14 Oct 2002

Conference told that Indo Fijians have become demoralised over the last decade

11:41 am on 14 October 2002

A weekend Goodwill Conference in Fiji has been told Indo Fijians have been disillusioned and demoralised over the last decade because of the political agendas of powerful vested interests.

The chairman of the Citizens Constitutional Forum and USP professor, Vijay Naidu, said Indo Fijians were not prepared to accept the agendas of racial supremacists.

He said the Indo Fijian community was committed to peace and the due process of law in dealing with ethnic problems.

But Professor Naidu said more than 100 thousand people have left Fiji since the coups of 1987 and between 400 and 500 are still leaving each month because they see little prospect for long term stability in the country.

On the ethnic breakdown of land ownership, Professor Naidu said outdated figures from the 1960s are still being used in official statistics.

He said with the return of large areas of state land to the Native Land Trust Board and the purchase of freehold land by the state, as much as 94 per cent of Fiji's land and all its natural resources belong to indigenous owners or the state.

Professor Naidu says rules and procedures need to be clear to allow Indo Fijians and other minority groups to relate to the landowners and be able to access some of the resources for their basic livelihood.

The Goodwill Conference was organised by moderate MPs led by the leader of the United General Party, Mick Beddoes