Thinking … Not Sleeping: Critical but Helpful Ideas on How to Take Fiji Forward

9-10. Travel Bans and Elections

Continued from yesterday

9. What about travel bans ?
I can only speak for myself and close friends on this one. I have used this excuse to not accept formal government positions. Frankly its easier than saying no. It deflects the anger to Australia and away from me. I’ve learnt not to make Frank angry. I don’t want to become a target. My friends except one feel the same way.

The travel bans have not been successful in changing their minds on anything. But they certainly have really annoyed those in power. Travel has long been considered a ‘perk’ of government and senior positions. The military wanted these perks – call it low level corruption if you like but they where wanting nothing more than others had got before. This hit Frank and his key people on a personal level.

What now 3.5 years later ?

I don’t see much changing over the next 2-3 years. The economy will struggle but not collapse, business will continue. I can’t see any progress on sugar and its hard to see any happening without massive investment and new management. Tourism needed a shake up and will re-invent itself. Actually many forget that Fiji benefited from SARS and the Bali bombing so prior to the coup Fiji had had it pretty easy. The industry has adjusted.

10. Elections, will they happen ?
As it stands today the promises are there. Maybe even the will but I don’t believe they will happen. There is no incentive to all those military people enjoying power. There is no incentive for the PM who becomes more comfortable doing the village visit and grand openings. Most of all though there is no real evidence of progress. Very little real nation building and no reconciliation all. Fiji is becoming more and more divided.

Continued tomorrow …

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sara'ssista said…
I think it needs to be made clear that this regime does not NEED outside support to have a clear and credibel and convincing electoral process .If they wish, they can do this themselves , BUT they only want to have involvement from others to give it credibility and to pay for it. They can pay for it within their own budget.The facts is at every stage they have claimed this process appears hanstrung thorugh a lack of support from the region. I can't see why this could/should possibly be. I would have thought this worked to their advamtage where this regime could limit media coverage that was not favourable, bully villages into supporting a flawed process, and only chose those that agree with the regime as part of a consultaion process. This not only has not proved to be a failure by any measure, but has not moved the country an inch towards any sort of reconciliation or progress towards democratic principals and a system that is nonracially based . I am to understand that the most powerful institution in the country, currently the military, still has an embarassing over-representation of i-taukei. They cannot even reform themselves to be representative of this nation. By some reports require all police to attend mandated church services irrespective of religous persuasion. So even when minorities are included and represented it is forced and lacks any respect whatsoever.

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