Bainimarama's First Interview for Eighteen Months.

This is a transcript of the interview by Graham Davis recorded on SkyTV Australia (Saturday) and FijiTV (Sunday) . Here's the link to the Youtube video.
If it doesn't work, type in Frank Bainimarama criticises Australia and New Zealand.

Opening vision sequence

• A new power play in Australia and New Zealand’s Pacific backyard.
•Shunned by Canberra and Wellington since Frank Bainimarama’s 2006 coup, Fiji now has new friends… like Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, making the first ever visit to the region by a Russian leader.
• The Russians are following in the steps of the Chinese, who’ve become the Fijian leader’s new best friends.
• China’s Vice Premier has been in Fiji; Bainimarama has been feted in China.
And all this is raising concern in Washington, where containing China is a major geo-political imperative.
• It’s prompted the United States to break ranks with its Aussie and Kiwi partners in ANZUS, telling its ambassador in Suva to resume contact with Bainimarama.
• No one from Australia has had a meeting like this for more than five years.
• Fiji isn’t just engaging with the Americans again but a host of other democracies like Japan.
• Why the continuing impasse? Well, while Canberra insists on an immediate election in Fiji, Bainimarama says there won’t be one for another two and half years, in September 2014.
He needs that time, he says, to make some fundamental reforms.
A new constitution to guarantee equal rights to non-indigenous Fijians; a level electoral playing field of one- man one-vote for the first time.
It’s all designed, he says, to stop the racism at the root of Fiji’s chronic instability…and end a coup culture that has seen four governments removed at gunpoint in 25 years.

• In the meantime, life for ordinary people goes on. Bainimarama is putting infrastructure into parts of the country, he says, previous government neglected.
And most important of all for Fiji’s struggling economy, the Aussie and Kiwi tourists still come. Still engaging with Fiji themselves, even as their governments turn their backs on Frank Bainimarama.

INTERVIEW (It's a long interview — the first for about 18 months — and I've added subheadings to assist reading and pinpoint the main issues discussed. Ed.)

Foreign relations. Have you seen anybody from Australia since the coups five years ago?
Graham Davis: Prime Minister, in the last five years you’ve become a lot closer to the Chinese, you’ve become a lot closer to the Indonesians, the Russians and a host of other countries. When was the last time you saw an Australian diplomat face to face?
Prime Minister Voqere (Frank) Bainimarama. I can’t remember.

Q.. Have you seen anybody from Australia since the coups five years ago?
B No.
Q. No?
B No.
Q. Does that strike you as extraordinary considering the nature of the relationship, the fact that Australia is Fiji’s biggest trading partner, biggest aid donor?
B Well I think they’re getting their, their instructions from Canberra, so I really don’t have any any say in that.
Q. But you say that for the last five years you have not met a single Australian official, right?
B I may have met one accidentally in some ways, but none- I can’t remember. Seriously.
Q. No formal meeting?

B No, none.
Q. None whatsoever?
B No.
Q. They presumably know what you’re doing because they’ve got an intelligence capability and eavesdropping and all of that.
B There’s no doubt about that.
Q. Does that bother you, that they’re listening into you?
B Not really.
Q. And why wouldn’t it bother you, because-
B Because we have an agenda to follow and I’m - It’s for the people of this nation, it’s not really for the Australians.
Q. So you’re saying there’s no secret, is that, is that it?
B There’s none. They’re welcome to come in and find out what we do here, like everyone else, like the rest of the international community, that they come in and and talk with us.
But they choose not to?
B They choose not to.
Q I mean all along they’ve said they want an immediate election; all along you’ve refused. They say the ball’s in your court, as soon as you start playing ball they’ll re-engage with you. What’s your response to that?
B We’re not here to play ball with Australian’s in terms of our our constitution and our election dates. This is for Fiji and for Fijians.

 Whatever they want is secondary to what we’ve got planned...
Q So whatever they want?
B Whatever they want is secondary to what we’ve got planned.
Q You are never going to give them what they want?
B No, we are not going to have elections tomorrow. Now we’re going to have elections next year. We’re going to have elections when we’re ready for elections.
Q Which will be before two- September 2014?
B 2014.
Q Which you’ve said all along.
B Which I’ve said all along.
Q Kevin Rudd, has repeatedly said that Australia has no beef with the Fijian people, the beef is with you. I mean he talks about you as a pariah, a dictator, someone who bashes the unions, harasses the clergy.
B A lot of people have come up with that, but it doesn’t bother me because I and the people of Fiji have some, h-have, as I told you, we have an agenda, and we need to work on that agenda.
Q Can I ask you your personal opinion of him?
B Well I think he’s a very ambitious politician.
Q I think that’s self-evident.
B Yes, and he hasn’t done much for the Pacific Islands.
Q In what sense?
B Well, you’ve never seen him around the Pacific Island nation states. He’s complaining about everyone coming here, but he hasn’t come here.

