#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: NZ Herald editorial: Hold firm on Fiji

Monday, April 4, 2011

NZ Herald editorial: Hold firm on Fiji

Not for the first time, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has held out an olive branch to Fiji. He says travel bans will have to be relaxed soon if the military regime headed by Commodore Frank Bainimarama gives a firm commitment to hold elections in 2014.

From the standpoint of logistics, that is logical enough. Fiji will need to be able to recruit senior staff to organise and oversee an election. But extracting a cast-iron guarantee of a poll is another matter altogether. Mr McCully is hopeful the chance to attend Rugby World Cup matches will be the catalyst.

There are some grounds for thinking this may be so. Fijians' love of rugby is well known, and the ban on the entry to this country of members of the regime and their families and military personnel is clearly a considerable irritation. But New Zealand needs to be careful.

Previous pledges for a return to democracy, delivered to countries boasting far greater international clout than this one, have been dishonoured. That raises the issue of how far Commodore Bainimarama's word can be trusted. It also raises the question of whether the World Cup would, more appropriately, be used as a stick to hammer home New Zealand's dissatisfaction with his regime, rather than acting as a carrot.

There is little doubt what path Australia would pursue. Late last month, its Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, said the only person who needed to change was Commodore Bainimarama. He rejected any need for a more incentive-based approach involving the likes of the World Cup. "We're not in the business of legitimising what has been a very ugly military coup," said Mr Rudd. "The reverse is that Bainimarama must change if he is to adhere to the standards and the norms of the Pacific Islands Forum, the standards and norms of the Commonwealth, the standards and norms of the United Nations."

Reinforcement for Australia's unbending line has been supplied by Amnesty International. Early last month, it said it was deeply concerned about an ongoing crackdown on human rights in Fiji. In the previous fortnight, at least 10 politicians, trade unionists, government critics and other Fijians had been arbitrarily arrested and subjected to severe beatings and other forms of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the military.

At much the same time, Mr McCully noted there had been little progress towards the resumption of democracy in Fiji, following a meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum's ministerial contact group. He denies now that his latest statement indicates a different approach to that of Mr Rudd, but says, somewhat cryptically, that he has had more interaction with Fiji than Australia.

In principle, there is much to be said for ongoing communication. But since seizing power in 2006, the regime has shown little willingness to engage meaningfully with the international community. Indeed, it has turned a deaf ear to it in progressively squashing dissent, abrogating the constitution, dismissing the judiciary and suppressing the media. 

On the surface, at least, there seems scant evidence a corner is about to be turned.
Mr McCully appears to be hinting otherwise. Fiji is now "closer than it was before" to delivering hard evidence of progress to elections in 2014, he says. The minister notes any relaxation of the travel ban would depend on a report by the ministerial contact group, as well as agreement on an election timetable by international forums, such as the Commonwealth. While the World Cup gives New Zealand an ostensible opportunity to lure concessions from the dictator, it also gives him one more chance to make us look foolish. We should hold our nerve. (NZ Herald)


Anonymous said...

Egypt is having an election in November. This after the old leader resigned in February (so 7 months). Egypt population 77million.
So how come Fiji with a population of less than 1 million has to take 3 more years.
If you haven't figured it out yet Mr McCully, Bainimarama is not interested in an election.
You can throw him a whole container load of Carrots and Vuaka is not going to barge.
So , pull out the stick.

This is the stick:
Tell UN to sack all Fijian soldiers under its employment and send them home.

Then you'll see Bai start to run around begging NZ & Australia for help.

Come on Mr McCully, we are Fijians, we know how this Vuaka thinks.

Anonymous said...

What is it with this Kiwi?

History teaches you cannot appease despot dictators. Any carrots
McCully offers this serial murderer should contain a fuses. (lighted).

Anonymous said...

fiji will never have election until bani/ag is out or dead.
nz shouldnt give them visa.

Anonymous said...

First thing get the regime to lift the PER then the media censorship before even thinking of lifting the travel ban on this illegal govt.

Anonymous said...

Holding the election in 2014 is not far as some might think, but its a good preparation period to set the platform towards this much anticipated Election.

NZ and Australia, please do not rush Fiji to an early election but do maintain on your stance on travel bans and etc on Fiji.

I reckon one good thing you can do to assist Fiji citizens is to open up markets to rural famers who have been toiling hard in their vegetables, Dalo, Ginger, Yaqona, etc farms and continously snubbed or conned by local buyers and Agro Marketing Authority.

mark manning said...

It's up to Fijians to email the N.Z. Foreign Minister.
Don't forget to leave your Address and contact details so the email has credibility and can be taken seriously.

I did, and I received a written letter in the mail, signed by Mr. Mc Murray.

Fijians need to start lobbying australia and New Zealand, it has to come from inside fiji to bring this Regime to its knees.
Every letter and email helps !

Fiji Mojo said...

Smart ass McCully thinks he can play dumbo Bainimarama. Hasn't his his international experience taught him that you can't negotiate with dictators. In the end, Mubarak did the right thing and stepped down just as Quaddaffi will have to, although he's looking for a 'gracious' way out. As has been said by bloggers on this forum before, Fiji has the government it deserves because the people are not prepared to stand up for themselves. We are letting Voreqe and his regime walk all over us with some of us bull*&%$@*ng ourselves that he is better than previous 'elected governments' . We are in danger of being stuck with this monster through to 2020!

mark manning said...

Believe me, Mr. McCully is a true Diplomat, while Frank is an idiot with no skills !

Anonymous said...

Frank is not even a dick, coz a dick is more useful than him!

Anonymous said...

Just some thoughts on the current situation:

(a) What people don't realise is what the people think about all this. After so many years, post colonial period of course, six governments in power, the people think that this is the best government to have come out of Fiji. This government has set it upon itself to deal with the relevant matters first, ie what the people need and want, development and bettering of the standard of living. We can't argue about the rising costs of living but I say coup or no coup the cost of living will always rise because of the global price changes.

(b) Many people on this blog consistently call for a quick return to democracy. What we should ask ourselves is this, 'Is this democratic system that we're adopting from the British, Australian and New Zealanders appropriate fro Fiji. An Australian lecturer once said that Fiji's problems were internal and needed to be solved by its citizens, therefore they could formulate a democratic system that is suitable to the cultural makeup of their country without adopting the western form of democracy used in Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

business is bad and many small shops are closing,small country too many regulations and rules.One major supermarket is winding up and so is one of the biggest chemist shops in suva .The chemist shop i heard is relocating to vanuatu and Tonga.Our loss as we have seen those small mum and dad shops closing doors .These guys were employing those underpriveledged people who can not make it to higher education.

Anonymous said...

Firstly get the media freedom and you see the real fiji.We are made to read and hear what the govt wants us to.All media print and voice maybe mention before news that they are not free to give correct and true news .That is the truth.

Anonymous said...

McCully must be dreaming, Bainidick will change his mind when it's closer to 2014. Don't even think about giving BainiDick a visa to travel to NZ for the

TheMax said...

Boinamuna jest needs a visa to Kiuva.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please come off the travel ban and sanctions Aussies & Kiwis, they're obviously not working. Hellow! Fijians want elections asap so please work with the regime to get us there.

Anonymous said...

Max 10:09 - Isa the Qitawa fish 'coast guard' will tear him apart.