Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Coup Supporter Eni Faleomaega Way off the Mark AGAIN

6 September 2010

3 September 2010
States News Service
(c) 2010 States News Service 

The following information was released by the office of American Samoa Rep. Eni Faleomavaega:

I want to thank the editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer, Sano Malifa, for allowing me the opportunity to share my views in the newspaper last week on matters critical to the Pacific region. I also want to thank Mata’afa Keni Lesa for his time and hard work in conducting the interview.

And while I appreciate Russell Hunter’s compliments in his commentary on August 10 regarding my position on U.S. policy toward the Pacific Islands generally, I must take issue with his characterization of my understanding of Fiji as “one dimensional.” I am currently on my fourth trip to Fiji since the constitutional crisis of last year. As on previous trips, I am holding discussions with representatives of all sides of the issues facing Fiji including the heads of the Catholic, Methodist and Mormon Churches; deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase; Pacific Island ambassadors based in Suva; the U.S. Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce; the Pacific Islands Forum; and friends from all aspects of the Fijian community, in addition to interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Given my work in Fiji, I fully recognize that the problems the country confronts are multidimensional, resulting from its unique colonial history, complex ethnic mix, and chiefly, provincial, religious and family rivalries.

Indeed, I have been trying to combat the one-dimensional approach taken by Australia and New Zealand, which for most of the past twenty years of political turmoil in Suva has consisted simply of economic sanctions and visa restrictions on Fiji and of prodding the rest of the world to embrace similar punitive measures. The two countries have worked to convince the Commonwealth to oust Fiji, to have the EU shelve its assistance to Fiji’s sugar industry, to move the Pacific Islands Forum to suspend Suva’s membership and to persuade the United Nations to limit Fiji’s participation in peacekeeping operations.

The Only Relevant Dimension appropriate for Fiji is Coercive Diplomacy to compel Respect for the Rule of Law, Basic Human Rights and Democratic Principles NOW! 

Yet, other countries’ views and policies on Fiji differ from those of Australia and New Zealand. As Sir Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister said in an interview conducted in Fiji while he participated in the “Engaging with the Pacific” meeting hosted by Fiji’s interim government last month, “We [are] playing our cards differently because we believe that we belong to the region. We are Melanesians and it’s our tradition to help each other.” His views on engaging Fiji are shared by others in the region such as Dr. Feleti Sevele, the Prime Minister of Tonga, who last year questioned the purpose of Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), saying that it was “pointless” to ostracize Fiji. Indeed, at the most recent meeting of the Forum in Vanuatu two weeks ago, there was open discussion of Fiji officially joining the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus regional free trade negotiations inaugurated by PIF leaders last year.

Expulsion from the Pacific Islands Forum is not pointless, it is CRUCIAL and is the underlying basis of membership, that is what the founding principles of the PIF was established to achieve, that is, respect for democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law.

The methods of Canberra and Wellington, which have been in place for years, have proved not just ineffective, but counterproductive. The sanctions have punished average Fijians economically, and by making life in Fiji more difficult, Canberra and Wellington may well be sowing the seeds of civil unrest and violence. Moreover, neither Australia nor New Zealand has taken similar action against Indonesia, a country committing human rights atrocities in West Papua including torture and extrajudicial killings. In addition, as Australia and New Zealand attempt to strong-arm Fiji into complying with their dictates, China has moved in to fill the vacuum, offering grants, concessionary loans and enhanced trade opportunities.

Sanctions have not punished ordinary Fijians, sanctions apply ONLY to the illegal military junta, the poverty of the people of Fiji is directly attributable to the military junta's disrespect for the rule of law, human rights and democratic principles that caused our economy to collapse because of their misgovernance. Investors CANNOT operate in an unstable, uncertain, political and legal environment that does not have a competent independent impartial judiciary, that does not have a Constitution that guarantees commercial PROPERTY RIGHTS and in the event of dispute, to litigate and seek redress by way of judicial review or otherwise the arbitrary unilateral coercive oppressive inequitable executive decisions under the guise of decrees of the military junta. 
Interim Prime Minister Bainimarama has just returned from an extended trip to Shanghai where he said last week that China “is the only nation that can help assist Fiji in its reforms because of the way the Chinese think. They think outside the box… We need infrastructure, we need water, we need electricity. Australia and New Zealand and America, none of those nations are going to provide that. We know that now because of their policies towards us so let's forget about these nations.”

