Fijian Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Announces New Flag Participation

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum today announced the next stage in the selection of the new flag representing independent and democratic Republic of Fiji.

Following an open and inclusive process, the Fijian public can review and comment on the shortlisted 23 designs that were chosen from more than two thousand entries submitted.

All Fijians, living both at home and abroad, are encouraged to participate in making the final selection. There are many different ways in which all Fijians can engage in the process: on a special web page–, calling into radio programs, by text message to #323 if your carrier is Vodafone; and to #170 if your carrier is Digicel. You can also share your feedback by post to the address: Department of Information, PO Box 2225, Government Buildings, Suva or drop off your post at Department of Information, Ground Floor, New Wing Government Buildings, 26 Gladstone Road, Suva.

On 30 June, after Fijians express their comments and their preferences, the new flag will then be considered by Cabinet and Parliament.

“The outcome will be a new flag for a new Fiji. When the new flag is raised for the first time on Independence Day, 10 October 2015, it will be the culmination of an historic event in the history of Fiji in keeping with our progression from colonialism to a true and independent democracy,” said Attorney General Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said the government is following through on a mandate engraved in last year’s election and that political critics of the new flag are anchored to mentality of the past.

“There is a small backward looking political faction that claims they are disturbed by the raising of a new flag for a new Fiji. For anyone still listening to them, please remember this: Prime Minister Bainimarama first proclaimed the need for a new flag in 2013. Knowing this, Fijian voters elected the Prime Minister in overwhelming numbers in 2014. The Prime Minister then officially announced the national competition for the design of a new Fijian flag in 2015”.

The Attorney General drew a sharp contrast with the selection of the current flag 45 years ago.

In that case, there were only about 400 flag designs submissions over a limited period of one month’s time, at the end of which a committee of only four men – Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara; Ratu Edward Cakobau; Vijay R Singh; and C. A Stinson – announced their decision.

“Obviously there was very little deliberation and public consultation in choosing the current flag,” The Attorney General said.

This time around, Fijians from all walks of life and all over the world have had the chance to actively participate in this process and now, in sharing their preference, before a passage to the Cabinet and Parliament, which will culminate on Independence Day with the raising of the new Fijian Flag.

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