And Now It's Over, Some Housekeeping


So now, after months of anticipation, the waiting is over. We no longer have to rely on blogs, polls and angry voices to guess at what the people of Fiji think.  They have told us, in no uncertain terms, that they want a Bainimarama government to lead the way for the next four years.  Three out of five voters voted FijiFirst, 60% of the vote, much more than SDL's 44% in 2006 or New Zealand's National Party's 48% on Saturday. A decisive victory with 32 of the 50 seats in Parliament, and the Speaker to be appointed, in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.

Setting the tone
But this leaves two out of five voters who did not vote for FijiFirst which resulted in SODELPA winning 15 and the NFP 3 seats.   How all the leaders of these parties act over the next few days  and coming weeks will set the tone for the rest of the country, and those in Fiji and overseas who have, over the Internet, been vocal on the Fiji political situation.

The country needs to heal the wounds of division and move forward with a government responding to the needs of the people and a principled opposition  helping it on its way, and keeping it honest. It does not need any more tantrums from the likes of Mick Beddoes or Mahendra Chaudhry who tried, unsuccessfully, to besmirch the election process.  The Opposition needs more spokesmen with the dignity of Ro Teimumu and the silence of Biman Prasad.

Blogs and Facebook roles
The blogs and Facebook pages also need to reconsider their roles. If they are to play a useful role in reconciliation and help all those in power —and in Parliament—  focus on the major issues facing the nation, the publishers and editors will need to  reconsider their  priorities.

They must encourage constructive debate and discussion and delete all personal, sexually crude and pointlessly  negative comments by their readers.  My impression, from reading some of the comments on my blog, is that some readers see the blog as a form of entertainment where they can anonymously express views and insults that they could never express if their name was attached to their statement. The time for this sort of comment has passed. From now on, it can only hurt Fiji.

The future of this blog
I am not sure how I will proceed with this blog. There are many sources of news on Fiji. What is lacking is considered discussion on specific issues; discussion that would be helpful to government, the opposition, business, the unions and other NGO policy and opinion makers. What also may be lacking,  as time goes on,  is feedback from the people on what is being discussed in Parliament.  If you have any ideas how the blog could serve these purposes, please let me know.

Meanwhile, I would ask you to do three things:
1. Slide your mouse to the right side of the page, and click on the RSS icon and enter your email address so that you automatically receive blog postings and comments.

2.  Answer the survey "Confidential Survey on You ....." posted on 17 September.  It is completely confidential and your answers really will help me to write a paper for the book that Dr Steve Ratuva is editing.  The world is changing so fast with the ever increasing influence of the internet, and so little is known more about the effects of the social media on political opinions.

3.  I invite your comments on what I think is the most important issue facing Fiji as this moment in time: A divided Fiji and how to heal the wounds.  What is your advice to Bainimarama, Ro Teimumu, Dr Biman Prasad, the NGOs,  and those who write on blogs?

I'm sorry but I'll no longer accept "Anonymous." Those days are over, and the use of "anonymous" does not help discussion. Please write using your real name or pseudonym before posting by clicking the down arrow next to "Comment as" and then clicking on "Name/URL".  Just write your name.  You do not need an URL.

Note also  as indicated above, I will "delete all personal, sexually crude and pointlessly  negative comments" by readers, hoping that all blogs will do likewise.

Thank you for reading this.

Croz

Comments

Joe said…
How I see it is Sodelpa got a considerable chunk of iTaukei votes. For FLP it is "curtains close" for now until they do something about their leader. People rejected NFP in the late 90's and to date it remains rejected, which I personally like to see. What helped them this time is the protest votes against ASK. Biman has done nothing as he may claim to have. I sincerely hope that Ro Teimumu trashes all racist policies and scare tactics in relation to iTaukei land, as it wont work anymore for her. She should seriously consider getting rid of Beddoes because he is a liability for her party, Fiji has moved on from old times as we have seen.
Joe said…
As a suggestion for the new govt, I want them to revisit the Ghai draft especially the clause on reclaiming Fijian citizenship, in which Mr Ghai said that a 2yr amnesty be given to ex Fijians to reclaim their Fiji citizenship, who had to surrender their Fijian passports to take up citizenship of another country. In his wisdom ASK put a bounty of $3000/person, and when quizzed by the media on this issue he said that he does not want criminals coming to Fiji, perhaps implying that those who migrated are criminals or that criminals cant afford $3000.

