|THORN IN BAINIMARAMA'S SIDE: Fiji's last democratically elected prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, outside the Fiji High Court recently.|
The Constitution process is in trouble but no sign from the illegal leader Frank Bainimarama that he wants to salvage it.
He has instead today told Fiji Village it's up to the Constitution chair Yash Ghai to decide for himself whether he wants to be part of the process.
Bainimarama has denied harassing the Kenyan constitutional expert saying Ghai needs to stop thinking it's his job to amend or repeal existing laws.
He says Ghai's job is to produce a Constitution and get it to the President: any public discussion on the draft will be done by the Constituent Assembly.
Yash Ghai yesterday admitted in an interview with Radio Australia there has been 'massive interference' by the regime.
He also revealed he thought Bainimarama objected to the Commission appointing Jon Madraiwiwi as a consultant because Madraiwiwi supported former prime minister Laisenia Qarase at his mitigation hearing several months ago.
Ghai also said he was concerned at the regime's perverse decision to remove the provision that allows public consultation on the draft Constitution.
The constitution expert has taken cover but has left the big question of where the process goes to from here since his admission his team's four-month long work has been contaminated.
The United Peoples Party and the Fiji Trades Union Congress have meanwhile waded into the stoush.
FTUC national secretary Felix Anthony says the attacks on Ghai constitute blatant interference.
"FTUC calls on the Government to demonstrate its sincerity and commitment by not interfering in the work of the Commission to ensure a report that fairly reflects the will of the people of Fiji. The report must reflect the true aspirations and will of the people as Decrees 57 and 58 mandate the Commission.
"Of greater concern is the fact that Decree 58 empowers the Prime Minister to appoint a "Constituent Assembly". Having experienced and witnessed the behaviour of the Government in the review process and the Commission being treated with contempt, it is now becoming clear that the Assembly will simply be a rubber stamp, no more, no less.
"Yet we have witnessed how much faith has been placed by the International Community in this process and more so because the process was headed by Professor Ghai who is well regarded internationally.
"We call on the Government to repeal Decree 64 immediately and allow the Commission to perform its work unhindered. Any further instability created by the regime would invite more sanctions and cause grave hardship to the people of Fiji who are already suffering."
UPP leader Mick Beddoes says the decision to tinker with the decree shows the regime is incapable of governing in a free society without resorting to draconian measures.
And he says Bainimarama's outburst over Madraiwiwi was orchestrated to allow the regime to remove the provision from the decree that allowed Fiji citizens to debate the draft.
Beddoes says Madraiwiwi's appointment as a consultant has nothing to do with the decree and it's clear the regime has realised from submissions against the question of immunity that it is not as popular as it thinks.