Interesting Feedback from regular blogger Colin Bishop

I have just started a short visit on business to Fiji. This is my first visit since January 2007. There was no noticeable difference at Nadi Airport. There appeared to be fewer tourists on the streets of Nadi and the smaller shopkeepers seemed more desperate for a sale than previously. The range of goods for sale and the quality has decreased. The tourists seem to be in groups and often with local guides. There is a lot less of the casual individual shopping that I remember. Nadi town seems tatty. My rental car was newer than I expected but I was not long out of Nadi before I realized the roads were worse than before. My three local colleagues had on the previous visit held different views on the Coup and the Commander. All of their views have changed. My Indian Nadi Manager who was a strong supporter of the Commander and Mahen is now desperate for elections no matter who gets in. He just wants stability and an economy that does not include him feeding an additional 6 family members. His family has been hard hit by job losses. He admitted being worried I was coming to Fiji to shut down the Company as he is aware it is losing money at present. He is hopeful there will be a strong leader that both races could support. He (surprisingly) would like to see the previously elected Cabinet run the country for six months without any changes while an election is held. He has worked out that a first past the post type electoral system would disadvantage his race. He believes that the President should still be appointed by the Fijian Chiefs but be a figurehead like most people thought he was and have no power.
My Suva Fijian Manager who was a strong SDL supporter has now become a Charter Supporter. He believes that this is the way forward for Fiji but is strongly opposed to calling all people with Fiji Island passports “Fijian” He has several relatives that have lost their jobs but have gone back to their villages so he is not directly affected. He has a poor understanding of the importance of the constitution as he remembers it was changed before so why not again. He does not support the Commander but believes he has the countries best interests at heart. He would like elections soon as he sees elections as the only way to get better water supply and law and order. He blames US Australia and NZ for the drop in his quality of life since the coup as they have withdrawn their aid.On discussing recent events further it became evident that Suliasi had only local newspapers to base his opinions on while Anish had access to the internet and a wider range of local opinion. I had the unusual position of the Indian trying to convince the Fijian that the coup was wrong.

My Fijian CEO who was fairly unconcerned about the coup in 2007 is now obsessed with it. He can quote the latest blogsite postings and is extremely depressed about what it is doing to his country. He has been involved in politics before and is aware of the long term damage it is doing to Fiji. He was quite abusive to Suliasi and Anish was mediating between the two of them.

Basicly what I have found is a totally and radically changed three people.

Well people a perfect example of why we blog as the mainstream media hs been gagged by the illegal government.

SV Team

12 Responses to “Interesting Feedback from regular blogger Colin Bishop”

  1. Mark Manning Says:

    Epeli Ganulau has a one China Policy , to go with his one brain cell Policy !

  2. Mark Manning Says:

    http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=106009

  3. Tim Says:

    Thanks Colin. 3 years ago I damn near made the same mistake you made till I realised some egotistical jumped up munter like Frank looking for a free ride was waiing in the wings aided and abetted by one or two opportunist expats. Wish you luck! Meantime I’ll welcome those in exile that will eventually see a Mugabe-like Frank squirm.

  4. freedomfighter Says:

    Sorry fo deviation, bloggers. Fiji TV finally woke up, with interim A-G claiming they had not seen the letter from Vili:

    Daily Post to face contempt of court proceedings over Letter to the Editor
    11 Nov 2008 01:24:08

    It has emerged the Daily Post newspaper was the first to print a letter that was cited by the attorney generals chambers as being contemptous of the judiciary.

    The Post printed the letter on October 17th and the Fiji Times ran the same letter six days later.

    But only the Fiji Times has been hauled to the court with its Publisher and Editor in Chief now facing possible jail terms.

    The Daily Post newspaper has government as one of its sharedolders.

    And they could also soon be dragged into court over a letter it printed criticising the Judiciary.

    On October 17th this letter was published in the Daily Post – it went un-noticed perhaps.

