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Fiji Time: 1:25 AM on Wednesday 23 July

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Fiji flag, anthem to change

By VERENAISI RAICOLA
Thursday, October 23, 2008

THE National Council for Building a Better Fiji is contemplating changing the country's national anthem and flag.

NCBBF member Desmond Whiteside said there was a proposal to feature the three main languages - English, Indian and Fijian - in the national anthem and a local theme on the flag, which he says currently reflects more of British rule.

Mr Whiteside said there was a lack of initiative during Independence and that was why there was no change to the anthem and the flag design.

While taking to the streets of Suva to distribute copies of the draft People's Charter yesterday, Mr Whiteside said members of the provincial councils in the NCBBF supported the move for "Fijian" to be the common name for all.

While addressing staff members of Carpenters, Mr Whiteside said the NCBBF had not forced anything on the people.

"We accept queries and suggestions from you and it can be filled and returned in the forms distributed to individuals," he said.

Mr Whiteside said the suggestions from the people would be in the final charter document.

On the question of the need for identity in the forms, Mr Whiteside brushed aside the idea that it could be used against those who opposed the initiative.

"It does not mean that the police or the army will come after you if you do not support the charter," he assured the staff of Carpenters.

Mr Whiteside said the support from people on the streets was encouraging.

He said NCBBF members were visiting homes and offices to ensure people were aware of the charter.

"We have adopted the mode of outreaching door-to-door in homes and corporate doors to clear the air on the negative comments," he said.

The team on the streets will continue its program today and tomorrow while all the awareness campaign in schools will stop next week.

This should allow students to concentrate on their external exams.

Interim Education Minister Filipe Bole says the consultation process will resume after November 24 at the completion of all external examinations.


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