The Need for Reforms

L-R. Fr David Arms, me, Fr Kevin Barr
By
Fr Kevin J. Barr

At the recent Attorney-General’s Conference in Natadola the Prime Minister pointed out the need to reform various laws in Fiji in order to remove long-festering problems in Fiji society. Those he mentioned were:
  • The established privilege of career politicians that foster division;
  • Elites who believe the laws do not apply to them;
  • Dishonest civil servants who take bribes to do the bidding of others;
  • Certain unionists who manipulate the law and destroy job opportunities for workers;
  • Men who resist equal rights for women.

That is fine but why be selective? What of the need for reforms to address other long-festering problems and concerns:
  • Those businessmen who colluded with those responsible for the various coups since 1987 and were never investigated?
  • The influential lobby of businessmen who, over the years, have been responsible for delaying and reducing the wage regulation orders for workers in our country and so caused deeper poverty?
  • Those who used their personal agenda against certain unionists in order to curtail the power of trade unions (which work for social and economic justice for the workers of Fiji)?
  • Those responsible for allowing certain overseas investors to ride dry-shod over environmental concerns and the interests of indigenous land owners?

The Prime Minister also spoke some fine words which deserve our support:
“It is our goal to make sure that we establish and nurture a Fiji in which justice is
actual and permanent not only legal justice, but social and economic justice that
establishes a common and equal citizentry in all aspects of life.”
This is consistent with the demand that social justice be one of the “non-negotiables” for the drawing up of the new Constitution.

We applaud this demand for social justice because social justice challenges us to provide all people with equitable opportunities and rights in a real and substantive way. This means that all people have the right to participate fully in society. Moreover social justice demands that we challenge and change the structural injustices which disadvantage and marginalize so many of our brothers and sisters. Social justice calls upon us to stand up for those whose basic rights are ignored and who live in poverty. Social justice demands that those who have more than they need should share with those who lack the basic necessities for living a decent life. Social justice challenges us to work for the good of all – the common good – and not allow a few to exploit others and monopolise the wealth and resources of the earth which God made for all. Social justice seeks a more equitable distribution of wealth, power and opportunities and urges us to fight against exploitation both of our workers and the resources of our environment.

There has been much stress on the need to do away with corruption. We also need to see equal stress on the need to control greed –whether it be corporate or individual.

Comments

wati s said…
social justice like actively promoting and PROTECTING human rights?? or are these mutally exclusive under this regime until the next actually elected government takes over? You clearly don't see the irony in the militray commander claiming human rights as his hobby. You don't even explore that this was not even close to his original motives for the coups.
oh please said…
So now we have:

The established privilege of an all powerfull military class/soon to be politicians that foster division;


Military elites who believe the laws do not apply to them; (Kean)


Military still appoint dishonest civil servants who take bribes to do the bidding of others; where is the auditor general BTW??


Military types who manipulate the law (aka decrees), fail to tender for government work and get government jobs themselves or family;


Military who remain unrepresentative of the nations cultural mix, still find themselves sleeping with females subordinates, and resist equal rights for all fijians, especially those who dare speak up and question
Vitiboy said…
Not so surprising the illegal PM can't bring himself to mention the non-negotiable we are all interested in, the one where he derives all the benefit, immunity for the military and their cronies. He can't even publicly talk about it. It seems Croz is, as usual, prepared to wave this through. BTW, why would i come on this blog to discuss the weather?
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ Vitiboy ... The published non-negotiables would be accepted by all people concerned with justice and democracy. They did not mention immunity or the military. These are obviously other issues on which the Constituent Assembly will have to decide. Months ago I said, realistically, immunity will have to be given and the military will not stand back and allow what has been achieved since 2006 to be undermined, but that's only my view of the situation. Do you think the Bainimarama government or the military will give up power on any other basis?

As for the weather: why not? Haven't you yet heard that two former politicians (my sources say Qarase and Beddoes) were denied entry to an evacuation centre and that the SDL office in Suva were broken into by the military at the height of the storm and the fire they lit was only doused by heavy rain? There's also a rumour Ro Teimumu is stranded on an island as the Rewa continues to rise. DISMAC has refused to go to her rescue. You'll comment on the "weather, my friend, once you have something negative to say about the Government!
mr and mrs bludger said…
Croz
You really are an idiot. It is becoming easier to see how you and your bludging missus can take freebies from these junta thugs.
@&$)( said…
And you will always find something positive in a military regime that has no business in government in the first place. I know which side of history I will be on.
desmond said…
'Constituent Assembly will have to decide'...garbage, the Assembly will propose and the regime will decide, all. You have not even indicated what would happen if there is not a meeting of minds...presume all you like about what will be imposed by the regime, but it may not go the way they want and there will be plenty of push back in the media etc...can't wait for the public squirming and the leaks from the assembly.
Anonymous said…
I think we have to be realistic and pragmatic; the military will have to be given immunity to move things forward; otherwise we will be stuck in a situation where they will be punished for moving back to electiosn

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