May I humbly remind you sir that people who left Fiji shores did so with authentic health and criminality checks, as required by the country of their intended residency. As for your reference to criminals, may I say that these people would be amongst the richest in overseas countries. If you are not aware Mr AG, even a middle class worker in a country like Australia has >FJD$1M to his/her name. $3000 is peanuts for them, but on principle, retirees are looking at other options. Your greed for a mere $3000 is in the way of investments worth millions.
Anonymous said…
I think that deletion all Anonymous contributions is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What is a more reasoned and reasonable approach is to put all Anonymous contributors on notice that if they use the mask of anonymity to be crude and offensive then their messages will be deleted after you screen them. Yes, I know that means more work for you but, for a while at least, say, for the next three months or so, this approach is worth a try.
PLEASE CONSIDER IT.

Here is further food for thought. To expect that the unreason and acrimony of the recent past to be suddenly erased is unrealistic. The mere fact that a Bainimarama government has been elected will be "cause" enough for those who have long opposed him to continue their campaign of vilification. National reconciliation, if it occurs, will take time and not a small amount of hard work--particularly the development of the capacity to "let go". I dare say that it is fair to say that no a small number of those who voted for SODELPA will hang on to their grudges and continue to seek revenge in one way or another. In any human society there is an irreducible statistical probability. Deny these kinds access to your blog if they want to use the mask of anonymity to continue to pour venom into what will be for a considerable time to come a"delicate" situation.

Ro Teimumu will help if she changes her disposition too. Her public posture has got to be matched by what she says to her constituents privately.

The Prime Minister-elect, Bainimarana, has got to bring distinction to the office of PM and restore its dignity. He will have to be measured in what he says, adopt a more conciliatory, reasoned approach to responsible dissent and criticism. But dissent and criticism have also got to be measured and,carefully thought. For those who have been in the gutter for so long it will take time to take the high ground. There is no alchemy that will hasten that. Patience and example are more than just "good" tutors.

For democracy to work, even a wee bit, to get some traction, the new Government will have to try to get all o the relevant players in on the action but still get some action. Governments have to govern--that is what they have been elected to do. And this government has a solid mandate to do just that. For its part the Opposition has to be prudent, pull its horns in and NOT use the biggish stage that Parliament is in a small country such as Fiji , for grandstanding, hyperbole, bravado and the recklessness of unreason.

The path ahead will not be easy or without bumps. Much work remains to be done. The important tasks particularly in foreign policy and defense, stimulation of the local economy, responsible growth, protection of the environment in an age of global climate change induced rising sea levels and ocean acidification,, and more--will all require great courage and creativity. Prime Minister-elect Bainimarama has his work cut out for him. He cannot do this work alone. He will have to choose the principal men and women around him well and wisely. Any PM is only as good as his (or her) principal advisers. the newly elected PM has a lot to learn and his learning curve will be a steep one. Time is not on his side. But fortune beckons. He has been on the path not ever taken before. He needs to stay on it and make strategic changes as the begins his journey of a thousand miles.
Anonymous said…
One other matter (among many others not so far mentioned): Somebody should start drafting the Prime Minister's maiden speech to Parliament as soon as possible. The maiden speech should be treated as a major communications/messaging event. . It should be very, very well written. Consideration should be given to the speech being delivered in Bauan ("Fijian") with ready translations done in both English and Hindi. If the speech is delivered in English, then translations should be done by the PM's communications team in both Fijian and Hindi.

