Pocket meetings to the fore in Fiji campaigns

Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Tuesday 29 July 2014

 

Transcript

As campaigning steps up before Fiji’s election, the “pocket meeting” is king.

But political parties say even in small intimate gatherings they’re finding people are afraid to ask questions or express their views.

Sally Round went along to one meeting in the suburbs of Lautoka held by People’s Democratic Party candidate Vijay Singh.

VIJAY SINGH: A pocket meeting is where we get a small crowd, say ten to fifteen, to twenty people and we speak to them and we advise them and we share the views and we ask them questions to tell us what their views are, and tonight is this four pocket meetings in different places in Lautoka. So all of us leaders are distributed evenly everywhere.

SALLY ROUND: So how does it work, do you just turn up and people come and go?

VS: What we do during the day or probably give them notice at least four or five days, we give them small flyers and just them to advise ten to fifteen houses around the vicinity and we get to one venue so that we can talk to them.

SR: And are people generally welcoming this idea because three years ago meetings of three or more people were not allowed in Fiji?

VS: Yes that’s right, anything more than three people was not allowed and I think that was a great deception of democracy and people could not come out and they were in fear and even today they are in fear. Some people don’t come and they tell us ‘we are scared’ so we don’t get big numbers, so we do pockets.

SR: Why are they scared?

VS: I think they still feel the fear of the military and they’re still scared, and there’s coups, and what has happened in the last seven years, there’s people have been killed and everything was forced onto people by decree and they still haven’t come out of that.

SR: So this is a bit of a challenge, getting people to come along to these meetings.

VS: Very true, it’s a bit of a challenge getting people to the meetings. We have tried bringing big crowds at some stages but then we still find it difficult, they are scared but they will be standing in the corner far away listening but they won’t come to the core place of the meeting. The fear is still there, which is very sad.

SR: Will you have big rallies at all, is that in mind?

VS: Yes we will, once we have rounded up the pocket meetings, we have created little committees in every community where we go, and then we will utilise that committee and gather them at one place and make big rallies as the election gets closer.

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6 thoughts on “

  1. It is quite obvious that 8 years of terror and intimidation, of torture, beating, persecution and burning have made a strong impression on Fiji’s population. While Khaiyum is certainly the regime’s most loathed figure, most people don’t even dare to speak his name in the shadows. I am afraid we have to accept a couple of more years of his rule.

  2. Support Khaiyum, hand over your land and vote for Khaiyum’s Rear Admirer and you have nothing to fear!

  3. President of US can serve for 8 years.
    So time is up for the regime.
    8 years of illegal rule and no freedom of expression for the people is over.
    Why Ba// Khayium want to rule for another 4 years?
    Give chance to others.

  4. I’d say this is very smart of PDP, even though it may be quite tedious and expensive logistically. They’d be smart to distill the findings or outcomes of these meetings properly and analyze it well for their policies. If they come to our village they can hear all the frustrations and swears about this thieving, lying regime. We gave Frank the treatment for chiefs and he thinks he’s got us. Even our chief declared support for him but the Chief has told us to vote on our conscience. He only declared support because that’s what he thought Frank seemed so desperate for if he was to give us all those handouts. The very thing he accused previous governments of doing but he is doing in a much bigger and blatant way. We are not stupid like he and his regime thinks. He can go to hell for all we care, we have suffered one way or the other, directly or indirectly since 2006 because of the decisions of this regime. You name it be it.. land, loss of jobs, torture by military, early retirement, high cost of living, being ridiculed personally and as an ethnic group, mockery of church and vanua, and etc etc. All this regime has done is benefit Frank and his family, the military and their families, cronies and regime cohorts and their families. Nothing more.

  5. What a commentator said about Muslims extremist objectives in Palestine in in the world are, EyeArse and his bretheren in Fiji are carrying out these tasks of domination in our lovely country…EyeArse is our worst enemy.

    by Lisa Miller •

    Hamas doctrines speak of annihilating all Jews throughout the world and they also follow the fundamentalist movement in which Mohammed proclaimed that all Jews were to be exterminated as well as any other religions that do not follow the Muslim religion. Their intention, as well as other extremist organizations, is to make the whole world Muslim This Muslim faction states that “we love death as much as Israel loves life”
    world and they also follow the fundamentalist movement in which Mohammed proclaimed that all Jews were to be exterminated as well as any other religions that do not follow the Muslim religion. Their intention, as well as other extremist organizations, is to make the whole world Muslim This Muslim faction states that “we love death as much as Israel loves life”

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