Saturday 30th January 2021
The Fiji First Government’s sudden weekend “cyclone curfew” was thoughtless and height of stupidity. It also shows how much the Government is out of touch with reality.
The buck stops with the Prime Minister. When the NDMO Director announced the imposition of a curfew, she said it was with the concurrence of the Prime Minister.
Fiji has endured cyclones for decades. We get through them as a whole community, helping each other. Before cyclones, neighbours help each other secure their homes or move people and animals to safer places; afterwards they help each other to repair damage, treat the injured and ensure vulnerable people are looked after.
The Government and the NDMO also play their part in natural disasters. But it is the community that helps each other. Our leaders do not seem to know this.
Fiji has never, in 50 years, imposed a curfew before a cyclone. We have always relied on the good sense of our people to look after themselves and each other in natural disasters.
After the weekend curfew announcement, there was panic buying and selling of goods. Hundreds of farmers and market vendors rushed to sell their goods at a loss because their weekend business was destroyed.
Rural families with animals to tend or who fish and harvest food for their daily needs did not know what to do. What was the Government thinking?
As far as we know, the curfew was not lawful. No legal steps were taken under the National Disaster Management Act to support it. Certainly the Government did not say they had taken any.
The Government seems unable to think strategically or even to think straight.
Why? Because it is completely isolated from the people. It does not listen, it does not consult. It does not know how they live or how they work together.
It does not trust the very people it is paid to serve. It does not understand how its thoughtless actions can harm others.
They have no money, no ideas and no imagination. They cannot keep water in the taps; they cannot fix the roads. They cannot organise student scholarships and loans. So they try to stay relevant by ordering people around.
The people of Fiji are finding it increasingly hard to believe that this disorganized bunch of people, who just make it up as they go along, is really their government. They need to remember these events the next time they go to the polls.