LET’S GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE

POS­I­TIVE CRITIQUING OF BUD­GET WOULD BE OF GREAT VALUE RATHER THAN EMPTY RHETORIC I could not and still do not un­der­stand there­fore why there was so much fuss and crit­i­cisms, par­tic­u­larly from anti-gov­ern­ment politi­cians, Isimeli Bose adds.

Fiji Sun - - Big Story - Isimeli Bose This is an edited ver­sion of let­ter writer Isimel Bose re­spond­ing to SODELPA MP Vil­iame Ga­voka’s let­ter. Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Ga­voka’s re­sponse Isimeli Bose, Lau­toka

Vil­iame Ga­voka posted on his

Face­book page a 15-para­graph cri­tique of my let­ter to the Ed­i­tor, pub­lished by the Fiji Sun, on Satur­day, June 23, 2018.

I thank Mr Ga­voka for his com­ments and since he had taken the trou­ble and lib­erty to re­spond to the views ex­pressed I would like to re­cip­ro­cate and an­swer the points and views he posted.

Firstly, the let­ter was sim­ply a com­men­da­tion of the Gov­ern­ment’s ac­tions, giv­ing credit where credit is due, for the re­cent Homes-CARE, Farms-CARE as­sis­tance and other wel­fare schemes dis­pensed to a wide cross-sec­tion of the com­mu­ni­ties in var­i­ous parts of Fiji.

I could not and still do not un­der­stand there­fore why there was so much fuss and crit­i­cisms, par­tic­u­larly from anti-gov­ern­ment politi­cians.

I am glad that the Prime Min­is­ter ad­e­quately put things in proper per­spec­tive when he posed the ques­tion dur­ing his 2018-2019 Na­tional Bud­get re­sponse ask­ing which and who among the op­po­si­tion politi­cians in their right minds would dare tell or stop po­ten­tial re­cip­i­ents such as the Si­ga­toka farmer, the Fi­jian school girl liv­ing in deep ru­ral Vanua Levu, the grand­mother liv­ing with di­a­betes in Lami, the mourn­ing widow in Lau­toka, the ter­tiary stu­dents com­ing from a low-in­come fam­ily study­ing en­gi­neer­ing in Suva, the mother of a new-born boy in Nadi and so on not to ac­cept the as­sis­tance given by Gov­ern­ment.

Would any politi­cians or de­trac­tors dare tell the re­cip­i­ents to re­turn what they have re­ceived?

They sim­ply can­not and will not be­cause they know the dis­pen­sa­tions did meet the needs of those con­cerned and that Gov­ern­ment was right in do­ing so.

So if it is right, why can’t we be hum­ble and con­cede it so and be gra­cious, be grate­ful to say a word of thanks rather than crit­i­cise be­cause you are a mem­ber of the Op­po­si­tion and as an al­ter­na­tive gov­ern­ment op­posed to what­ever the rul­ing Gov­ern­ment does?

Para­graphs #2 - # 11 of this cri­tique is de­signed to por­tray that it is only Mr Ga­voka and his po­lit­i­cal com­rades who are the only ones who are anx­ious and raise is­sues such as the cost of liv­ing, un­em­ploy­ment, the min­i­mum wages, TELS, GDP etc.

But yet again the Prime Min­is­ter has pre-empted Mr Ga­voka’s wor­ries in his Bud­get con­tri­bu­tion show­ing that the politi­cians on the gov­ern­ment side, who are cur­rently in the driv­ing seat of lead­er­ship, are al­ready ad­dress­ing the very the is­sues and con­cerns “that Mr Ga­voka’s politi­cians” are rav­ing about. Sim­ply put, all the is­sues you have raised are be­ing ad­dressed and im­ple­mented.

A pos­i­tive critiquing of Gov­ern­ment’s bud­get al­lo­ca­tions would be of great value rather than empty rhetoric just to score po­lit­i­cal points. The sec­ond point raised in my let­ter is that some of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties in­clude those that have led and run past gov­ern­ments and all of them had han­dled wel­fare in their own way.