Anonymous said…
Ah yes, the maiden speech, a very important subject. Here are some points for the PM to consider:

It should be short--no more than 30 minutes.
It should be elegant, tightly crafted, elevating without being pompous. It should be easily understandable across the board.
It should set the newly elected Prime Minister out as a man of substance who has been tempered by the twin tyrannies of time and experience.
It should reflect the fact that this new PM and his government have a broad and solid mandate to govern in the national interest, to move the country forward.
The PM should make it clear that the Opposition has an important role to play in making Parliament work. That's a high and serious responsibility but it does not include any right for the Opposition to be obstructionist for the sake of obstruction. Responsible dissent is one thing; unmitigated obstruction is another. Unmitigated and petty obstruction for the sake of obstructions is not in the national interest or in the interests of parliamentary decorum.

The PM's maiden speech should appropriately acknowledge the role of the military in stabilizing the country in the last seven years. The military has kept the domestic peace and defended the territorial and sovereign integrity of the nation. The PM should pledge to strengthen the armed forces: women and men who serve the country in uniform can expect better conditions.

The people of Fiji--particularly those who strive for a better life and who are poor--can expect that this government will do all that it can to alleviate poverty and make their lives and that of their families better. We promised to do that and we will, he should say explicitly.

To our neighbors in a globalized world--in alphabetical order: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United States--we extend the hand of friendship. We look forward to the prospect of working with you as partners Fiji may be small but it is a sovereign State--with traditions that go back a thousand years with other ancient traditions grafted on to it.

The Pacific Ocean is no particular nation state's private domain Parts of this very large ocean divide all the nations which are located in it and unite them at the same time. To describe the Pacific as an 'arc of instability' is demeaning. In an age of global climate change all the nations either in the 'belly' of the Pacific or which border on it
have a common interest in working together to equitably share its resources and protect its integrity. The Pacific Ocean is a substantial part of the common heritage of human kind. Our job, collectively and individually, is to be the best stakeholders that we can be.

More to come ...


Crosbie Walsh said…
The use of a real name or pseudonym, is to help discussion. It's far easier to exchange views with a "Joeli", a "Sangeeta" or a "Thomas" than with Anonymous (this and that time.) So PLEASE click the down arrow at "Comment As.." and select "Name/URL" as requested. I will, at your suggestion, accept MILD personal attacks for a short time if they use pseudonyms. They serve a purpose and as you point out, and it is too early for people to abandon the acrimony. But we should be doing all we can to speed the recovery process by offering opinions and ideas that will help Fiji. Thank you for your comments. They are valuable but next time, please, use a real name or psuedonym. Even with the new requirement, commenting on this blog is far easier than on most other Fiji blogs. Best wishes.
Anonymous said…
Marc Edge where are you? I would like to see your contibution considering the election is now over.
Anonymous said…
Marc Edge, Marc Edge, now where have I heard that name before. Ah yes, I now remember. He is a part of the past. Let us leave him there in the past. The Bainimarama train is leaving the station, headed for the future.
Welcome Home! said…
No one is exempt from being a 'part of the past' - or should be, surely? All contributions are to be welcomed in Good Faith. A recipe which is sound, magnanimous and visionary must be baked. Permitting those who felt obliged to leave to return to retire must be an essential ingredient of a well-baked cake.
Onboard said…
Hi Croz - don't underestimate the work of blogs such as yours. The racist, very one sided blogs have been spreading so much propaganda. The western media which has a simplistic view of the situation in Fiji doesn't understand how the elites were ruling Fiji for personal benefit and have helped spread the propaganda.

