Fiji Commonwealth re-entry will take time

It could take several years for Fiji to be reinstated to the Commonwealth, even if elections targeted for 2014 are successful, a Fijian academic says.

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth overnight after failing to meet conditions, including holding early elections.

It was also suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum in May, and the European Union has suspended aid to the military regime.

Military leader Frank Bainimarama, who overthrew the elected government in a December 2006 coup, has said he intends holding elections by September 2014.

Dr Steven Ratuva, from the University of Auckland’s Centre for Pacific Studies, said the suspension would have a marginal impact on the general Fijian population.

Ratuva said it would affect Commonwealth scholarships and job opportunities around the globe for Fijians within Commonwealth organisations.

But Fiji had already experienced prolonged isolation from the Commonwealth and, economically, it was likely to have little effect.

Ratuva said the suspension had long been on the cards, but the 2014 election date had been all but set in stone for some time as well.

When Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth following a military coup in 1987, elections were next held in 1992, but reinstatement did not come until 1997.

It was possible that even if there were successful elections in 2014, complex and lengthy procedures meant it could take years for Fiji to be reinstated to the Commonwealth, Ratuva said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said democracy under-pinned the Commonwealth, and Fiji had been given plenty of warning about falling out of line.

But New Zealand didn’t intend imposing any further sanctions, and there was now little it could do but show patience.

Former governor-general Sir Paul Reeves is set to travel to Fiji within the next 10 days as the Commonwealth Secretary General’s representative for talks with the regime.

Sir Paul said the situation was sensitive and any public comment would come after, rather than before, discussions took place.

Labour leader Phil Goff said the suspension was regrettable but inevitable given Fiji’s failure to take steps to restore democracy.

“We will continue to look for signs of a commitment that Fiji will head down the road to democracy. But until we see signs of progress, restoring a relationship with Fiji is not possible,” Goff said.

The ban means the Fijian government will be excluded from participation at all inter-governmental Commonwealth meetings or activities.

It also means no Commonwealth technical assistance can be provided to Fiji, with the exception of assistance aimed at facilitating the restoration of democracy.

Contact at professional and non-governmental levels with Fiji counterparts will be left to the discretion of individual pan-Commonwealth organisations.

9 Responses to “Fiji Commonwealth re-entry will take time”

  1. Tui Says:

    As International friends of Fiji regret the suspension the arrogant Dictator Bainimarama does not seem to comprehand the significance of this move by the Commonwealth of Nations. This supension virtually leaves Fiji with no Friends at all in the Western Allies and the only options are Moslem league,African league,and any other country not associated with Commonwealth or PIF. Such a sad state of affairs for a country like Fiji.Fiji will now allign itself with the terrorist states and soon no one will be there for it anymore.No Commonwealth Games, No more participation at the Head of Commonwealth States meeting where even the likes of Kiribati and Tonga a given Regal treatment as equals by the likes of England India and Australia to name a few, The isolation will result in hard economic times for Fiji, no help in medical grounds and judiciary and Fiji as the banana republic that it has become will just as we have always said just a spec of dust in the vast Pacific.Forgotten and very insignificant.

  2. kaiveicoco Says:

    Seve Ratuva,
    come back to Fiji and talk about Fiji here bro.

  3. Anonymous. Says:

    In defence of Steven Ratuva’s.

    Don’t have to be on the Island too know there’s a fire.

  4. balluk Says:

    Anon, it would really be helpful to be in the Island if you want to put out the fire???????????

  5. Anonymous. Says:

    Not if you short on fire fighting equipment or personel.

  6. Wilson Tamanikaira Says:

    I am doing a research paper into the systemic financial corruption in the Fiji military dating back to the Rabuka days.

    I am interested in the types of fraud that occurred in the military budget in terms of kickbacks with suppliers, (ie military uniforms and food rations),the medical insurance scam run by Barivilala, the yaqona scam between Ganilau and Voreqe, the regimental fund scam involving characters such as Ganilau, Nailatikau, Voreqe, Aziz.. the whisky scam of Lebanon, the NBF saga scam into building the OR’s mess, the refusal to audit the books, the campaign scam in elections 2006 and other recent scams from 2006 to date.

    If anyone has any inside info then please notify me on this page and will send email address

  7. LUVfiji Says:

    Oh my! Look who’s here!

    Researching the military fraudsters, aye? Impressive.

    Nice coming around.

    I wish luc!

  8. Koroi Says:

    Wilson T, bula vinaka.

    I was a rating on the FN Kiro when Ganilau was CFM and Voreqe CN and up until 2005. When the the yaqona scandal started, the number of patrols to the Lau group was very high because we were always on standby and ordered by Voreqe to divert to Taveuni to pick up Ganilau’s yaqona harvest for transportation to Suva.

    BTW, when we arrived in Taveuni, the awaiting shipment of yaqona was being transported in military vehicles by military personnel. The same occurred at the depot in Walu Bay when we arrived to be stored there.

    It used to be the standing joke that everyone in uniform worked for Saweni Holdings because this yaqona used to end up in the FijiBatt Lebanon and Sinai of which the ranks would have to pay the costs.

    Another incident is when Ganilau’s son took the Commanders red 4WD on a drunken joyride and crashed the vehicle on Edinburgh drive. Everything was hushed up because no charges were laid by Police and no reimbursement made to taxpayers by the Commander.

    The regimental fund was being used by senior officers like a private piggy bank where loans were given to people like Aziz to finance his studies in Bond university, many trips to Taveuni and Lakemba by Ganilau and his Mara wife, trips to Australia and NZ by Voreqe and his wife and so forth. The problem here is that all this money was not paid back and all ratings had their pays deducted for many years to recover the money.

    We also find out from the auditor general that many favored senior officers living in quarters did not pay their rent for many years..and owed thousands of dollars up to this day.

    In 2006, Voreqe and Ganilau used the $5m Telesat fund for the unsuccessful election campaign of the National Alliance Party in 2006 elections.Not only did they use this money but also personnel,vehicles, naval vessels.Their campaign strategy was planned with the FLP to try and split the Fijian votes so that the FLP can win the majority and give the military immunity from the CRW deaths and the Ratu Mara treason case. That tactics were a total failure and only 600 people voted for the NAP. All were military personnel in the FijiBatt who were forced to vote for them.

    The majority of military personnel did not vote for the NAP as they were ordered because they knew this party was full of corrupt people. The military campaign teams teams to the tikina meetings used to palce a bet, ” o cei na cemuri mai ni kua”..It got to a stage when the OC camapaign just said..” Me kua ni caka na vanau vakapolitiki..kauta ga a sevusevu, gunu yaqona, talanoa…oti ya, dou lesu tale mai..nai tavi ga me vakayacori” But when they came back the OC put in the debrief that there was 100% village support for the NAP when there was none.

    I have some other factual events of military corruption in my next post

  9. Annon. Says:

    @ Koroi.
    Perhaps the greatest indicment and insight into Ganilau centres around his failed attempt too become Tui CauCau. Out of respect for his father the rightful claiment Ratu Grenville ceded the title to Ratu Penai. Upon his fathers unfortunate passing this excuse for a human being and Ratu then attempted to claim the title for himself – thus forever degrading both himself – his family and his late fathers good name. Rest assured we in Taveuni know this imposter for what he really is – a disgrace to Taveuni – the Ganilau name & a squatter too boot – for the land he (they) currently occupy in Taveuni (Vuniduva) is not rightfully theirs – furthermore everyone knows these sad facts about him. So revelations that he’s a thief of other peoples money as well come as no real surprise.

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