    But when six days later – on October 22nd the Fiji Times printed the same letter – the interim government took offence.

    The Fiji Times, its publisher and editor and chief were cited for contempt for not revealing the address of the letter writer who resides in Australia.

    The Daily Post today admits it printed the letter first.

    We asked Koroi if it appeared as if the Fiji Times was being singled out.

    But while Koroi is cautious on what he says now, he’s hoping that the matter will be confined to the Fiji Times only.

    After being made aware of the letter appearing in the Daily Post, the Attorney General’s Chambers acted quickly and took the matter to court.

    Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says, Daily Post should expect the same penalties like the Fiji Times.

  5. Nostradamus Says:

    Glad that Vili’s letter is getting this additional publicity.
    There is no law against writing letters, and as far as I could tell, everything he said was spot on. If it goes to court, the truth will come out, or the court will make fools of themselves again, but then it can be appealed.
    I am not sure why they are worried about who published the letter. By publishing it as a letter does not mean they are taking responsibility for its contents.
    Looks like another smokescreen to cover up Frank’s crimes.

  6. Colin Bishop Says:

    Day 2.
    Spent the night with some expat friends in Pacific Harbor. George (not his real name) first came to Fiji in 1998 and is involved in a tourism related business. He is going broke. His wife Mele has through their connections in the industry found employment for the first time since they were married. She is “pissed off” about it. (her words) She never expected to have to go back to work. George hinted at any jobs going in my company. George has discussed with the Real Estate Agent the option of selling his Villa but apparently it is a bad time to sell and he would be lucky to recover the money he has invested in it. He is applying for Mele to become a NZ citizen through marriage as she has been proud of her Fiji Passport and refused to change it to date. Mele is also “pissed off” with this idea. Politically George is neutral and just wants to get on with his life and earn an honest living but it looks grim for him at this stage. Mele just wants to find and “deal to the bastards” that have ruined her lifestyle and may cost her her home and country. The Mele I remember was a good compliant housewife but I wouldn’t want to be married to her at the moment. She is waiting for the Charter Mob to call on her and I honestly feel sorry for the person who does.

    Called in at Navua for a late breakfast. I was disappointed to see how run down Dairy Farms Fiji looked as being an NZ venture I have always felt proud of it as I passed. There was also a “scuffle” of some sort going on outside the Prawn Shop so I didn’t get the fresh prawns I has promised my CEOs wife in Suva. I recently saw an advertisement in NZ for the sale of Dairy Farms Fiji but on talking to my CEO he said it was in the Newspapers in Fiji and they withdrew from the sale. My CEO thinks there may have been pressure from the government not to sell as it would look bad.

    The food was as good as I remember and the people still smiled and the Indian woman in the restaurant even remembered me from when I lived in Fiji and drove from Nadi to Suva twice a week. She didn’t want to discuss anything about the coup and as I knew she had relatives in the Police Force I suspect she was just keeping her head down. I left a serious tip as she didn’t seem to have any other customers and her reaction suggested it would be well received.

    Naboro Rubbish Dump almost smells as bad as the old Suva dump. There is no reason for this other than bad management as the cells in the dump were built to international standards. I know as I have a close friend who designed them.

    A day at the bank and the accountant with catch up visits to clients and suppliers convinced me that contrary to all the hope and optimism expressed on the surface the country and industry in general is in a bad way.

    I know this all seems negative but I had great hopes for Fiji and have purchased land here for my retirement. Although this land is freehold without a mortgage the bank would not accept it as security for a loan and I will be required to bring more money into the country to sustain my company. I will have to discuss this with the other family members involved but believe they will be reluctant to lose all of our investment. I will probably be pushed into coughing up the money myself as I have been the one driving the Fiji branch of the company. My CEO who was present at all the meetings is now very worried.
    Spending the night with my CEOs Family.

