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

15. What should Australia/New Zealand do?
Continued from yesterday

A compromise on travel bans, maybe. Ask Fiji to provide a list of say 50 names in order of priority it wants removed from the travel bans. One by one Australia/NZ could address these quickly. Fiji should be realistic though, e.g. , the names should be people like Pramesh Chand , the Permanent Secretary of the PSC, and people who want to help government, not military personnel.

Admit it is too late and impractical for Mahendra Chaundhry or Laisenia Qarese to return to power. Agree on a few points with the Military, e.g., the economy was already struggling before 2006. Australia and New Zealand do not have to endorse or accept coups (nor should any of us) but they could acknowledge it has happened and say they will work with the current power for the purpose of returning democracy. Perhaps some sort of engagement agreement ?

One final comment - wouldn't it be great if I could put my name to this without fear of persecution. Sadly no one wants to be the next Imrana....even if she is cleared, imagine the pain and cost she and her family have gone through. [Ed.note. She was cleared.]

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

 Questions based on the series, that ends today, will soon be posted on our companion blog Na Sala Cava (click on orange man and path icon in the right sidebar) so that they may remain as permanent features allowing discussion to continue at that location.


Persecuted? Gimme a break said…
You've had some great ideas, whoever you are, but spare us the hand wringing about Ms Jalal. As someone else has pointed out, if you set yourself up as a guardian of legal propriety and then think it's beneath you to stick to the regulations that apply to everyone else, these things happen. She's been cleared by the courts so her continued martyrdom is thoroughly undeserving. This is a woman who boasted to everyone who still listened that she was destined to be wife of the Prime Minister. Her tasi pori husband, Saki, was at that time Jeoji Kotobalavu's 2IC in the civil service and a favourite of "Lie" Qarase. So much of her opposition to the regime arises from the bitterness she feels about seeing her dream go up in smoke in the 2006 coup. Now that she's got a nice cushy job in the Philippines, she has little to complain about. Her leitmotif has always been self interest rather than principle, as most people who have anything to do with her soon discover. It's only those gullible types at Amnesty International and International Commission of Jurists who still buy Ms Jalal's BS.
Anonymous said…
Croz - Cleared yes but not an easy road. This was a very clear case of military using its power to silence a critic. You can not dress it up any other way.
Anonymous said…
Thinking...not sleeping

@ Persecuted ? Gimme a break…

My comment about Imrana was more about the continuing vacuum of silence because of intimidation in Fiji rather than Imrana (or Patricia when I first met her). There are plenty of other examples if you feel Imrana is a bad one. A great thing about this site is we can agree/disagree/debate/learn. This is all absent in Fiji at present as you know.

I assume you also live in Fiji and we are both using pseudonym for similar reasons. For me, my comments no matter how carefully I tried to put then would definitely land me in trouble if I put my name to them. As I have mentioned earlier this creates a serious issue going forward. We won’t be able to move from total silencing to mature debate over night.

How will the military react for example in 2013 when perhaps a new political party starts to campaign… with a genuine platform and promise to restructure the military and apply the same checks and balances put in place by the military itself on government. For example audits, public inquiries, restructuring and reduction in numbers. At this time the military would have had 7 years of only hearing exactly what they want to hear. They will be feeling 100% indestructible…how will they react to this legitimate new parties platform ?

I disagree with Croz on many things and he, I am sure disagrees with me. I see what he is trying to do as valuable (well done Croz) and have learnt from reading his and his readers points of view. I’ve altered my views on some things as a result and feel more open to alternate views even when I think them wrong initially. In fact that’s why I decided to write my long comments because I was not accepting the reality of Fiji right now and being way to negative. I was still critical/blunt but Croz chose to publish my thoughts all the same. I think this freedom to debate would go a long way to healing in Fiji and produce better outcomes. Being able to see real peoples names next to real debate would enrich it further. In fact people would probably start to ignore the ‘rubbish’ out there because it would be the only stuff that remains anonymous.
Don't start sleeping said…
@ thinking...not sleeping

1. stay awake - you were ok until you got to point 15.
2. compromise on travel bans. Why when they are obviously working so well? Increase them siginificantly.
3. Do not endorse or accept coups. Absolutely. Never, under no circumstances. Those who commit them, and support them, must be punished. no exceptions, no compromise.
4. Work with the current military junta. No. No way. They must go back to the barracks. Military is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
5. Don't like this = too bad. then leave it as it is for the whole world to see a living case study in military chaos destroying their own nation.
Joe said…
Now that the decrees are in place, the ideal thing for the military to do is to go back to the barracks, handover govt to a civilian admin and oversee that its objectives are achieved. In addition to that, all govts (present and future) should be audited, and findings made public, by credible and authentic auditors, not like the ones who cleared MC in a matter of days(Oops, shouldnt talk about this one) and certainly not like the 3 appeals court judges who came up with a 52 page judgement in 24 hours.

