FIJI NEWS

Govt to unions: No interim rule

By MAIKA BOLATIKI Government will take the nation to the polls and not an interim administration, the Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns, stressed yesterday. Replying to submissions made by
13 Oct 2012 13:18

By MAIKA BOLATIKI

Government will take the nation to the polls and not an interim administration, the Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns, stressed yesterday.
Replying to submissions made by the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) before the Constitution Commission, Ms Smith-Johns said, “…there is no provision for the Bainimarama Government to step down before the elections in 2014”.
The Congress yesterday had proposed to the Constitution Commission that “…an interim government be set up with a mandate to ensure free and fair elections and the day-to-day running of government administration.
“The interim government must have no powers to introduce or impose new laws,” the congress submitted.
FTUC was represented by its president, Daniel Urai, and national secretary Felix Anthony.
“Like anybody the FTUC is entitled to make a submission to the Constitution Commission,” Ms Smith-Johns said.
“Felix Anthony and Daniel Urai run their unions and we run the government. But we are delighted to see so many elements of society putting forward their submissions to the commission.”
Mr Anthony submitted that “…the current leadership give up effective control of government by resigning from their positions at least three months prior to the election date. This is to ensure that free and fair elections are held and that there is no abuse of office within the government.”
Replying to that Ms Smith-Johns said: “It is up to the Commission whether they take them onboard, but the Government is very disappointed with the recent actions of the FTUC.
“They have put the jobs of 15,000 Fijian workers at risk with their campaign to have the United States end the duty free access status of a host of Fijian companies. They have a lot of explaining to do.
“The public consultations on a new constitution have been run very smoothly and no one could be more delighted than the Government.”
The FTUC also submits that all military personnel appointed to civil service positions since December 5, 2006 resign from their positions and offer themselves for reappointment through normal civil service appointment procedures under any new government.
Mr Anthony said: “The purpose of this submission is to ensure that the incoming government must be free to govern in accordance with the Constitution and should not be allowed to be undermined by former military or current military personnel.”
The Congress strongly disagrees with any perpetrator of Acoup to be granted immunity. This is consistent with the FTUC position after the last two coups as well.
“Fiji cannot afford to have any further coups. These coups have torn the very fabric of our society and democracy. People who consider taking such a destructive path must know the consequences.”
FTUC wants the Bill of Rights in the 1997 Fiji Constitution be maintained and further proposed that the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) be retained, but that it should not have any political role.




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