Another excellent editorial today in the Fiji Sun, folks…

Public funds gone to waste

Tomorrow is Fiji Day. It should be a day to celebrate our independence, our democracy and our national unity. The military display at Suva’s Albert Park will be a colourful affair with all the marches, bands and demonstrations of martial skill and precision. But behind the colour and the pomp there is a quite different picture of Fiji. In this snapshot, people are suffering. Many breadwinners have lost their jobs, others are working reduced hours while school leavers count themselves the most fortunate of people if they are able to find a job at all. The price of fuel, food and services continues to spiral upward with no end in sight. The cost of sending children to school represents a daily struggle for the average family. The cost of just staying alive is a continuing challenge for a very large number of Fiji Islanders. Meanwhile our unelected interim ministers and their retinues continue to traverse the globe at the expense of people who can barely put food on the table. These are just some of the reasons why the people have turned their backs on the interim regime. What began with so much hope in December 2006 has deteriorated into a campaign to cling to power whatever the cost – and that cost is borne by those who can least afford it. Since then the people have been fed a staple diet of broken promises, half truths and downright deceit. They’ve had a gutful. To the injury of the 10-year leave payout to senior military officers is now added the insult of the threat that there will be no elections unless the People’s Charter is accepted. We strongly suspect that the people of Fiji are about to demonstrate that there are other ways to vote than by putting crosses on a ballot paper. They have already voted overwhelmingly against the People’s Charter. They have rejected the new-look Great Council of Chiefs and they have turned away from the regime in general. They have voted at the Nadi international airport. Whether they will vote against the Fiji Day celebration remains to be seen. But it will be a great pity if they do for it will be occasion that whole families can enjoy. Children especially will marvel at the precision marching and the many demonstrations of skill and training from all of the disciplined forces. It will be a grand day out for all to enjoy. But when all is said and done, under the circumstances the people need bread not circuses, butter not guns. The quarter of a million dollars allocated for this celebration of independence where there is little, unity where there is division, and democracy where there is none, could have been much better spent. And by the way Another soccer tournament looms and again the fans are all excited for another three days of action-packed soccer. The sport continues to command a big following in the country – second only to rugby – because of its global popularity. Many fans closely follow international competitions and leagues such as the English, Spanish and Italian ones. The standard of the game in this country and the region cannot be compared to those league competitions for example. But there is always hope that our standard would gradually rise to match some of the best soccer-loving nations. Sponsors of the sport including this newspaper are confident that we can only achieve this goal if we all put our minds and pull our resources together. It can be achieved.

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