More than 14,000 Fiji Indians have left the country since the coup of May 2000, mainly professionals and skilled people.
Official statistics show that a total of 16,200 people have left the country between May 2000 and October 2002 of which – 14,169 are Indians, 1,307 are Fijians while the rest are Rotumans, Chinese and Others.
Of 16,200 people who have out migrated, more than half of them are professionals, technical or administrative workers and production or transport workers.
Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says the high emigration figures are a sure sign that people have lost confidence in the future of Fiji.
“People are losing confidence in the future of Fiji under the present government’s racist policies and its total disregard for the rule of law. This is clearly evident in the fact that the close to 2000 indigenous people are among those who have left Fiji since May 2000,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
The Labour leader disputed a claim by former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka that security did not play a role in the high emigration rate.
“People no longer feel secure here. Fiji is now clearly seen as a country with high crime rates and politically orchestrated violence,” he said.
In addition, Fiji’s economy was in tatters, employment opportunities were extremely bleak and mismanagement and high levels of official corruption had eroded investor confidence. The 12.5% VAT imposed on food and consumer items from January 1 was likely to drive more low income workers to the abyss of poverty.
Indians were also leaving because as a race, they are politically marginalized, face statutory discrimination in basic areas of living and are denied protection of the law.
“Fiji as a nation is going through the same symptoms of disillusionment and loss of confidence that it experienced after the 1987 coups. We don’t seem to have learnt any lessons from it,” Mr. Chaudhry said.