Open Letter from Artist Stan Blanch to Radio New Zealand
Listening to Radio NZ via streaming on the internet from here in Suva Fiji, I was bowled over by Mike Field's comments and disinformation this morning. I am in the progress of painting a landcape in oils on canvas and almost dropped my brushes!!!!.
What a load of complete nonsense Mike told you. Mahendra Chaudhry, former PM of Fiji, was arrested a few days ago. He is now out on a $500 bail and has to report to a Police Station once a week until his trial.
What Mike didn't tell you that Mahendra is a trade union activist and is believed to be associated with multiple recent sabotages of sugar mills around Fiji.The men with him were also trade union organisers. Alleged sabotage has been frequent and is always associated with the boiler systems in the plants affected.
Further to this, Chaudhry is facing criminal investigation and charges for making substantial cash gifts to his family of Government monies and secreting very large sum of money out of Fiji into an Australia Bank Account.
Just drinking Kava with friends???? Ha! The police here have better things to do here than hassle people for the sake of it.
The Man is corrupt. Mike Field's is simply pissed off for being banned from Fiji and using RNZ as a vent for his spleen.
My family has over a hundred year old association with Fiji. I have an Uncle who has served in NZ Washington and London as an ambassador. Also a Cousin who served as Fiji's Chief Justice until 2008.
I can tell you first hand Fiji is great at present. You can ask any man on the street, things are growing and stable. The people who are not happy are some of the Ratus who were strangling the Indian cane farmers with lease increases that threatened their economic viability. Also, A handful of top Indo-Fijian businessmen who were able to grease the wheels of their businesses with bribery and paid almost no tax.
Under the old system pre-Bainimarama era, the country's infrastructure — roads, education, health, telecommunications — were being terribly run down. These days capital is being injected, money is spent and these dishonest bludgers who paid no tax, now have more auditors crawling over them than fleas on dogs. Fiji is a lovely place!.
The general consensus on the street from Fijian and Indian alike is that Bainimarama is doing a great job.
In future just try & get a balanced commentator.
Stan Blanch J.P(NZ), Dip.Tchg, Dip Art ( Honours)
* The painting is by Stan Blanch, 'Atiamuri, the place where I grew up.' He now spends most of his time in Australia.
Editor's note. The letter has been edited following what, in retrospect, I see as legitimate complaints from readers. To me the letter is of interest because of his gut reaction to Michael Field's unbalanced report and his observations of opinions on the street. There have been several complaints about the NZ media recently. I'll report on some of them later in the week. The letter was originally published in Scoop.