Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry hopes tomorrow’s Budget will allocate funds for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission .
He is calling for the setup of the commission in the wake of the reconciliation ceremony organized by the Methodist Church in Fiji at the Girmit celebrations last month.
In his response to the apology to the Grimitya community by the President of the Methodist Church, the Reverend Ili Vunisuwai, and Prime Minister Rabuka himself, Chaudhry had suggested a commission be set up to promote better understanding among Fiji’s diverse communities.
Chaudhry wrote to the Prime Minister early this month asking that his government move to set up such a commission and that funds be allocated in the upcoming Budget for a secretariat for it.
He reminded the Prime Minister that during the 2022 election campaign he himself had advocated a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to “look at the mistakes of the past” in a bid to unite our various communities.
Chaudhry said there could be no better time than now to move in this direction as despite our best efforts, national unity has evaded us for so long because of a lack of trust on both sides.
“There is still a long way to go to establish the truth on the events of 1987, 2000 and 2006 to grant its victims justice. But more importantly, we must look to the future and take concrete steps to prevent coups and other forms of political violence from ever again destroying the fabric of our society,” he said in his letter to the Prime Minister.
“The purpose of such an institution would be “to create a better understanding between Fiji’s diverse communities and to advice government on the steps it should take to promote national harmony, understanding and peace”.
“It should also be empowered to address grievances and concerns of the different communities and groups that constitute our nation in a bid to resolve issues before they flare up,” Chaudhry concluded.