The People's Charter Stands Tall
|Head in the sand|
On the basis of this story the blog then accused the government of "using corrupt practises to get a majority vote for the People’s Charter." The Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development Col. Inia Seruiratu blamed the civil servants, not the government, and deplored their action saying it was corrupt.
More recently, Coup4.5, the blog that we toss coins over in the traditional ANZAC game of Two up (heads it may be true; tails it's probably wrong) offered its opinion that the Charter was merely a "cut and paste of (the) Development Plans and State of the Nation reports" that preceded the Bainimarama Coup. If this were true, one must ask why then do they not support it, and instead applaud Ro Teimumu and Ratu Naiqama who oppose it?
This is not the time to recall the billboards in the West in 2001 and 2006 that warned of bloodshed if the Fiji Labour Party became the government. Two wrongs do not make one right. But it may be time to recall the overwhelming support given to the People's Charter, despite the active opposition of the SDL, the Great Council of Chiefs, and the leaders of the Methodist Church.
The National Committee for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) Report to the President, including the finalized draft People's Charter, was submitted on 15 December, 2008. This Report may be accessed by readers through the People's Charter website or Google, and a link is provided on my blog, but here, I wish to draw readers' attention to two key points in order to show just how out of step with what their people really think Ro Teimumu and Ratu Naiqama may be. They may claim to speak "for" the people (that is their chiefly way. The people do not normally speak for themselves) but a very large number of ordinary people did speak for themselves on the People's Chareter. The chiefs wer not listening.
1) As at 10 December, 2008, of the 533,783 people in Fiji aged 18 years and over, the People's Charter process had outreached and consulted a total of 424,660 or 80% of the adult population.
Of the 424,660 contacted, 372,311 responded by completing the Response Forms. Further, of these 372,311, some 342,592 (92%, or 64.2% of Fiji's total adult population aged 18 year and above) affirmed their support for the Charter.(Page 5, 19-21);
2) Page 28 of the Report stated that" those who have remained steadfastly opposed to the Interim Government mounted a vigorous campaign to discredit and derail the Charter undertaking"; that this notwithstanding, " it is the people of Fiji who are seeking change and, under the People's Charter, have committed themselves to change for the better.This commitment by the people has been expressed freely and without intimidation" ( emphasis added).The measures put in place to ensure transparency and authenticity of the Charter consultation process are outlined on p.18 of the Report.
It would take a large number of over-zealous civil servants and a fair number of Wainiika villages to detract from these numbers.