The following discussion was extracted from postings on the Message Board beginning in January 1998.
I have nothing but admiration and good will towards Fijians--and I include amongst them ethnic Indians and other minority groups. I believe that peace and friendship and justice amongst all the different peoples of Fiji should always be encouraged.
I therefore believe that it is precisely for these reasons that the question of Rotuman independence deserves to be seriously discussed--not the least because it is so intertwined with the notions of Rotuman culture and identity.
This 'Rotuman Forum' is an ideal venue for such a discussion.
No one should oppose such a discussion either. Not the international community because it is a crucial point of the UN charter that independence for a group of people in such a situation should be supported. Not the Fijians because they have endured two coups in an attempt to assert their own indigenous identity and independence. And certainly not the Rotumans themselves who have lived unconquered by any other nation for centuries. (Of course, I am not implying here that conquest automatically confers on the conqueror the right to absorb the conquered). In any case, it was by a treaty that Rotuma was ceded to the British. Fiji had its own treaty.
To suggest that Rotuma should be independent is not a flippant flight of fancy. Anyone who knows world history will understand that more unlikely propositions have come to fruition. And I dare suggest that as the world shrinks with the increased internationalisation of its means of communication, the more likely and easier it will be for such a proposition to be actualised.
By independence for Rotuma, I'm not necessarily suggesting secession from Fiji. There are many types and levels of independence for a people and the nation state is not always the best option at a given time.
However, what I certainly mean by Rotuman independence is this: Rotumans, as a distinct indigenous group (within the Fijian nation), should have the ultimate say in matters which affect their culture - the law (especially those governing land and its ownership and use), the language and customs and the chiefly system.
I would suggest that, given the present Fijian constitution and the way Rotumans, as such, are represented or not at the supreme decision--making bodies of the republic--Parliament, the Council of Chiefs and the Public Service, such independence is far from being the case!
Enough said for the time being and I (and I am sure many others) would be very interested in comments on what is meant by 'Rotuman independence' and how it is to be achieved.
It is truly amazing how so many folks who are unwilling to live the hard life of Rotuma think that they know what is best for Rotuma. What I am saying is without any particular opinion either way--whether Rotuma should have independence or not. It is not that I don't care what happens to my family, BUT as THEY have to live there-- NOT me--it is for THEM to decide what they want. And contrary to the pedantic attitude of "more highly educated" individuals, regardless of lack of "formal" education, people living in Rotuma are very aware of what they want and need--it is NOT for those of us who are not willing to live there and be there to decide! Further, just about every individual AWAY from Rotuma who thinks they know what is best for Rotuma does NOT have the ability to, nor an idea on how to, solve the problem of greed, nepotism and cronyism that follows when the decision is made on who the person/people will be to have the position(s) of rulership. What religion shall he/she be? Etc., etc., etc...I hope you get my point--we are all entitled to our opinions, but we must stop being so presumptuous as to ASSUME that because we are have more access to education, worldly knowledge, etc., that people residing in Rotuma don't have a clue as to what they want--it is this pedanticism that encourages people from outside of Rotuma--be they Rotuman or not--to think they know what is best for Rotumans residing on Rotuma. Thank you!
Sydney, Australia (28 January 1998)
First, let me say that anyone has the right to express an opinion on Rotuman independence.
Secondly, it was precisely my point that Rotumans living in Rotuma themselves are not independent in that, given the present political situation, they do not have the ultimate say in crucial matters affecting their lives and culture. Besides, I should note, that the person who posted the above is wrong in assuming that it is up to Rotumans living in Rotuma, to decide. I think it's up to the Rotumans living in Rotuma AND Fiji to decide.
Thirdly, I have never suggested that the decision is to be left to the "more highly educated". In fact my belief is that often the so-called highly educated are only highly schooled and not terribly well-educated. I have the greatest respect for the natural wisdom of the so-called uneducated Rotuman. All Rotumans, schooled or otherwise, are absolutely capable of making up their minds on the issue of Rotuman independence - let's make no mistake about this.
Fourthly, regarding the question of resolving "the problem of greed, nepotism and cronyism," what has this got to do with anything? Did the Fijians resolve these problems before they became independent? Has anyone? The Rotumans themselves will have to try and resolve them as best they can --like everyone else on earth. As for religion--I hope every Rotuman has the right to freedom of religion now and forever.