What is the relationship specifically with New Zealand?
Q What is the relationship specifically with New Zealand? Because I gather that Murray McCully, their Foreign Minister, has been meeting with your Foreign Minister, Inoke Kubuabola.
B Yeah.
Q That’s quite different from the Australian approach, isn’t it?
B It is.
Q It is?
B Mm.
Q Are the Kiwis being more understanding, do you think?
B I think the Kiwis are more understanding than the Australians.
Q And why do you think that is?
B The only, the only reason I can think of is they’ve been pressured by the Kiwis to talk to us.
Q People within New Zealand?
B People within New Zealand.
Q And there’s quite a significant Fijian community there?
B Yes, there’s a large number of Fijians in New Zealand.
Q There’s certainly no division between Australia and New Zealand in terms of their public statements. You’re saying that privately New Zealand is being more understanding?
B Yes.
Q They’ve still got, they’ve still got these smart sanctions on you, haven’t they?
B Yes.
Q Including these travel bans. What sort of pain is that causing you still?

 ... these travel bans. What sort of pain is that causing you still?
B Well we’ve- There’s a lot of people that we want to bring on board, financial institutions, the board, board directors, but they can’t because of the ban. So that’s the only bit that we .. And of course our rugby players, we cannot pick the best players to go to Australia and New Zealand because of the, because of the ban.
Q I mean I’ve heard several senior businessmen in Fiji say, private businessmen, saying they would’ve been happy to have served you and the government had those bans not been in place.
B Yeah.
Q That’s really been damaging for you, hasn’t it?
B That’s the damaging bit.

There’s a lot of people now calling for re-engagement within Australia ...
Q There’s a lot of people now calling for re-engagement within Australia, isn’t there? The Lowy Institute, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and yet Canberra turns a deaf ear. Why do you think that is?
B Well I think it’s more to do with pride than anything else. They’ve been on this path for the last, what, five years and they don’t want to move away from it because they’ve made a statement about going to elections and they will assist us. So they’re going, ..they’re sticking with that.
Q Labor is clearly in trouble in Australia and Tony Abbott looks increasingly likely to be the next Prime Minister. Do you think he’d be an improvement on what you’ve got at the moment to deal with? Would he be more understanding?
B I understand Abbott is is more understanding of the situation than Kevin Rudd and his team. And yes, I would think there may be a change in policy.
Q You and he are much more likely to get on, aren’t you? I mean he’s a sportsman . . .
B . . . Yes, yes, yes.
Q He’s a boxing champion, you like that?
B No doubt, yeah.
Q Yeah? Would you hope for a better relationship if he, if he gets in?
B Yes, there’s no doubt about that. We hope for a better relationship with every country in the region, especially Australia and New Zealand. But that can’t be helped and we understand that.
Q Do you harbour a hope that Abbott might be more understanding?
B Yes.
Q You do?
B Yes.
Q And if he wins, will you make an attempt to reach out to him?
B Yes, we’ve already reached out to everyone in the region, irrespective of they’re in government or not. But I would love him- We would love to have him bring about some change in policy in the way we conduct our business.
Q These guys are welcome in Suva any time?
B Yes.

 ....some of the world biggest democracies have engaged with you...
Q The most puzzling thing about this standoff is that some of the world biggest democracies have engaged with you – India, the biggest democracy in the world, Indonesia, the third biggest democracy in the world, and most surprising of all, the United States which is the standard bearer for democracy in the world. What’s the current state of your relationship with the US?

