Below are excerpts of Professor Brij Lal's speech that was supposed to have been delivered at this Friday's Fiji Institute of Accountants conference. Read the full speech on the right of blog or click on link at the end.
When Mr. Murray McKenzie invited me to address your convention, I told him in all my naiveté that I didn’t know anything about Accountancy. ‘Not many accountants do either,’ he replied. That put my mind at rest. When he said that I should focus my address on the present and the future, I had to tell him that I made my living by predicting the past, He said reassuringly, ‘You will do just fine.’ So here I am, and I thank you for the privilege of being with you today.
The invitation to speak at this gathering was extended to me at a time that is so rapidly vanishing beyond recall. The constitution was still in place, even though it was observed more in the breach; a political dialogue process, although fraught and flawed in many ways, was under way; the international community was expressing a cautious and conditional willingness to get engaged to rescue Fiji from the cul-de-sac it was in; and there was a glimmer of hope – just a glimmer – that Fiji might finally find its feet on the ground again.
But all that is now gone. There is now no pretence about finding a solution to Fiji’s political problems in a timely fashion, in consultation with its friends in the regional and the international community. Fiji is now telling the world: we will find solutions to Fiji’s problems on our own terms, in our own time. The international community must not dictate terms. Fiji is a sovereign nation. Leave us alone. There is a palpable sense of exasperation in the voice of the interim administration: we are the guys who are on the right side of history; we are doing the right thing; why doesn’t the world understand us? Why indeed.
This question goes to the heart of the topic given to me: ‘Fiji and the International Community: Acceptance or Isolation: Are these the only choices?’ My response is: No. I don’t think Acceptance and Isolation are the only two choices available to the international community when dealing with Fiji. There is another alternative: Accommodation. And there is an alternative to Monologue: Dialogue. I shall return to this theme later.
Click to read full speech http://www.mediafire.com/?myjzyylmzjz