Anonymous [Teenager] (2 February 1998)
But, let's not forget, independence doesn't necessarily mean the creation of a separate state. I see you made a good point and although I'm still not convinced that we can be independent I would like to add to it in plain and simple words. Based on a recent/good example, Fiji is now back to the commonwealth (if I'm correct) and this is proof that if Fiji decides to jump off the cliff, so must Rotuma. Therefore, in reference to your point, we can say, all right! Let's be under N.Z. (since it's close to us), or the U.S. (but not sure if the U.S. is willing to take/make up another state), just for protection/aid sake. Meantime, an independent Rotuma can still have its own culture and traditions--nothing changes. This truly can happen in a form of (& I'm going to compare it to) a contract, where we will be under N.Z./U.S. but we make up our own rules/laws/regulations with respect to the conditions/agreement. Now hope these two independent countries will be willing to care for us.
Sydney, Australia (2 February 1998)
The alternatives you suggest are interesting ones and should be be looked at. I'm sure others have other good suggestions too. What I'm saying though is that Rotumans who live on Rotuma and in Fiji should be truly independent i.e. have the ultimate say in matters which affect their culture and identity. Therefore we should pool our ideas and find an acceptable way to bring this about.
Sydney, Australia (2 February 1998)
When Fiji became independent from Britain, did Britain return all the Fijians and Rotumans who were in other British territories? Of course, if Rotuma became a nation state then obviously Rotumans living in Rotuma will need passports like the citizens of any other nation. But, and I repeat, independence for Rotuma does not necessarily mean Rotuma becoming a nation state and even if it does, I don't think anyone would want an independent Rotuma which does not have good and friendly relations with Fiji. And I return to my main point: Rotumans were independent before Fiji came along, Rotumans were independent before Britain came along, so why can't they be independent now?
Anonymous [Teenager] (2 February 1998)
Let's say the friendliness of the Fiji people will always be there, but I am not too sure how well Rotuma can hack it on its own. I would like to believe that with the condition of our High School, our adaptation to some of the imported products, the need for medical facilities/care etc., we Rotumans can financially have enough to cater for ourselves. Economywise, this can come about from copra, tourism (um, hold this thought :)!), the selling of sea foods, root crops, cocoa, oranges (you name it). But how can Rotumans be better traders/business/moneymaking people so we can finance ourselves well enough to meet all our needs. I am also concerned whether we can produce enough, and whether our island has enough fertile land to increase the production of these money-generated products. Yes, with our basic needs (food/water/shelter) Rotumans can hack it, but we still need money--not just money, but enough money to be able to financially support ourselves as a truly independent island. I am not too sure. Besides, we cannot call ourselves an independent Rotuma and then have to turn to Fiji/N.Z. or another big daddy for support when disaster strikes. I wonder why Fiji now has to go back to the commonwealth. It is an example of a place that once called itself independent and now can't hack it on its own, but rather has to be part of the commonwealth again. And I am concerned about other situations which we might not see at this point/stage in time, which I could only hope aren't too drastic. Going through changes isn't always easy and with regards to your point; I see nothing wrong with it, but I hope that whichever big daddy out there is available will not find it a problem taking/looking after us.
Sydney, Australia (2 February 1998)
An economically viable Rotuma--a free nation among free nations-- phew! You've hit the nail on the head. And as for tourism--I agree with you, let's hold that one back for as long as possible! The problematic issues you have raised are crucial and must be addressed. Of course these sort of problems are not limited to Rotuma. Many other nations are stuck with similar problems and in fact Fiji is in a similar position, except that they're not as severe as Rotuma's. And I agree with you that these issues must be faced sooner or later by those advocating Rotuman independence. On the question of "Rotuman independence," perhaps "independence" is too strong a word and "autonomy" is more appropriate. An independent Rotuman state (with its own head of state, etc.) I see as being at the very top of the independence wish list. We should start at the bottom of the list--easier steps first. For example, can Rotumans be confident that the Fiji Government would accept a very public discussion of Rotuman independence in Rotuma (and Fiji)? What are the guarantees for this sort of freedom of speech? Because I don't think anyone (especially those living in Fiji) wants to see the friendly relations between Fijians and Rotumans damaged in any way. I'm disappointed that we seem to be the only two people discussing this issue knowing that there are so many talented Rotumans out there who must have a view. However, all problems can be surmounted--where there's a will, there's a way.
