Letters To The Editor, 30th October, 2017

Parmod Chand’s comment Timoci Lutu, Golan Heights National Federation Party Member of Parliament Parmod Chand’s statement at their Labasa talanoa session is one of the shallowest comments I’ve ever heard
30 Oct 2017 16:15
Letters To The Editor, 30th October, 2017
National Federation party candidate, Parmod Chand

Parmod Chand’s comment

Timoci Lutu, Golan Heights

National Federation Party Member of Parliament Parmod Chand’s statement at their Labasa talanoa session is one of the shallowest comments I’ve ever heard of and should be challenged.

To me he is like a man who wants to tabetabe or to make good remarks only to his leader. He wanted to tell the audience that he is the strongest and fearless man ever to come out from Labasa. Really?

Then why didn’t you save those Indo-Fijians who suffered the most during the 2000 event? By the way, where were you at that time?

It seems like you have no respect to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces that saved the suffering of thousands in Fiji including those whom you tried to brainwash by your Rambo style comment.

I remember clearly the time when RFMF from Suva arrived in Labasa that evening, no one but the Indo-Fijian community came over to welcome us, providing food and drinks because they knew that only the RFMF was their hope at that time and would always be all the time.

Their shops which were closed for weeks opened up until midnight and cars were moving freely again. Home owners who fled their homes returned again.

I for one who sacrificed myself and escaped death by inches during those hard times hurts me when someone degrades this great institution not knowing what we went through.

Don’t act like a dog barking from its compound because the situation is normal in Fiji and try to use some respectable comments, at the same time attack only the politicians and leave the RFMF alone.

Any Government can lead as long as they serve the people well whether it’s 12 or 20 years and only people decide on that.

If you really feel for the people in the North and want to serve them badly why can’t you allow them to travel free in your buses right up to the next general election?

Rakiraki sedition convictions

Dorsami Naidu, Nadi

We have gone through a judicial process resulting in convictions and custodial sentences for 14 of the 15 accused in the recent Ra sedition case.

These accused if the newspaper reports of the court proceedings are anything to go by are average citizens and elderly who rightly or wrongly had strong religious convictions but actions were naive and they were caught up in a scenario not of their making.

This scenario can be compared to the 1988-89 ‘Guns of Lautoka’ case which was a direct result of the 1987 coup.

There were 21 accused in that case and they were also average elderly citizens  mostly farmers and who felt strongly about what had happened and when offered a chance to make a difference they jumped at the opportunity though they did not know how to use a AK47, rocket launcher or grenade  nor had they ever used one though they were found in possession of the same.

I represented several of the accused in the ‘Guns of Lautoka’ saga with certain colleagues of mine like the late Mr Anu Patel, Mr Anand Singh and Mr AK Narayan and the presiding judge was Justice Doctor L.M. Jayaratne of Sri Lanka, a fearless judge of the Fiji Supreme Court at Lautoka (now the Lautoka High Court).

There was no evidence of treason against the accused but eighteen (18) of them pleaded guilty to the charge of being in possession of unlicensed firearms and in mitigation we impressed on the judge that the accused were simple ordinary people caught up in a situation not of their making.

The judge after considering the summary of facts and having regard to the forceful mitigation presented by defence counsels gave all the accused non-custodial sentences.

This was a great result as it showed that there was some understanding of the reasons for the actions of the accused.

They like the present accused were mere pawns in this political game of chess. Some who in our country’s history have initiated treasonous or seditious acts with success resulting in constitutional immunity while others who are non-consequential foot soldiers whose actions are a spinoff from such scenarios face the full brunt of the law.

It is time for reconciliation, compassion and understanding and not retribution and vengeance. The people of this country have come a long way on the path of one nation and one people.

The judicial system has carried out its function but I urge the Commission on the Prerogative of Mercy constituted under Section 119 of the Constitution to convene and recommend to the President to grant a pardon to all those 14 presently serving a custodial sentence.

This country and its people have been through a lot since May 1987 and it is probably time to have own forgiveness and reconciliation commission similar to the South African one to determine the causes of our upheavals and move forward.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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