The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is concerned with the tactics applied through the Trans Tasman Trade Unions to hijack the Tourism Industry for early Fiji elections.
The threats by the Australian and New Zealand Trade Unions to enforce travel bans and boycott flights to Fiji, in pursuit of speedy elections are punitive actions that will only derail the gains made through the processes of dialogue and jeopardize the current stated road map.
CCF however, maintains its stand for speeding up the processes of preparation for election in September 2014.
This means immediate credible steps must be taken by the Bainimarama Government in support for its continued public statements that free, fair elections will be held in 2014 after a constitution is drawn up beginning in 2012.
The CCF reiterates that the electoral and constitution reform processes must involve all sections of the community, including women, youth and minority groups and address pertinent issues such as the notion of one person one vote, the need for the voting age to be reduced to 18 and the removal of institutions which are obstacles to the realization of equality for all.
The CCF believes that a home grown solution is needed and calls on the Prime Minister to address the nation and tell the people what steps will be implemented to restore democratic rule. The people need to know what role they will have to play in formulating the constitution under which the next elections are to be conducted. This should include processes, timelines for constituency boundaries, voter registration, electoral rolls. Such steps would give credibility to the process and allay fears.
This is essential as any actions which will impact the tourism industry, will inevitably affect the lives of the struggling Fijian and the trade unions must reconsider any sanctions or bans which will drag more people into poverty.
The CCF calls on all parties in the current impasse to adopt a pragmatic approach to resolve the issue with the welfare and future of the ordinary citizens in mind. This can only be achieved through open and unrestricted dialogue
To facilitate this dialogue, the CCF again urges the authorities to remove the Public Emergency Regulations and allow people to voice their concerns and fears. This will allow the State machinery to address issues which are important to the people.