Sunday, August 6, 2006

Blueprint Review Next Year, Monday August 07, 2006

The Fiji Prime Minister’s Office says a comprehensive review of the Government’s Affirmative Action programme will be undertaken next year and not this year as earlier planned.

The chief executive in the PM’s Office Joji Kotobalavu said at the Government was currently monitoring the 29 Affirmative Action programmes or Blueprint on a monthly basis.

FBCL reports the PM’s Office is also the coordinating agency for the Government in the monitoring of all Affirmative Action programmes.

Kotobalavu said this was why the multi party Government established a cabinet sub committee on Equal Opportunities and Human Rights to undertake the comprehensive review.

This Cabinet sub committee is going to be chaired by the PM and the review will be undertaken in the course of the coming year.

"Now in the context of this comprehensive review, the recent report by the Human Rights Commission on the Government’s Affirmative Action programme will be an important input.

"But the Cabinet sub committee itself will ensure that in this review they will be wide participation by the people in general because under the Constitution there is a requirement that Government resources drawn from the Budget for the implementation of the Affirmative Action programmes must be based on a board understanding by all the communities in Fiji.

"So that in general is the purpose of this comprehensive review," Kotobalavu said.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has termed all of the Government’s "race-based" affirmative action policies as "unconstitutional" and called for affirmative action policies to be based on needs not race.

The report was prepared after a complaint last year by the Fiji Labour Party, the Citizens Constitutional Forum and the Fiji Teachers' Union on the various race-based programmes.

At the recent Asia Pacific Human Rights Forum, Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi said the Affirmative Action programme should be audited to determine the efficacy and legitimate expenditure of funds as it involved taxpayers’ monies.

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