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Looks like we have too many holidays

Written By : General Editor. Another June, another public holiday. It seems that every time we want to acknowledge the importance of some person or some institution to our national
11 Jun 2008 12:00

Written By : General Editor. Another June, another public holiday. It seems that every time we want to acknowledge the importance of some person or some institution to our national heritage, we down tools for a day.
From Ratu Sukuna to the Prophet Muhammad to Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, we salute them by taking a day off work.
Of course it is important that we remember and maintain such historic links for they tell us much about our history and our multicultural status as a plural society. But at a time when we should all contribute to an economic revival, is taking a holiday the best way to do this?
In the case of the queen’s birthday holiday, we remember and acknowledge the important and historic links between our country and the British crown. Cession of Fiji to Queen Victoria was a giant step for this nation. More than anything else, perhaps, it shaped the nature of our modern society.
The Queen of Great Britain is no longer our head of state. We are a republic under the leadership of our president – but our whole means of governing ourselves is unmistakably British. We have a parliament and Speaker closely modelled on what is often referred to as the mother of parliaments in faraway Westminster in the heart of the British capital. We have the English legal system with all its historic rights and responsibilities. Even if we wanted to depart from that, it would be a mammoth task to replace it. And with what?
Like democracy itself, our system is far from perfect but it remains the best way we have yet devised to ensure that those rights and responsibilities are equally and fairly shared.
And if we do wish to alter any of that the final decision – coups notwithstanding – is ultimately in our own hands.
So how should we celebrate this historic link? Well, certainly not by stopping work for a day.
We could, for example, devote a school day to researching our links with the British crown tracing the major developments from cession to independence and beyond. We could use it as a day to learn rather than relax.
At work we could explore new ways to develop trade with Great Britain and its former colonies that now comprise the Commonwealth of Nations as well as its more recent partners in the European Union.
Or we could just do our level best for an economy that still retains links with our colonial past.
It is known that Queen Elizabeth takes a very close interest in all those nations with historic links to her crown. We venture to suggest that while she would never say so, her majesty would be more impressed if we dedicated a day of work in her honour as opposed to a day of rest.



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