What’s the current state of your relationship with the US?
B Good.
Q Good?
B Yes, good. We’ve got Australian business, sorry, American business community here starting businesses, so we have no problems with our relationship with the US.
Q You’ve got some FBI people here at the moment helping your police force.
B Yes.
Q That indicates a level of engagement that we’re not seeing from Australia and New Zealand.
B I agree.
Q And what does the American ambassador tell you when you see her about America’s attitude?
B Well, she really doesn’t talk politics with me.
Q She’s just being friendly, is that what-
B Yes.
Q And that’s been going on for how long?
B Since she got in.
Q Because her predecessor, Steve McGann, was much more combative, wasn’t he? Has there been a change in American policy?
B There’s been a change. I know from speaking to a lot of people, government and the private sector, there’s been a lot of change between McGann and Frankie Reed.
Q For the better for you.
B For the better.
Q From your point of view?
B Yeah.
Q But this indicates, doesn’t it, the about face of American policy?
B Exactly.
Q You can’t visit Australia and New Zealand because they’ve banned you, but you can visit the United States?
B Yes.
Q Last year you went to Connecticut, you went to Florida, you even visited the Gibson Guitar Factory in Nashville.
B In Nashville.
Q So you’re allowed into America, you’re not allowed even a transit stop in Australia and New Zealand?
B Mmm, well you can tell the difference between the policies of the US government and that of Australia and New Zealand. It seems odd, but I’ve come to accept it.
Q How worried are the Americans about your burgeoning relations with China? Because a lot of people think this is, this is at the heart of their change of policy?
B Well to tell you the truth, I don’t know. Is that why they’re changing their policies? I don’t know. Is the change in the policy because they just want our relationship to recover? I don’t know.

China has got a much more, a much stronger foothold in Fiji ...
Q But given the geopolitical politics which governs everything in international affairs, it’s fair to say, isn’t it, that the Americans would be concerned that China has got a much more, a much stronger foothold in Fiji?
B Well China has been here since 1975. It’s just that our relationship has strengthened over the last few years.
Q Can I ask you what they’re giving you and what they want in return?
B What are we getting from China? It’s a lot of loan for construction work on our roads, on our bridges. That’s it.
Q I gather it’s a huge amount of money you’re getting from them?
B Well for loan facilities maybe about 200 million.
Q 200 million, which in Fiji is a lot of money, isn’t it?
B It’s a lot, it’s a lot of money.
Q And politically, are they giving you support?
B They’re giving us support politically because everyone in Australia and New Zealand has withdrawn from our side of the world. So yes, they’ve recognised our sovereignty which is very important for us.
Q Have you developed a friendship with the Chinese?
B We have.
Q You personally?
B I have personally. In fact I’ve I’ve talked to the Chinese hierarchy and they visit Fiji regularly.
Q You’ve had the Chinese Vice Premier here, haven’t you?
B Yes.

... the Russian Foreign Minister, who’s never been to this region before.
Q And then recently you have the Russian Foreign Minister, who’s never been to this region before.
B That’s the first, huh.
Q To meet you and the other Pacific states here in Fiji. Why would somebody that senior in global affairs be coming to Nadi to meet with you?
B Maybe he’s recognised that we in the Pacific Islands, small island states, need support.
Q Australia’s Pacific Islands Minister, Richard Marles, talked about chequebook diplomacy and Russia exploiting small Pacific states. What did you think of that statement of his?
B He’s talking about chequebook diplomacy?
Q Are you saying he’s a hypocrite?
B [laughter] Of course he is a hypocrite. I mean hasn’t he been giving money to the Pacific Island nations in the last five, ten years?
Q So what you-
B So what’s what’s the difference?
Q Did Mr. Lavrov do what the Australians feared he would, and offer you money to recognise their puppet governments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia?
B No, he gave us a donation to help us in our flood appeal.
Q And that was it?
B That was it.
Q Why do you think Russia is so interested in this part of the world?
B As I’ve said, maybe thinks everyone’s backed off and this part of the world needs assistance.
Q So these guys, the Russians and the Chinese, are seeing an opportunity because of the withdrawal of Australia and New Zealand?
B Yes. But I don’t think they’re taking it very seriously.
Q They should be worried?
B They should be worried.

the Melanesian Spearhead Group ... 95 percent of Pacific Islanders. 
Q You’re the current chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group which represents 95 percent of Pacific Islanders.
B Only Canberra and Wellington see me as an outcast. Nobody else sees me as an outcast.
Q How important has that chairmanship of the MSG been in terms of of establishing your mana in the rest of the region and the world?
B Well for the next two years I’ll be chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and before I give it back we have a lot of things to do. So I guess that doesn’t go down well with the Australians and New Zealand.

