Now starts the era of revenge.
Frank Bainimarama claims "Nobody will be left out” and yet two years ago he withdrew aid from two cyclone-damaged villages because they refused to swear allegiance to him.
Media coverage and stories such as “PM: Supporter first on my list” during the weekend tell us exactly where taxpayer and international aid money is going to be spent by Fiji First.
If Bainimarama has his way, the North will go begging because according to him he was betrayed by villages that said they would vote for Fiji First but voted instead for SODELPA.(Fiji Sun October 26)
The Opposition has been quick to remind Bainimarama the country’s coffers are not his personal funds.
|Bainimara cited in memo: evidence villages were punished.|
"Everyone pays tax - either it is through VAT, income tax or licence,” says Opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa. “The people are entitled to any developments required.”
The party’s Shadow Minister of Itaukei Affairs, Naiqama Lalabalavu, says Bainimarama's threats to cut off SODELPA supporters show what type of government is in office.
"It is consistent with what he did in early 2013 with the Tui Vitogo and his people,” he says.
“It is similar to the threat he made to Niko Nawaikula’s supporters."
Lalabalavu also asks:
|Vitogo village bore brunt of Cyclone Evan|
"How does he know who did not vote for him? What does he have from the Elections office that will allow him to identify who did or did not vote for him?”
Foreign aid donors are being urged to note Bainimarama’s bias and to secure guarantees to any funds given to Fiji.
“Taxpayers include many who did not vote for Frank Bainimarama and his Fiji First Party," says Lalabalavu.
"They have equal rights for their tax dollars to be used for their well-being."
The threats to the North follow the one last week to withhold development support from people who voted for Niko Nawaikula, after he said the good in the Constitution should be extracted and the rest discarded.
Bainimarama went on to accuse Nawaikula of threatening a coup.
Nawaikula said at the time: “This type of behaviour is blackmail....and for the Fiji First Government to use this same tactic ust 11 days after the first sitting of our new Parliamet in8 nyears, is a sign of what the people can expect as the ‘real intent’ of this government.”
Cynicism runs wide because of the well-documented revenge taken against Lautoka villages Vitogo and Naviyago, soon after Cyclone Evan devastated the West in December 2012.
After Tui Vitogo refused to support Bainimarama, the dictator ordered material to rebuild damaged homes removed.
|Cawaki: Now Fiji First MP|
The suspension of funds was confirmed in writing to all government departments on January 23rd 2013 in a circular signed by then Commissioner Western, Joeli Cawaki.
The Opposition has also called on Bainimarama to drop his conditions for Fiji returning to the Pacific Islands Forum.
Bainimarama insists Fiji will only return when New Zealand and Australia opt out and become development partners.