Opinion piece by Suliasi Daunitutu
"Full of holes” are the words Frank Bainimarama used to describe the Vanuatu prime minister's comments about his (Bainimarama) position as the chairman of the MSG meeting in Nadi.
I assume from this comment, that we are restricted to travelling on parallel paths until 2014, if the pressure from the bigger players like the United Nations, UNHRC, Commonwealth, Australia and New Zealand is not intensified.
The whole interview (ed comments: see earlier posting on Sydney Morning Herald story) was curved, crooked and in parts fragmented from the truth, while in other part, had terrifying implications.
We have now heard that he doesn’t trust the people, the very ones he wants to give equal opportunities to. Will he provide this level playing field for races, businesses, and politics with the help of people who only listen to him? Will it also be overseen by the military?
Equal opportunity in my view has to be a product of proper consultation with stakeholders, an inventorial review of resources and proper mapping of its usage across the board, and its guidelines are to be Constitutional.
What is going to happen according to this alarming comment in my view, is that, “the better Fiji” he has envisaged for us is the one he will conceptualize. It could also mean that there will always be compartmentalized rules where people cannot test their full potential. If he doesn’t trust the people, he will structure his rules accordingly.
In his own words he has stated that he had to silence the Chiefs and the Church, to achieve the reforms. The reporter rightly voiced that he hasn’t been tested in his mental conceptions, to which he replied that “as long as they are doing the right thing for the people”, than all is well.
That is a weak justification of human rights abuse where one cannot voice his opinion about his/her welfare. There is the parallel path again, where we will remain voiceless until 2014.
Bainimarama is also is moving away from the dialogue process, choosing not to try and have the Pacific Islands Forum engage in multilateral talks. He said that “they didn’t get out voluntarily, so they will not be asking to go back in”.
That is foolish; again as the decision could be very different if trade stakeholders, tourism or sporting bodies had a say in the matter. The decision should have been economically orientated rather than uttered with a hint of spite as evident in its delivery.
We will continue to travel on different paths, as he is adamant that his reforms are more important than the economy, poverty, human rights and all the problems we have in Fiji. That alone, at first glance is, in my view, a plan that is full of holes.
The reporter told Bainimarama that Samoa did not attend the MSG meeting in Natadola. He replied “Samoa is not part of the MSG”. Neither is Tuvalu but they were there.
Yes, there are holes everywhere; the two sides are just looking at them differentl.
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