Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dr Wadan Narsey Threats Over Population Stats

Posted by Pacific in the Media, March 23, 2010

The economics professor, Wadan Narsey, has a told a New Zealand media team that he's been threatened over his demographics paper, which shows the Indo-Fijian population is dropping dramaticlly.

Narsey is quoted in the Michael Field interview as saying "It is big news because it sharply reduces the ethnicity factor in Fijian elections."

The USP professor says his paper (see the Coupfourpointfive story on the Narsey population statistics in older posts) has been banned in Fiji but has been circulated elsewhere.

"The censors won't allow it," he told Field from Suva. "I hope I don't get taken in, they have rung me and threatened me."

He insisted on his right to discuss data of major significance. "If you want to live life like a human being, you have to live it. If we cannot do the things that are our responsibility then we are not fulfilling our responsibilities as teachers and elders."

In the paper, Dr Narsey said Fiji is going through a "population revolution".

Data now available from the 2007 Census indicated that by 2027 Indo-Fijians will make up just 26 percent of the population, while indigenous Fijians will count for around 70 percent.

The data showed that while higher emigration was a factor, there was also a dramatic fall in Indo-Fijian fertility.

Dr Narsey said for more than 50 years the racial balance has been Fiji's "politically explosive issue".

The issue was behind all four of Fiji's coups between 1987 and 2006.

Commodore Bainimarama was trying by decree to create a multi-racial electoral system, but Dr Narsey said the numbers show that indigenous government is inevitable.

The birth rate among the Indo-Fijian population is now around two children per woman, while the Fijian rate is three.

Dr Narsey speculated that indigenous leaders have been pressing on village communities to have big families for electoral advantage, while Indo-Fijians have gone the other way because of flexibility when trying to emigrate.

In education the population change was "remarkable and potentially revolutionary" with a mjaority of indigenous Fijian in Hindu schools.

"It's a remarkable change, and they are fundamental changes taking place out in the country... it is going to have some marvellous impact on multi racialism in the country, much more so than these silly military decrees."

Emigration had affected the Indo.Fijian population. "We are losing all of our intelligentsia ... anybody who is bright and had get-up-and-go, has gone. What we have left is pretty much intellectually rudderless."

He said it was sad for people like him who had seen virtually everyone of his generation leave. "You find you are in a social vacuum."

But, he said, he did not plan on leaving: "this is where I belong... fortunately my wife agrees with me."

The community's core value remained in distant cities. "It is an astonishing thing to me; they are recreating little Fijis wherever they go. However much people may classify us as Indians, we are as far apart from them as Martians. They are becoming even more Indo-Fijian than here." -Stuff

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