The former Vice President passed away yesterday morning due to an illness.
Bainimarama offered condolences on behalf of the Fiji First Government.
The Prime Minister highlighted Ratu Joni’s stand on inclusive and non – racial politics.
Bainimarama also recalled events leading up to 2006.
“Lot of people don’t know that he was the Vice President after the events of 2000 and he tried very hard to work a way out between me as the Commander of the Military and the Prime Minister then Laisenia Qarase in the impasse that was in place then but unfortunately for us the former Prime Minister couldn’t commit himself to the issues which I and Ratu Joni believed would bring about racial division and the loss of economy”
“Ratu Joni said it was a mistake to view indigenous rights as superior to human rights in general. He said that the ILO Convention 169 that everybody (signals towards the opposition side)
been quoting the convention concerning indigenous and tribal people in independent countries clearly stated that indigenous rights were not separate from human rights and could not be asserted at their expense, exactly what we’re trying to tell everyone”
“Ratu Joni will always be remembered as an embodiment of chiefly authority and wisdom whose humility, care and concern for all our ordinary people and adherence to the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms was paramount. The people of Fiji are indeed poorer for Ratu Joni’s loss.” said Prasad