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Assessing the New Government: Critics, Politics and the Need for Patience
Sunday, July 16, 2023
Assessing the New Government: Critics, Politics and the Need for Patience

Prashnell Goundar, doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of New Englad, Australia, and Ravnil Narayan, doctoral candidate in applied linguistics at Tsinghua University in China, in The Fiji Times (July 15, 2023)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Fiji Government)

Assessing the New Government: Critics, Politics and the Need for Patience

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Lenora Qereqeretabua, who is also deputy speaker of parliament, posted on her Facebook page: “As I said to someone recently when he criticized the new government for what he saw as a lack of speed in righting wrongs. In seven months, no one can expect miracles after what we’ve been through in 16 years. Please be patient. We have a wholesale correction of course to make; take CWM [Colonial War Memorial Hospital controversies), our roads, our mortuaries, other infrastructure…”.

She makes a valid point. We now have a “microwave generation” which expects things to change instantly. In a democracy, things do not work that way. After coming into government in December 2022, the coalition has displayed a great zeal of inclusiveness. They have allowed people’s voices to be included in the decision-making process, unlike the previous administration.

The current government is determined to provide a new sense of democracy for Fiji. Everyone has now been accorded the power to speak and write freely. Again, this is very new for the present generation after living the last 16 years in oppression, intimidation, fear and silence.

But what critics do not consider is that good things take time. If it was not for the new government, the previous administration would have carried on with business as usual, while continuing to blind citizens of their misdeeds. Are we saying the new government should not have any critics? No, positive criticism plays a pivotal role in any society.

No doubt, people who were accustomed to quick-fix patch-work solutions are yet to familiarize themselves with how democratic processes actually work. Let us allow some breathing space for the new government, be patient and trust the path that they are leading us to.