This Letter was Not Published by the Fiji Times.
Self-Censorship or Employer Self-Interest?
Congratulations to Ruby Taylor Newton for her Editorial in The Sunday Times (Jan 22nd). She drew attention to the increase in the cost of living and the hardship faced by so many families - especially now when families are paying for the school fees of their children.
However, one of the things our media have not spoken about is why the cost of living has risen and why so many people are facing severe hardship.
- We need to talk about the negative effects of devaluation and the increase in VAT.
- We need to talk about the delays in wage increases.
- Also we need to diffuse the myth that the new tax reforms will put more money in everyone's pockets. In fact they will have no effect on at least 70% of our working population.
- We need to help people realise that poverty is not limited to the 3-4% of those who receive assistance from Social Welfare. What of the other 32% who live below the poverty line?
We give lip service to the Millennium Development Goals and the People's Charter where we resolve to minimise poverty but, in fact poverty is increasing.
It seems we are willing to do more to satisfy overseas investors and tourists than we are for our own people.
In terms of education for our children I estimate that at least 40% of children would not be attending school if they were not being assisted through the generosity of individuals, businesses, NGOs and other organisations like Save the Children and FENC. Of course the initiative of the Navakalolo Education Trust Fund is a good model for other mataqalis to follow.
Fr. Kevin J. BarrFr. Kevin J. Barr, Peoples Community Network Consultant, Lot 36, Koroi Pl. Samabula, Suva.
Ph: +679 3373223 Fx: +679 3373222 "A New World is Possible"