1 Oct 2002

Fijian women want better behaviour from political leaders

5:42 pm on 1 October 2002

A group of prominent indigenous Fijian women says they made public a letter to the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, because he had not responded to their concerns.

Susana Tuisawau, the secretary-general of the Council of Pacific Education, says they wrote to the p.m. some time ago and made it clear that they wanted him to apologise for some ministers making racially divisive comments.

She says the p.m.'s office is only now responding after the letter was made public.

Ms Tuisawau says the group are opposed to ministers making racially divisive statements.

"We are concerned that these are coming out from there, because they are supposed to be in our view, they supposed to be the models. They say that they want to get the country to move forward, but those kinds of comments, are just not going to help reconcile the people, you know to bring about a sense of security inour indo- fijian population."

Ms Tuisawau says the group has decided to take a pro-active approach to good governance and will focus on the participation of women in decision making, infrastructure in rural areas and education.

She says they will be making the government aware of areas that the group believes needs improving.