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

14. What Can Fiji Do?
Continued from yesterday

It will be impossible for a 100% military run government to hand over to a civilian run government. It would be impossible today and it will be impossible in 2014. Assuming government is genuine about 2014 and democracy, etc., it has to start changing how government is run now. I’m no politician but here are a few thoughts:

a) Make a deliberate and purposeful shift to something similar to a civilian government. Hire more people like Peter (Thomson) and Sharon (Smith-Johns). How about appointing a deputy PM who is a civilian with no military background? Ask the good performers amongst the military in government positions to resign from the military. Ultimately I would like to see Frank resign his post from the military as well. This might be a catalyst for a real change in international support. How about a more transparent cabinet where we can see the decisions being made and the arguments? Maybe invite international observes to observe cabinet ?

b) Allow some freedom of expression and gathering. Fiji I think will now self-censor to a certain extent. Lift the PER but at the same time launch a solid government media plan…have the good stories ready to go. Ignore the critics that will come. Better to get used to a bit of criticism now rather than 2014.

c) Put some signs and directions on the Roadmap. Currently it’s pretty much a map without scale or markings. The Roadmap should have hills that need crossing, forests that need to be cleared, speed limits that must be obeyed etc. (sorry taking the analogy a bit too far). Basically no one believes it because no detail is published and no minor milestones marked – change that.

d) This idea is a bit crazy but why not start a count down to free and fair elections NOW? “Billboards” that count down showing how many months to go could be put up. That would certainly show commitment and get everyone serious and focused on meeting the deadline.

e) As a previous blogger suggested, bring the election forward even by 3 months and it would be a huge symbolic message that Fiji is reasonable and is prepared to negotiate, not just dictate.

Continued tomorrow …

Click "Comment" below to comment and see others' comments.


daucina dina said…
Fiji has always 'self-censored' except for the nationalists and the racist supremacists. They have never found this necessary. Think of the women of Fiji. They self-censor each and every day. If they do not, they may be met with violence at home and abuse in the workplace. This has gone on for decades. No democracy can function healthily in with such constraints in place. An example might be shown as 'Thinking not Sleeping suggests'. Open Cabinet, Ministers appointing PR people who are capable and smart in presenting tax-payer funded programmes to a wide public of Fijian taxpayers: not only to those who refuse the name to others. "You are a Child of the Universe" - someone once sang. It sounds very 60s or 70s but it is true. The world sustains us all but will it continue to do so? This is "Thinking out of the box". Something one recalls the PM asks us all to do. Is he wrong?
Anonymous said…
On the matter of the 'Military Performers' in government. There are a number doing excellent work. We are crazy if we refuse to see this. They are educated, disciplined, they are courteous and all that one might expect considering they are paid from public money. Who would replace them? Impossible to contemplate. Their education has now been reinforced by experience 'on the job'. Almost everyone known to me is the best that we can expect in Fiji under our circumstances. The only other source of such expertise would be: Business or Academia. Neither fits the bill because both have conflicts of interests that would have to be resolved prior to their taking up office. We need to think of a smart way around this and we need to think of it fast. In the meantime, real dialogue should begin. Listening in a deep and engaged manner: let it begin today at the Forum. No more posturing. No more gratuitous finger-pointing. PM David Cameron told India that he visited 'in humility'. This was then, unfortunately, followed by plain speaking which Pakistan found 'out of order'. There is a perfect example of how what his constituency wanted, fell foul of diplomatic niceties in India. Walking a Tightrope : we have to do it too.
Joe said…
Travel ban is what keeps civilians away from taking up govt positions. It is a question of who gives in first. Children and grand children now living in Aus &NZ are of utmost importance to potential civilian appointees.
Victim? You're joking said…
On a related subject, the lionising of Imrana Jalal by Amnesty International in the overseas media makes me want to puke. She's supposedly been "victimised because of her strong stand on human rights". Well what about another interpretation, that the law should be applied equally and without favour. And that a lawyer like Jalal has an extra obligation to comply with regulations, however petty. For God's sake, the courts have dealt with her to her advantage and that's the end of it. So how was that "victimisation"? This woman is a bloody nuisance and it's a good thing that she's got a new job in Manila with her old kai vata at the Asian Development Bank. I'd imagine she's on a couple of hundred big ones in US dollars. Some victim. Enough already.
Radiolucas said…
@ Anon at 9:18am

"Education on the job" - what education? Are you speaking about the same clowns that have steered this country for the last three years?

"Who would replace them? Impossible to contemplate." - Um. How about elected representatives and educated people who have the required experience and ability to do the job properly?

"Business or Academia. Neither fits the bill because both have conflicts of interests that would have to be resolved prior to their taking up office." - Really. Really? And you don't suppose the same inherent conflict of interest arise where a military government appoints it's own officers to positions of authority in all public departments? Is that not a "conflict of interest" where you write your own paycheck and decide your own appointment without recourse to any criticism, election or reprimand of any kind? That perhaps, through some other form of ethical behavoir, the same risk in relation to corruption etc WON'T be present in the military? Hard to see. Even harder to say with a straight face.

"In the meantime, real dialogue should begin." - Agreed.

The difference I see here is that the dialogue SHOULD NOT be between Frank and Australia/NZ/Others but an open referendum for the people, with a firm and direct mandate by the regime to go to the Polls on a date that they won't simply turn around and withdraw from.

The greatest fear that I think everyone has, even those who are infatuated with the regime, is that the regime has no intention of doing anything for the country and everything for themselves - the evidence of any "good works" that they promised to do is non-existent - which makes everyone more and more hesistant to believe anything that they say - it could all just be lies, told to keep us believing that there is some hope - all the while our lives, livelihoods and future are spent by incompetants intent on lining their own pockets and enforcing their own views of reality.

History doesn't paint such an optimistic picture when it comes to dictatorships.
Very confused said…
Can you please explain what these first two comments are trying to say? They are almost as absurd as Bainimarama's comments on the ABC last night.
The junta desperately needs a PR/Marketing person who actually knows what they are doing?
Anonymous said…
Getting on track

I like these suggestion from TNS. The billboard idea
is not a crazy one and would show real public
committment. We know military hacks montitor
this and maybe the message will get thru thaty
2014 can't be a joke and work must start now.
Nothing better than a large public promise for
everyone including visitors to see.
Invictus said…
Radio Luka:

Prostituting yourself again, by jove what people would do just to have their somewhat mediocre argument shot to blazers.

So what exacly again is your argument?
Cicero said…
@ Radiolucas

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose"....Is that what you are attempting a tad intemperately to say? Well, it could be so. History tells us that indeed it could be so. But, will it be so? After four coups d'etat dans moins de vingt ans, surely there must be movement towards a better place in the space that has been left by 36 Cabinet Ministers and all their attendant perks? Did not even one of their number stop to ask just one question: "Who is paying for all this"? That question is relevant today. Keep on asking it without losing your cool!
Radiolucas said…
@ Cicero

Agreed. Though I am more than I tad intemperate - I am livid.

It is all very well saying: well, the former government ministers never asked the question (vis a vis corruption that you allude to) - but this is redundant because that really isnt the point now. Whether or not the deposed government misused taxpayers money is moot. They probably did. All governments do. This government is doing it now. Probably worse than any before them because we have no media, we have noone watching them or accounting for their failures.

The salient point is that the regime has failed to produce on any of its stated mission - but continues to point to "the former govt", "the media", "australia", "nz", "people who say bad things about the government" - any excuse will do.

So I agree - we should keep asking the obvious questions because the regimes seems to love distracting us from the real point of all of this - they are not doing anything to improve the situation.

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