Monday, April 23, 2007


FIJIANS need to sit down, be united and constructively talk about what they want after the elections and the type of democracy they want Fiji to have.

Fijian academic Doctor Steve Ratuva said this was important if the country was to move away from the coup culture.

Dr Ratuva made the comments while speaking on a Fijian radio talkback show yesterday.
He said that Fiji was in turmoil, especially after the events of December 5, 2006, and the suspension of the Great Council of Chiefs meeting by the Interim Government.

The fact that the military has been involved in all the three coups has compounded matters.

“What happened in 1987 and 2000 is totally different from what happened in 2006,” Dr Ratuva said.

“They involved the military but in different ways. In 1987 the military was used to take over the Bavadra Government. In 2000 the military was used to reclaim the government. But in 2006 the military led the takeover of government.”

Dr Ratuva said Fijians now seemed divided between allegiance and support for the military-led government and the GCC.

“There is a definite split and it is time that Fijians sit down and talk together,” he said.

“We need to be united because there is no use trying to rush into another election without dealing with the probem first.”

He said efforts to try and get Fiji back to an election were commendable but there needed to be some serious thinking on the part of the indigenous people.

“We really need to think hard about what we want. The democracy we have here in Fiji is different from the type of democracy practised in the United States of America or Australia for that matter,” he said on the Viti FM Vakaribamalamala show.

“It is time that Fijians talk about what type of democracy they want. Otherwise everything will just break down again after the elections if we rush into it without trying to first solve the problem we have.”

Dr Ratuva said he told the United Nations Special Mission to Fiji in Suva yesterday that there was a real need for dialogue between the major players in the current political crisis.

He said the big gap that exists in the relationship between the interim administration and the GCC also needs to be rectified.

“It is time that they sit down and talk also. Now there is a big, deep pit between the two, the Interim Government and the GCC. Now it is time for a bridge to be built across it and talks to begin for the future of this country,” Dr Ratuva said.

Meanwhile, Dr Ratuva said he did not see any reason why there should not be a fourth confederacy formed by the people of Ba.

“I don’t see why they should be stopped. There might be some traditional Fijian understanding and relationship but otherwise I don’t see any reason why they can’t form their own confederacy,” he added.


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