Anonymous [Teenager] (4 February 1998)
I'd like to know who makes the final decision with regards to matters in Rotuma. I am guessing it's the Council of Chiefs. Also, is it based on majority rule and if a commoner does have a say, how important is his/her opinion in the independence issue. Is it majority rules or is it entirely the decision of the seven chiefs. How is it possible to have an open discussion with the Fiji Government with regard to the possibility of Rotuma becoming independent? There must be a Rotuman representative, i.e., one who speaks for the Rotumans out there! I'd like Rotuma to be independent but I am still not convinced that we can and my curiosity can only be satisfied if there can be an open public discussion between us and the Fiji Government as S. Foster has mentioned.
Sydney, Australia (8 February 1998)
I'm still trying to get a copy of the amended Fiji constitution (which should provide some answers). It should be on the Internet. However, I think we can be fairly certain that at present the final say on matters concerning Rotuman culture and identity belongs to the Fijian Government. Our point of course is that it should NOT be because Rotumans, like the Fijians, are an indigenous people. So, the immediate questions we would like to know now is: 'Does the constitution guarantee the sort of freedom of speech which would allow Rotumans to peacefully campaign for a change to the status quo?' and 'If it does not, where to from here?' Let's hope someone in cyberspace responds to those questions.
Innisfail, Queensland, Australia (21 February 1998)
Independence means being able to "Make the decisions which decide and determine your destiny". Being shackled to N.Z. or OZ or Fiji or anyone else is not independence. It is a "perception." It is much more than having resources to balance your budget. Come on guys! We need to be able to control our own destiny. There are much smaller nations with much less resources that are the deciders of their own destiny. We can do it. We owe it to our children.
Innisfail, Queensland, Australia (23 February 1998)
There is a lot of discussion about this issue which is very encouraging-it shows a coming of age and an awareness that we have no true identity unless we have control over our destiny. The short answer to your queries is: there is no change to the previous position. The Rotuma Act gives all powers on Rotuman matters to the Rotuma Council of Chiefs. All Rotumans who live in Fiji and elsewhere outside of Rotuma live under the laws of Fiji. All laws of Fiji apply to Rotuma except where it is expressly stated not to apply to Rotuma. The upshot of all this is that we are the same, IN THEORY, as the indigenous Fijians, except for matters specifically dealing with Rotumans. On the independence issue, there is no specific provision in the new Constitution or in any other law as to how that can be achieved. This was despite a submission to the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) endorsed by our Chiefs for a separate Department/Ministry for Rotuman Affairs and the freedom for us to ask for independence when we need it. The CRC did a great disservice to our Chiefs and our people by not acknowledging at all that such a submission was made and I believe dismissed the submission out of hand!! It was disrespectful and disappointing to say the least. I believe this is an indication of what Fiji really thinks about Rotuma and Rotumans generally when the crunch comes. Anyway no more of that emotional stuff. If you are interested in getting a copy of the submission that was made please write to me box 1797 Innisfail Qld Australia 4860. To answer the question as to who can and how we are to go about getting independence I believe you need to look at the reasons why we got aligned with Fiji in the first place. To cut a long story short, our Chiefs asked the then Colonial masters to make the laws they had applied to Fiji at the time apply to Rotuma, because they (the Chiefs) had lost control of the law and order situation in Rotuma. I believe therein lies the answer, i.e., our Chiefs are the "WHO." As to the how, I believe modern democratic life suggests that it should be decided by referendum. That is a matter for open discussion. As to when, I believe now is as good a time as any. If we wait it might never happen. But then you, the Rotumans, might not want it. And I believe the decision should not be left for the Rotumans in Rotuma only. One's heritage and culture and identity, whatever you want to call it, has no boundaries! Something for you to think about. I can write a full submission on the independence issue for discussion if you wish.
Innisfail, Queensland, Australia (3 March 1998)
Agree with you Foster totally!: "Independence means different things to different people. Whatever the meaning is I believe the only thing that stops Rotumans from wanting "independence," and I use the word in it's widest sense. i.e. political and financial--is the lack of resources/money. : I put to you a hypothetical situation to illustrate my point : say, someone finds oil within the 200 mile economic zone around Rotuma no. Most if not all will say, that's ours and not Fiji's. I tell you we will be like the Bouganvillians! Just watch the Fiji Govt gobble it up and see what the Rotumans get.: I don't think it is that hypothetical, is it?: We already have the vast resources of the sea and the sea bed. Others are exploiting it without giving us our fair entitlement. : Without our "independence", whatever form it takes, we will never be able to make any such claims , let alone get our fair share.: It is open discussions such as this that will help our people appreciate what the real issues are. Perhaps we could organise a convention somewhere and invite some " well connected and informed" speakers to enlighten us. What say? : And who will be the beneficiaries of all this? OUR Brothers and Sisters who LIVE in Rotuma.
