Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Election not ‘magic cure’ to Fiji’s ills: Naidu

Election not ‘magic cure’ to Fiji’s ills: Naidu
www.fijilive.com - 17 JUN 2008

The national election is not the ‘magic cure’ for anybody’s ills, let alone Fiji’s economy, says a strong advocate for the country's early return to democratic rule. Prominent Suva-based lawyer Richard made the comment during a panel discussion at the 36th Fiji Institute of Accountant’s annual congress, which ended at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort in Nadroga on Saturday.Naidu was responding to a question posed by Pacific Sun’s general manager Manoa Kamikamica who asked whether the election was the genuine answer to moving Fiji forward to a stable and investor-friendly environment.Kamikamica said most questions for the corporate sector in Fiji centred on investment plan and stability.“In terms of moving forward and really moving forward to the future, how difficult will it be without an election, because Ratu Joni yesterday was talking about the abrogation of the Constitution in order to have an election? To actually get things moving forward, do we need to have an election? “It’s not the election,” Naidu responded, adding the election was but one demonstration of Fiji’s ability to follow the rule of law.“The election itself is not a magic cure for anybody’s ills. It’s about following the rule of law and staying within the framework of the Constitution because that’s what investors want,” he said.“They want a stable, understandable set of rules that doesn’t change,” he added.Naidu said for the last 20 years, things had changed. “You have a coup, everything changes, nobody knows what the law is, and nobody knows what the rules are.”During the panel discussion on Saturday, Naidu asked about 300 delegates to raise their hands if they believed that the interim Government was an investor-friendly regime. No hands went up.“Government has got to ask, not tell,” said Naidu.“There’s no point telling us all of the great things that you’re doing to make yourself investor friendly if the community…and this is the investment community, does not believe you,” Naidu said of Government. “It’s about confidence and you cannot have confidence until you have rule of law. And so the elections is not the solution but the elections is the demonstration that we’re actually prepared to go back to the rule of law and stick to it,” he said.“It’s five hard years before anybody will believe us that we can actually stick to the promise. So, the sooner we make a start, the better,” he added.

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