Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Former Court of Appeal judge sounds caution
As the Pacific Islands Forum gets underway in Cairns today, a former Court of Appeal judge to Fiji has warned the island nation will become a pariah state if it continues to ignore democracy.
Ian Lloyd QC (pictured right) was one of three Australian Court of Appeal judges, who ruled that Frank Bainimarama's interim Government illegal.
The ruling triggered a move by the interim government to abrogate the Constitution and install the president as the head of state as it introduced a state of emergency, allowing it to put into place a new legal order.
Lloyd has told Sky News that Commodore Bainimarama hates being pushed around and will not listen to anyone.
He says Fiji is sure to suffer if it carries on ignoring democracy and cuts itself off from foreign aid. He says the nation is sure to suffer a massive recession.
The leaders of Papua New Guinea, Solomons and Vanuatu are expected to lobby for Fiji to be allowed back into the Forum, in Cairns, today.
The Forum was forced to suspend Fiji in May, for failing to announce elections will be held by the end of the year.
Lloyd says Fiji will suffer.
"Tourism may be very, very diminished and the quality of living of all the people there will be terrible," Lloyd told Sky News.
He says the worry for Australia is that if it continues to reduce aid to Fiji, China will step in to fill the void.
"China is hardly a beacon of democracy itself but China is pouring large amounts of foreign aid into Fiji and will continue to do so if other countries pull out."