Anonymous [Half Caste] (3 March 1998)
I can sit and type pages of reasons why independance may not be a good idea for Rotuma but I don't have to because I am reminded of the true meaning of what an independant country is--in this case an island. It seems to me that all the people are worried about on the island is their hanisi money coming in, food on the table, why isn't my husband etc. not going to the bush at 5 a.m., have you cleaned the compound yet, etc. From my experience most people on the island are just worrying about day-to-day activities. The last time I was there people didn't seem to worry about world issues or political matters as much as us "westernised Rotumans". I think that rotuma is pretty independant anyway as we still have our own island, language, culture, etc.-- just not financial independence. (But are nations like Australia, New Zealand or the U.S.A. truly independant?) Australia's foriegn debt this week is more than $2 billion. So if Rotumans can borrow up big we too can be like a white coun
Innisfail, Queensland, Australia (3 March 1998)
I have been following the postings on this issue for a while and have been surprised at the negativity of the responses. But I am happy to say that there are more and more Rotumans who are willing to sit and listen to such a discussion without dismissing it out of hand as being stupid. Times are hard in Fiji at the moment and things like scholarships for Rotumans are as rare as hen's teeth-even though we are by law part of the "indigenous" peoples of Fiji. And this is at a time when the Constitution requires the govt to give us "special" treatment. What will happen after the new Constitution comes into force-when such treatment gets outlawed? There is growing dissatisfaction. I know of people who a year ago would laugh you to an early grave if you said we should seek independence. Talk to them now and they want to discuss more. There has been too much of the emotional stuff and misinformation. It is an education process through which we must all go through. It will be a long and frustrating road but I believe necessary and rewarding.
Sydney, Australia (5 March 1998)
The question of independence is of course a sensitive and difficult one - especially for those living in Fiji and Rotuma. Discussing the issue is threatening to the Fijians as well as to Rotumans who are doing well under the Fijian regime. Whilst understandable, such reactions would be misguided because (as I've said before) no one who has the interests of Rotumans at heart would not want to see anything other than friendship and goodwill between Rotumans and other Fijian citizens. I think that for many of us who talk about Rotuman independence our main concern is that Rotuman identity and culture, changing as they are, be preserved forever. This simply cannot depend on the goodwill of another race. Control must be in the hands of Rotumans (legitimately representing the interests of ALL Rotumans regardless of where they live). Also, as I've said before, by independence we do not necessarily mean an independent nation state. Although, even if this is what eventuates, there is no reason to suggest that we cannot coexist with Fiji in some very special way e.g. it is perhaps possible that Fiji look after our defence and foreign relations portfolios. All these possibilities need to be discussed and pursued. Apathy and negativism is amongst Rotumans is what those who are interested in Rotuman independence must actively combat. Our discussions will remain on the sideline unless it is taken up by others in Rotuma and Fiji and this, given the lack of moral leadership there, is not likely to happen in the near future. However, hope is a human virtue.
Ballarat, Australia (5 March 1998)
According to your earlier posting 'the Rotuma Council of Chiefs has all powers on matters concerning Rotuma' and furthermore 'Rotuma is counted as the same as the indigenous Fijians'. Therefore, it seems logical for the Govt to be reluctant in granting such demands as a 'Ministry for Rotuman Affairs' let alone independence. The ramifications of such special treatment could see the duplication of bureaucracies and disunity. Why shouldn't there be a Ministry for Kadavu Affairs? Why wouldn't Vanua Levu want independence and keep its resources? Look at the disunity cause by a constitution that favours the indigenous Fijians (that's us). As for the question of independence, I see very little that an 'Independent Rotuma' could do to further the autonomy of the island (from Fiji or the rest of the world). Perhaps it is not the lack of control over its own destiny (as suggested by some) that created discontent amongst a tiny minority of Rotumans, but a more universal problem synonymous with the third world called economy blues.(i.e. growing population, high unemployment, widening gap between the few haves and the many have-nots etc.,etc.). Perhaps it's only an academic exercise by a few who seeks power and prestige within the Rotuman community. Whatever it is, I don't believe an 'Independent Rotuma' could ease any of the existing problems. I can only see additional problems arising. For example, what would happen if people are still dissatisfied after independence? An independent Oinafa? I certainly hope not. But we must bear in mind that it was only 120 yrs ago that our ancestors last took arms against each other. I understand that times are pretty tough in Fiji, but they say 'when the going gets tough the tough keeps going' or is it 'when the going gets tough the Rotumans bail out'. Viti kei Rotuma.
