Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ratu Joni calls for Fiji lobby from abroad

Ratu Joni calls for Fiji lobby from abroad
By ARTHUR McCUTCHAN in Brisbane
Sunday, October 12, 2008

FORMER vice-president and Roko Tui Bau Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi has called for dialogue to resolve the situation in Fiji.

Speaking in Fijian as chief guest at Fiji Day celebrations in Brisbane on Friday, Ratu Joni said the country had to move beyond apportioning blame and begin planning its future.

Continuing his speech in English, he said discussions needed to take place "not at the time that the commander seeks with universal endorsement of the People's Charter" but immediately.

"That will only be achieved if people are willing to come to the table without preconditions to discuss what should be the best form of government for us."

Ratu Joni also called on the Fiji community overseas to help push for dialogue on the People's Charter process that the interim Government is committed to.

"At the moment things do not look promising. But at least there is still good will in the community."

Ratu Joni said the Fiji High Court declaration to uphold decisions made by the President after the December 5, 2006 coup came as no surprise to him.

"But what has been imposed on people will not endure because the majority of the population disagree with it."

He said on the anniversary of Fiji's independence that despite its past and ongoing turmoil there was still much to celebrate.

"As a community, the ordinary people of Fiji have endured much and on this day we must remember them, their stoicism and their acceptance of the visitations that have been imposed upon them by all leaders in the 38 years of our independence.

"It is to their courage in all those 38 years, those four coups that we've had, that there's been relative peace and harmony," he said.

"For that I think we should all be very grateful."

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