the bainimarama govt has passed wide-reaching legislation Our senior West Editor, Jyoti Pratibha, argues any talk by anti-Bainimarama Government politicians of undoing all this work may prove to be counter-productive considering the benefits many decrees bring to the nation.
By Jyoti Pratibha nadi
There has been a lot said in the past by our politicians of their desire to do away with the various decrees through which Fiji had been governed and which continue to be in existence. Ro Teimumu Kepa of SODELPA made a point of this in her maiden speech, as she took up leadership of this new party. Fiji Labour Party’s Mahendra Chaudhry has also been vocal about what he sees as ‘draconian’ decrees. But, are the decrees really so bad that our politicians are so eager to do away with them? While they speak about revoking all decrees, have they given any thought to the implications of it? When Ro Teimumu talks about all decrees, it also includes the: Domestic Violence Decree of 2009 which gives unprecedented protection to women and children. This decree puts down in black and white the role each Police officer must play when incidences of domestic violence are reported. Or, how about the Legal Practitioners Decree of 2009? Does it not hold our lawyers more accountable to their clients? Does this decree not give us more powers to take lawyers to task if they fail to deal with their clients fairly? Through the Medical and Dental Practitioners Decree of 2010, we can hold our doctors, nurses and dentists accountable. Why do our politicians want us to think that these decrees are draconian? Perhaps, because there are some decrees which do not suit them and their agenda. Perhaps, they do not think so kindly about the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013. This decree now requires our political parties to disclose the assets they hold.It requires our politicians to disclose the assets they hold. It is our right to know if a politician, for example, who has been a trade unionist the better part of his life, has hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank account, with houses in Fiji and abroad, it is our right to know how that wealth is/was acquired. Or, do they not want us to know? Much hue and cry has been done over the Employment Regulation Promulgation and the Essential Industries (Employment) Decree 2011. Is it wrong to have the employees of one organisation have their union and have office bearers from the same organisation? Fijians need to be smarter than the politicians who will come knocking at every door now. These are just a few of the 200 plus decrees and amendments we have in place. There are many more which can be seen as taking this country forward.
Jyoti Pratibha works as the Fiji Sun’s West Editor. Prior to that she worked as senior reporter in the Suva newsroom. She is a graduate of the Indian High Commission’s scholarship programme. She also worked at the Daily Post newspaper. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org