Friday, June 1, 2007

Charter ‘to heal racism wounds’


THE two military takeovers of governments in 1987 and the civilian led coup in 2000, both heightened and deeply magnified the dominance of race-based politics and governance resulting in a severe erosion of confidence and massive exodus abroad of the country’s skilled and educated people, mainly Indians.
This is one of the background factors that led to the compilation of “A PEOPLE’S CHARTER FOR CHANGE & PROGRESS”, according to a statement by the Information Ministry.
The Charter in its draft form was made possible with the support of Government ministries.

The overall objective of the Charter will be “To rebuild Fiji into a non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well governed, truly democratic nation that seeks progress and prosperity through merit based equality of opportunity and peace.

The Charter highlights that in the Post-1987 coup period related developments caused severe ruptures in the very fabric of Fiji society, resulting in a loss of confidence that has been debilitating Fiji’s economy and hampering developmental progress and prosperity.

It is noted that while the 1997 Constitution was somewhat more progressive and broadly more representative of Fiji’s communities in the political governance arrangements that it promulgated, it maintained the race-based architecture with emphasis on the communal in the make up of Parliament and put in place structures that continued to emphasise racial divisions in Fiji society.

The Charter also highlights that more recently in the wake of the 2000 civilian–led overthrow of government the military had initially installed the Interim Civilian Government.

Then following the 2001 and 2006 General Elections, Fiji’s political governance has been characterised by the politicisation of the prison services, criminal justice system and the public service.

There was a significant weakening of the key institutions of governance, pervasive increase in corruption, serious economic decline, a significant deterioration in the law and order situation and a deepening of the racial schism in the country.

Copies of the Chater have been circulated to various civil society groups, the media, businesses and corporate bodies with the intention that they come on board to promote it and help push it to realisation.

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