PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says the Presidential assent of the new Constitution yesterday marked the completion of the revolution the Republic of Fiji Military Forces embarked on six and a half years ago.
Commodore Bainimarama said the revolution was to put Fiji back on track after years of turmoil, and to fulfill their vision at independence, of a just, vibrant and multicultural economic powerhouse in the Pacific.
He said unfortunately, there were unscrupulous elements at work.
"Elites used their positions, whether in political parties, religious organisations, trade unions, traditional society or business, to advance their personal interests and entrench their privileges," Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said the justification for the removal of governments in 1987 and 2000 was wrong.
"It was a concoction by a selfish few, resisting change, who preyed on the misguided and the ignorant. It was the biggest of lies."
Commodore Bainimarama said tens of thousands of Fijians suffered and many simply gave up on the country and left.
"It remains the most shameful episode in our nation's history and must never be repeated."
He said the real shame was not just in the countless personal stories of dislocation, discrimination and increased poverty, but the wasted years of development for all Fijians.
He added it also created a culture of every person for themselves, of loyalty to self rather than the nation-state of Fiji.
"History records that I played a significant role in 2000 as Commander of the RFMF, bringing the siege of the Parliament to an end, and charging an interim government with the task of rebuilding the nation.
"But it too was captive to the same forces of division. And by December 2006, events were spiraling out of control: the integrity of our institutions was at risk, corruption had become endemic, and we were in danger of becoming a failed state."
He said the government had to reset the clock and create "year zero".
"With men and women of goodwill, we had to rebuild Fiji and put it on a different path, a path of equality and inclusiveness.
"We had to end the culture of self-entitlement, corruption and hypocrisy that had taken root to the detriment of ordinary people."