Vernaculars in Fiji

Kiniviliame Keteca, Nausori | Thursday, April 20, 2017
Thank you Dr Paul Geraghty for your insight on the use and restrictive use of vernaculars in Fiji. In particular, I totally agree with you in that — "Participation in public life in Fiji should not be the exclusive domain of those who are fluent in English, and members of Parliament should be free to use their mother tongue if they so choose".

The views of Agni Deo Singh, as shared by Dr Geraghty are also supported by that of Fijian educator, Ratu Semi Seruvakula. Ratu Semi had also proffered the view that it has been proven that when one is proficient in one's mother tongue, this helps in the learning of a second language.

I submit that this is quite an important morsel of truth that needs to be shared with and understood by all Fijians.

Furthermore, it is understandable that most transactions in the private and public sector are done in the English language. What is not understandable and in fact difficult to grasp is why our MPs, as elected representatives of our people, cannot speak in the vernacular while putting forth the views and aspirations of the people they represent? It's a known fact that some iTaukei words have no English equivalent; and vice versa. It may also be true for the Hindi language. It is submitted that in such cases, for maximum impact and for ease of understanding — I believe MPs should be allowed to speak in the vernacular.

I also ask, why this restriction in the use of the vernacular? Isn't it discriminatory against all Fijians? Why has there been a passive acceptance of the rule without a legal challenge?

Do our opinions, the voters, not matter at all? From some recent revelations, does anyone's opinion matter? I only hope that the sun will not rise when Fijians in their villages will be required to speak in English during their bose vakoro!

I believe when that happens — Ek dam kalas!

Sa oti vakadua o Viti!

Home | Top