some of your Polynesian neighbours don’t — chequebook diplomacy
Q And of course while the Melanesians accept and acknowledge you, some of your Polynesian neighbours don’t. Why is there this division, and what impact do you think that’s having on regional relationships?
B Well all you have to do is find out where they’re getting- why they’re making these opposing remarks about Fiji. It’s because they’re getting their funds from New Zealand and Australia.
Q You’re talking-
B The cheque- chequebook diplomacy that Marles is talking about.
Q Right, so you’re talking here about Tuila’epa, the Samoan leader, who says you’re a liar and leading everybody down the cassava patch, right?
B I haven’t said anything bad about Tuila’epa, so I really don’t have time for for him.
Q He doesn’t have any problem about saying the most . . .
B . . . Exactly . . .
Q . . . insulting things about you.
B Well exactly because of exactly the chequebook diplomacy that you talked about earlier on.

Q Is he a puppet of the Australians and New Zealanders?
B Of course he is. And he should be, he should look at himself and look at what he needs to do for his own nation, before throwing stones at Fiji.

Assuming the elections take place ...
Q Assuming the election takes place, which you say it will, the big question is what form it will take. Will it be a democracy as Australia and New Zealand understand it? In other words a level playing field where everybody can stand? Or will it be more like an Indonesian style democracy with a high level of military control?
B To tell you the truth, Graham, I really don’t know at this stage. But I presume that we will continue where we left off.
Q Who will be able to stand and who won’t be able to stand?
B Anyone is able to stand.
Q Even Laisenia Qarase?
B Even Laisenia Qarase . . .
Q . . . The guy you removed?
B Yeah, even Laisenia Qarase.
Q I mean you’ve told me once before, no-one will be allowed to stand on behalf of any one race in Fiji. Is that how you envisage it?
B Yes. It’ll be equal suffrage, one man, one vote. That is definite, that everyone has accepted that. And that is the way we’re going to go.

Are you gong to stand for election?
Q Are you going to stand for election?
B Right now I’ve not made up my mind because I want to do the constitution and the election process first.
Q Are you saying you’re not ruling out standing?
B I’m not changing.
Q You’re not saying you’re ruling it out, or are you ruling it in?
B I’m ruling it in.
Q You’re ruling it in?
B Yeah, I might stand. I don’t know.
Q You’re gonna consider it close to the event . . .
B . . . I will consider it, yeah.
Q All the indications are that if you did decide to stand you would win. The Lowy poll gave you 66 percent popularity in the country, which would be the envy of Julia Gillard and John Key. So is it your feeling that if you did stand that you would win?
B I would win.
Q No doubt about that?
B No doubt about that.
Q Well why not announce that you’re going to stand?
B [laughter] Because I’m-
Q Why are you delaying that?
B I guess what I want, I I want to concentrate on what I’m doing now. If I, if I start, if I tell people I’m going to stand, the concentration will be diverted to politics and standing for election instead of just continuing what I need to do now and that is bring about a credible constitution and then of course the election. 

...this multiracial agenda. Everybody is called a Fijian ...
Q You’ve also got this multiracial agenda. Everybody is called a Fijian.
B Yes.
Q How important do you think that’s been for the psychology of the rest of the population in Fiji?
B It is very important because years past there’s been a division in the races, division in the religion, and we want to bring that together. Not that we want Christians to be Muslims or Muslims to be Hindus, but we want people to accept each other’s religion.

 We have no qualms over the trade unions ....
Q There are very negative things said about you as well. You’ve cracked down on elements of the trade union movement. Why was that necessary?
B We have no qualms over the trade unions. We have a lot of trade unions here going about doing their own thing in their own way and there’s no interference. What we’re worried about is a group of people who think they have, that they can influence what we do, especially in terms of economy.
Q They’ve done some damage to you, haven’t they? They’ve got the Australian Council of Trade Unions, for instance, to to suggest to Australian holidaymakers that they not come here.

B It didn’t make any difference, did it?
Q You mean people kept coming?
B Yes, and in bigger numbers than before.
Q I mean how much of a threat are they under those circumstances to the country? Because some people might suggest that this is economic sabotage.
B Well it is, and that’s exactly what we tried to do, to remove their hold over our economy. And guess who’s helping them? The Australians and the Kiwis. It says a lot about these two countries.

