Ratu Naiqama’s ‘hit the nail on the head’ plea

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Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu raises an issue in Parliament during the September 2023 Parliament sitting. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI/FILE

Members of Parliament have been requested to play a more active role and “hit the nail on the head” in the fight against child abuse, child negligence, and violence against children.

Speaker Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu made the plea following statements from Women Minister Lynda Tabuya and Opposition MP Jone Usamate on the frangipani labels — a reminder of the potential of every child.

“If this statement is just going to be made and then passed through without any collective effort from us, or from you honourable members, then the issue will still be an ongoing one, without any hopeful decision to address the very source of the problem and that is from the family, from the mataqali, et cetera,” Ratu Naiqama said.

“I just said the other day that I almost ran into some, they were crossing the street at Nabukalou to go below the bridge. That is where they spend most of their evenings.

“They are our people. I sincerely ask both sides of Parliament to, please, if we could play a much more active role in this, rather than the initiative on the yellow bua, where the ‘bua’ comes from, where the name comes from. It is good, but does it address the issue or is that just another lapel pin on your jacket there?

“I like the yellow ribbon concept, they got the vanua involved, they got the people involved, yet we still have people frequently in the prisons every now and again.”

Ratu Naiqama said quite a number of statements may have been made, however, not much had been done to address the issue.

“I leave that to you and plead with you that we need to take a collective position on this. Let us try and address the issue.”

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