general populace preoccupied, focused and hopeful on the constitutional talks, whose outcome has already been pre-determined, whilst it continues with its policy of decimating Fijian Institutions."
FDFM says destroying Fijian institutions was the basis of Sayed-Khaiyum’s University of Hong Kong ‘Cultural Autonomy’ thesis, which was supervised by Yash Ghai.
"FDFM’s concern is that Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s contorted and short-sighted personal agenda of wanting to dismantle Fijian Institutions because of his Machiavellian pretence; it will free Fijians to a better qualitative life, apparently has fooled Commodore Bainimarama and some others.
"It condescendingly and dangerously fails to grasp the possibility, it could instead unleash and spiral Fijians out of control fuelled by an avalanche of fear and anger directed against Commodore Bainimarama; Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and their supporters, triggering an implosion within Fiji’s already fragmented Fiji Military Forces & civil population; causing a massive wave of retribution & civil unrest affecting all peoples and the economy, but unfortunately Fijians and Indo-Fijians will bear the brunt, of the likes we’ve never witnessed in modern Fiji before."