PLEASE DO NOT INTERFERE BERGIN
I don’t care if this person Anthony Bergin is an expert on terrorism or whatever but he sure has limited knowledge of how the 5.12.06 coup has destabilized our beloved Nation Fiji.
He writes in the following article that the countries that have placed sanctions on Fiji – in effect the ig coupsters and their families should be lifted and aid should be provided as per Business As Usual.
Dickhead Bergin needs to understand that BAU has been usurped by the ig coupsters and the citizens of Fiji are suffering for it.
Another thing Bergin doesn’t grasp in his whitebread world is that the very same aid that was continually provided to African countries is what has caused so many problems in that continent where the ‘leaders’ have pocketed the Aid funds for their own personal use and the consequences have been absolutely devasting.
As much as Fiji sorely needs funding, and as much as possible, it is not recommended with the illegal regime playing bully boys with this Nation. The countries that have placed sanctions on Fiji and are withholding funds know exactly what they are doing and are actually doing the citizens of Fiji a very huge favour.
Anthony Bergin – we don’t want to go down the same path as the African Nations that have been accepting funds for decades only to have their countries and their people almost obliterated by the greed of a few megalomaniacs. If you want to obliterate the Black Races Anthony Bergin why don’t you just be upfront about it. Just be honest with yourself instead of trying thinking you’re better than the Governments that the have placed the sanctions on the ig – NOT THE NATION OF FIJI.
Two bit so called experts like Anthony Bergin are nothing but damned trouble makers we have enough to contend with here in Fiji without his two cents worth.
You know where you can stick those carrots Anthony Bergin.
Do read this bloggers and inundate The Australian newspaper with letters to the editor condemning this muckraker…………maybe he’s doing a samy & wants to make a quick buck compliments of the ig coupsters.
Offer carrots, not censure
AUSTRALIA is getting nowhere in its policy towards Fiji and is losing regional credibility. We should change tack. Ever since military commander Frank Bainimarama seized control in 2006, Australia has condemned the coup, imposed wide travel bans, mobilised regional opposition and demanded a quick return to democracy. All to no avail.
Our failure was demonstrated again by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith’s visit to Fiji recently, along with his ministerial counterparts from five other Pacific states.
Bainimarama refused to budge on the key issue raised by the ministers. He will break his promise and won’t hold elections by March 2009. The coup culture looks to be deeply entrenched. The timetable for elections will instead be decided by progress in the political dialogue process he has initiated within Fiji. And progress will be measured by how long it takes for everyone else to agree with his vision of Fiji’s future. Whatever changes he offers, the unspoken reservation is that the military can step back in again any time it feels like it.
If necessary, Bainimarama will tolerate Fiji’s expulsion from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth as the price of his independence. Fiji has, after all, been expelled from the Commonwealth before. Anyway, it’s hard to see how such actions would assist political dialogue with Suva.
All the while Fiji suffers. The coup has hit the Fiji economy hard. The European Union has withheld hundreds of millions of dollars promised for the sugar industry. The global financial crisis will hit Fiji even harder. Bainimarama, meanwhile, has raided the national treasury for funds to keep his troops happy and awarded himself $184,400 in back pay for leave not taken since 1978. Because Fiji suffers, the region suffers. Fiji is home to regional and international organisations serving the whole Pacific.
Australia needs a fresh approach that emphasises the carrots we will give after Fiji returns to democracy. For a start, we should stop insisting on March 2009 as the deadline for elections, at the same time offering a productive partnership with Australia for a return to democracy some time after that.
We should look again at our bilateral aid program. We don’t give much direct aid to Fiji – less than $30 million a year – on the grounds that it has the Pacific’s most sophisticated economy and can look after itself. If that was true in the past, it’s much less true now.
Fiji’s water supply systems, hospitals and schools no longer set the standard in the region.
In the spirit of the Rudd Government’s new Pacific Partnerships for Development, Australia should commit itself to a five-year aid partnership with Fiji aimed at restoring that country’s development pre-eminence in the Pacific. The focus should not be on good governance. Fijians have heard enough of that from us. We should offer practical assistance to renew vital infrastructure in water, power, health and education. That partnership, conditional on Fiji holding elections by 2010, should be aimed at consolidating the democratic system by offering tangible evidence of its benefits.
At a time when Australia is committed to increasing development assistance, the Rudd Government should be contemplating a democracy aid package to Fiji worth about $100million a year over five years. This would be less than half of what we are spending in Solomon Islands.
We should reconsider the travel bans. They cast a wide net over Fiji citizens who might contemplate serving the interim Government in any way and prevent many from travelling to Australia. The EU bans travel by about 160 associates of Robert Mugabe’s odious regime, whereas, by some estimates, Australia’s ban on Bainimarama’s Government affects more than 1000 people. For all Fiji’s problems, it can hardly be compared with Zimbabwe and does not deserve harsher treatment.
Sanctions look good in Canberra. In Suva they enable Bainimarama to depict Fiji as the injured party. They allow him to say, as he did this month, that he will not be deterred, no matter how cruel travel sanctions might be to some of the country’s poor, young and innocent. We should relax the wider travel bans immediately as a gesture of goodwill and undertake to abolish them all as soon as a reasonable election date is set.
For the moment, they should remain only for the small circle of people around Bainimarama.
We should promise the people of Fiji access to our Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme once democracy returns. So far, Australia has pointedly excluded Fiji because of the coup while offering seasonal work visas to people from Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu. A democratic Fiji deserves access to our labour market.
Fiji’s armed forces will remain central to the country’s fortunes. Australia should undertake to restore Fiji’s involvement in regional peacekeeping and to lobby at the UN for Fiji’s increased participation in peacekeeping internationally once democracy returns. We should follow the British example and recruit citizens from Fiji for the Australian Defence Force. This is win-win: it would help to ease our military’s recruitment and retention problems.
We need to ensure that the good things Bainimarama wants aren’t lost because he advocates them. One of those is to change the electoral system. Under the constitution, race determines eligibility to stand or vote in 46 of Fiji’s 71 parliamentary seats. It’s as if Australia had electorates specifically for citizens of Chinese, Vietnamese and Lebanese origin, where only people of that ethnic background could cast a vote or be elected. Abolishing racial voting is enshrined in Bainimarama’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress. It’s a blueprint that he claims has the support of 90per cent of Fijians.
In fact the charter has much less support than that and is far more contentious. Without supporting the charter, Australia should applaud the move towards a race-blind voting system and work with the interim Fiji Government on constitutional ways of introducing it for the next elections. Most ethnic Fijians no longer cling to communal voting for protection against the old “Indian threat”. They have become the clear majority in Fiji and their numbers alone will bring electoral success. The original reason given for communal voting – the minority status of indigenous Fijians in their own country – has disappeared.
Much is at stake both for Fiji and the region. We don’t want Fiji to crumble into a tin-pot dictatorship. Nor do Fiji’s Pacific neighbours, who need Fiji to be prosperous and stable. The time has come, however, for Australia, working with its regional friends, to embrace a new policy approach more likely to bring about Fiji’s return to democracy and economic growth.
Anthony Bergin is director of research programs at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. These are personal views.
Lose Mai Ragone!
Bloggers dont forget to register on www.solivakasama.org because our smart strategies beginning next year will be lobbying Governments about their citizens involved in treason in Fiji and people like John Samy lobbying his former employer like the ADB to ensure, they do not touch him again for the rest of his natural life!