Opinion

DEBATE ON RACIAL PREJUDICES : Nawaikula Versus Delaibatiki

SODELPA ISSUES Nawaikula statement Opposition Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula has slated an editor of the Fiji Sun for issuing a baseless statement seeking to create a hype from that
30 Nov 2017 09:44
DEBATE ON RACIAL PREJUDICES : Nawaikula Versus Delaibatiki
Niko Nawaikula.

SODELPA ISSUES

Nawaikula statement

Opposition Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula has slated an editor of the Fiji Sun for issuing a baseless statement seeking to create a hype from that myth to give mileage to the FijiFirst Party.

Mr Nawaikula’s statement emanates from My Say in the FBC 4 the Record TV programme and the Fiji Sun report on November 27, 2017 wherein Nemani Delaibatiki is quoted as saying: “We should let go of racial and other forms of prejudices, and it will help us to embrace the principle of equality in its true sense”.

He is further quoted as saying, “let’s be honest, there is still a fair bit of racial prejudices and racism in this country”.

“Mr Delaibatiki cannot find any example to support his claim. He then points to the RFMF as an example where merit is exercised but it defeats his point on equality because the outcome of the merit based selection of RFMF is a one sided affair favouring one race by 99 per cent”, Mr Nawaikula said.

“Applying Delaibatiki’s merit based equality formula and the outcome at RFMF is clearly discriminatory because it favours only one race. And, that is where open merit falls apart and this fact has been known to be so for so many years”, he stated.

“It is also the reason for the principle of positive discrimination because yes you can have open merit but the question to ask is whether the outcome is reflective of the community make-up and therefore justified”, Mr Nawaikula added.

The Suva lawyer says this has been the reason for the quota system in education scholarships and civil servants employment that FijiFirst has removed. It is not discriminatory in that regard because it is an acceptable measure of social justice.

“Positive discrimination is applied to groups with disabilities who are disadvantaged by the open merit system. Delaibatiki and or his children may have benefitted from such positive discrimination measures that he is now despising,” Mr Nawaikula said.

Mr Nawaikula called on Nemani Delaibatiki to be realistic and must stop attempting to brainwash the people under the FijiFirst Propaganda.

Nawaikula misses point of My Say

He seems confused and fails to understand the substance of my views

Lawyer and SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula seems confused and has completely missed the point of My Say.

I wasn’t referring to just the iTaukei but to all ethnic groups in Fiji because in this journey of the new Fiji,  one particular ethnic group cannot do it alone. We need everyone on board to reach our destination. We need to be one people and one mission – where everyone gets equal opportunity.

I spoke about equality as the foundation of this journey where we do not see things from a racial perspective but on merit.

It’s when we start to see issues from our racially tinted glasses, as Mr Nawaikula has done, that problems will arise.

This racial issue was the power keg that exploded with devastating impact in 1987 and 2000 plunging our country into economic and social chaos.

Those of us who were at the coalface of that crisis will know what I am talking about. We do not want to go back there or have a repeat of what happened. The events were simply wrong, morally wrong.

When our moral compass is set right, when we practise our religious beliefs that we are all equal before God irrespective of our cultural, religious, economic and social differences, we will prosper in an environment of peace and stability.

MYTH

Mr Nawaikula said My Say was a “baseless statement seeking to create a hype from that myth to give mileage to the FijiFirst Party.”

This is no myth we are dealing with,  Mr Nawaikula. It is reality. I am not a politician but I am thinking of the future of our children and our grandchildren, our posterity.

What kind of Fiji do we want to bequeath to them? Unless we learn from the lessons of 1987 and 2000, they face a grim future. I stand by what I expressed in My Say because that’s my personal belief. It’s got nothing to do with FijiFirst. If its views are similar to mine, so be it.

RFMF

Mr Nawaikula said I point to the RFMF as an example where merit is exercised but it defeated my point on equality because the outcome of the merit-based selection of RFMF is a one sided affair favouring one race by 99 per cent. He said it was clearly discriminatory because it favours only one race. And, that is where open merit falls apart.

Mr Nawaikula is confused and cannot connect the dots between equality and a merit system because of his narrow, sectional and political interests. Equality promotes fair and equal opportunities for all despite our different backgrounds. The merit system picks the best. The strict RFMF criteria protects the integrity of the force. It enables the RFMF to handle difficult missions like peacekeeping in volatile regions of the world.

POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION

Mr Nawaikula extolled the virtues of the then Fijian Affairs Board scholarships as an example of positive discrimination.

It would be interesting if an audit was done to find out how many ordinary Fijians benefitted as opposed to the elites and the privileged class. It is an insult to the iTaukei intelligence to suggest that they belong to “groups with disabilities who are disadvantaged by the open merit system.” He fails to specify what these disabilities are.

Many iTaukei have done well for themselves without Government or provincial assistance.

CHILDREN

Some of my 11 children overseas rang me yesterday and asked why Mr Nawaikula had dragged them into this debate. They wanted me to set the record straight.

None of them benefitted from the so-called positive discrimination measures or any Government or provincial assistance.

They were raised in a humble home and learned to struggle, work hard and sacrifice. Nothing was handed to them on a silver platter. At primary school here they sometimes went to school barefoot and ate leftover dinner for lunch.

In New Zealand, while studying at universities, they worked part-time jobs to help pay for their education and help mum and dad. They learned the value of hard work, the importance of a good education and spiritual values.

They decided that the key to securing their dream jobs was to focus on their studies and qualify or carry on cleaning the greasy broilers in a fast food chain in their part-time jobs.

They take pride in being Fijians and in the way they conduct themselves.

They are surprised that Mr Nawaikula can talk about them without checking his facts. The use of the word ‘may’ does not absolve him  or exonerate him from making irresponsible statements.

In a place where there is equal opportunity they do their best to excel in what they do.

They don’t regard their cultural background or language difficulties (English as a second language) an obstacle or a disabilitiy to achieving success.

They have got their degrees, secured their dream jobs and started their families.

Today, they are teaching the same values to their children.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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