www.fijitimes.com - Thursday, March 05, 2009
IT is time for a serious review of the Fijian administration and its relevance to the nation and the indigenous people.
Recent reforms of State ministries and departments were conducted in an effort to increase efficiency, reduce expenditure and ensure the streamlining of services to the people.
In the case of the administration of the Fijian people, the costs of operating provincial offices far outweigh any possible benefit from maintaining facilities which provide for a particular racial group.
This administration has consistently called for the removal or references to race or the provision of benefits according to ethnicity.
Through the Rural Development Ministry, the State offers funding and technical assistance to people who live outside the urban areas.
These projects must be conducted according to the needs of the community after relevant analysis by experts.
Whether the beneficiaries of the projects are Indian, Fijian or some other ethnicity is irrelevant.
If a need exists, it is the duty of the State to see that these requirements are met from taxpayers' funds.
With the Fijian administration, a second, unnecessary tier of bureaucracy has been established to cater to the indigenous people.
Offices are maintained in the 14 provinces to ostentatiously care for landowners and minister to their needs.
With these offices are the accompanying costs of utilities, maintenance, staff salaries, administrative and operational costs.
Yet the needs of the indigenous community are fully catered for through services provided at the offices maintained by government departments and ministries. At provincial council meetings, matters raised by district representatives are referred to civil servants who must return to their offices, make inquiries and report back — sometimes six months later.
In truth, the Fijian administration is a relic of the colonial era, an un-needed layer of bureaucracy and a burden to the taxpayer.
We should not be forced to maintain a dual system of governance for reasons which are purely sentimental. The indigenous people have access to infrastructure and State-provided service. It is their duty to take the first step and approach government officers for assistance.
Addressing these issues through a system which caters only to Fijians wastes time and money.
It also encourages people to think in terms of ethnicity or breeds a mistaken sense of greater self-importance in members of the indigenous community.
This must change for the benefit of the Fijian people in general
The time has come for them to realise that circumstance has brought us together as a nation of one people.
We must all work hard for success. In this endeavour, ethnicity and religion are irrelevant.
It's time for the indigenous people to cast off the shackles of the past and enter the future under their own steam.