Sunvoice

Letters To The Editor: 12th January, 2019

Roots of iTaukei fears Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori When Fiji declared independence on October 10th, 1970 our people looked forward with enthusiasm to a nation that will boom with development, progress
12 Jan 2019 12:51
Letters To The Editor: 12th January, 2019
Editorial

Roots of iTaukei fears

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori

When Fiji declared independence on October 10th, 1970 our people looked forward with enthusiasm to a nation that will boom with development, progress and prosperity.

For the following few years, Fiji recorded the highest economic growth in its history then. Businesses thrived and the nation progressed economically.

But in the shadow of this progress during that era, a cancerous cell of envy, jealousy and racism started to grow. It was triggered by the unequal distribution of wealth, financial disparity on ethnic lines and our cultural inequality in progressing academically and economically.

Neither the colonial Government, nor the Alliance Government that ruled Fiji for the first 16 years of independence had put any serious focus on this issue nor did they have any interest in carrying out in-depth research to find the root cause and solve it.

So ethnically we walked down on two separate paths. Indo-Fijians worked in the cane belt and focused on running businesses and thrived. We iTaukei focussed on holding on to our culture and traditions, and getting a job. Eventually we dominated the civil service.

But the buying power of a civil service job was never comparable to the buying power of a businessman. While civil servants have limited vacancies and confined salary ceilings, business people have unlimited opportunities for expansion and therefore no ceilings for making money.

The Indo-Fijians continue to thrive economically and shared ideas on how to progress financially, while we iTaukei stuck to our culture and tradition and arrogantly heaped praises on the few of our people who manage to secure high salary jobs.

Neither the Alliance Government nor the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) then saw it necessary or as a priority to train and instill the skills of entrepreneurship in the minds of our iTaukei people.

They were so content with being served as elites knowing that their descendants are secure as long as our tradition and culture remains. Chiefs will always remain chiefs and commoners will always remain commoners and chiefs will always lead. They did not know that this assumption was attached to a ticking time bomb. Exposure, education, upcoming technologies and an evolving world will soon change the structures of iTaukei leadership forever.

We are not alone in these changes and evolution. In the last 250 years, many kingdoms have become republics and colonies have gained their Independence as sovereign states.

For our people to actually thrive, entrepreneurship is the key, but not the absolute solution. If we fail in business once or twice, it does not mean that we have failed in life. It simply means that there are lessons to be learnt from those failures and if we make necessary adjustments, we will eventually thrive. We must carefully and correctly analyse our failures and do what is right.

Many Indo-Fijians are willing to assist us iTaukei in building our businesses or as partners but the many decades of economic disparity has hatched an egg of mistrust towards them and further nurtured by our cultural diversity.

The 1987 and 2000 coups were repercussions of such a process increasing the political polarisation of our two main ethnic communities.

But instead of admitting and learning from our own iTaukei failures and despite running the government for 35 of our first 36 years of independence (1970 to 2006) some of our people still try to carefully cook up a falsified explanation.

They convince our grassroots iTaukei people that the innocent Indo- Fijians and Chinese were the culprits whether the issue is economy, land, business, governance or management. Many of us swallowed this hook, line and sinker. .

They brainwash them to see “Good Governance” and “Good Management” as signs of greed. Our carefree style of “Vakasabusabu” is embraced and compared to biblical “Love”.

The deceitful misuse of our community funds (for the Village, Vanua, School or Church) and mismanagement of our various community projects are openly tolerated sometimes justifying them with various biblical verses on “forgiveness”.

Over consumption of kava resulting into laziness is sometimes interpreted as an obligation to the “vanua” and its culture and tradition.

As a race, we iTaukei have huge advantages over all other ethnic groups in Fiji.

Yet some of us prefer to act as judges with one eye that can delicately scrutinise and analyse the faults and actions of other races while closing the eye that should see the failures of our own making. Only we can amend or adjust that. No one else can.

 

Stolen vehicles

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

The revelation that two stolen vehicles from New Zealand were imported

to be used as spare parts is not only surprising but it raises the question of how long has such contraband been imported and if other importers are doing the same?

If such huge items like cars can be stolen and imported, one can only imagine what else is being imported to be sold for great profits?

I believe Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) have only just scratched the surface of a much larger problem.

If there is one particular area FRCS needs to focus their efforts on to curb this corrupt practice, it is within FRCS, because anything can be brought in if it can slip through itchy hands along our borders?

Transparency International, the global coalition against corruption, rates New Zealand as the cleanest country in the world when it comes to corruption so it would not surprise me that NZ Customs were involved here.

The second pressing question here is how are we progressing to put controls in place to end such corrupt practices?

Where are we making substantial changes that will bring about real improvements? Marginal improvements is not good enough because it will only curb the problem.

A comprehensive approach is necessary and government must invest heavily into eliminating such corruption.

 

Plan Well

Flyod Rbinson, Suva

The rapid population growth and increasingly heavy traffic flow around the Suva – Nausori corridor is such an issue that it deserves further deliberations in terms of planning, especially for future developments.

What is the population of people living in this area? Which areas are more densely populated than others? What is the capacity of existing reservoirs and water supply systems?

What is the current capacity of existing sewerage systems? How well maintained are our drainage systems? What is the ratio of Police officers to general population?

What is the ratio of doctors and nurses to population? What is the volume of wastes being collected and sent to the rubbish dumps? What are current population growth rates and predictions for the future.

Will the selling price of land continue to increase?

All in all, we must plan and support the efforts of the Government to boost economic development to meet the needs of the nation.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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