Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coups cost Fiji $9.4b

ROBERT MATAU

Monday, December 10, 2007

The four coups in Fiji cost the country $9.4billion but the country and investors continued to recover and improve each time.

Ousted Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes made the comment while speaking to landowners in Waya, Yasawa, where he was chief guest at the naming ceremony of the Crystal Cove Resort on Waya on Saturday.

Mr Beddoes said the coups of 1987, 2000, 2001 and 2006 cost the people of Fiji over the past 20 years and based on the latest census, that it would cost $10,825 for every man, woman and child in Fiji as well as every unborn child over the next 10 years.

Mr Beddoes commended the Gacayan family for continuing with their investment in the former Sunset backpacker's resort with landowners at a time of uncertainty, saying it reflected their confidence in the people of Fiji and their belief that in time, Fiji would resolve most of its problems and move on to sustain recovery.

He said despite the setbacks Fiji encountered over the past 20 years through the four coups, it had always managed to recover and improve on its position, demonstrating a resilient and accommodating population, whose level of prosperity could be a lot higher today, if it were not for the thoughtless actions of a few.

He said when you wiped away the "ideological rhetoric" used to justify acts of treason against elected governments since 1987 and try to quantify the actual burden that coups pile on the people, it does not matter which side of the divide one falls.

"Whether you are for or against the events of December 5, 2006 does not really matter because we each carry the cost of the burden that coups bring," he said.

Mr Beddoes told the meeting that at a presentation to the Australia-Fiji Business Council, economist Doctor Warden Narsey had outlined his assessment of the lost income to the nation.

Using information from the presentation, Mr Beddoes told the gathering that in the tourism industry alone, $4.5billion had been lost by the country and that did not include the "multiplier effect". Mr Beddoes said when added to the overall economy the amount of Fiji's loss was a staggering $9.4billion.

He said they were the consequences brought about by the four coups and cost the people of Fiji a great amount of money and time.

Mr Beddoes said many of Fiji's problems remain unresolved today because of our inability to resolve issues and differences as mature adults through dialogue and discussion.

Instead, he said some opted for armed intervention as a means with which to deal with issues.

Mr Beddoes said if we had the maturity and willingness to talk our way through issues and problems affecting us, the $9.4billion loss caused by the coups could have been avoided. He said the funds could have been saved to pay off our national debt, eliminated the squatter problem by moving them to new sites and houses, improve our health services and upgrade hospitals to a par with New Zealand and Australia, remove roading and water problems, create all the employment opportunities that would reduce unemployment significantly and improve exports.

He said we would still have plenty left to help lift the overall standard of living for everyone.

Mr Beddoes was accorded a traditional ceremony of welcome by people who own the land where the resort is built

Proposed bills aren’t racist
www.fijivillage.com - 10 dec 2007

-Qarase Ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase stresses that the Qoliqoli, Indigenous Land Claims Tribunal and Reconciliation Bills are not racist.

Qarase said Interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama's interpretation that the proposed bills would divide the nation is a misconception. However Qarase said he cannot confirm at this stage on whether they will push ahead with the bills if they return to power.

However, speaking to Village News Bainimarama reiterated that he will ensure that the three bills never come back as they will divide the nation. The Interim Prime Minister also revealed that some businessmen had asked him to remove the Qarase government a few years ago as they were feeling threatened by Qarase racist policies.

But Bainimarama said he did not want to carry out a coup at that stage as he thought that Qarase would remove the bills. Bainimarama also reveals that NZ Foreign Minister, Winston Peters agreed with him that the Qoliqoli Bill was not a good idea for Fiji.

Meanwhile Qarase said Bainimarama should have reported the matter to police when the businesspeople asked him to remove the government.

No comments: