Tui Namosi Supports Government, Fiji's Suspenion Fragmenting Forum, Croz Walsh Beaten, HIV/Aids Praise
And Australia Accuses Fiji! See left column item.
called on chiefs attending the Namosi Provincial council meeting yesterday to support Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama's government. Photo: Fiji Village.
My Position in a Nutshell. Maverick former South Australian MP questions Australian and NZ policy on Fiji. Peter Lewis said the country seemed to be doing well under the leadership of someone who gained absolute power without elections, and the best way forward is to take the current Prime Minister at his word and remind him of it at regular intervals, through objective remarks.
Fiji's Suspension: Forum Secretariat Says Time Not Right, Ratuva Says it Could be Too Late Already. According to RadioNZ International, the PI Forum Secretariat says it has decided the time is not right for it to discuss publicly questions pertaining to its operation and Fiji's ongoing suspesion from membership, even though at least one member, Vanuatu, has said it wants Fiji's return to fullmembership ASAP.
Auckland University and former USP academic, Dr Steven Ratuva, thinks the suspension already has far reaching consequences. “It has fragmented the Forum ... the Melanesian Spearhead Group ... is mobilising around Fiji. [There are] various fault lines within the Pacific Islands’ solidarity. For a long time the Pacific Islands Forum has been based on consensus. I think consensus is beginning to see fractures right at the middle.”
Dr Ratuva says the suspension has also altered the region’s geopolitical dynamics with Fiji intensifying its
Look North policy towards China and away from Australia and New Zealand.
Croz Walsh "Beaten" by Pacific Beat? NZ Society of Authors President Tony Simpson was interviewed by Bruce Hill on Radio Australia's Pacific Beat on Monday 19th April. He said the the NZ government's silence on the draft Media Decree was "disgraceful," concluding "I mean there are awful things going on in Fiji. I mean there are people getting beaten up and locked in prison and bullied and their views are about to be severely suppressed and the people of Fiji themselves have not got any more, much the sources of information about what's going on in their own society and from now on, they are going to have even less available to them."
Bruce invited me to comment and reply to this on Thursday 22nd, assuring me my comments would be published by Monday or Tuesday the next week. Now, nearly two weeks later, my response has still not been aired. Why? It could be that more pressing items overtook mine. It could also be media censorship Aussie-style. As with my earlier "dumping" from Bryan Crump's RadioNZ Nights show, there is no way of knowing. There's only one certainty: Australians and New Zealanders are being presented with only one, very biased, side of the Fiji story.
The joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS Pacific office has praised Fiji's draft HIV Prevention and Treatment Decree. UNAIDS Pacific Co-ordinator, Stuart Watson says the draft decree could actually be used as amodel legislation globally. The draft HIV Prevention and Treatment Decree has already been approved by the Fiji Cabinet and it could be in place by June.