We are finally presented with 23 designs from which to choose our country’s new flag. And a glance through today’s Fiji Times will provide the first national reaction to the designs – total rejection.
A letter writer even labled it as an April Fool’s joke on the nation.
The FF government is calling for people’s views on the submitted designs through the website, facebook and other social media.
This process is not transparent. Why can’t a national referendum be held instead on the flag change? After all, the government has already dictated that the new flag cannot be changed unless it has the combined approval of 75% of members of Parliament as well as 75% of the voters.
This makes it well-nigh impossible to change the flag. So shouldn’t the same criteria be followed for changing the current flag? Why the double standards?
First of all let’s find out whether the people, who really are the nation, want to change the flag which has seen them through times thick and thin over the last 45 years. If the answer is NO, then that’s where the buck stops.
It’s not for Bainimarama or Khaiyum to force a change through a convoluted process as is now the case. The national flag is a people’s issue and decisions on it must be taken by them through a popularly convened and transparent process such as a national referendum.
But Bainimarama and Khaiyum don’t want this because they know that the people will throw it out.
We hope the members of the Flag Committee will show some sense and choose not to be a part of this stigmatized process.
A national flag should arouse feelings of patriotism and national identity. It is not going to do this if one is imposed on the people against their will.
Come on FF, let’s put the issue to a national referendum. None of this social media responses which can be easily tampered with, as was the rigged 2014 general elections.
Let the process be a transparent expression of the will of our people.