Vinaka
Squarwk squawrk said…
@ anonymous
Stop squawking like a road kill mongoose. Go back to the swamp pit you emerged from slum dweller. Our PM Bainimarama has said he will work with all Fijians. Do you understand what that means slum dweller? All FIJIANS not whinging mongoose. Now shut the fark up and do what you are good at - wash our feet.
Anonymous said…
@Squarwk squawrk

Amen brother. Appreciate the fact that you have decided to raise that point about PM Bainimarama wanting to work will all Fijians. I guess the person above was talking about Marc Edge who is Canadian and had a lot to say against Bainimarama pre-election. And please refrain yourself from using profanity because our PM Bainimarama wouldn't use such a language.
Anonymous said…
Bula Onboard. I certainly agree with you that Croz's blog is certainly one of the very few (probably one of the only two) that tries to present a balance view of hat is happening in Fiji. Here in New Zealand, main stream media have been pathetic to say the least with their one-sided reporting. Even now, Fiji hardly gets any useful coverage after the election especially after the landslide victory. But pre-election there was so much coverage obviosly all against him and his regime. Now that they have been shown-up big-time with their supposedly wrong analysis, they have their tails in between their legs. A penguin that got washed up in Wellington a couple of years ago enjoyed more coverage on main stream media. Although, I am not a coup supporter, I am glad that Frank is now democratically elected and he should continue by not bowing down to Australia and NZ but rather do what is best for Fiji.
For some reason overseas governments and MSM tend to think that they know best when it comes to Pacific Island countries.
I sincerely hope that Fiji will now pave the way for Pacific Island countries to stand up and force Australia and NZ to genuinely treat them as equal partners
Crosbie Walsh said…
I like the praise (who doesn't) but PLEASE USE YOUR REAL NAME or a PSEUDONYM!
Anonymous said…
Congratulations to our
Pm Bainimarama who has said he will work with all FIJIANS and others such as indo - Fijians who don't whinge and bleat. As for the foot washing slum dwellers - take a boat bleaters. Well done Marc Edge for exposing this boko scum.
Anonymous said…
It is critical that the new FF government charts a firm foreign policy course that makes it clear to Australia and Nw Zealand particularly that Fiji is NOT a Banana Republic to be treated as a football to be kicked around. The Pacific Ocean is not a private lake owned by Australia and New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand's days of paternalism, bullying and manipulation are over.. Fiji is an independent, sovereign nation.

The new FF government should diversify the range of its foreign policy by strengthening its links to present partners and seeking new partnership arrangements. The new FF government should also strengthen and streamline the military to ensure domestic stability and protect Fiji's territorial integrity from foreign interference (such as the attempt by Australia to do so in December 2006). Foreign policy is, and must be about, protecting and advancing Fiji's crucial interests.

Fiji should not be fooled by an initiative like the one recently taken by Ms. Bishop of Australia. Ms. Bishop and her Australian principals should be made to clearly understand that cooperation is a two street and further, that cooperation does not mean subservience. The same message must be sent to New Zealand and the United States. Fiji should, and must, strengthen its ties to China which is a major regional player.
Anonymous said…
Your argument, Croz, that "a real name or pseudonym is to help discussion" is flawed. There is no empirical evidence to buttress your argument. But this is your blog. You own it. You set the rules. If we don't like your rules we take a hike. Maybe I will do that and set up my own blog and compete with yours on the "open market". The days of even benign paternalism are over.
Onboard said…
Agee - China has shown that it is a much better partner for Fiji as they don't take a position of Superiority when dealing with us.
Anonymous said…
Good. Then migrate there - they have 7 Elevens don't they?
Joe said…
China should be given priority over Aust, NZ and US. These 3 countries wanted to grind Fiji down to the begging bowl, but in the time of need China was there. The people of Fiji have spoken loud enough for the world to hear what/who they want.
Joe said…
Seems Edge has fallen over the edge. Lol !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
Agree- strongly--ties to China ought to be strengthened. .
Tamavua said…
The Western powers don't realize the world is changing very fast. They don't appreciate how the should deal with their decreasing power and influence. The 21st century will be the Asian century
G Q said…
I agree, She should get read of Beddoes and FLP should get rid of Chaudhry..if the want to survive

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