 ...religious persecution. Why have you targeted the Methodist Church ...
Q The other problem area for you in terms of international perception is this notion of religious persecution. Why have you targeted the Methodist Church in the way that you have?
B I have not targeted the Methodist Church. I’m a member of the Methodist Church.
Q You stopped them from having their annual conferences and you’ve stopped them from having certain meetings and all of that.
B We we are on the path of equal suffrage. No race, no creed difference. We want to bring about Fiji for everyone. There are some groups of people who want to take us- continue to take us back.

Q And that includes some Methodist Church clergymen?
B And that include some hierarchy.
Q So there were certain Methodist Church clergymen who were exploiting racial differences?
B Yes.
Q And you’re not going to tolerate that?
B That’s not going to be tolerated, not in in the direction that we’re taking now. Nor are we tolerating unionists who go about trying to sabotage our economy.
Q You’re gonna be tough with these people and and that’s just the way it’s gonna be?
B Yes.

There’s still a lot of concern about freedom of expression ...
Q There’s still a lot of concern about freedom of expression in Fiji. You lifted censorship but then imposed controls on the media. You’ve brought in a decree that gives you protection from the defamation laws, but nobody else. Can you understand your critics being concerned about this, that it’s free speech for you but not for them?
B The laws that we put in place is no different from what you have in Australia, from what they have in New Zealand, from what they have in America – no difference. The people who are making a big deal out of this are the same people that we removed because of corruption, because of lack of action, because of inefficiency. 

In the case of the the defamation decree... 
Q In the case of the the defamation decree though, in Australia you can, you can say whatever you like in the parliament, but in Fiji you’re going to be able to say whatever you like outside the parliament too. Do you think that’s fair?
B Well for what we, for the next couple of years that that needs to be put in place so we don’t get targeted by some people who are part of the people that are going against the government right now. Now-
Q So this this is unashamedly to protect you against the forces you removed?
B Yes.

Ratu Tevita Mara ...
Q Okay, and this is the first interview you’ve done for about 18 months, and if you’ll excuse me there’s a lot of water under the bridge, so a couple of other points for the record. What caused the falling out between you and your fellow officer, Ratu Tevita Mara, the son of the former Prime Minister, who’s been campaigning against you ever since he fled?
B We have a vision and a path and we should go down this path to get to where we want to go, which is building a better Fiji. He didn’t actually come on board that path. His was, his was his own agenda.
Q He wasn’t part of the program?
B No.
Q What was his agenda.
B Himself.
Q Okay, so this was a a personality thing, or did he try to organise a coups against you? Or what was it?
B Well he couldn’t. There is no way anybody can organise a coups against me, because for the simple reason the soldiers of RFMF are tired of people trying to organise coups.
Q Are you suggesting that Tevita Mara wanted to replace you?
B No, he’s not good enough to replace me.
Q Was he organising something?
B He tried to.
Q He did try to?
B He tried to.
Q What did he try to do?
B Oh well he tried to organise people, some soldiers and some in the civilian community.
Q To remove you?
B Yeah.
Q How did you find out about it?
B Through intelligence.
Q Can you explain further?
B No.
Q What sort of intelligence?
B No, because this case is with the police, so I really don’t have much ??

 Vision for Fiji ... How close are you now to achieving that aim?
Q Okay, and finally, you told me a couple of years ago that your vision for Fiji was a country free of race. Do you remember that? A prosperous, multiracial Fiji, not coup coup-land, as some people call it, but the way the world should be again.
B Yeah.
Q How close are you now to achieving that aim?
B Very close. Very close. As I, as I said, the election is very important to us, election in 2014. But what is more important is the constitution that we’re going to put together. We will leave that as our legacy for our children and our grandchildren. We have said that we are not going to entertain any any interference in in the making of our constitution, and especially, most especially, in the election process. That’s the bit that we’re worried about. We are not going to entertain any interference from any countries.
Q So it’ll be a clean election?
B Clean election.
Q There will be no hanky-panky?
B None.
Q None?
B None.
Q And it will be the will of the people?
B It will be the will of the people.
Q You also said to me a couple of years ago you wanted to have the Queen back as Queen of Fiji when democracy was restored . . . 

...the Queen back as Queen of Fiji when democracy was restored . . .  
B . . . Well that was two years ago.
Q Yeah. Do do you still want that?
B Well there’s no doubt after the 2014 election the commonwealth nations will accept us back as a member of the commonwealth. And then we’ll have the Queen back.
Q So the Queen will be Queen of Fiji again after the next election?
B After the next election. But we have the President.

