Inappropriate and Appropriate Models


 I remember years ago in Niue  noting that the agricultural programme was based on the NZ model. No local trees were used in afforestation; the imported sheep died, and no attempt was made to improve the local pigs or chickens.  Similarly, in PNG, the slopes behind Port Moresby were declared by the Australian administration  as unsuitable for agriculture.  But they were used by squatters from the Highlands to grow cash crops and could have been more sustainable  had they followed Filipino examples. I wonder also what's happened to the extensive via plantations that  once fed densely populated Rewa in pre-contact days. Would another, non-Western, tropical  model have sustained or extended production?

Rebuffed by its Australian and NZ mentors, the  Fiji Government has "Looked North" for new friends and development partners. This has  led to visits by officials and ordinary people to countries such as India, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia, and the transfer of  some technologies and models more appropriate to Fiji. Australia and NZ have played important roles in Fiji's development and it is to be hoped they will continue to do so for many years to come, but today's partial standoff has opened  Fijian eyes to other models.

One non-agricultural example is the Yellow Ribbon programme based on a model developed in
Singapore. The project was conceived out of the need to offer forgiveness and a second chance to
ex-offenders.

Into its fourth year in Fiji, many rehabilitating ex-offenders, who wish to make a fresh start on
their release, often face an uphill battle. In their attempts to lead normal lives they often face obstacles all along the way, because of the stigma associated with their former status.

Something of the struggle was conveyed by an emotional Cuvu native from Nadroga Rusiate Rabalabala when he  spoke of  how  being part of the Yellow Ribbon programme had changed the perception of his family and friends towards ex-offenders.

Mr Rabalabala served ten years in correction facilities but now he is a successful example of
how the Yellow Ribbon programme has helped him to become a  better person.

“I had finished serving my term in 1997. During that time the stigma in society was powerful
because people used to victimize us, so in turn most re-offended just to get into prison because
they felt accepted,” he said.

But since the launch of the Yellow Ribbon project, the situation has changed the perception
of the general public towards ex-offenders.

“I want to thank the Government and Fiji Corrections Services for initiating such projects so that we still have a place in our own home, communities and country."

Fiji Corrections Services Commissioner Colonel Iferemi Vasu said, “the launch of the project in
the Western division is important because this was a phase of re-integration into the community”.

“This is the way forward for the Fijian Government and Fiji Corrections Services ensures
that rehabilitation for inmates continues when they are released from prisons and taken back to
their homes,” he said. Colonel Vasu urged all community leaders to be part of this campaign and so help our children who have offended to be part of the community.

-- Crosbie Walsh

Comments

Anonymous said…
'Rebuffed by its Australian and NZ mentors'. these countries do not have to accept or buy into every whim of the fijian regime. If Fiji is now more inclined to take repayable loans and third rate material and goods from China and India then good for them.Perhaps they might consider importing chinese made vehicles and Indian bottled water.

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