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Former AG Blasts Review Professor

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SUVA: A former Fiji attorney-general has drawn a parallel between the Pacific nation and the United States and attacked the professor charged with heading a constitutional review.

Former attorney-general Sir Vijay Singh, who writes a weekly column in the Fiji Times, said Professor Asesela Ravuvu's "novel dictum" about politics being supreme over the rule of law "is a recipe for serial disasters".

Singh said in his column today the close struggle in the US presidential election would have posed "grave dangers to the democratic fabric of body politic" in any other country.

But he said there was a valuable lesson in the unfolding drama - that the laws of the United States were supreme and the Supreme Courts of the various states and eventually the US Supreme Court were the arbiters of the law.

"The clear message coming out of one of the world's oldest democracies in the contest for the US presidency, the world's most powerful office, is that the laws as determined by the courts determine politics," Singh said.

"The laws are supreme and politics subservient to them."

However, Prof Ravuvu, of the University of the South Pacific, who chairs the Constitutional Review Commission set up in the wake of the May coup - which was ruled illegal in a High Court judgment this month - challenges this view.

Ravuvu said after the judgment that neither the laws nor the judiciary should stand in the way of one's political agenda.

"And the professor is the chairman of the committee that is charged with reviewing the supreme law of the land, the Constitution," said Singh.

"The professor's pronouncement raises many interesting questions, one of the most crucial being: What if the Constitution that is imposed on the nation on his committee's recommendation should be found by a future rebellious group not to suit its political agenda of the day?"

A former great Fijian chief, Ratu Seru Cakobau, exchanged his warrior's club for the rule of law. That club has been the mace in the legislatures of Fiji since Cession to British colonial rule in 1874, said Singh.

"In seeking moments to jettison a defining moment in the history of ethnic Fijians and Fiji, not to say a principle that underpins every civilised society, Prof Ravuvu's novel dictum is a recipe for serial disasters, not a solution to any ills, real or imagined."


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