APRIL 17TH 2019
The frightened and paranoid government of Fiji is now threatening school teachers who might take part in a protest action for better working conditions – even in the school holidays.
The 12 April 2019 internal memorandum from the Permanent Secretary of Education is an unbelievable document.
First, she claims that a proposed Fiji Trades Union Congress protest action would be “in contravention of the laws of Fiji”. This is ridiculous. Protest actions can take many forms and many of them are clearly within the laws.
Then she claims that any “incitement or encouragement” of others to take part in protest action would be unlawful. This is as nonsensical as the statement above.
On 3 May teachers will be on holiday. The Ministry has no right to tell them where they should be. But the Ministry seems very anxious to tell them where they should not be!
This is a government that is clearly trying to instil a culture of fear and suppression to mask its own fear of being exposed as a dictatorial administration cloaked in its version of pseudo-democracy.
The Government is afraid that worker protests will unmask its pretence, during the big Asian Development Bank conference it is hosting in the first week of May, that Fiji is a united country with a population that supports the government.
The trade union movement and its leadership should get more emboldened and fight such threats being dished out by a stuttering administration trying to divert attention from the fundamental ills plaguing the nation.
They can run from the people for a little while. But they cannot hide.
Hon. Prof. Biman Prasad
Leader – National Federation Party