Sunday, January 03, 2010

PS confirms 'new names' for forum

TIMOCI VULA - Sunday, January 03, 2010

SEVERAL new names are among those being considered to be chairman of the proposed National Dialogue Forum.

This is the word from the permanent secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.

Though not wishing to discuss details, Col. Tikoduadua confirmed there was a good number of applications from a wide cross-section of the community with several new names among applicants.

"It's very encouraging to see applications received from far and wide, representatives of the communities in terms of leadership, interest, churches, civil organisations, individuals and even leaders of the vanua," he said.

"And this means to me, that like your newspaper said, people want to talk. People want to come and share their views of the way forward in terms of what government has planned to move Fiji forward."

Col. Tikoduadua also denied that Peter Thomson the former permanent secretary to late governor general, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, was one of the top candidates.

"That's the first I have heard about that," he said.

The February talks were expected to lay the groundwork for a constitutional forum in September 2012.

"I also want to say that while we are looking overseas for the person to chair the forum, that does not exclude locals who have also applied. But the chair is most likely to be from overseas," he said.

Col. Tikoduadua said while the list of participants was being worked on to meet the February deadline, a list of suitable meeting venues was also being considered.

A good venue he said, would be one that provided enough space for the significant interest generated for participation in the forum.

"We are after a comfortable venue where people can come and sit and talk as we have so many interested people here who want to come and talk," Col. Tikoduadua said.

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