QARASE ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR INDIGENOUS FIJIANS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 25, 2000 – Fiji Live/Fiji Daily Post)---The Interim Government will put in place a 20 year development plan for indigenous Fijians and Rotumans, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase announced in Noco.

Mr. Qarase said Fijians lagged behind Indians in the mainstream economy because of their "no care attitude." He said the development plan was the first of its kind.

Mr. Qarase said the Interim Government wanted it to be part of National Planning. He said Fijians and Rotumans must set a vision and work towards it.

"Once a vision is set, we can work on a mission and set out an action plan to work towards," Mr. Qarase said. "Most of the time we're just working blindly with no guidance to follow."

"Our Indian brothers work hard to be where they are at the moment and we can be with them or even at a higher level only if we're committed and dedicate to whatever we're doing especially in the world of business," he said.

Mr. Qarase said a committee will be named soon to work on the plan. Once its work is complete it would be tabled at the Great Council of Chiefs meeting for approval. He said the committee would need the contribution of provincial councils to make the plan workable.

Mr. Qarase said the People's Coalition governments National Planning offered very little to the development of Fijians. The Prime Minister also spoke on the Blueprint, which was unanimously accepted by the people of Noco.

A villager asked Mr. Qarase how they would ensure the plan worked for Fijians and Rotumans. In reply, Mr. Qarase said $28 million has been set aside and they're going to make legislations to see it worked.

He also urged the people of Noco to make use of the $1.5 million allocation to start their businesses. He told the people of Noco that the economy was quickly recovering.

He said the Interim Government had been able to maintain peace, law and order and stability after four months in office.

On Justice Anthony Gates' ruling, Mr. Qarase said they would wait for the Fiji Court of Appeal's decision.

Ratu Rayawa told the Prime Minister the people of Noco were totally behind his leadership.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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