Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (July 5) - The multi-party Cabinet has taken another big step forward in developing a commonly agreed policy position on important national issues in which the two parties have major differences.

It is the only way the multi-party Cabinet will work. And a lot depends on the willingness of the parliamentarians to rise above their own personal interests and come together for the good of all.

What it requires is for those elected by the people into Parliament to dedicate themselves to dialogue and consensus. Of course it demands a lot of patience, courage and compassion, faith in themselves and in the belief that no problem we face is beyond solution.

Foremost is the thorny native land lease legislation, which is the cause of hardship, and suffering for hundreds of cane farmers whose leases on native land have expired or are expiring.

The Cabinet sub-committee tasked to scrutinize the manifestoes of the Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party and the Fiji Labour Party have a tough assignment in finding an amicable solution to the land issue. But there is a solution, which would satisfy the landowners and tenants.

Both the manifestoes are broadly the same in many key areas and that should help the two parties in resolving some of the outstanding issues, which have been the cause of suspicion, distrust and ill-feeling between the major races.

The Affirmative Action programs and related human rights issues are also pressing issues, which need to be resolved.

There is a willingness and desire by many citizens to see the nation moving forward and it is up to the leaders they have elected into Parliament to work towards this objective. The leaders' mandate of care should not be limited to their own constituencies or communities. They are responsible of ensuring that the people are assured of a peaceful and stable environment in which to live, work, and progress. What is needed is an abundance of goodwill and understanding.

On October 10, 1970, the then Prime Minister, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara when receiving the instruments of Independence from Prince Charles at Albert Park in Suva said: "We are a community of many races with different cultures, customs and languages. But the things that unite us far outnumber those on which we differ. Above all there is our fixed joint determination to build a strong united Fiji, rich in diversity and tempered with tolerance, goodwill and understanding."

Sound words of advice from one of the nation's greatest statesmen and which should be the foundation of the joint effort by our elected members to promote peace, stability and progress in this land. Those who cannot do that job should stand aside and not be a hindrance.

July 6, 2006


Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com .

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