Bainimarama Ambivalent, What's Needed, Sikua Coming, Bitten by Termites

BAINIMARAMA STILL AMBIVALENT. Just as I was about to publish today's postings, I read two comments by PM Bainimarama on the 2014 Election issue. In the first he said "he wants elections to be held in Fiji in 2014 but a lot of work needs to be done and it is only realistic that there will be delays if there is continued obstruction and interference by countries like Australia and NZ."

In the second, a response to the CCF statement that Fiji should not use the MSG to further its own agenda,  I agree with the PM. Fiji is a perfectly legitimate item on any MSG agenda. But I thought it an unkind, unnecessary and untrue swipe at the CCF to imply that because it was funded by overseas donors, it would do what the donors dictate. The accusation demeans you,  Prime Minister. Akuila Yabaki does not need to persuade anyone of this personal integrity. And you did not reply to the CCF's main point, the need for assurances about elections in 2014. 

AS THIS:   A firm statement that, come hell or high water, elections will be held in 2014. You might have said something like this:

"A lot needs to be done before we have elections, and overseas countries like Australian and New Zealand, are making our work more difficult. We really need their technical and legal expertise to carry out parts of the Roadmap, but if they won't help, we'll work twice as hard and look elsewhere for help.

"We were also hoping to advance the dialogue process on constitutional and electoral reform so that all we have to do in 2012 and 2013 is 'press the button' to enact new laws. This now seems less likely  but when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

"Within the next few weeks my Government will make public a full report on Roadmap progress to date, together with more detailed guidelines and, where possible, dates, for its various  milestones.  Those who say we are looking for excuses to delay elections are not Fiji's friends.  Come hell or high water (or equivalent in Fijian),  there will be elections in 2014. Full stop."

That's all you had to say, Prime Minister, and your friends and the undecided in Fiji and overseas would have been reassured, and  you would have shamed your detractors and caused their supporters to re-think their support. Essentially, it's a military strategy called taking the fight to your enemy.

SOLOMON ISLANDS PM WILL ENGAGE FIJI. Dr Derek Sikua will attend the 'Engaging Fiji' meeting to be held at the Inter Continental Resort in Natadola  on July 22–23.

As one reader put it: "This puts an entirely different complexion on the MSG debacle. Let's put it this way: Somare was always unlikely to come while he fought a no confidence motion that threatened his own position. Natapei has been lent on by the Australians to the tune of $66-million in funding from Ausaid this year. Remember, Vanuatu has a record of being bought off as evidenced by their flirtation with both China and Taiwan. Sikua is coming to Natadola in a show of solidarity with Fiji. You can be sure that as soon as Frank got off the plane from Seoul yesterday morning, he hit the phones. Bingo. Shame he couldn't have headed off this crisis in the first place using his famous powers of persuasion."

Speaking earlier Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said  there are many Pacific Island  leaders that have indicated their willingness to support Fiji’s progress in implementing the Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-economic Development and Fiji’s Strategic Framework for Change as stipulated under the People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.

“The Fiji Government is keen to discuss these issues with leaders  and friends who have an interest in Fiji’s sustainable development and also understand the role that this plays in the context of the Pacific. Fiji has been sincere, transparent and open about what it has set out to achieve in its Roadmap for Fiji’s return to parliamentary democracy, and we are fully determined to seeing this through.In that regard, Fiji has engaged closely with the international community and partners in creating that pathway forward towards a true and sustainable democracy."

To conclude today's postings with a little light relief ...

FIELD BITTEN BY TERMITES. Continuing the story of Michael Field and the revised budget. 

Field Fiction: "In addition," he wrote in disbelief, "his [Bainimarama's] economic projections knocked over by a termite outbreak in Nadi [actually it was Lautoka]. Who does he think he is kidding? Termite treatment costs less than the Chinese weapons he is proposing to buy for the RFMF." [This is the first I've heard about this supposed purchase.]

