04 February 2015: Referendum need on proposed flag change issue

February 4, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

Referendum need on proposed flag change issue

A Referendum and not views sought through social media is needed for changes proposed to our national symbol, the Fiji Flag, as mooted by the Prime Minister Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama.

An issue of national importance, especially when it involves an issue that has become an indelible part of our history, symbolizing transition from 96 years of Colonial Rule to full Independence 45 years ago, must involve the entire population of Fiji, including their elected representatives.

And this can only be done through a free, fair and credible Referendum, as done in other countries, notably our neighbours New Zealand and Australia. Any other method would be regarding as tinkering with our flag that has become the most famous symbol of Fiji, especially prominently featuring during our triumphant moments.

The PM describes certain symbols of our flag as remnants of our colonial past. Indeed when one looks at our institutions, names of our major roads and streets, they are named in honour of colonial rulers, administrators and monarchs. Aren’t these remnants of Colonialism, if PM’s logic is given credibility?

Further, this government still attaches our Indo Fijian community to colonial history. The preamble describes Indians as descendants of indentured labourers from British India. What nonsense.

This is insulting. India was a British Colony, So was Fiji and many other countries under the rule of the British Empire. Therefore the preamble basically describes Indo-Fijians as British Indians!

If anything has to be changed, then it is the preamble that is injurious to the Indo-Fijian community because it is reminder of our Girmit and not the choice of our forefathers who chose to make Fiji their only home after completion of the indenture period in 1916.

Changing the preamble and resolving matters of national concern like reviewing and revoking decrees to give credibility to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, agreeing to a bi-partisan approach to find solutions to resuscitate the sugar industry and reducing the escalating cost of living should be the priority of Government instead of focusing on what is a side-show,

Biman Prasad
Leader