Is this a surprising piece of exaggerated journalism, or some kind of list of rules made up by elderly men? This is from today's Fiji Times news. No way would teenagers want to be told what to wear. And guys no hats - in the sun? Rules from the top down instead of a negotiation of what constitutes order and decency in a Fijian village between the members of that community? Unbelievable! Of course, living in a community does require some protocols about respect and good behaviour, but the 'rules' and expectations have to be appropriate to living in the year 2010, not 1950.
Village laws to punish criminals
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
VILLAGERS who break the law will be flogged in public under proposed village bylaws.
But flogging will only be used as a form of punishment if the accused refuses to have his or her case referred to the criminal court. Other penalties will require offenders to work on a farming quota or clean the village.
Traditional reconciliation is strongly suggested before the penalties are handed down.
The proposed bylaws similar to those used in the colonial period have been handed out to provincial, district and village councils for review.
Under the proposed system, the Bose Vakoro (village meeting) will have the power to transfer cases to a criminal court if the offender fails to adhere to the penalities provided under the by-laws. The move to reintroduce village laws followed reports of increasing lawlessness in the rural areas.
Military head Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told the Tailevu Provincial Council last week that the villagers' concerns would be noted before the laws were implemented.
The new bylaws will not cover serious crimes. These will be handled by police. Trespass, drug use, drunk and disorderly behaviour and larceny are some of the common offences which will be dealt with at village level.
Under the proposed system, a villager found to have harboured a prisoner or someone who committed a crime in another village will be with dealt accordingly.
Also included in the bylaws are dress codes which will stop women from wearing long and short pants or short dresses.Men will not be allowed to wear headgear unless this is approved by the turaga ni koro.
The proposed laws call on men who plan to marry to first build a house and maintain a plantation to stop reliance on relatives.
Students will be required to be home by 6pm and parents will be given the sole responsibility of supervising studies at 7pm-8pm.
The village headman will enforce the laws and have powers to appoint assistants to monitor criminal activities. Offenders will answer to the Bose Vakoro (village meeting) which will be chaired by respected elders. The new bylaws will come under the umbrella of the Constitution. It is anticipated that the bylaws will come into effect after June 25 following the deliberations by the provincial councils.
(Later:) As I expected, that piece of journalism was questionable. Fiji Village later have given us another version.
Caning is erased from proposed village by-laws
Publish date/time: 19/05/2010 [17:12]
The Indigenous Affairs Ministry has today stressed that it never had flogging or public whipping of villagers as a form of punishment in the proposed village by-laws.
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga said the ministry is concerned about the misinformation that has been publicised by one of the dailies, which also headlined the village by-laws as Jungle Laws. Colonel Kurusiga reveals that the by-laws had proposed caning for offences covered under the proposed village system.
However he stresses that this has already been removed.
Consultations are underway on the village by-laws.
The main focus is to ensure that the respect for those that look after the village remains and to deal with those that have committed minor offences under the village by-laws. Colonel Kurusiga however stresses that the police will still be allowed to go into any village and conduct their investigations.