3 Jun 2015

Opponents of Fiji's future flag 'ready for jail'

8:51 pm on 3 June 2015

Opponents of the Fiji government's move to change the flag say they are willing to go to jail for disrespecting the new flag.

A select committee is taking public submissions this week on the National Flag Protection Bill, which sets out rules and punishments for use and misuse of the new flag, which is to be chosen before October the 10th.

The leader of the Sodelpa Youth Council, Peter Waqavonovono, says many people are against the change and support the current flag.

"I will reject this new and forced flag. And I won't accept any logo of the flag. Even going to the extent of removing the flag on any of the activities that I am at. I mean it's just a total rejection of the flag and a lot of people are currently in the process of declaring that also, and we don't mind going to jail."

Section 16 of the bill includes fines of up to $9,500 US dollars and jail terms up to 10 years for desecrating the new flag.

The committee is due to report to Parliament on July the 6th.

Fiji flag

Fiji flag Photo: Free google search image

Meanwhile, the head of Fiji's sports body says she hopes the new national flag features the same blue as the current one.

The government says the current flag's Union Jack and the Coat of Arms are symbols of Fiji's colonial past.

The CEO of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, Lorraine Mar, says the sky blue in the current flag is recognised internationally, and is popular and iconic.

"I think that that is a really nice blue and it's a sky blue which says a lot about Fiji where we have a lot of sunshine and blue skies and from comments that we get when we wear our uniforms that the blue really stands out and there's not too many countries that have that blue, it does stand out and we would really like to keep that blue."

Lorraine Mar says she hopes sportsmen and women can still wear the new flag on uniforms, including swimwear.

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