ANALYSIS: Let’s Speak Out On Development

This is a clarion call for all people to make their voices heard at public consultations for a National Development Plan (NDP). This is an opportune moment for all people
15 Jul 2015 08:50
ANALYSIS: Let’s Speak Out On Development
National Development Plan submissions at Ahmadiya Secondary School, Lekutu, Bua. Photo: DEPTFO News
This is a clarion call for all people to make their voices heard at public consultations for a National Development Plan (NDP).

This is an opportune moment for all people to say what they want included. The Government is working to give everyone a chance.

These consultations cut across the cultural, social, economic and political divide and provide a forum for people to express their views without fear or intimidation.

A lot of talk happens in talanoa sessions around the yaqona or kava bowl but that’s where they stop. Most of these issues need to be conveyed to these consultations so that they are recorded. There are no limits set for the issues whether big or small.

When we talk about national development, it does not only mean, roads, bridges and transport. It means education, health business, agriculture, fishing, mining, shipping, aviation, housing and the environment. The list goes on. National development is all encompassing because all the issues contribute to the pulse of the nation. No issue is less important than another because they are all inter-connected.

An effective NDP is one that contains policies and strategies that will promote, implement and protect sustainable development.

Take health for example. Let’s start by saying a healthy population is a pre-requisite to a healthy,  vibrant and productive nation. How can we translate this goal so that it reaches the people, particularly those who live in villages, rural and maritime areas? That’s why these consultations are so important. They allow people the opportunity to make submissions on the urgent needs of their communities.

Those in central  Government do not know all the current conditions and needs of all the respective communities. They depend on information passed on to them by the various development agencies including non-governmental organisations (NGO) at different layers of Government bureaucracy. Sometimes it takes time for the information to reach the intended destination. And when it finally gets there, the information may have been modified and changed.

In these consultations this information comes directly from the people in its purest form. So accuracy of information is guaranteed.

The concept of NDP is not new. It was used during the rule of the Alliance Government under the then Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. They were five-year development plans. The only difference was that no public consultations were held. So it was very much the ideas of those in Government.

In this case, the NDP will incorporate the interests and aspirations of the people. That’s the positive bit.

Here’s a possible template of what you can use, if you are from the rural area. It does not have to be complicated or sophisticated. It has to be simple and clear:


NDP presentation template

Background: Vutia has three villages with a population of more than 2000 including those (like me) who live there from time to time. We are the last tikina (district), at the mouth of the Rewa River.

Transport: We depend on boats to ferry us to the Nasali landing where we board buses, taxis or carriers for Nausori and Suva.

One boat ride, if you hire, costs you from $20 to $30 one way. If you have group then you share the charge or pay $3 per person. It’s the biggest cost a villager faces.

For those who take produce to the market, they sail to Bailey Bridge, Laucala Beach, and pay $50 one way for hire. It’s one the biggest costs faced by the villagers.

Transport is drastically affected when there is a flood. All the debris from up river is washed down and become a major hazard for boat operators.


The proposed Rewa-Vutia road will put an end to our misery. It will stimulate economic growth and reverse the urban drift. Villagers who pay rent between Suva and Nausori can now move back to the villages and travel to work and back every day. They will save on rent and also be able to plant  their own food and go fishing.”

I can go on and on but that’s a brief synopsis of what can constitute a simple submission.

If you feel strongly about an issue, this is your chance to make it known.





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