Cameron Slater from Fiji

I tried, I really did try but couldn’t find a single road-block, goon squad or government censor anywhere

By Cameron Slater
I have spent three days in Fiji, a short trip transiting onto my next destination.
After my interview with Voreqe Bainimarama I received emails, threats, and comments that basically said that I didn’t know what I was talking about. That Suva wasn’t safe, that there were government goon squads roaming the city setting dogs onto people and breaking up groups of five or more, and that the media were muzzled by government censors, not to mention the road blocks and general intimidation and subjugation of the general population at the point of a gun. In fact I never saw a gun, at all, and trust me as someone who is interested in such things I was looking.
Well, I can tell you that despite asking and looking for all of these things that we have been told exists by the disaffected and the complicit media in New Zealand, I could find none of those things.
I went to several press conferences where media turned up, asked questions, received answers all without any Police or Army people present.
I stayed at the Holiday Inn across the road from the government precinct, and wandered around freely in those environs. When I went to the government administration building I strolled in, checked with reception and made my own way to the office I was going to, all with no Police or army present.
When I drove to the opening of a new $50 million cement factory there weren’t any road-blocks or travel restrictions, indeed in my last two trips I’ve never seen one.
And when I dropped in unannounced at the offices of the Fiji Sun and stayed for several hours talking with the team there I couldn’t find any government censors, goons, army or police in attendance. I kept asking the staff where the censors were…the editor joked and said they were on a lunch break.
Basically these are all lies.
People go about their business in Suva unfettered.
What is happening in Fiji though is a pride and confidence that despite the best attempts of New Zealand and Australia to thwart their achievements they have stood strong and found a real solution, a Fijian solution, to the issues of the past and that they can move forward with pride, knowing they have broken the apron strings of colonial condescension from New Zealand and Australia.
There is talk on the streets about being allowed back into the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum, and a belief that the government should reject that. Fijians believe that they have out -grown those organisations, that when things were tough in Fiji that both organisations and their member nations turned their backs on Fiji and now they are irrelevant to Fiji’s growth.
New Zealand and Australia made a grave foreign policy error.
They created a vacuum and nature abhors a vacuum. Fiji has filled that vacuum and now they don’t need either country.
They have new friends, ones who treat them with respect.
I leave here today, knowing that positive change has occurred.
I will come back and observe the elections…and report on that.
Meanwhile don’t believe a word that you hear on RNZI, or from Barbara Dreaver or Michael Field.
People literally spit when their names are mentioned. Their falsehoods have poisoned the country against them.
Fiji has grown up. It is truly inspiring to witness.

Cameron Slater is the publisher of New Zealand’s most popular blog, Whale Oil, winner of this year’s top blog award at the New Zealand media awards. He is a former editor of the New Zealand Truth newspaper. He was born in Suva and has been reporting from Suva this week.
newsroom@fijisun.com.fj

Comments

Anonymous said…
Good to see gutless collaborators like Yabaki and Father Barr being put in their place by the dictator. Such collaborators with an illegal human rights abusing regime deserve all they get.
Anonymous said…
Did he clear this with the National Party - or was he too busy having prisoners moved and celebrating their subsequent suicide ... swim in crap old man and it sticks to you
Anonymous said…
How obnoxious and superficial to think that guns and military censors are the only way to enforce censorship. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Did he ask lawyers about the implications of the many laws restricting free speech? How about asking NGOs, activists and politicians if they feel safe to speak out? I would be happy to print my name here, but while the people of Fiji are not free to speak without retaliation, I will stand with them under the cloak of anonymity.
Whale watcher said…
Is this fat whale a total farkwit?
Anonymous said…
Finally we get some proper reporting from Fiji. The in depth analysis that Mr. Slater is providing was long overdue. Fiji is a free, democratic and proud country. Fiji has the government a very large majority of her people want. It is a different style of democracy and we see a different style of media freedom. We also see firm government action when things get out of hand, and yes, sometimes this involves corporal punishment of obnoxious criminals and mindless government opponents. New Zealand can learn a lot from the modern style of managed democracy that is practised in countries such as Fiji, Russia and China.
Marc Edge said…
Croz and Whale Boy, sitting in a tree. . . .
Anonymous said…
Croz and Whale are the puppet of their respective masters - poor people who accept cash to belittle others.
Anonymous said…
The lowest of the low. Those who support dictators, especially for their own benefit, are low life scumbags.
Anonymous said…
What's with name calling?
Marc Edge said…
might be early post-election recrimination
ahli seo said…
Great article, I am happy to visit this website :)

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