Letters To The Editor, 17th December 2016

COP23 Work  Reverend Simione Tugi, General Secretary Fiji Council  of  Churches   The Fiji Council of Churches stands by our Prime Minister and the Government. We need to translate the
17 Dec 2016 11:00
Letters To The Editor, 17th December 2016

COP23 Work 

Reverend Simione Tugi, General Secretary

Fiji Council  of  Churches


The Fiji Council of Churches stands by our Prime Minister and the Government.

We need to translate the hope provided by the Paris Agreement into real action to direct the world towards a more just and sustainable future.

The Fiji Council of Churches (FCC) supports the World Council of Churches for lobbying at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco.

There are two signs of hope from 2015 – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement – are pivotal international instruments that have the potential to direct the world toward a more just and sustainable future.

It is absolutely critical for COP22 to translate the hope generated in Paris last year into higher ambitions and concrete actions, adding that rich, industrialised countries are historically the primary emitters and beneficiaries of greenhouse gas emissions – and there is a moral obligation for these countries to act and act now.

As a fellowship of people of faith, we carry a hope that impels us to speak and act.

The impoverished, the future generations and creation herself must be at the centre of any climate policy and agreement, said Grape.

This hope drives us to participate in a pilgrimage of justice and peace on the earth and with the earth – a gift and a home for all of us, and whose bounty ought to be shared and enjoyed in equitable and sustainable ways.

We called on COP22 parties to show that the Paris Agreement is for real and to ramp up the ambitions to keep the global average temperature increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius. We also called for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy through ending fossil fuel subsidies and boosting investments in renewable energies.

The FCC also called for ensuring that the various mechanisms under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, such as adaptation, loss and damage, capacity-building and finance, are developed to contribute to a just and resilient society for all.

Securing a scaled-up, transparent and sustained support to poor and vulnerable nations from wealthy and developed nations is crucial as well.

FCC are jointly demanding a more rapid transition to a low-carbon economy based on clean energy in order to stem rising global temperatures.

We pray for our PM’s leadership role and we believe that God had called him to take on this huge responsibility.



We are not alone

Gene Catrambone,

Bangkok, Thailand

Regarding your article, ‘We Are Not Alone…’, your argument about safeguarding national land would be valid had the Land Sales Act not been ‘retrospective’ in nature.

Though it is the prerogative of every sovereign government to write its own rules, the Land Sales Act, however, its ‘retrospective’ component makes it, in the tradition of the rule of law, unequivocally illegitimate: A person should never be made to suffer in law (criminal or civil) for an act which was not unlawful when committed or contracted.

Retrospective legislation destroys the certainty of law, is arbitrary and is vindictive, invariably directed against identifiable persons or groups (like us foreign land owners). Such laws undermine many characteristics of the rule of law.

A fair and simple correction to that error would be to amend the Act so as to be truly prospective; simply make purchases following the date the law was enacted in 2014 subject to the law. That is only fair and reasonable, and I am sure you would agree.

Without knowing the law, how can one reasonably make an informed decision before making a major investment? We had complied with all existing laws at the time of purchase and trusted that the Fijian Government would honour our purchase agreement.

Imagine if you woke up tomorrow morning to find that the property you owned was subject to a new law that forced you to build a home at a cost twice it’s current value, and you were forced to rebuild and incur the added expense or face exorbitant fines and imprisonment!

Well, I’m sure you wouldn’t be very happy about it, yet that is exactly what we face.

Put the shoe on the other foot and you will understand our case.

So, I am requesting that you rewrite your article in support of the repeal of the retrospective component of the Land Act only.

It will resolve the issue and help regain the respect of the foreign community that was lost when the laws enactment.


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