Sunday, May 25, 2008

Qarase Plans Comeback

Ousted PM maps road to election triumph
23 MAY 2008

Ousted Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase says his Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua has begun preparations to win a "great victory" in the March, 2009 elections.

Speaking at the party’s annual general meeting in Suva today, Qarase told his followers that the party should set its course now “to help rescue the nation from the catastrophic consequences of the coup”.

“In the next few months, party machinery will be reactivated and strengthened,” he said.

“New councils will be established and key officials appointed both at the national and constituency levels and we will need to raise funds.”

He said the party is determined to give Fiji a government that will “end the injustice and unhappiness of the last 18 months; a government that works with the people, not against them”.

“We are resolved to help Fiji rise to heights of nationhood, unity and prosperity that have so far been in our imaginations. This country can become everything it wishes to be.”

The general assembly has also approved a new constitution based on a review of the party’s first constitution adopted in 2001.

Qarase gave a brief outline of the party’s broad policies on certain issues and the actions it plans to take. They are:

1) A SDL government will establish, as a priority, a Constitution Review Commission;

2) establish a Police Review Commission to review the entire operations of the force;

3) establish an Independent Review Commission, as a priority, to carry out a comprehensive review of the Judiciary and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions;

4) ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the Office of the DPP as necessary;

5) will move quickly to reverse the economic effect of the coup, and incompetent management of the Interim Government. Form a foundation for growth of not less than 5 percent GDP annually;

6) pursue a multi-party approach to the critical land issue, which will involve consultations with other political parties;

7) promote both small and large scale investment in agriculture. Encourage foreign investments in agricultural ventures. Negotiate with landowners to open up more land for agricultural development;

8) move forward with an affirmative action review. This will be followed by the establishment of a new set of programmes consistent with the Constitution.

9) establish, as a crucial priority, a Native Laws Review Commission to look at laws dealing with Fijian Affairs, such as the Fijian Affairs Act and the Native Land Trust Act;

10) launch a comprehensive resettlement plan for squatters through land acquisition, subdivision and construction of housing. The party aims to resettle 1000 squatter families, or about 8000 people, annually;

11) establish an Anti-Corruption Commission to replace FICAC.

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