The Perils of Indigenous Fijians: "It sounds like Commodore Bainimarama is Advocating for a Free Market Capitalist Approach to Fiji...!"
A quick reflections/comment from Mr Peter Jones:
One of our much valued Indigenous expert in Luvei Viti Think Tank Forum.
I am not familiar with all of the documents or reports, but from what is contained here, it sounds like Commodore Bainimarama is advocating for a free market capitalist approach to Fiji, its people and land. By advocating for the elimination of ethnic voting, he is essentially advocating for the end of indigenous rights. Similarly, proportional representation would deny indigenous voices. Likewise, a common and equal citizenry would deny any recognition of indigenous Fijian people. These are very common "goals" or statements put forward in modern capitalist based democracy. If you eliminate any of the indigenous voices, make everyone the exact same in terms of rights, land rights, representation, etc., it will deny indigenous people their voice. It will also slowly divest the land from indigenous people, allowing it to be bought by corporations and exploited or developed without any
future voice of indigenous people. It is much easier for Commodore Bainimarama to encourage foreign investments (mining, tourism, etc.) if he can say that there are no indigenous Fijians, everyone has had an equal voice, and that the land is for sale (because when you take land out of collective ownership and allow it to be owned by individuals, more often then not you can buy that land from those individuals for a fairly low price - but usually not from the collective group).
It is essential that indigenous Fijians keep the land in collective ownership, continue to fight for reinstatement of the GCC, and demand that the government work with them on a government to government relationship. Indigenous people are recognized as sovereign people under UNDRIP and ILO 169 (which Fiji ratified), and have a right to decide how they want their land and heritage to develop. Commodore Bainimarama continues his assault on indigenous rights, and if he continues and gets his way, he will simply work the laws until there is no such thing as indigenous Fijian people (as they are trying to do in Bangladesh, by taking the word "indigenous" and substituting
"ethnic minority" in government documents and laws), simply Fijians.
You can share this message - this is my quick response.
PM: SDL Quit Fiji Sun 11th August 2012
By Maika Bolatiki
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama did not mince his words when he called on the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party yesterday to, “wind up now”.
Reacting to the summary of the SDL submission presented by members to the Constitution Commission, the Prime Minister said the party had nothing new to offer Fiji.
“It is better for them to wind up and don’t be bothered about the leadership of the country,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
The Prime Minister said the SDL submission summary were the same things that led the military to take over leadership in 2006.
“The military had taken over leadership to take Fiji on a new journey and the people are enjoying the new journey now.
“Our journey to a better and new Fiji will need new ideas and the SDL submission would take the country back to the early 19th century.”
The main objective of Government as displayed in the People’s Charter, the Prime Minister said, was to rebuild Fiji into a non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well-governed, truly democratic nation; a nation that seeks progress and prosperity through merit-based equality of opportunity and peace.
“To steer our nation forward to a better Fiji for all. The Prime Minister adds, “we need visionary, transformative leaders who place the interests of the nation first including national development, good and just governance, and unity.”
He said the SDL submission again promoted racism and racial discrimination.
The SDL leadership has not learned from the past mistakes and the Prime Minister has urged party supporters to make their own submission.
Commenting on the SDL proposal to bring back the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), the Prime Minister said this would never happen.
He said people should make quality submission, so we would have a quality Constitution for Fiji.
“Fiji needs a good and quality Constitution.”
Commodore Bainimarama called on all Fijians to make good use of this one-off opportunity and make submissions that would be good for the nation.
He said the Constitution must be premised on the fundamental values and principles set out in the People’s Charter for Change, which his Government has been advocating and implementing.
These principles and values are universally recognised and aspired to. Therefore, these principles and values are non-negotiable. They are:
• A common and equal citizenry;
• A secular State;
• The removal of systemic corruption;
• An independent judiciary;
• Elimination of discrimination;
• Good and transparent governance;
• Social justice;
• One person, one vote, one value;
• The elimination of ethnic voting;
• Proportional representation; and
• A voting age of 18.
When contacted yesterday the SDL office said they would reply when their full detailed submission was made.
Party president Solomoni Naivalu had earlier said this had been summarised for presentation at different venues by their constituent leaders on behalf of the party.