26 May 2010

Support for village bylaws in Fiji in indigenous community

1:45 pm on 26 May 2010

An expert on indigenous affairs in Fiji, Dr Paul Geraghty, says there is considerable support within the Fijian community for a reintroduction of village laws.

The bylaws being proposed are intended to curb what is seen a growing trend of poor behaviour.

The planned provisions are said to control dress in the village, including the banning of shorts and trousers for women and curfews for students.

Dr Geraghty, who is the head of Language and Linguistics at the University of the South Pacific, says this is not the first time efforts have been made to bring the rules back:

"A lot of people, including a lot of Fijians themselves, felt the abolition of such rules was too soon and it has resulted in a lot laxness among Fijians, too much consumption of kava, children not being well nourished and also in the loss of a lot of traditional arts for example house building, farming and fishing and this kind of thing."

Dr Geraghty says previous attempts to re-introduce the regulations have failed because of the feeling there should be one law for all the people of Fiji.