Issue No: 890; 27 June 2001
The refugees staying at the Girmit Centre in Lautoka have set up a political party to contest the next national election.
The party, called Girmit Heritage Party, was registered by the elections office this week. It is believed that some New Zealand citizens are behind the formation of the political party. The local spokesman is one Beni Sami, who also stays at the refugee camp.
The refugees fled from their homes in the Muaniweni and Dawasamu areas in Naitasiri and Tailevu after being systematically attacked by terrorists. Many were beaten, women were raped, and many had their properties destroyed. The local and international community sustained the refugees since then to now. The regime has not provided any assistance to the refugees.
The new Party stated: "The political leaders of this country are not addressing our problems and the only way that they will hear is if we go in there as politicians and tell them".
Since establishing camp, some leaders of the refugees had banned politicians from entering the refugee camp. The camp co-ordinator was forced to leave the camp late last year after she began liasing with political leaders to provide a solution to the problem.
The camp was then taken over by a new Zealand resident by the name Anit Singh, who has a dubious reputation in Fiji and with the former Fiji community in New Zealand. Singh tried on numerous occasions to extort funds from the elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry. Chaudhry rejected the extortion demands and threatened to sue Singh if he persisted.
The Fiji Human Rights Group, which was at the forefront of
providing assistance to the Camp, has also withdrawn its support from the camp
after the camp co-ordinators Anit Singh and Beni Sami attacked the Group for not
giving them cash.
People's Coalition Government - Fiji Islands