It is interesting that the Forum Ministerial Contact Group is in the country to see whether Fiji's return to democratic process is open and inclusive.
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Bob Carr said they were here on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum to test the constitution consultation process.
The group consists of Senator Carr; New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully; Ano Pala, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration of Papua New Guinea; Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, the Minister of Justice of Samoa; Apisai Ielemia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour of Tuvalu, and Alfred Carlot, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Vanuatu.
This high-powered delegation is here on what seems to be a very important fact-finding mission.
As the Attorney-General and acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, pointed out on Monday, the constitutional process, as highlighted by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, is open to all Fijians.
As part of this process, there will be a period of civic education, which he said, was a first for Fiji.
We acknowledge the arrival of the MCG and hope this trip will bear fruit and offer a glimpse of the reality on the ground.
Being positive is probably the best thing we can do right now.
The fact-finding mission is welcomed.
We hope though that members of this delegation have come in with no set perceptions and will be open to frank discussions.
This being the third MCG visit to Fiji, it is imperative that every effort is made to be accommodating. We realise the important stand the State has taken and acknowledge this. But bearing in mind the importance of recognition of Fiji's efforts and how ready we are for democratic elections, it is in our best interests to be forthcoming. But being that does not mean trying to please members of the group.
It really is about just being who we are.
At the end of this exercise, we hope every effort would have been made to be fair and open-minded.
Meanwhile, the action by the PM to boost allowances for students in India is like a breath of fresh air.
It comes in the wake of concerns raised by Fijian students there who said they were having difficulties surviving with their allowances because of the high cost of living. The decision deserves attention.
We hope this action will go a long way in helping our students do well in their exams.
We realise they would not want to be distracted by how they are going to survive when they have to be preparing for their assessments.