The Termite Facts: "It will be a huge task trying to destroy the termites infesting Lautoka as they are now 6 to 18 feet underground," says Australian termites expert Dr Brandon Peters. Peters says the fight to eradicate the termites will take longer than the six months allocated by government. He says the situation in Lautoka is the worst he has come across in his 36 years of experience, and that the termites have been in Lautoka for 30 years.

" Radio Australia asked Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, Michael Field and Prof. Brij Lal to comment on Sarah Roberts expulsion. Host Alison Caldwell introduced "New Zealand journalist Michael Field [who] visits Fiji regularly" and  Brij who"co wrote Fiji's new constitution." Field hasn't visited Fiji since early 2007 (I have visited more frequenlty and much more recently but, in the spirit of media freedom, ABC has stopped interviewing me!) and Brij was the co-writer of the draft Constitution promulgated 13 years ago! For further "factual" comments, read the interview. Nit-picking perhaps, but nits need to be picked.


Anonymous said…
More Bad News

PM - Pathetic effort.

Ratu Inoke - Spin, spin, spin.

Croz - will try and be more thoughtful later but right now pretty angry
Anonymous said…
I am off ... this is pathetic.
Global Citizen said…
A feeling of democratic contentment here: Coup 4.5 = 20,200 visitors a month.
Croz = 7500 visitors a month.
Will share it around other networks because in Croz's World of Spin, such numbers that cannot be blamed on australia, field or some alien spaceman, will not make it into the comment space with all the other loons.
Keeping the faith said…
Croz, contrary to these gadflies who've settled briefly on your estimable site before buzzing back to their cow pats elsewhere, you're to be commended for your latest admonition of the prime minister. No one can say you're one of the PM's lackeys when you've been so pointed in reminding him of the need to keep his promises to those who've kept the faith with him. The attack on Akuila Yabaki is especially galling against someone whose concern for justice invariably verges on the saintly. The best we can say for Frank right now is that he must be reeling from the betrayal of some of his Melanesian brothers, who acted with treachery when Frank had his back turned in South Korea. Anyone who knows the PM knows he's speaking in anger and humiliation. So we need to allow him to vent his spleen and then remind him that his whole credibility depends on keeping his word. I don't care what he says to Australia and NZ to goad them. I do care what he says to the "Fijian" people, whose trust he needs to maintain even a fig leaf of legitimacy. When that goes, he's no better than a Mugabe or Kim Jong Il. So get over it, Mr Prime Minister, and tells us the 2014 election we're expecting is still on. You owe us that. You promised.
Phillip said…
Great post- it's great to see continuing comments and information coming out about Fiji; really interesting. Keep up the good work.
Cheap Fiji Accommodation
Jambalaya said…
Fijian warrior points to the Trans-tasman bullies and says "Don't Tread On Me!"

In the wake of the bullies, lay the squished remains of earthworms from Samoa, Vanuatu, et al.
Hood of Sherwood said…
@ keeping the faith.....

No one worth a sou who comments here "is anyone's lackey". Let us make that quite clear. We are surrounded by the evil emanating from those who have stolen millions (billions?) of public money over a period of at least twenty years. The intransigence, the impunity stemming from these crimes taints every aspect of our daily life. Those who have stolen this money, their retainers and family members now need to publicly acknowledge their debts to the People of Fiji and to the world. They are to be required to restore what they have stolen and set the Public Account to rights. If the government will not hold them accountable, then what are we doing thinking or even contemplating democracy? Because it was a failed democracy, an incompetent, subverted democracy installed and assisted by members of the International Community which allowed this robbery to take place. Call all these robber barons in. Call them in and then - but only then - reset the clocks towards democracy. It is known who most of them are - there is no acceptable excuse. The "known" who still perpetrate crimes daily and abuse their offices daily must be brought to book and to full account. Abusing their offices they are an affront to any administration anywhere. The overseas crooks who seek favours from them are also known. Hold their feet to the Fires of Hell. That is what they have created and are creating still.

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