Monday, November 12, 2007

No charter yet, says Chand

Monday, November 12, 2007

A PEOPLE'S Charter has not been formulated yet because all there is so far is a proposal to develop a charter, says permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, Parmesh Chand.

He said that in that regard, there was an extensive awareness and consultation campaign under way.

"Its objective is to explain to ordinary people the processes, the steps and the deliberations which will take place," Mr Chand said.

He said these changes would help develop a People's Charter for change and Progress over a period of 12-14 months.

"The Office of the Prime Minister therefore encourages members of the public and relevant stakeholders to express their views and to be part of the process to develop the charter," he said.

Mr Chand was reacting to comments made by Rewa one of the three largest provinces rejecting the proposed People's Charter for Building a Better Fiji. The province said it disagreed with efforts to ignore the existence of indigenous Fijians.

Ro Dona Takalaiyale, the leader of the Sauturaga clan and spokesman of the Rewa Bose Vanua, issued Rewa's position in a statement last week.

Ro Dona described the charter as "a creation of non-racial Fiji and written by two foreigners without input from Fijians or their elected representatives".

He also voiced concern about interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's statements about his desire to abolish all communal seats through the People's Charter.

"Also Lt-Col Mataitoga's statement that Affirmative Action will be abolished under the charter. Also the charter is inconsistent with the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People's Article 3-5 where indigenous people are entitled to participate in the political life of the state," Ro Dona said.

"It is inconsistent with the 1997 Constitution where race is recognised as an integral element of the nation of Fiji."

Ro Dona said the Bose Vanua resolved to boycott any referendum or election that would be influenced by the charter.

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