21 Feb 2005

Former Fiji PM says government's policies are racially divisive

8:28 am on 21 February 2005

The former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says the Qarase government's policies are racially divisive.

In an interview published in the Fiji Sun, Mr Rabuka says the racist policies are shown in the selective application of affirmative action programmes, including the free Form 7 education for indigenous Fijian students only.

Mr Rabuka says affirmative action is a strong aspect of the 1997 Constitution because it is supposed to alleviate suffering and poverty, and remove the disparities between the well-off and the poor.

But, Mr Rabuka says the way the SDL government has carried it out has resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

As well, Mr Rabuka says the SDL has raised racial polarisation to unprecedented levels.

The former prime minister has also criticised the SDL government's decision to raise the Value Added Tax by 25% from 10-cents in the dollar to 12-and-a-half cents, and what he says is their very irresponsible management of public funds.