Fiji to remove ‘outdated’ union jack from flag
Voreqe Bainimarama, a one-time coup leader who was elected in September in Fiji’s first elections in eight years, said the flag had served the country well since independence in 1970 but was now outdated.
“We need to replace the symbols on our existing flag that are out of date and no longer relevant, including some anchored to our colonial past,” he said. “The new flag should reflect Fiji’s position in the world today as a modern and truly independent nation state.”
Fiji’s flag is light blue with the union jack in the top left corner. It also features a shield with the cross of St George and a British lion, along with sugar cane, bananas, a palm tree and a dove of peace. “What does this have to do with us?” Bainimarama asked, saying the images were “honoured symbols of our past, but not our future”.
He said a national competition to design a new flag would be held, with the aim of hoisting it on 11 October, the 45th anniversary of independence.
“We must all have an open mind about the final result, but it should be symbolic of the unity of the nation and instantly recognisable the world over as uniquely and proudly Fijian,” he said.
Bainimarama scrapped the Queen’s birthday public holiday in 2012 and also removed the monarch’s head from the country’s currency when he still ruled by military decree.
He pointed out that New Zealand, Australia and Tuvalu were the only other former British colonies that still had the union jack on their national flag.
New Zealand will hold a binding referendum next year on changing its flag, with conservative prime minister John Key favouring a design featuring a silver fern, similar to the one worn by the All Blacks rugby team.
Australia has also faced periodic calls to change its flag, particularly before key events such as the 2000 Olympics.
The flag debate in Australia is closely linked to whether the country should become a republic, an idea rejected in a 1999 referendum.
My fellow fijians whats your take on this.. I know we should change our flag at some point,im all for it,but is this the right time to do it,is Voreqe the right person to be making the changes.Or just because Britains stance on how he got to power since 2006 and wouldnt cooperate with him and his government on some issues that he retaliates with this kind of reaction to inflict some form of retribution..Im quite suprised with the timing of this flag change..After all Britain has provided our young men with jobs(British Army) and education since Ratu Sukuna and the likes till today and is one of our closest ally and still gives aid to us . I think we should do it in a much more friendly way considering Britains help in the past to our people by changing it through a refferendum maybe without being so obvious just because our current government cant get their way with them(Britain) on some issues. So whats your view. New Flag or Not. Your reasons...What design would you put or like to see on the new flag ..Should we have a refferendum for the change or let one person decide i.e Voreqe. Should we leave it for another future government and leader to do the changing since Voreqe maybe such a divisive figure for the nation ..Views please