(Redirected from Lalabalavu, Ratu Naiqama)
Parliamentary speech, 17 November 2005 (excerpts)
- Source: Fiji Sun, 24 November 2005
- The Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unit Bill is about unity. It is about forgiveness and working together. Above all, it is about the security of our future - different races, one nation. That is what the Bill is all about.
- As a traditional leader, I take slight that, at times, our traditional authority have been abused and exploited by the powers that be. While our traditional authority has always been respected, sadly at times, it has also been abused.
- I remember well, that during the 2000 crisis in Labasa, the late Tui Labasa and I amongst a few other Vanua Levu chiefs were approached both by the Police and Military to intercede in the face off between the soldiers at Sukanaivalu Barracks. We accepted their request and invitation when they sought our assistance traditionally. We went and did what we were asked to do, which was to diffuse the volatility of the situation there in Labasa. I stand here today without any hesitation at all to say that had it not been for our positive contribution, Labasa would have been looted, burnt and soldiers would have been killed and probably maimed each other. Yet, when all was brought to normal, we were charged and convicted for offences, we were asked for assistance and in return went to prison for it.
- For me, as prisoner number LB32/05 at Vaturekuka, is something I will live with for the rest of my life, without any regret or shame because I do not only believe, but I know, and I repeat I know, that what I did then was right because if I did not do anything then, part of my people who were soldiers at the Sukanaivalu Barracks then would have been dead.
- I feel there is honour and dignity in being sent to prison because the law says, even though I know I did what I had to do then.
- I bear no malice towards anyone, be it my jailer or the magistrate who sent me in or my political opponent. I do not hate or despite anyone.