FIJI: Nation needs support for peaceful return to democracy

Arvind Kumar in Pacific Media Watch
imageAUCKLAND (Indian Weekender/Pacific Media Watch): Two former Fiji academics have called for a better understanding of Fiji politics, saying no efforts should be spared in working towards a smooth, orderly and swift transition to democracy in Fiji.
Democracy and restoration of civil rights are important for Fiji but they should be achieved without any unwarranted violence, according to the former University of the South Pacific academics.
Literature academic Dr Som Prakash and ex head of journalism Shailendra Singh said that with the defection of senior military officer Ratu Tevita Mara, and with the rumoured intention of lowering national pension thresholds, the political situation in Fiji could best be described as delicate and disconcerting.

“Some have seen this as an opportunity to call for an uprising against the regime in Fiji, but all parties in Fiji should be working towards a peaceful path to elected government as this will ensure long-term stability,” Singh told the Indian Weekender in Auckland.

“The prevailing uncertainly regarding the pension fund will further dissuade potential investors, which will only harm the people.
“International governments should also get behind the country during this difficult period.
“Some have expressed doubts about the military government's pledge to hold elections in 2014,” Singh said.
Sticking to promise
But in recent statements Fiji's Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has insisted that the government would stick to this promise.
Singh said instead of being sceptical and dismissive, interested parties should assist Fiji’s return to democracy.
“If need be, work with the government towards democracy rather than isolate it and harden attitudes.”
Dr Prakash said talk about an uprising or insurrection was “rather reckless”.
“Such talk is emanating from people who do not understand the fragile situation in Fiji.
“Fiji does not have a bloody history. So the last thing Fiji needs is an implosion.”
Dr Prakash said the social and economic costs would be devastating in a country that had experienced four coups in the past two decades.
“Recovery and reconciliation will become very hard if there is violence or bloodshed.
“The Solomon Islands, where RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands) is still needed after all these years to keep the peace, is testimony to this.
“No one wants another RAMSI in the region.”
Shailendra Singh is the former Head of Journalism at the USP, currently studying for his doctorate in journalism and communications at the University of Queensland
Dr Som Prakash is the former head of Literature and Language at USP, now based in NSW, Australia.


Thumbs up for freedom said…
One can understand those who collaborated or supporeted this regime now looking for a way out. Too late. The nation needs support all right. To remove this cancer and return to democracy and freedom - by any means. Now publish this!!

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