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Opinion, Opinion

Why fiji first is so far ahead

Why fiji first is so far ahead
August 09
11:01 2017

Opposition parties have been so blown away by the unprecedented achievement of the FijiFirst Government that they have become envious.

They have not been able to offer the electorate something that will make them change their mind and move away from FijiFirst.

The fact is that most initiatives implemented by FijiFirst are groundbreaking, meaning they have not been attempted by any other government since Independence in 1970.

The free school fees and bus fares, free medicine, water and electricity subsidy, no income tax for those earning up to $30,000, just to name a few.

For those of us living in our twilight years, in retirement or still working, we wish we were starting all over again to enjoy the many opportunities that are now available.

Our parents sacrificed a lot to put us in school. They paid for our school fees, bus fares and so on. Some dropped out of school because their parents could not afford to keep them at school. It was hard work.

We went through the same motions when we married and started our own families. We valued education but we had to work hard to find the means to ensure our children completed their education. Because the number of scholarships were limited those who really sacrificed were able to provide for their children seeking tertiary education.

 

Tertiary scheme

There was no loan scheme as it exists today under Tertiary Education Loan Scheme. Sometimes we get the feeling that scholarships were only given to the privileged class or who you know. Today, it’s determined on the basis of merit. It has eliminated this negative perception. Entry into higher learning institutions are decided on marks and grades.

Sadly, today some still look at things using their racial lenses. And when it happens, it colours the way we think and act. They advocate affirmative action for a certain ethnic group as a means of bridging the economic gap between the successful and those who lag behind.

This was attempted in the past but it still failed to produce the success that was hoped for.

It is generally accepted that education is essential if we are going to progress as a nation. And the FijiFirst Government has provided the initiatives and created the environment for us to be educated, qualified and skilled.

However, it is disappointing to see young people still roaming the streets and missing school because education is not compulsory. And later on in life when they join the unemployment queue, we quickly point a finger at the Government of the day and blame it for these young people not being able to find jobs.

The parents and guardians should be blamed for failing to guide and supervise their children to ensure they are at school. As a solution, should education be made compulsory? Do we have to go to that extent to compel students to attend school. If we go that way, the libertarians will be jumping up and down and calling it a repressive move and contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which protects our freedom to choose.

While Government assistance is beneficial because it gives people a leg-up, people need to use it to become self-reliant in the future. We should teach our people not to be totally reliant on Government. When people are able to stand on their two feet and fend for themselves it shows real growth.

So with all the opportunities that are available there should be no excuse for us not doing well.

 

Better alternative

Any political party that wants to beat FijiFirst in the next election must be able to offer a credible better alternative. That means coming up with policies that are better than FijiFirst’s current policies.

The attack against FijiFirst using the SODELPA slogan “Make Fiji Free Again” and that “we need to be emancipated…” will not cut it with the voters. Free from what? This is an abstract idea in the minds of some SODELPA officials who are using it to garner support from especially the iTaukei community.

People know that we live in a free and peaceful country where we are free to exercise our conscience and beliefs. The party’s failure to compete with FijiFirst on an even playing field is driving it to desperation.

The Make Fiji Free slogan is a perception because of FijiFirst’s refusal to entertain ideas from the Opposition bench. What the parties need to remember is that FijiFirst has been given the mandate to govern for four years, after which the people will judge its performance. If they are not happy, they will choose a new Government. That’s what democracy is all about. So FijiFirst has the legitimate authority given by the people to implement its policies.

It has set the pace from the beginning and continues to maintain it. Its policies are consistent with its political ideologies, putting people first. The absence of manifestos makes it difficult for the Opposition parties to compete.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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