  7. Jose Says:

    Collin, you are doing a wonderful job here. Please continue with your journal. It’s interesting reading. I hope there are other regular visitors to our country who can also take the time to do what you are doing. Please accept my apologies for FF’s coup mentallity.

  8. Colin Bishop Says:

    I dont know who Noelene Powell is but my Noelene is my PA in NZ. In order for me to post I need to come in on my office computer at home. Shes not the brightest cookie as the last comment was not meant to be posted.

  9. Striker Says:

    Well hairyarse, the opinion by Mr Bishop is an independent account of the deteriorating business scene in Fiji. With an all low 15% investment rate, the country has truly gone to the dogs under your regime’s watch! What’s that failed FEA accountant cum consultant bulshit Francis Narayan got to say? Fuck all!

  10. solivakasama Says:

    Colin,

    you can email me directly and I will put your diary entries up as seperate articles

    solivakasama@gmail.com

    kuts

  11. kini Says:

    Fiji economy is going backward and not forward and Chodo couldn’t handle it so he took as much money, as he possibly can before deciding to abandon the ship.
    The certified idiot Voreqe figured, well here’s my chance to make a couple of millions for myself, before something goes wrong and I need to seek refuges in India or China?
    No one likes anyone of these perpetrators; and hanging is where they’re all going!!

  12. Colin Bishop Says:

    Day 3

    My family in NZ as expected are grumpy at putting more money into the company. My daughter is particularly concerned that the VAT owed to the company has not been reimbursed by FIRCA and I am unable to convince her this is fairly normal in Fiji. We have always up until 2008 traded at a profit so this part of doing business in Fiji has been avoided. She is an accountant so it sounds suspect to her that the Government doesn’t pay its bills on time.
    My CEOs family appears to have been only slightly affected by the downturn as he owns his home and has a steady income. His wife was a government departmental financial administrator so she handles all the finances. There is no doubt as to who is the “Boss” at home. She has her own opinions on what is required to get the country out of the mess it is in. She believes there needs to be an MMP type electoral system that means all races and groups are represented in proportion in government. She raises NZ as a system that works. I raised Italy as the same system that has a new government every couple of months. She is looking for the “golden bullet” that will cure all the problems. She visited her village last month and was stuck on the Island for an additional week as the boat failed to eventuate. She said very little has changed in the village. However in Suva she now keeps a very tight reign on where her children are as she believes there has been a major increase in street crime and break ins. There has been no statistics available to confirm this and she is a woman used to dealing in statistics.
    She is a supporter of Pramesh Chand who she holds in great respect as a person who is a civil servant working for the best of the country. She has worked with him in the past and believes if he is involved in the coup then there must be some good in it. This support of individuals at a personal level is a very Fijian thing that I have met often and it seems to be very hard to separate the person and the politics. In NZ I know several politicians that are good people but whose politics I totally disagree with.
    One of the options we discussed with the Fiji Managers was giving them shares in the company as part of their package. The CEO has said that he would like some shares in the company but would not like to have Anish (Indian) as a partner. Although they get on together at work he is highly prejudiced and this may stop me from continuing with this proposal. This is even though he knows that Anish was my first choice for CEO but it would have meant he had to move to Suva and he was reluctant to do this as his family was in Nadi.
    The day has been spent trying to convince some of our clients to settle some outstanding accounts. The general problem seems to be that they need to be paid by their clients before they can pay us. Two of the clients out of eight have had their overdrafts at the bank reduced or removed. One has had to use his home as security on his business and I believe he is on the point of folding. High levels of stress were exhibited by these people who have in general been good payers in the past and are not used to being embarrassed by not being able to meet their commitments. Generally it was not as bad a picture as I expected for our company. We have 15% bad debts but this would have been higher except for policies put in place last year on credit levels. One other company we work closely with has staggering 32% bad or unrecoverable debts. We feel justified at turning down work that was risky. However that don’t pay the bills and after a couple of days in Nadi I am off home to bully the family into freeing up some money to keep us afloat.

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