But in Education and Business sector there should be
Affirmative Action for indigenous Fijians
One politician who tried to become the leader of SODELPA made the totally false and ridiculous allegation in an email that Mr Jai Ram Reddy (former leader of NFP) was collaborating with the FLP leader (Mr Chaudhry) to unite the “Indians”, and he asked his own party “what are we Fijians doing”! One would have thought that political leaders would by now have stopped using divisive racial politics
"In large measure, the support that Bainimarama gets from many Indo-Fijians (and also from many kailoma and kaivalagi) is due to this message of equality of all races...Non-indigenous Fijian votes, although only 35% of all votes, may well be critical in deciding which parties form government in the next parliament."
Affirmative Action for Indigenous Fijians: in the business sector
In a previous Bulletin (Bulletin 3), I have pointed out that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples fully justifies the special treatment of indigenous peoples where they lag behind other ethnic groups, for systematic reasons.
In Bulletin 2, I gave the example of scholarships for education, where they needed special allocations to ensure that they were not marginalized from training necessary to reach proper balance in the economy.
This balance for indigenous people is absolutely necessary in the business sector, where indigenous Fijians have a tiny share of corporate ownership.
It has been totally remiss of several largely Indo-Fijian dominated political parties to use Fijian Holdings Limited as a political football, in trying to tarnish the SVT or the SDL by alleging that they were only making elite or rich Fijians richer.
I argued here in this Statement for Mr Qarase in his recent trial that the only serious gap between indigenous Fijians and the other ethnic groups is at the top in the corporate sector, and it was necessary for Fiji’s economic development, that well-off or rich Fijians must be made richer.
Except in education, there is no need for affirmative action for the bottom 90% of the populations where Fijians and Indo-Fijians are pretty similar in terms of household income and expenditure. But there must be Affirmative Action to foster indigenous Fijians in Business, just as other ethnic groups have received in Fiji’s history (read the article above).
Voters can ask political parties what will be their policies towards Affirmative Action to assist indigenous Fijians in business
Music and performing arts
Fiji multiracial communities are all characterized by their love of music and performing arts, which can be seen in the tremendous upsurge in singing competitions in the media.
Yet there is little financial support given by government or the private sector towards genuine growth in these musical and art activities, certainly nowhere near that given to sports.
The Fiji Performing Right Association Ltd, which is a strong force for trying to protect the royalty incomes of their members, needs far great support from government resources. They also need new initiatives to strengthen the capacity of their members to grow their industry, and strengthen indigenous music and arts in Fiji, and music in all the vernaculars.
Voters can ask all political parties what will be their policies to
(a) strengthen the local music industry, arts and cultures
(b) providing adequate resources to the Fiji Performing Right Association Ltd to better assist their members through their special projects aimed at schools and the general public.
National Identity and Inclusiveness
Since the 1987 coup, one of the most contentious issues which have impacted on public perceptions and attitudes towards the government of the day, those in authority, and political parties, is whether they foster a sense of “inclusivity” amongst all ethnic groups.
Sadly, indigenous Fijian ethno-nationalists have tended to stigmatize Indo-Fijians (people of Indian origin), and to a lesser extent kaivalagi (of “European origin”) and kailoma (mixed European and local origins) as “vulagi” (“visitors”).At the extremes, one politician (Butadroka) thrived by calling on Indo-Fijians to be repatriated to India.
One Cabinet Minister from the SDL Party not too long ago called Indo-Fijians “weeds” with no censure or apologies from the party leadership.
Such open racism has inevitably created a deep sense of “not belonging” and vulnerability amongst these Fiji citizens, and they flock to any Fijian leader who is inclusive towards them. Indo-Fijians loved Dr Bavadra in the brief period he was allowed to lead Fiji.
Many will also remember that during the 1999 Elections, one Dr Baba (then part of the FLP) received adulatory rakhis during raksha bandhan, from Indo-Fijian ladies (the rakhi is a colorful thread tied on the wrist to express the love of sisters for their protective brothers).
Historically, no Fijian leader has emphasized the principles of equality and inclusivity of all ethnic groups in Fiji, as much as Commodore Bainimarama.
In large measure, the support that Bainimarama gets from many Indo-Fijians (and also from many kailoma and kaivalagi) is due to this message of equality of all races, which he backs with the appointment of prominent Indo-Fijians, kavalagi and kailoma, to high places, to the removal or ethnic criteria in education, and to his unfortunate dictatorial declaration that all Fiji citizens are to be called “Fijians” (which will no doubt be challenged in the next parliament). But it is a wonder that other Fijian politicians do not emulate Bainimarama’s rhetoric and messages in this regard, given its importance in nation-building.
On the contrary, one politician who tried to become the leader of SODELPA made the totally false and ridiculous allegation in an email that Mr Jai Ram Reddy (former leader of NFP) was collaborating with the FLP leader (Mr Chaudhry) to unite the “Indians”, and he asked his own party “what are we Fijians doing”! One would have thought that political leaders would by now have stopped using divisive racial politics.
Note that treating all citizens as equals does not preclude Affirmative Action policies for indigenous Fijians where they systematically lag behind such as in education or business (while not discriminating against others’ legitimate rights as citizens).
But note that non-indigenous Fijian votes, although only 35% of all votes, may well be critical in deciding which parties form government in the next parliament.
Voters can ask all political parties to specify what will be their policies towards non-indigenous ethnic communities in Fiji as full citizens to be accorded full respect and inclusivity in national life.
Fijileaks Editor: This is a continuation from previous Bulletin 6: http://www.fijileaks.com/2/post/2014/03/bulletin-6-wadan-narsey-continues-with-his-analysis-women-in-fiji.html
Opposing policies will affect some education initiatives brought in by the current government if the Social Democratic and Liberal Party forms the next government. For years the Fijian government was giving out race based scholarships.
For the itaukei scholarships, the main criteria was that the applicant had to be a itaukei or Rotuman. The other scholarship system was the Multi Ethnic scholarships which were only given to Indo Fijians and the minority community.The qualifying marks and salary levels of parents for both categories were also different. Starting from this year, the current government decided that race based scholarships should be abolished and scholarship awards should be based on merit. This resulted in the setting up of the National Toppers Scheme.
The government has also set up the Tertiary Loan Scheme which has given many people the opportunity to pursue further education after completing secondary education. Prime Minister, Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama said the race based scholarship programme is a divided way of looking at building national capacity. Bainimarama said more Fijian youth than ever before now have access to tertiary education under the new toppers scholarship and Government loan scheme.
The Prime Minister said to revert to the old system would rob so many students around the country of the opportunity to pursue their dreams with a university education. Bainimarama said the previous system lacked transparency where people accessed scholarships depending many times on who you were or who you knew. However SODELPA's senior official, Doctor Tupeni Baba stressed that SODELPA will not change it's stand as the new system has not been approved by an elected parliament. Source: Fijivillage News
Fijileaks Editor: See previous analysis published by us: EQUITY OVER DIVERSITY: The Impact of Merging Government Scholarship Programs on i-taukei Fijians: The scholarship gap before the merger were somewhat marginal. However it is now compounded, giving the upper edge to Indo-Fijian after introduction of merit-based system in 2010