27 Nov 2007

Former Fiji leader says indigenous Fijians no longer need special provisions

2:49 pm on 27 November 2007

Fiji's former Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, believes it is time for Fijians to move away from what he calls a "dependency syndrome."

He made the comments following criticism of the interim government's plans to redesignate the Ministry of Fijian Affairs as a Ministryof of Indigenous Affairs and put it under the Prime Minister's portfolio.

Mr Rabuka says it is time for Fijians to move forward and not rely on special provisions:

"It is time that we make our children tougher and stronger and moe competitive and compete with the other races that we now call neighbours in our own islands"

Mr Rabuka says the rights of Fijians are robustly protected in the constitution.

But he acknowledges that there will be those who feel upset by the change.