7 Jun 2007

Fiji indigenous leader says people too dependent on state handouts

10:51 am on 7 June 2007

A key indigenous leader in Fiji says indigenous Fijians have become dependent on government handouts after being spoonfed by politicians since the 1987 Rabuka coups.

Radio Legend reports that the comment came from the chairman of the Tailevu Provincial Council, Josefa Serulagilagi, at the start of their council meeting yesterday.

Mr Serulagilagi says since 1987 governments have been treating Fijians as if they were in a social welfare state making them dependent while politicians looked only at their own benefit.

He says it is important to turn the indigenous people away from the handout mentality and encourage them to understand that if only they can develop their resources, they would be much better off.

Mr Serulagilagi says there has been no major development carried out by governments in the last 20 years with roads and water supply schemes left incomplete.

He says he hopes the interim government will take Fiji in a new direction and the people at the grassroots level benefit from the opportunities provided.

The Tailevu Provincial Council has invited the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to attend today's meeting and explain to them the proposal to set up the National Council for Building a Better Fiji.