But none did it to the de­gree and ex­tent that this present Gov­ern­ment is do­ing.

This point is re­lated and un­der­pinned by the scrip­tural pas­sage in the book of Es­ther when Morde­cai said to queen Es­ther “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the king­dom for such as time as this”.

Es­sen­tially, Morde­cai was telling Es­ther, that her ap­point­ment as Queen of the king­dom, at that point in time, was no ac­ci­dent but pre­or­dained by God.

This in­ter­pre­ta­tion is sup­ported by an­other oc­ca­sion in an­other epoch in the Bi­ble when Ne­buchad­nez­zar, em­peror of the Baby­lo­nian Em­pire, fi­nally re­alised “that the Most High ruleth in the king­dom of men and giveth it to whom­so­ever he will”. Applying the two scrip­tures to the present gen­er­a­tion, there is no ques­tion that this Gov­ern­ment has been or­dained by God. Since in­de­pen­dence, Fi­jiFirst is the sev­enth Gov­ern­ment pop­u­larly elected by the peo­ple (post-coup in­terim ad­min­is­tra­tions pre­cluded) the first un­der com­mon roll.

Be­ing the elected Gov­ern­ment for this gen­er­a­tion they can­not be com­pared with the pre­vi­ous six, be­cause times and cir­cum­stances – par­tic­u­larly its struc­ture and con­sti­tu­tion – are dif­fer­ent and their per­for­mance clearly unique.

Thirdly, Mr Ga­voka has also crit­i­cised the “ex­ten­sive use of quo­ta­tions from the Scrip­tures”. If he cares to study my let­ter of June 23, this por­tion of the let­ter was not ad­dressed to him or to any politi­cian .

It was ad­dressed to “fel­low be­liev­ers” who are also vot­ers. By that, I mean those who be­lieve and have faith in the Lord Je­sus Christ, know­ing that faith cometh by hear­ing the word of God.

The scrip­tures are in­spired words of God. So if it says “let ev­ery soul be sub­ject unto the higher pow­ers. For there is no power but of God, the pow­ers that be are or­dained by God’,

(Rom 13: 1-2) or ‘First of all I ex­hort there­fore in sup­pli­ca­tions, prayers, in­ter­ces­sions and giv­ing of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in author­ity”. (I Ti­mothy 2:1). As Chris­tians and be­liev­ers, we have no op­tions but to obey the words of God. To do oth­er­wise means you are dis­obey­ing.

Fourthly, para­graph 13, Mr Ga­voka stated that I quote ex­ten­sively from the Scrip­tures for­get­ting that this Gov­ern­ment re­moved the name of Je­sus Christ from Con­sti­tu­tion, I did not.

The Con­sti­tu­tion states clearly that religion is per­sonal and that State and religion are sep­a­rate.

There is very good rea­son why the State must not be tied to a par­tic­u­lar religion.

His­tory shows when a State adopts a par­tic­u­lar religion, there have been per­se­cu­tions, killings, dis­crim­i­na­tion and fa­nati­cism against those who do not ad­here to that be­lief. It has hap­pened here and is hap­pen­ing else­where in the world.

Religion is per­sonal. Bib­li­cal New Covenant states; I will put my laws into their minds, And I will write them upon their hearts, And I will be their God, And they shall be my peo­ple, And they shall not teach ev­ery­one his fel­low cit­i­zen, And ev­ery­one his brother, say­ing, know the lord. For all shall know me. From the least to the great­est. (Heb 8:10-11)

The Pres­i­dent is a Chris­tian, so is the Prime Min­is­ter and so are a lot of Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in­clud­ing the op­po­si­tion. This is ad­mirable.

Mr Ga­voka in your penul­ti­mate para­graph you rightly state that the cen­tral fig­ure in the Bi­ble is the Lord Je­sus Christ and the Fi­jiFirst ac­tion is con­demn­ing its fun­da­men­tal and telling the sur­ro­gates/vot­ers of Fi­jiFirst not to quote from the Scrip­tures. I hope you don’t mean that! Be­cause it clearly shows con­fu­sion and lack of knowl­edge.

