Letters September 08, 2014

Football and referees Davendra Prasad,  Suva Football is one of the most loved, played and watched sport all over the world. Referees play a very important role in football. We
04 Sep 2014 08:30

Football and referees

Davendra Prasad,  Suva

Football is one of the most loved, played and watched sport all over the world. Referees play a very important role in football.

We have all witnessed matches ruined by referees during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Football is suffering the same fate in Fiji – thanks to our referees. Wake up FFA!  Upgrade and upskill your referee before football dies out in Fiji.

Football lovers all over the world are at the mercy of referees.


Fijian: two extreme views

Dr Sushil K Sharma,  Lautoka

SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu claimed on FBC 4 The Record  programme, that the term Fijian should not be used as a common name for all the citizens of this nation.

Further the term should be reserved for the iTaukei, as they arrived in Fiji first, and thus had special inherent rights to this name.

The above rhetoric despite the 2013 Constitution preamble declaring that we are all Fijians united by common and equal citizenry and section 1(a) stating the Republic of Fiji is a sovereign democratic State founded on the values of (a) common and equal citizenry and national unity and section 5(1) stating that all citizens of Fiji shall be known as Fijians.

Historically non-iTaukei has always remained respectful despite been treated as a second class citizen, and continued to suffer all sorts of discriminations in silence, despite not having or knowing any other land or country as their own; being born and living in Fiji for five generations and contributing to the economy and the social fabric of the nation in every way.

At no stage have they even raised the alternative extremist view suggested below, as a defence to counter opposite extreme views of the type that Ro Teimumu Kepa harbours.

The Instrument of Cession of the Islands of Fiji by Cakobau, styled Tui Viti and Vunivalu, and by the other high Chiefs to Her Most gracious Majesty Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen in 1874 was a formal unconditional surrender of the iTaukei territory which extinguished their exclusive rights over, and resources under the land and sea.

We all became British subjects of a crown colony, both the iTaukei and non-iTaukei. Our parents had British passports and citizenships.

Any special rights conferred upon the iTaukei and institutions made for them were a political or a social solution, made fluidly and amended at will by the different governors of the crown colony, but these in no way meant to re-confer to the iTaukei original rights, as existing prior to the Deed of Cession.

The 1970 Constitution was an erroneous and discriminatory agreement between two men –Ratu Mara and SM Koya- representing the interests of all Fijians at the 1970 constitutional conference in London, where these two gentlemen wrongly agreed to have race based elections and the continuation of discriminatory rights to the people of Fiji, who were all British subjects. Some of the mistakes of 1970 continued in the 1990 and 1997 and even to the 2013 Constitution, many of which Bainimarama is trying very hard to correct.

Any arguments today that due to the first arrival of the iTaukei to Fiji historically, should provide them some special and exclusive rights over land and sea resources, its exclusive use of name Viti or Fiji, or unequal citizenry, is thus questionable due to the unconditional surrender of Fiji to Britain in 1874; the co-existence of different ethnic groups in Fiji since then –some two centuries have elapsed, and the fact that Fiji is not even a iTaukei term. Fiji was called Viti in 1874 and in fact the name Fiji was given by a white man.

This opposing extreme view has to be also highlighted, to counter views of the extreme type held by SODELPA and articulated recently on FBC 4 The Record programme, to help correct the discrimination and special status contemplated and suggested to be given to one segment of Fijian society, contrary to the 2013 Constitution.

In my personal opinion, the solution for Fiji is somewhere in the middle of these extreme viewpoints. This issue was never properly addressed by the Colonial Administration when they left Fiji.

Neither was it adequately resolved by the two gentlemen mentioned above, so that we could live in harmony and not have to revisit this issue periodically, especially during every election time. Fiji’s very simplistic short term solution of the past, continues to plague our daily lives and helps to further destabilise our young nation.

Whatever the case, personally I do not prefer a common name Fijian forcefully given to me by the force of a gun or a military coup. Also forcing the iTaukei into submission by the 2013 Constitution, to lose the exclusive use of the term Fijian, as in the past, without discussion and agreement, like this is both culturally insensitive and one of the greatest disrespect that one can show to the descendents of the high chiefs who ceded Viti to Britain in 1874.

This measure is not the correct approach, as pointed out by Ro Teimumu Kepa, as the fruits of this type of action, are normally very short lived and a recipe for future disaster in the making.

I would rather continue as a second class citizen and wait for the day when iTaukei of the type of Ro Teimumu Kepa, who profess Christian values and principles, will one day see reason and gracefully accept non-iTaukei as part of the family, where the iTaukei will continue to be respected by us as the first arrivals, with special rights and recognition, and at the same time they recognising us as equal partners and despite our diversity, willing and able to co-exist within this very rich heritage that our togetherness has in store for a stable and vibrant Fiji.

I am of the opinion that full dialogue and discussion and consensus building is required, to ensure an all inclusive society and equal citizenry.

This should not be forced down the throats of the iTaukei, who are the only beacon and salvation for us in this land we all call home.
TSLB student allowances

Krishnil Prasad, Suva

While it is good to note that the Government is doing so much for the students to ensure better education, it is extremely disappointing to note the time it takes to send the students their allowances.

It is now week seven of classes at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and until now the allowances have not been sent.

It causes so much hassle in-terms of purchasing textbooks and catering for other expenses. It wasn’t stated in the contract that the allowances were being given for just half the semester, or was it?

Numerous calls made to TSLB came with the same reply that it would be done next week, but it never happens.

Five Square diwali dhamaka 2021

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