Is anyone surprised that Frank’s big tour has produced questions from villages about the long-promised by never delivered village By-Laws? The By-laws were about to be delivered in 2010 when they were shelved without a proper explanation.
Since then, for four years, we’ve been told the by-Laws are on the way, but they never arrive. Now as Bainimarama tours villages people are asking: where are the By-laws you promised?
Deputy Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga, has been pushed out to answer for Bainimarama. The hapless Colonel was forced to admit there have been a lot of questions about Village By-laws. People went through a long process of discussing By-laws and sending them to the Ministry for approval and implementation. They will not be happy to find out this was just going through the motions.
Kurusiga’s response was to advise villages to call a meeting under the turaga ni koro and discuss what they want to be observed by everyone within the village, like the dress code, the consumption of alcohol, respect for village elders, etc. They could then take a vote and agree on a POLICY!
But then what? Anyone can see that Kurusiga is just stalling. Why doesn’t Bainimarama just come out and say it straight: “We are all Fijians, there can be no law that applies only to iTaukei villages.”
At least the IAG who wrote the constitution should tell us if the Constitution would permit Village By-Laws, which apply only in villages, to have the force of law.