Sydney, Australia (5 March 1998)
Unfortunately, I think all the arguments used against independence for Rotuma can and have been used against independence for Fiji. For example, an independent Rotuma should be no less independent from Fiji and the rest of the world than Fiji is from Australia and the rest of the world. However, we don't necessarily want that sort of autonomy. For my part, I must say that it is definitely not the "lack of control over its own destiny" which makes me argue for an independent Rotuma for, after all, no one has control of their destiny - not the Rotumans, not the Fijians, not the Americans, not anyone. No, it's the Rotumans' lack of ultimate control over their identity and culture which is the worry. I should note too that the difference between Kadavu and Vanua Levu and Rotuma wanting independence is that Rotumans are linguistically, culturally and racially different from Fijians (something which is not the case with the other two islands. As for Oinafa, if it wants independence, it'll have to argue the merits of it's case before all of us and we'll listen because the desire for independence and autonomy is a natural desire and should not be regarded as something which causes "disunity" and "discontent". Rather, it's the denial of such aspirations which causes problems. Furthermore, what you refer to as "third world ... economy blues" are also first and second world problems too: "growing population, high unemployment, widening gap between the few haves and the many have-nots etc., etc." I believe Rotumans themselves can identify the real cause not of their "discontent" (as you call it) but of their legitimate aspirations.
Anonymous [l i i t s] (8 March 1998)
Is Fiji going anywhere? And if other small nations go nowhere, does it necessarily mean that an independent Rotuma must follow suit?
No but there's a lesson to be learned. Size and resources matter. Fiji's bigger and has more resources than Rotuma can dream about. If Fiji's going nowhere, goodness knows that an independent Rotuma will barely achieve! There aren't enough Rotumans on the island as it is, and who's to say that all Rotumans living away from Rotuma will remain committed to the good of there ancestral homeland 2, 3 etc. generations down the road from now. Where will the patriotism of peoples of even a little Rotuman blood lie?
Ballarat, Australia (11 March 1998)
To S. Foster: I noticed you failed to expand on your cliche "lack of ultimate control over their identity and culture," so correct me if I'm wrong. My definition of a Rotuman identity is a combination of race, language and culture, and the more of these credentials one has the stronger one's Rotuman identity will be. Despite an ever evolving culture and languge, an indentity is not something that can be controlled. It would be sad if you have doubts over your Rotuman identity. You also contradicted youself in two consecutive sentences. First, arguing that Rotuma should be regarded differrently because of race, language and cultural differences; then next, you're advocating Oinafa independence. In case you're not aware, Oinafa is a district in Rotuma and it is racially, linguisticall and culturally the same as the rest of the island. By the way, the island also has a lot of autonomy from Rotumans living abroad. They do not have to argue their wishes before us.
Sydney, Australia (13 March 1998)
To T. Atalifo: Your comments on Rotuman culture and identity is correct and in the sense you defined them, they are no more controllable than Rotuman destiny (as I said). However, by "ultimate control" I meant having the last say on decisions such as (and this is hypothetical) `The Rotuman language must be taught in all schools where there are Rotumans'. So, in this sense, Rotumans have control over the preservation of their language. As for my Rotuman identity, I have absolutely no doubts about it. True, I have some non-Rotuman blood in me but so do most Rotumans. As for the Oinafa issue, I don't think I was contradicting myself in any way. I wasn't advocating independence for Oinafa in the sense of Oinafa becoming a nation state--I'm not that simple! You suggested the example. My point, however, was that any group that wants independence or autonomy have every right say so and, in a democratic society, they have every right to expect to be listened to. As for your point that "the island also has a lot of autonomy from Rotumans living abroad", all I can say is: "But, of course ... can you imagine anyone listening to my lone voice in Sydney?" What I meant was that any group of people wanting independence--be they Oinafa people, Kurds or Bougainvilleans--must argue their case before the world, before the U.N. And, by the way, I'm sure you're aware that not Oinafa but a mere PART of Oinafa wanted autonomy from the rest of Oinafa; hence the district of Oinafa is split in two!
