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Unscrupulous Politicians To Create Division: Acting PM Usamate

Unscrupulous  Politicians To  Create Division:  Acting PM Usamate
Acting Prime Minister Jone Usamate with Dialogue Fiji Executive Director Nilesh Lal and European Union Ambassador to Fiji Julian Williams during dialogue on ethnic relations organised by Dialogue Fiji at The Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour on November 9, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar
November 10
11:13 2017

Acting Prime Minister Jone Usamate yesterday said divisions would be created as unscrupulous politicians began campaigning to try and to win votes.

“This is sad but it will happen. This is not in the long term interest of Fiji,” said Mr Usamate.

Mr Usamate was speaking while opening the three-day Dialogue On Ethnic Relations forum at Pearl South Pacific Resort at Pacific Harbour.

He said dialogue was always important, because through dialogue they came to grips with issues that they needed to address.

He said dialogue “must build rather than destroy”.

Mr Usamate said it was important to have this dialogue at all levels of our society.

He said especially in social media today there was so much ethnic related dialogue that was just poisonous, very derogatory and negative and destructive. “That is a pointer also to what exists within people,” he said.

He said he was asked to talk on the Government’s perspective on enhancing ethnic relations.

He said the State was guided by the Constitution. 

He said the one thing that led to Fiji’s downfall in the past was ethnic divisions – they plagued Fijian society and national development was affected.

“The Preamble goes on to recognise the different groups in Fiji,” he said.

He said Government recognised our diversity, the unique cultures of iTaukei and Rotumans who recognised the cultures of other groups – their customs, traditions and languages.

“Our diversity must be something we also cherish, that we celebrate –but it must not be used to take us apart – it must not be divisive,” he said.

The European Union representative Ingrid Swinner said they were facing the same problem in Europe and dialogue was beneficial for Fiji.

Executive director Dialogue Fiji Nilesh Lal said the forum would have a number of panel discussions on issues pertinent to ethnic relations in Fiji, including contentious ones such as the common national identity, indigenous rights, political representation, etc, followed by facilitated dialogue among identified stakeholders on issues raised.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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