19 Oct 2004

Former Fiji politician urges moves to create national identity

4:14 pm on 19 October 2004

A former Fiji Cabinet Minister, Dr Tupeni Baba, who is now teaching Pacific Studies at Auckland University, is calling for a constitutional post to be established to help engender a national identity in Fiji.

Dr Baba says the lack of such a national sense is one factor in the tensions in the country.

He says both main political parties are focussed just on their own communities and their separate school systems largely reinforce this.

Dr Baba wants the education system to focus on building a national identity and history, and he says a constitutional post could be set up to monitor and assist the development of this national consciousness.

"The relationship of various groups within the community that is important for easing tension...monitoring it, studying it, developing programmes to get better understanding between various groups. I think this has to be built into the constitution for this to work."