Government denounces Fiji Sun report on youth activists

CAPTION: A reader goes through today’s Fiji Sun. Photo: MUNAUWAR KHAN.

NO WARNING TO PROPOSED YOUTH PARTY ? ATTORNEY GENERAL

The front page story of today?s Fiji Sun ? ?Register first, AG Warns Youth Activists; only three can? ? is inaccurate, and worse, contains outright fabrications.

In an interview last Wednesday with the Fiji Sun, I reiterated the point that those looking to form political parties could say they were intending to form a party when going out to get signatures, but that only registered political parties can hold themselves out to be political parties.

I was told that a group of people were campaigning as a political party, and was then asked whether this was allowed. To this, I responded that I did not know the specific details, but that groups can?t hold themselves out to be political parties if they have not registered.

At no point was a proposed political party named, and at no point did I ?warn youth activists.?

In fact, the Bainimarama Government is very encouraged by the fact that young people are engaging with the political process.

Fiji?s youth have a very important role to play in the 2014 parliamentary elections. With the voting age now at 18, young Fijians have the opportunity ? for the first time ? to actively participate; to stand up and make their voices heard. To say, ?This is the Fiji we want.?

We need new political parties with new ideas; parties with inclusive platforms; parties that consider all Fijians equal; parties that protect land-ownership ? including iTaukei ownership ? in practice as well as in theory; parties that have clear policies on socio-economic issues such as economic growth, job creation, access to education, electricity, water, housing, and sanitation.

Parties such as these will be a welcome addition to a landscape that is currently dominated by the same old faces, which represent Fiji?s past, not its future.

MINFO