Opinion piece by Suliasi Daunitutu
The U-turn by the Vanuatu Prime Minister over the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in Nadi has been a heavy blow to Voreqe Bainimarama’s confidence in his last Pacific line of support.
Edward Natapei said that “Fiji hosting the meeting and allowing Bainimarama to chair the meeting is a threat to the organisation’s values”.
What he failed to say was that Bainimarama’s inclusion in the group shows they condone his dictatorship which is the biggest threat to democratic values, in the Pacific or anywhere in the world where democracy is the steadiness of purpose and good and fair governance.
This is a great victory for everyone who is vigorously campaigning for an election and a return to democratic governance. However, I would like to ask a few hypothetical questions regarding the sudden change of heart.
We are now familiar with the fact that the MSG in July 2009 agreed that the Strategic framework for change had key components for Constitutional change. That led them to believe there were indeed visionary contents to Bainimarama’s reforms ..... or was there?
I would like to know how did the Melanesian Spearhead Group come to that conclusion in 2009 but have found the same principle behind those reforms to be a threat to the MSG values now? I think that we the people of the Pacific would like to know how the structural reforms that would lead Fiji to a sustainable democracy in 2009, aren’t the same a year later.
I would also like to know what Michael Somare’s stance is on the sudden back flips of the group, as he was on record as saying the rest of the world “don’t understand the Pacific way.” Has he also realised the Melanesian way is a threat to our democratic values?
I would also like to know if the MSG is contemplating a push for Bainimarama to legalise his government, so Fiji’s inclusion is not a hindrance to their democratic belief. Because that's what we are now led to believe after Natapei’s comments, that “the MSG has a more critical role in assisting Fiji.”
There’s a lot of questions but as we know, when a person is shunned by his friends there is a bitter taste in his mouth and an unmistakable embarrassment that could lead one to either isolate himself or on the other hand, do something drastic that can have negative, critical or even tragic consequences.
In Fiji’s case, it should not come as a surprise that Bainimarama will do both. He is sure to isolate Fiji from everyone and the tragic consequences will be felt by the people and the economy.