VERENAISI RAICOLA - www.fijitimes.com
Monday, October 15, 2007
MEMBERS of the public are still waiting for answers behind the December 5, 2006 takeover, says Viti Landowners and Resources Association president Ratu Osea Gavidi.
He said it was one of the reasons many have questioned the motive behind the interim regime's establishment of the People's Charter.
Ratu Osea said the interim Governments after the 1987 and 2000 coups gave grants for the establishment of the Fijian Holdings as well as the affirmative actions programs because instigators claimed the takeovers were to safeguard Fijian interests.
"In this case no one seems to know the reason for the coup and suddenly the interim regime sets up a People's Charter which is not justified," he said.
Ratu Osea said this was a dangerous trend because indigenous institutions were still trying to correct past wrongs like how indigenous land was converted to freehold and suddenly the Charter ropes in issues related to setting a platform for a level playing field.
"It doesn't make sense and will certainly not work," he said.
Ratu Osea said some issues related to the Deed of Cession in 1874 which included Fiji remaining a Christian state and the qoliqoli belonging to indigenous Fijians were yet to be addressed as well.
He said the state ownership of land like what was done in countries like Russia and China was a dangerous trend to encourage here as such issues were dear to Fijians and sensitive to discuss.
"To have land mentioned in the charter is insensitive because it is owned by the indigenous people yet they were not part of consultations," he said.
Ratu Osea said the interim regime needed to first establish and tell the people the reason behind the coup and their motives before establishing a charter.
He urged Christians to pray for the nation as more trying times were ahead.
Ratu Osea said the interim Government should concentrate on bread-and-butter issues and matters that united the country.
"At this time bringing up sensitive issues would only further divide us setting a dangerous trend and could be a recipe for trouble," he said.
The interim regime launched the charter and a council to oversee its development chaired by the Archbishop Petero Mataca and interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama last week.
They have decided there would be six national task teams to look at specific areas to accomplish the overarching goal of good governance, the economy, reform of the public service, financial institutions, land as well as its utilisation.