Nanaimo, Canada (14 March 1998)
INDEPENDENCE: What is it? What does it do? What does it get? Is it sensible? At what cost and at whose cost? These are a few of the otherwise many many questions that I ask myself. It is fine and dandy for me to enjoy life in Canada, live a non-Rotuman lifestyle and persistently pursue an independent Rotuma because I think it is good for them. It doesn't matter that I have lived longer outside of Rotuma; I am a Rotuman by blood and it is my RIGHT and I am definitely sure about it's destiny without the Fijian attachment. Well, maybe a little bit of an attachment. To me Independence in the net context is a negative idea. I think our chiefs, senior Rotuman government officials, influencial elders and Rotuman lawyers should negotiate with the Government regarding Rotuman issues and concerns. I know that there can be a lot more done for our people as a distinct society, so let's try that again. I firmly believe that efforts should be targetted towards bridging the gap rather than burning the bridge. I also think the ripple effect of what Ratu Sukuna did, to secure the Native Ownership of land, saved and secured our Rotuma from the aggressive, greedy and manipulative rich boys' reach. So, for the time being, independence to me is a state of mind--YOURS!
Sydney, Australia (15 March 1998)
Personally, I don't think Rotumans are particularly disadvantaged by being part of Fiji. All I'm saying is that Rotumans should have the final say in matters concerning their identity and culture. For me, talking about Rotuman independence should not be taken to mean that we're against the Fiji Government or Fijians. If it were, I wouldn't wish to be part of it. So let's not confuse the issue. As for Rotuman economic survival as a nation state (and let me reiterate that I myself am not certain that I would advocate such a form of independence--let's learn to walk before we run), Rotuma is in the same position as Fiji--it's just that it's smaller. Fiji survives economically because of international agreements which protect it from total competition. Can you imagine Fiji (or any other small nation surviving otherwise?). So, in a similar manner, when Rotuma becomes independent it will survive under similar agreements--not handouts, not donations, not charity but agreements which ensure a fair exchange of resources be they fruit, vegetables or people (any nation's most valuable resource). Again, such a Rotuma would be no different from Fiji in principle. Fiji survives because other nations have agreed to treat her in a particular way--not because she has gold and sugar and tourism. Other nations can produce and deliver any of these commodities much more cheaply. Independence or autonomy is an issue which needs to be discussed rationally--not emotionally.
Sydney, Australia (24 March 1998)
Response to Anonymous [l i i t s] (8 March 1998)
Yes, the "lesson to be learned" is to avoid what Fiji and other small nations do, not give up on independence. There are smaller and less populated countries than Rotuma which are independent. Size has nothing to do with it. Determination has.
Anonymous [M.I. 1] (27 March 1998)
Consider the current examples in the South Pacific of Islands who have relied on funds/aid without a 'stable' economic infrastructure to support themselves.They have had a tough time, roughing it out with cyclones and human disasters, and as publicised last year, their economic situation was such that they relied on overseas aid from NZ, France, and Australia to get them out of it. A 3rd year law student from one of the islands affected mentioned that the youth have suffered as there isn't enought funds to send their students overseas for a decent education as an indirect result of the economic situation. Consider our current situation. Would this be the future we want our children to grow up in? As compared to the current situation where the chances are provided based on merit (ideally)? Rotumans are treated just as fairly with regards to scholarships, and advancing their education.Without sounding irrational, let me go as far as to say that the idea of Rotuma being independant is obviously something contrived by someone with a lot of free time on their hands.
THINK PEOPLE, THINK! THIS IS THE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN, WHERE WILL YOU BE YEARS AFTER ROTUMA BECOMES "INDEPENDENT," WHEN YOUR GRANDCHILDREN ARE SUFFERING, STRUGGLING!!!
It is so easy to push an idea around, toy with it and try to convince people of it's advantages without dwelling too much on the reality of the situation, but as life has always often been the great tutor, things aren't as easy as selling a "dream" to the people. In this case, it's not only to the Rotuman people, but to their children, too, who have to grow up in a world created by our actions, our decisions. Enough said about this; some people can't seem to fathom the facts of the situation, and prefer to dwell on what they percieve the future to be IF things went their way.
Kafoa Peter (1 July 2000)
I suggest that Rotumans should consider becoming an independent nation. It may seem an insurmountable task now but if little islands like Niue and Tokelau can, why can't we?