#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Congressman Hunkin's meeting with Bainimarama deplored

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Congressman Hunkin's meeting with Bainimarama deplored

A visit to Fiji by the American Samoan Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin continues to raise questions.

Critics say the meeting was not announced as previous visits have been, especially those of overseas government oficials, who've gone to Fiji on fact-finding visits.

Critics also say Mr Hunkin was in Suva for a little over 24 hours but only met with interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama then with Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry for an hour.

Mr Hunkin did not meet with any other political leader or the trade unionist movement - or talk to pro-democrats.

His failure to canvass wider opinion in Fiji has rankled with a number of stalwarts, who say, that at the private meeting, Bainimarama and Chaudhry lobbied for support for electoral reforms - on their terms.

At a congressional hearing in Washington last week, Mr Hunkin defended Fiji's interim government to America's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

He told Ms Clinton New Zealand and Australia have been painting an inaccurate picture of Fiji's political scene.

He said "It makes no sense, Madame Secretary, for the leaders of Australia and New Zealand to demand early elections for the sake of having elections in Fiji, when there are fundamental deficiencies in Fiji's electoral process."

The last US State Department official to go to Fiji was Glyn Davies, in February last year. Unlike Mr Hunkin, Davies tried to meet with all sides and held a press confrence after his meetings. He also appeared on Fiji TV's Close Up programme.

The visit coincided with the deportation of Fiji Sun publisher, Russel Hunter.

It's been pointed out that Mr Hunkin was also a chief guest and keynote speaker at a PINA convention in Apia in 1994. In his speech, he talked of the importance of democracy and media freedom. He told delegates at the time that democracy and media freedom are closely linked.

He said democracy and media freedom are for the weakest and the strongest in any nation and that the media is the only watchdog left for the citizens to rely on as the last defenders of democracy when all else fails.

Critics now say it is puzzling that with the heavy media censorship in Fiji, Mr Hunkin would still think the Bainimarama regime is correct to delay elections until 2014.


Keep The Faith said...

Oh Eni, Eni, Eni --- no doubt you found time after your fundraising singing spree in Apia to jet over here and make the case for Bainimarama to Hilary.

If anything Tuilaepa will bring him into line. Eni is just tryna score credibility with the Obama administration because he wants to sit and flex at the PIF table -- which is absolutely not going to happen as American Samoa is still a US territory and the PIF is a political grouping of only independent sovereign states.

Tim said...

Don't fret. So Frank thinks he found hisself a ally. At the end of it all, it's only Hunkin's cred that's on the line. Hopefully he's a gambling man, cos the odds aren't really that great. Still, I'm sure Hunkin has his own little rabbit hole secure.
It looks like something out of that era when a congressman or two that thought they were on a cushy little fact finding jaunt to Sth America a few decades ago. I haven't really heard of them since. Plus which - Hillary ain't no fool - she's had a smart as, but lying Bill pulling her strings for a few decades. If Hunkin thinks he's got a better chance - more fool him

Keep The Faith said...

Pity now that Eni chose to be part of Bainimarama's rent-a-crowd set and loses face in the process...he has gotten his knuckles rapped quite soundly from his Samoan wantok Tuilaepa!


laminar_flow said...

Even Samoa P.M is getting a e-knuckle pie from his own populace for his undiplomatic utterances.

Check the story out!