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National identity must go through formulation: chief

August 12, 2012 5:37 am

Rewa Chief Ro Filipe Tuisawau says a National identity cannot be forced on the people but it should be formulated via consultation.

While making his submission to the Constitution Commission Ro Filipe says it is a crucial issue and needs honest and open discussion.

“I propose the following: Formation of a wider community based National Committee to establish a National Identity for Fiji Islands comprised of the representatives of the Fijian people, other Fiji Islanders NGO’s and so forth. Workshops should also be conducted in villages and provinces and the opinion be put through a National referendum.”

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He says according to the Fijian Affairs Act and in other documents, Fijian is referred to the indigenous Fijian and it should be retained.

“We suggest that Fijian be retained for the Kai Viti, the indigenous and all citizens be called Fiji Islanders in line with the name of the country i.e. Republic of Fiji Islands.”

Ro Filipe says the word i Taukei is not the name of people – but is a verb and it means to own.

“For example Taukei ni Motoka means owner of a car or taukei ni qele means landowner and these two don’t have to be indigenous Fijians.”

He has suggested all Fiji citizens be called Fiji Islanders in line of the name of the country.

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