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Three Students Win Essay Contest

Three Students Win Essay Contest
From Left: Joselyn Mani of Naleba College, Priya Karan of Dreketi Central College, President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote, and Milika Soso of Duavata Secondary School on September 7, 2018 during the Constitution Day celebration at Subrail Park in Labasa. Photo: Shratika Naidu
September 08
11:00 2018

Judges of an essay competition on the benefits of the Fijian Constitution were amazed by the brilliant essay writing of three students from the Northern Division who wrote the winning essays.

Priya Karan of Dreketi Central College impressed the judges most and she won first prize; she wins a return trip for two to Sydney, Aus­tralia. Second prize went to Joselyn Mani of Naleba College. She wins herself an S9 mobile phone.

Third prize winner Milika Soso of Duavata Secondary School won herself a J5 Pro mobile phone and a Walesi setup box. Each student wrote an essay about the Consti­tution and how it had benefitted them. The prizes were presented to the winners yesterday by President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote during the 2018 Constitution Day celebrations at Labasa’s Subrail Park. Edited by Naisa Koroi

Below: Two of the winning essays

 

By Priya Karan,

Dreketi Central College

(1st prize winner)

HOW HAS THE CONSTITUTION BENEFITTED MY FAMILY

John F. Kennedy said,

‘If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity’

A constitution, which is a system of laws and basic principles that a state is governed by, makes a society safe for diversity. The constitution of Fiji, ensures that the safety and rights of the people are guaranteed and protected. Therefore, this essay would discuss how the constitution has benefitted my family through the guarantee of social, education, economic, health, food and water rights.

Chapter two [2]: 11[1-2] of the constitution has enabled my family to live peacefully in society. Freedom from cruel and degrading treatment is guaranteed so our social life in the village, at work and even in school is a safe and enjoyable one. This is one way the constitution has benefitted my family.

Another way the constitution has benefitted my family is the right given to education as stated in chapter 31: [1-3] of the constitution. This is made possible through the free education grants and the availability of free transport. My parents find it easier to pay for my school needs like purchasing a quality school bag. Moreover, I am confident of completing my education because of the available tertiary education assistance. Without these guarantees, my education would be put at risk.

In addition, chapter 32: subsections [1]-[2] of the constitution guarantees the right to economic participation. Family members have been able to work at places of their choice. The government has also given grants to assist those who prefer to be self-employed. This is in accordance to sub-section [2], chapter 32 of the constitution which ensures that economic participation for all Fijians is made possible. Those who work hard will contribute positively to Fiji’s economy. With this constitution, the right of my family to economic participation is protected.

Furthermore, access to free health services is easy in Labasa. My parents benefitted from free medical checks while in the Australia and New Zealand bank and supermarkets such as R.B. Patel. There are medical clinics close to villages and even in Labasa town. This is in accordance to chapter 38, subsection [1] of the constitution. As such, the constitution has made possible the right to good health services.

Chapter 36 of the constitution guarantees all Fijians the right to adequate food and water. This has been possible for family members and friends by the standardized prices of consumer items. Not only that, family members who are disadvantaged, for example being an elderly widow and being mentally challenged, have Social Welfare ration coupons which guarantee their right to adequate food.

This constitution grants common and equal citizenry to all Fijians. Family benefits are numerous because social, economic, education, health, food and water rights are guaranteed and protected in this constitution. It must therefore be noted that,

‘There cannot be enduring peace, prosperity, equality and brotherhood in this world if our aims are so separate and divergent…’ [ Jigme Khesar Wamgyel Wangchick]

 

By Joselyn Mani,

Naleba College

(2nd prize winner)

A CONSTITUTION FOR EVERY FIJIAN FAMILY

A constitution is required to have order and prevent chaos in the country. Constitution simply refers to a list of regulations which states how a country is to be governed. It is the supreme law of a nation and must be followed by every Fijian.

Fiji had its first constitution in the year 1970 after independence. Between 1987 and 1990 there was no constitution after it was cancelled. The second constitution of 1990 was reviewed in 1997 and after amendments it became our third constitution. The current constitution came into effect in 2013 and is the fourth constitution for the Republic of Fiji, and it is this constitution that will carry us into the future.

Foremost, equality amongst all Fijians is most appealing in the Fijian constitution. Either rich or poor, white or black and iTaukei or Indo-Fijian, everyone is considered equal and this is shown in the Bill of Rights which says ‘every person has the right to equal protection, treatment and benefit of the law’. Racial, religious or price discrimination is nowhere to be seen. Indo-Fijian families are not given more assistance than I-Taukei families. Everyone gets the same assistance and benefits thus maintaining healthy relationships which might provoke jealousy if some get more rights or assistance than others.

Moreover, the Fijian constitution ensures that there is freedom of religion. In my community, there are people with different religious backgrounds which they had been following for years. The Fijian constitution says that ‘every person has the right to freedom of religion, conscience and belief’. The only Muslim family in my community who are practicing their own religion amongst Christians and Hindus is a classic example of this freedom. This is only possible because it is enshrined in the constitution.

Furthermore, the Bill of Rights says that ‘every person has the rights to social security schemes, whether private or public, for their support in times of need’ and has aided many families in my community. Most of the families in my community are farmers and they have to pay lease for the land they use. This does not allow them to prosper financially with what they earn from their farms. Hence, with the financial assistance that the Fijian government is providing through subsidies or social welfare, helps farmers in my community expand production and produce on a commercial scale. It also helps the poor and needy with no steady income to satisfy their needs.

In addition the law that says that ‘every person has the right to early childhood education, primary and secondary education and further education.’ The free education scheme has decreased the burden of paying fees for my parents. It was hard for them to pay fees, transport fare and buy text books for the three of us. Now education is more accessible and my parents can save money for other purposes. The government is giving scholarships and loans so that we become educated and contribute towards the economic welfare of our Fiji.

To conclude, it can be said that the Fijian constitution benefits every family, community and the country as a whole. The constitution has rules that are accepted by everyone because it benefits everyone. The constitution ensures stability in Fiji and it also ensures that everyone is treated equally.

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