‘Draft law had to be burnt’

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama speaks to supporters during a Fiji First party campaign in Labasa. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

THE reviewed 2013 constitution that was put together by the Constitutional Committee chaired by Professor Yash Ghai had to be burned because its content was rife with racial discrimination, says FijiFirst party leader Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking during the party’s family fun day in Labasa over the weekend, Mr Bainimarama claimed he was on a plane with Prof Ghai when the constitutional expert said he would have to go to Australia “to consult” regarding the Fijian constitution.

Addressing his supporters, Mr Bainimarama said he disliked Prof Ghai there and then. The PM said he decided Prof Ghai was untrustworthy because he wanted to consult with foreigners in Australia.

Mr Bainimarama said his suspicions were confirmed when he found out later that Prof Ghai had been consulting anti-government people and bodies who did not like what he did in 2006 and 2007, including the removal of the 1997 constitution which he said promoted racial discrimination.

“So obviously the constitution he will come up with will not agree with what I want done, which is to remove racial discrimination among our people,” he said.

“The draft constitution that Prof Ghai and his team compiled was still racially discriminatory, it had to be burnt when it ended up in the rubbish bin.”

Mr Bainimarama said the 1997 constitution was a document the National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad and the Social Democratic Liberal Party still embraced.

Prof Prasad labelled Mr Bainimarama’s comments as political diversion engaging in cheap politics, adding they would not stoop to his level.

“I also know he has been telling people that a vote for Biman is a vote for SODELPA which is cheap talk, how can my vote be a vote for them,” he said.

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