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Fiji: The People's Charter And The Way Forward

The People's Charter and The Way Forward

6 August 2008 - Change, Peace and Progress are the guiding words that open the draft of the Peoples Charter endorsed yesterday (5 August 2008) by the National Council for Building Better Fiji (NCBBF).

The proposed Peoples Charter (PC) is about building a more solid foundation for the common good based on the equality and dignity of all citizens; good and just governance; respect for diverse cultural and religious beliefs; sustainable economic growth; a promise to uplift the people who are disadvantaged and opportunities based on merit for all citizens.

The Peoples Charter emphasizes that it seeks to strengthen the constitution and does not replace it. Its opening paragraph affirms "... that our Constitution represents the supreme law of our country, that it provides the framework for the conduct of our government and the people."

Recommendations contained in the draft PC include changing the present electoral system to one based on proportional representation where each member of the public over the age of 18 years would be able to cast only one vote for one candidate under a common roll system.

Ending the "coup culture" is seen as a top priority. A strategy of 12 principles has been included to end this culture as part of the measures necessary.

It is recognized that while the military have been involved in all the coups since 1987, it has not been the sole instigator of coups. Some political and business groups using ethno-nationalism have supported them for their own political and economic agendas.

Leadership is to be enhanced through the enactment of a Code of Conduct and the adoption of a Leadership Model.

To establish a common identity, all citizens of Fiji will be called "Fijians" while the indigenous Fijians are to be known as I-Taukei.

Poverty which affects around 34% of our citizens is to be reduced to negligible levels by 2015. Various measures include stepping up the growth of the economy. More direct help through poverty alleviation programs is planned for the extreme poor in all communities.

To ensure successful implementation of the Peoples Charter a special body is proposed to be established called the National Peoples' Charter Council (NPCC). Its members will be drawn from all sectors of society. It will monitor, review and comment on reforms. The NPCC will come under the stewardship of the Prime Minister.

A two month national consultation and education process on the proposed Peoples Charter will now begin using both public meetings and media education. Every household in the country is to receive a copy of the proposed Peoples Charter and some supporting material. These will be printed in the three main languages.

At meetings throughout the country members of the NCBBF and the Technical and Support Secretariat (TASS), as well as community leaders will explain the vision, shared values and principles embedded in the Peoples Charter, answer questions and seek opinions.

A media publicity campaign will also alert people about the Peoples Charter, NCBBF recommendations and give information on location and dates of public meetings.

ENDS

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