Thursday, March 23, 2017

Regarding village by-laws

Fiji Sun ran an article about Fijian village by-laws in today's paper.  It's good to think about how to make life in a village manageable between modernity and tradition though I hope it will not just be older people imposing their views and restricting youth. I hope it's about teaching respect and how a community functions well.

But there is dissent - Ratuva says it's not a good idea.  In today's Fiji Times:

Ratuva: Village bylaws not good

Margaret Wise
Thursday, March 23, 2017
THE introduction of village bylaws is not a good idea, says New Zealand-based political sociologist Professor Steven Ratuva.
Prof Ratuva said the bylaws were first introduced by British colonialists to separate the iTaukei from indentured labourers.
The result of this "compartmentalisation" of the races had "terrible" consequences on the iTaukei, he said.
The former University of the South Pacific academic made the statements while speaking at the historic International Conference on Indian Indentureship and Girmitiya Descendants at the University of Fiji's Saweni campus in Lautoka yesterday.
He was speaking on the topic "Crossing Paths: Rethinking iTaukei and Girmit relations".
Prof Ratuva said Fijians were over-administered and over-managed during the colonial days.
"Village bylaws is not new," he said.
"Both the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei and Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua governments tried to bring it back.
"Now FijiFirst wants to bring it back. The leaders of the iTaukei have been obsessed with this romantic notion from the colonial days that it could solve the problem of crime, solve the problem of mass migration into cities, solve the problem of poverty, discipline and so forth.
"During the colonial days the British put in place these walls and this forced the iTaukei into living subsistence lives.
"It discouraged the iTaukei from getting educated, it discouraged them from the potential to develop, and entrepreneurial skills were undermined.
"Village bylaws were a system of control because it ensured the iTaukei was kept separate from Indo-Fijians.
"It was easier for the British to control and administer two divided communities.
"They governed by 'divide and rule'. They said it was to protect the superior race, to protect the corruption of their culture.
"In fact it protected them against education, commerce and professional advancement.
"In the 1960s when they opened up the Fijian administration and allowed more mobility, the iTaukei realised they were far behind the other ethnic groups.
"So those grievances were rooted in the Fijian administration and some flowed into nationalistic mobilisation, and that as we know caused tension and political instability."
Prof Ratuva said the connection with girmit was interesting.
He said what the iTaukei needed was a system of innovation.

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