Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Election or unrest, nationalist warns state

Last updated 10/16/2007

A political party urged the interim regime to hold the general election in 2009.
Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party president Viliame Savu said the interim administration should live up to its promise to hold elections within two years.
However, he was happy with the appointment of a three-member electoral commission.
�At least that is a way forward,� he said. �Fiji has to see whether these promises are just for show.
�Nobody can predict what will happen come 2009 but they (military) have the guns.
�We want peace but Fiji has to be led by an elected government so the Interim Government must ensure that what they are doing is the best for the country.�
He said certain members of the Interim Government were scared because they would have to answer for the consequences of their actions in last year�s military takeover.
�From my judgement, the members of the Interim Government are hesitant to move forward because if the country returns to democracy, they will go to jail,�� he said.
�But the appointment of the Electoral Commission is a good sign and if it�s formed for a good purpose then I believe it will bring a good ending.�
Mr Savu said the party had no objection to the commission and believed that if they would be able to complete their task.
�What is left is for them to be genuine, to see whether we will have the election or not,�� he said.
�We do not want it to be just an excuse but for now, the party just want the country to move forward and we�re happy that the interim government is moving in that direction.�

Party supports EU stand on sugar funds

Last updated 10/16/2007

The Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party (SDL) has supported the stand by the European Union on the non-release of funds for the sugar industry.
The party says the international community would only assist Fiji if it returned to democratic rule.
Party�s national director Peceli Kinivuwai said the EU was only reiterating its call for the return to democratic rule. He said the international community was clear on its stand regarding the political situation in Fiji.
�We are basically the victims of our own actions. We can solve that by returning to early democracy,� said Mr Kinivuwai. Mr Kinivuwai said only when the country returned to normalcy could we expect the international community to assist us.
�If we want to go back to normalcy only then can we expect the international community to come to our aid,� he said.
The EU last week said Fiji could lose out on crucial sugar funding if the Interim Government did not fulfil its commitments.
European Commission head of delegation Dr Roberto Ridolfi said the release of funds depended on the government fulfilling its commitments within the given timeframe. Dr Ridolfi said the allocations would be maintained and released subject to the fulfilment of the agreed commitments.

Dialogue can solve

Last updated 10/16/2007

The escalating tension between Fiji and NZ can be addressed through formal discussions, said acting NZ High Commission Joanna Kempers.
Ms Kempers said at a ground-breaking ceremony for the Syria Villa Monument at Naselai village near Nausori, said the state of wariness, mistrust and hostility �arise from
ignorance, unfamiliarity and the lack of understanding�.
�This can be overcome through dialogue, education and through a willingness to learn from and be tolerant of others,� said Ms Kempers.
She said New Zealand�s commitment to interfaith and intercultural dialogue was part of its contribution to help build a more secure and peaceful world.
�This dialogue brought together representatives of major faith and community groups of 15 countries from South East Asia and the South Pacific to explore cooperation and communication, and to build understanding and mutual respect among the people of our region�s different religious faiths,� she said.
She said inter-faith understanding was also important because it allowed a person to have a good understanding of the different perspectives within one�s own religion before trying to understand someone else�s.
�Not all Christians think alike, nor do all Muslims or Hindus,� she said.
She said the promotion of tolerance and understanding of cultures and religions in school was important because children understood one another.
�As parents we all know that our children can teach us so much. Their innocent minds open our horizons,� she said.
She said if children grew up understanding and respecting each other�s cultural and religious beliefs, there was no room for prejudice.
Ms Kempers also highlighted the role of the media saying the media played a critical role to interfaith and inter-cultural understanding because it acted as the mirror that reflects society.
�If the media chooses to focus its attention on stories about racial politics and division, stories which emphasis our differences then that is what we will see in the mirror and perceive to be reality,� said Ms Kempers.
She said if the media chose to focus on stories which highlighted similarities and ways that could work together then it could reflect and impact the perception of citizens.

Archbishop gets CCF support

Last updated 10/16/2007
The Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) declared its support for Archbishop Petero Mataca and Father Kevin Barr on their involvement in helping the Interim Government move the country forward.
The CCF was concerned that stakeholders such as the National Council of Churches could not heal the rift that exist within our society and was grateful that the Catholic church was doing all they could to help the interim administration move the country forward.
�The Catholic Church is doing a great job in trying to move the country forward and I continuously urge other religious organisations to do the same because it is the only way Fiji can return to democracy faster,� said Reverend Yabaki.
Archbishop Mataca was appointed by the President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo to co-chair the National Council for Building a Better Fiji along with Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
Fr Barr was appointed by the Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Saiyad-Khaiyum to be part of the three-member Constitution Boundaries Commission tasked with reforming electoral boundaries for the next national elections.
Reverend Yabaki was outspoken about the Methodist Church�s stand not to contribute to reconciliation exercises.
�It is a cause of disappointment that the Methodist Church which has the largest number of indigenous Fijian membership has so far been unable to contribute to reconciliation exercises,� he said.
He applauded the stand taken by the Catholic church in supporting the process of reconciliation.
The CCF maintains its anti-coup stance but feels that relevant stakeholders and citizens need to work together to drive the economy out of the doldrums.

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