Flag issue hoists healthy debate

Press Statement – 

For Web Edition-Flag issue hoists healthy debate- Aiyaz Sayed-KhaiyumAttorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced the next stage in the selection of the new flag representing independent and democratic Republic of Fiji.

Following an open and inclusive process, the Fijian public can review and comment on the shortlisted 23 designs that were chosen from more than two thousand entries submitted.

All Fijians, living at home and abroad, have been encouraged to participate in making the final selection.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that there are many ways in which all Fijians can engage in the process: on a special web page www.newfijiflag.com, calling into radio programmes, by text message to #323 if your carrier is Vodafone; and to #170 if your carrier is Digicel.

You can also share your feedback by post to the address: Department of Information, P O Box 2225, Government Buildings, Suva or drop your suggestion at Department of Information, Ground Floor, New Wing Government Buildings, 26 Gladstone Road, Suva.

New Chapter

On June 30, after Fijians express their comments and their preferences, the new flag will then be considered by Cabinet and Parliament.

“The outcome will be a new flag for a new Fiji. When the new flag is raised for the first time on Independence Day, October 10, 2015, it will be the culmination of a historic event in the history of Fiji in keeping with our progression from colonialism to a true and independent democracy,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Political mandate

He said that the government is following a mandate engraved in last year’s election and that political critics of the new flag are anchored to mentality of the past.

“There is a small backward looking political faction that claims that they are disturbed by the raising of a new flag for a new Fiji. For anyone still listening to them, please remember this: Prime Minister Bainimarama first proclaimed the need for a new flag in 2013. Knowing this, Fijian voters elected the Prime Minister in overwhelming numbers in 2014. The Prime Minister then officially announced the national competition for the design of a new Fijian flag in 2015.”

Sharp contrast

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum drew a sharp contrast with the selection of the current flag 45 years ago.

In that case, there were only about 400 flag designs submissions over a limited period of one month, at the end of which a committee of only four men, Sir Kamisese Mara, Edward Cakobau, Vijay Singh and C A Stinson announced their decision.

“Obviously there was very little deliberation and public consultation in choosing the current flag,” he said.

This time, all Fijians living in Fiji or any part of the world would have had the chance to participate in this process,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added.

Photo:

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

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