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EDITORIAL: Reaching Out To Help Our Needy Is The Way To Go

EDITORIAL: Reaching Out To Help Our Needy Is The Way To Go
May 30
11:00 2018

The economic gap between iTaukei and their chiefs has been closed through deliberate pol­icies of the FijiFirst government.

The equal distribution of lease money and other funds to iTaukei landowners has helped to benefit all members of the mataqali or landowning unit. Before the chiefs received the lion’s share.

With the removal of this disparity, more iTaukei are empowered to participate in economic activities which they otherwise would not have been able to do.

When Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ex­plained his Govern­ment policies and the rationale behind them, to former Fi­jian residents in Mel­bourne last weekend, he received a positive response.

The economic pro­gress of any ethnic group in Fiji depends on the opportunities provided by the poli­cies of the Govern­ment of the day and the enabling environ­ment.

There is undeniable evidence that more and more people, even iTaukei, are engaged in various kinds of economic activities. They have been inspired by poli­cies that tell them that if they take ad­vantage of the oppor­tunities made avail­able to them they can progress, access development that was previously just a dream, and improve their standard of living.

The Constitution guarantees everyone equal oppor­tunities and that applies right across our cultural and traditional setup.

That does not mean that it threatens our chiefly system and our culture.

In fact it strengthens it. When the commoners are financially self-reliant and independent, they are more likely to properly honour their cultural obliga­tions to their chiefs. They develop a capacity to be able to reach out and help their fellow clan members and implement whatever the chiefs instruct them to do.

iTaukei villages or communities operate on a com­munal basis. Developments and projects are commu­nally carried out. Funds that finance these are also communally collected through the “soli” or levy. So when more iTaukei become financially empowered they can be a source of great strength in their com­munities.

So those who are critical about the equal distribu­tion of lease money are selfish and lose sight of the needs and plight of individual families.

Chiefs and leaders who truly love their people will ensure that everyone is assisted particularly, the poor, the disabled, the sick, the elderly, the wid­ows and widowers. We cannot afford to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few while others are in need and suffering, particularly in a communal setting.

It is time we change the way we do things if it will help touch more lives.

When everyone is happy the whole community thrives.


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