No stepping into President's shoes anymore. If a President cant wear his/her own shoes, he/she must do the honourable thing. Our fellow "Pacific Islanders", viz. Gillard, Keys, McCully, Smith etc. may see us under a different light then.
Anonymous said…
@ Thinking not sleeping # 15

You worry the hell out of me when you even suggest a likelihood (however remote) of Mahendra Chaudry or Laisenia Qarase returning in any manifestation whatsoever. Both were completely inimical to any form of decent, equitable, accountable or modern governance. This needs to be looked at completely objectively. They were funded from taxation and they delighted (both of them) in pulling the wool over the eyes and the ears of the taxpayers of Fiji and they gutted them, at will (both of them). No politicians can help Fiji - for some considerable time. That is more than clear. Anyone who purports to think so, needs to examine the situation with regard to corruption, to continuing conflicts of interest which remain undeclared and obstruct governance. In such a small country, it can be hard to find people to serve (especially with travel bans continuing) who do not wear more than one hat. These hats must be regularly taken out of their boxes and declared for all and sundry to see and to know. We do not yet exult in sufficient imagination in Fiji to see what damage these conflicting interests do and how they lead on to corruption and self-serving self-enrichment. When we do, we shall be ready for democracy and ONLY then.
Red Dragon said…
Learning from reading others' points of view....

I would quite agree with this point made in the above post. It is truly helpful to absorb and reflect upon comments made with a measure of seriousness by others and to attempt to adjust to their viewpoint, seeing the world through their eyes. Listening with full attention to fears and anxieties about the future expressed openly is 'true dialogue'. Not many politicians have the time or the aptitude for this. This is why we do not need them around just now: any of them. If eventually, 'dialogue participants' must adjust to becoming politicians in the fullness of time: so be it. But there is not too much they have in common. Did the Prime Minister perhaps suggest this in the interview with ABC when asked would he stand for election? He very insightfully answered that just now he was set on reforms and that any consideration of standing for an election might change his mind-set and focus. How right he is and how very comforting it is to know that he sees the conflict and is able to articulate it honestly: to himself and to us.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
Travel Bans....mooted list of names for removal....

One would say NO immediately to this suggestion. This is where corruption creeps in by the backdoor. And the very fact that Thinking not Sleeping might suggest such a thing, indicates that he/she has a certain slackness of thought when it comes to corruption and all it entails. This is where, in the past, the Ms Jalals and others held sway. They failed to see their designs on entitlement as corrupt or even "out of order"? They were and they still are. The manipulation of position, of taxpayers' money for private use and gain is....corruption. Nothing more and nothing less. Travel bans should be done away with 'in toto'. But one suspects they will not be?
Anonymous said…
Progress in any modern society is achieved by inclusive processes and robust debate over controversial issues. And Fiji is by no means an exception to this. This blog provides an opportunity but can never replace public debate that does not have to fear repression. Bainimarama's stated policy to shut up anyone who says things he does not like is not only pathetic, it is very counterproductive. If I had all the guns, all the decrees and a very docile populace that respects the chief no matter what, I would encourage the Fiji Times and everyone who wants to have a say to voice their concerns. Sure enough there would be idiotic statements, but even us Fijians are probably smart enough to distinguish between bullshit and the real thing. The current situation where everyone is forced to talk in the shadows generates a poisonous atmosphere where rumors thrive. Give us our right to free speech back, Mr PM and shut up yourself for a little while.
Anonymous said…
@ Anonymous said concerning robust debate and repression:

Sadly, robust debate has never been possible without effusions of hate and/or vindictive and emotive arguments with no basis in reason. Do you not recall the online exchanges in the months after December 2006? They were revelatory in the display of crude, targeted and venomous attack and they were couched, in the main, in the language of democratic debate for democracy's sake. There can be little argument of worth with this kind of exchange. The conversation must have some measure of logic and civilised interaction. One cannot quite imagine a public debate yet which would not unravel into similar useless and unprofitable 'slings and arrows'. So what's the point?

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