5 Aug 2002

Fiji's only Indo Fijian Cabinet Minister apolgises for colleague's racist remarks

11:19 am on 5 August 2002

Fiji's only Indo Fijian Cabinet Minister, George Shiu Raj, has apologised to the country's Indian community for racist remarks made against them in parliament.

The apology followed statements by the Minister for Women, Adi Asenaca Caucau, that the Indo Fijian community were like grass because they occupied space.

Ms Caucau later said she would not apologise becuase the statement was truthful and she had the right to make such comments becuase she was the daughter of a chief.

Another Minister, Irami Matairavula, advised Indians to go back to cane farming because, he said, part of the problem Fiji faced today was that they were trying to enter other sectors of the economy and even parliament.

Geroge Shiu Raj has told the Fiji Sun newspaper that what the women's Minister said was her own view, but if the comments were seen as racist by Indo Fijians, he would like to apologise.

He said as the only Indo Fijian minister, he would do his best to see that his people were not neglected.