Q But you still regard her as Queen, don’t you?
B Everyone does.
Q Everyone does?
Q So she’s Queen of Fiji in your heart?
B She is still, yeah.
Q Prime Minister, thank you very much.
B Thank you, Graham.


Dribbling crap said…
Total dribbling crap between a thug dictator and a military junta groupie.
Anonymous said…
The ballyhooed 'change' in U.S. policy is no change at all. The Americans have engaged with Bainimarama's regime all along. The U.S. deputy asssistant secretary of state used to be the lead, but this changed to Ambassador McGann when he arrived in Suva in October 2008. And McGann met with Bainimarama numerous times. Now, Ambassador Reed is simply following the same pattern.

McGann was indeed combative, but how else do you expect him to be with a dictator who has overthrown a democratically elected government and is involved in numerous human rights abuses? McGann was always willing to engage Bainimarama, but Bainimarama avoided him. He seemed to feel threatened by McGann's presence.

Reed has a different approach and isn't as physically or intellectually intimidating as Ambassador McGann. But this doesn't mean a change in U.S. policy toward Fiji.

Bainimarama's visits to Nashville, etc. became possible because inexperienced new people at the U.S. embassy in Suva forgot to annotate his visa to restrict his movements to within 25 miles of UN headquarters. The regime took full advantage of the blunder.

This oversight hardly signals a new policy. In fact, U.S. policy toward Fiji under Bainimarama has been remarkably consistent and judicious.
Lies and more lies said…
Croz, this second posting ought to be excised, both in line with your long standing ban on anonymous comments but also because it's a total lie. There HAS been an about face in US policy and anyone with dealings with the Americans knows it. Frankie Reed was head of the Pacific desk at the State Department. So the notion that Bainimarama got a US visa by mistake is not only a complete fabrication but totally laughable. The anti regime critics operate on the basis that the bigger the lie the more likely it is to be believed. This is a classic example. It's like the first comment here, which is utterly gratuitous. There is a lot of new material in the Davis interview. They just can't stand the fact that 1/ he knows what he's talking about and 2/ the Pm comes across as credible and decisive. These people are shameless smear merchants and liars.
Threatened my foot said…
Mr Anon says Bainimarama avoided Steve McGann. What nonsense! Talk to anyone who was behind the scenes at the Engaging with Fiji summit two years ago. The PM and the US ambassador got into such a serious tussle that the PM almost hit him and the two had to be separated. True story. Doesn't sound like someone who was threatened or scared, does it? More lies from the same tired old anonymous has beens.
Anonymous said…
It sounds like Frank was threatened by the US ambassador if he had to resort to violence just because they had a difference in opinion.
Anonymous said…
So Bainimarama is considering standing for election, well i am so shocked and surprised, given he is now so comfortable with all the trappings of office and the distinct advantage of making up the rules to suit himelf, why didn't you just presume it all along, like i did. His cronies and he knows full well that time helps him, he stacks the judiciary, stacks the public service, stacks the boards, has the DPP launch action against opponents to keep them busy and perhaps inelgible to stand for election, neuter the police, stack the decrees in his favour and any election there will be the military shadow hanging over the process with an implied threat of intervention, again, if they don't get what they want or who they want.So lets just accept that tyhis will be an eight year election campaign for bainimarama and he has just cobbled together an agenda, as he went along, to cover it. Not unique in the world, but unique for Fiji. A bit like Assad, Qaddafi, Mugabe and Putin claiming to be 'agents of change'. The reality is he dones't want to change anything to do with what matters in fiji - military power, (at leats while he needs it) or its makeup and will only deal with a compliant and craven media, GCC, methodist church and unions. Given his claims of widespread corruption and abuse which didn't appear to result in any peoples movement or revolution for the pople of fiji, which he claimed was the pretext for his coups, very few former politicians and chiefs seem to be languishing in gaol even today, six years on, but some it he actually appointed himself!?
No impact said…
This interview has as much impact as Allen Lockington's breaking news on his enjoyment of pony rides.
Anonymous said…
Perhaps Bainimarama should have been shown the photos of the tortured on coupfour and asked to explain who gave th orders and who should be held accountable in the 'new'fiji. I can only assume that you, Croz, would never be so impolite to ask the tough question siether and it certainly won't be 'great leader' who will wear any blame in your eyes. I am now waiting to see how you rubbish the victims and blame them for their own deaths and torture.
Soft & shallow said…
Very soft inteview by Graham. No hard questions about Frank's early promises of the military not benefiting from the coup and his promise that no one in the interim government would stand in future elections. All that seems to have been thrown out the window.

