Bipartisanship in Fiji Day Celebrations
Friday 28th August 2020
The National Federation Party believes Government will inspire and rejuvenate confidence amongst the people of Fiji if it embraces bipartisanship in celebrating Fiji’s 50th year or Golden Jubilee of Independence.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says since Independence was a product of bipartisanship between the two major races and their leaders, it would be highly symbolic and appropriate that the Fiji First government “reaches across the aisle” and invites the Opposition to jointly plan and coordinate celebrations of the 50th year of this historic achievement.
“It is well known that the NFP, borne out of the struggle for equality, dignity and justice of ordinary people, was primarily focused on leading the struggle for Independence and driving out the CSR (Colonial Sugar Refining Company) out of Fiji that was heaping atrocities on cane growers”.
“Initially, the Colonial Government and the indigenous Fijian community opposed any form of Independence for Fiji”.
“Bitter and acrimonious debates ensued in the Legislative Council primarily between supporters of the then Chief Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and the NFP founder leader (Ambalal Dahyabhai Patel) A D Patel and his MPs “.
But goodwill and commonsense prevailed with Ratu Mara briefly cooperating with Patel until Patel’s sudden death in October 1969, and later with his successor, Siddiq Moidin (SM) Koya, that paved the way for an end to 96 years of colonial rule on 10th October, 1970”.
“We must never forget that Patel, Ratu Mara and Koya, were the founding fathers of modern Fiji, ably supported by their respective caucuses in the Legislative Council”.
“50 years later, the fact that we are a sovereign and independent nation is largely due to the vision of bipartisanship, unyielding desire for national interest, and pride and patriotism in our beloved nation by our founding fathers”.
“We have seen many examples of bipartisanship in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, despite bitter and acrimonious debates between Governments and parliamentary opposition because national interest, genuine unity and harmony were always at the forefront when it came to nationhood”.
“The then Alliance Government and NFP Opposition, led by Ratu Mara and Jai Ram Reddy respectively, came together to lead the nation in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Girmitiya in 1979”.
“Two years later in 1981, both leaders were at the forefront of welcoming and hosting India’s then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during her historic visit to Fiji”.
“In 1984, Ratu Mara and S M Koya spearheaded the Sugar Industry Act that resulted in unrivalled progress and prosperity of the industry and spiraled Fiji’s economy”.
“And 10 years after two coups shattered Fiji’s paradise, Sitiveni Rabuka and Jai Ram Reddy cooperated and gave Fiji the internationally acclaimed 1997 Constitution, and a year later revived a sugar industry decimated by drought to its full strength”.
“The true character of leadership is to rise when the chips are down, right now, Fiji’s economy is in the doldrums amidst a pandemic. Every citizen in the nation is affected in one way or the other”.
“There is no better time to put aside differences, finger-pointing and political posturing of the past and come together to inspire confidence amongst the people of Fiji that collectively all challenges and obstacles can be overcome”.
“This is the least that our people deserve”.
Video by NFP Leader Biman Prasad via our Official Facebook Page