I am a be­liever and be­lieve the scrip­tures, par­tic­u­larly the Lord Je­sus Christ through His Grace I have been saved and have be­come son of God be­ing born again in the spirit, not in blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God.

The grace of God that bringeth sal­va­tion has ap­peared to all man through Christ who is the pro­pri­a­tion for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

This means that ev­ery­one pro­fess­ing faith has ac­cess to God through Christ in­clud­ing Fi­jiFirst mem­bers and vot­ers.

The chal­lenge is for all be­liev­ers to live ac­cord­ing to the com­mand­ments. And th­ese are sum­marised in the two com­mand­ments. “Love God with all your heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with thy strength”. The sec­ond law is to “love our neigh­bours as our­selves”. In para­graph 13 of his cri­tique, Mr Ga­voka has lamented the fact that the prayers crafted by Gov­ern­ment is to pre­clude Je­sus’ name.

Prayers of be­liev­ers to God can­not be made un­der any other name ex­cept in the name of Je­sus.

It is ob­vi­ous from what tran­spired there was no agree­ment among the Par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing the Speaker, not to in­voke the Lord’s name. This is some­thing that has to be sorted out among in­di­vid­ual par­lia­men­tar­ian rather than blam­ing the Gov­ern­ment.

The Con­sti­tu­tion clearly states that religion is per­sonal, there­fore, the in­di­vid­ual mem­bers should de­ter­mine par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing prayers, not­ing the scrip­ture dec­la­ra­tion that Blessed is the na­tion whose God is in the Lord.

I sug­gest that you to take your cue from the Bi­ble and ap­ply its tes­ti­monies and ex­pe­ri­ence as in the story of Daniel and his friends re­fus­ing to bow and wor­ship the golden im­age or fol­low the edicts of the hea­then gov­ern­ment of Baby­lon. Though they were per­se­cuted for their be­liefs and were thrown it into the lion’s den and the blast fire oven, God vin­di­cated their faith and saved them which in turn in­flu­enced the views of their mon­archs about God.

The same hap­pened to Joseph who be­ing al­ways faith­ful to God in the end he was pro­moted to be Prime Min­is­ter in Egypt a hea­then un­be­liev­ing na­tion.

You will find that you may change even those who don’t be­lieve around you.

Last but not least the Lord Je­sus him­self cat­e­gor­i­cally stated with­out any trace of am­bi­gu­ity that: “My king­dom is not of the world, if King­dom were of this world, then would my ser­vant fight that I should not be de­liv­ered to Je­sus, but as it is my King­dom is not of realm. (John 18:36). All at­tempts to make him a po­lit­i­cal leader proved fu­tile.

In re­la­tion to pay­ing taxes, he asked the ques­tion whether the son of a King should pay taxes, they said no, but he said nev­er­the­less in or­der not to of­fend the author­ity, he said that he should pay his taxes and he did. (Mathew 17: 27) He even de­clared to give to Cae­sar what be­longs to Cae­sar and give God what be­longs to God.

Clearly, as can been seen above the Lord Him­self dis­tin­guished the king­dom of man and King­dom of God. The king­dom of man in Fiji is guided by the Con­sti­tu­tion and the laws of King­dom of God are em­bod­ied in the Bi­ble and the be­liev­ers whether Jews or gen­tiles are one new cor­po­rate man re­spon­si­ble for build­ing up the body of Christ and the King­dom of God. Je­sus him­self left the busi­ness of run­ning the gov­ern­ment to man.

In con­clu­sion, the above quo­ta­tions and ex­am­ples from the Bi­ble il­lus­trate the way and thoughts of God and his per­spec­tive in re­la­tion to pol­i­tics and gov­ern­ment and pro­vide a guide par­tic­u­larly for be­liev­ers.

I re­spect the choices of each and ev­ery in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zens and vot­ers ac­cord­ing to their be­lief.

For me and my house­hold I am guided by grace and truth to trust in God and ex­er­cise my vo­li­tion ac­cord­ing to his will.

To Mr Ga­voka, as koi calevu and your com­rade, I wish you all the best.

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