Frank also talks about 'a plan' as if it he had it from day one. Clearly he didn't or he has lied to everyone from day one. He talks of the plan as if it (or he) somehow has a higher authority other than the military guns and backing. Ratu Mara (and I'm no fan of Mara) had a different view so he had to be removed. The message is clear in this interview - anyone with a different view will be removed.

Franks understanding of the various decrees seems very very shallow. No they are not the same as AU/US/NZ. He even admits one decree is to give him the advantage of not having to worry about the law (he can say what ever he wants, whenever) while his opponents can't. Oh and he has FICAC to chase down opponents.

And why did Graham not ask about the countries finances ? He was talking to the finance minister wasn't he ? And why did he not talk about Suger ? He was talking to the sugar minister wasn't he ?

At least we know why Frank rarely ever does interviews. There is not a lot of depth there.

I wonder if the interview in full will be published in Fiji ?
ha, i don't think so said…
All this begs the question - If Frank stands and does not win, what then ? It seems hard to imagine he will step aside after enjoying the power for 6 years. If Qarase ran and was elected would Frank really let that happen ? Nothing todate suggests Frank is flexible or will to let actual democracy work so I doubt it.

I beleive Frank intends on running and winning the election and nothing else will be acceptable. It is unlikely the election will happen in a free and fair way if any other leader looks like winning. It would be hard anyway for a alternative given Frank has military men everywhere and 8 years of campaigning....
Anonymous said…
Our PM let Qarase run ? I think we can all assume there is as much truth in that as his claims no one in the military would benefit from the coup !
Anonymous said…
hard to beleive that Frank is yet to make up his mind on standing or not standing, even harder to beleive he would let Qarase stand. Frank has shown zero flexibility or tolerance for any alternate view to date. Why would he allow it now or in the lead to 2012.

I think we can safely say there are only a couple of outcomes Frank will allow.

1. Frank becomes PM (and most likely remains Militay commander)

2. A approved appointment by Frank becomes PM and he takes over as President and remains Military Commander)

3. Ummm there is no three. Anything else would risk himfinally having to face justice for Fiji's 2006 military coup.
Navosavakadua said…
Two questions for Croz

Haven’t you seen the Military Board of Inquiry report on the involvement of the CRW soldiers in the Speight coup agains the Chaudhry Government? Why no mention?

Please look at and tell us how you explain the fact that Bainimarama would not allow the Board of Inquiry to ask him any questions, such as were you in contact with the Acting Commander or any other senior officers after 19 May?
Anonymous said…
I think any Bainimarama promises in this interview have to be taken with a grain of salt. His track record is very poor.
Anonymous said…
Qarase was a political non-entity when Frank appointed him caretaker prime minister.

Power got to Qarase, Agriculture scam followed so Qarase could stay in power with his racist agenda.
Anonymous said…
Frank is a Sociopath.

Search the clinical symptoms and there is no doubt. All the boxes are ticked.

The scales have long fallen of my eyes Croz...

Yours are rather more persistent, but they will my friend, they will.
Anonymous said…
Hahahaha....Frank says he might stand in the next election! Well he didn't deny that he wouldn't. This is the same guy who is on record saying he will never contest and that he does not have interest in politics. What a liar? Ofcourse he would want to contest. Is there any other way to hide his corrupt regime, the torture etc...

What do you say Croz?
Anonymous said…
I don't see 'Lies and More Lies' or 'Threatened My Foot' (likely one and the same) signing THEIR real names. Seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, doesn't it?

Frankie Reed hadn't even arrived in Suva yet at the time Bainimarama applied for his visa. Shows how little YOU know!

Ambassador McGann never attended the 'Engaging the Pacific' summit, but you must be referring to the Natadola Incident, where the dictator supposedly almost punched Ambassador McGann. What statesmanship! Hope he never feels the need to slug Frankie Reed! Bainimarama then spent the rest of McGann's tenure avoiding him.

Bainimarama is a classic bully. Without his thugs, he's a big fat nobody.

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