Of course, as a country with global economic reach, China’s efforts to provide economic and financial assistance to island nations are neither new nor unique. After all, China is also a part of the Pacific community, just as much as Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
Clearly, interim Prime Minister Bainimarama has taken a number of unfortunate steps and made some inopportune comments in recent months. But we should not forget that he has not altered his plans to draft a constitution reflecting the country’s unique culture and history, or his promises to enact electoral reforms that will establish equal suffrage and hold free, fair and democratic elections by 2014, all with the aim of ending Fiji’s coup culture once and for all. I believe the United States should take into account the interim Prime Minister’s stated intent. Further, the United States should better appreciate that the interests of Australia and New Zealand may diverge – sometimes significantly – from those of Washington.

Stated Intent is irrelevant, Frank Bainimarama is a chronic liar and has reneged on all his promises including his promise that he would step down as Prime Minister when they LOST in the Qarase Court of Appeal ruling declaring their government illegal. The only road-map and reforms are to achieve ONE PURPOSE, "REGIME SECURITY" and eventually take us to Potemkin Democratization.

Given those differences, and given the failure of the policies of Australia and New Zealand, I believe that the United States should engage rather than impose sanctions against Fiji. Washington should offer Suva the resources to facilitate and accelerate reform of its electoral process, redraft its constitution and better ensure successful elections. In addition, Washington should work with other nations from the region to assist all sides in Fiji in building strong institutions capable of sustaining democracy and peace.

Australian and New Zealand foreign policy on Fiji has NOT failed. It is working and it is a PAIN for the illegal regime. Fiji had STRONG INSTITUTIONS that's what our neighbours Australia and New-Zeland and Britain and France and Japan have been doing for a long long time building our human capacity and our institutions, that's the reason why our civil service is still able to operate for four years under a high school drop out!!!, because the institutions and systems and procedures developed to sustain our statehood remain intact, so that even a monkey can follow the procedures and tick the boxes despite the abuse by the regime of our exhausted financial resources from our Superfund.  

Washington should also offer to help strengthen the country’s economy – and hence Fiji’s long-term stability – through the promotion of bilateral trade and investment, particularly in its vital tourism industry, in a way that is environmentally sustainable and responsive to local needs.

That's why PACER PLUS needs to be signed first so that the USA TPP with ANZ can consolidate the PACIFIC!  

Furthermore, Washington should offer its premier universities and its leading nongovernmental organizations, which have the expertise, the experience and the ability to provide the sort of assistance Fiji may seek as it moves beyond the current difficulties in its political development toward democracy and political stability.

While you are still "contemplating" on offering access to premier universities the UK, EU, Australia and NZ have been been doing this since the beginning of modern time in FIJI that's why even with the sanctions, in 2010 Fijians are still on scholarships in these countries so that they can come back and strengthen the civil service.  

Beyond aiding a friend during a critical period – a worthy endeavor in and of itself – greater U.S. engagement with Fiji would provide an important demonstration of the Obama Administration’s declared interest in developing a proactive and sustained approach to the Pacific region.
Toward that end, after some 15 years of absence from the region, I am pleased that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will soon reopen offices in the Pacific, both in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific, Kurt Campbell, have already made progress in enhancing U.S. relations with Pacific Island nations, and I commend them for their work. I believe they have demonstrated the sort of nuanced and multidimensional understanding of Fiji and of the Pacific Island region that has been sorely lacking from U.S. policy for far too long.

The ONLY reason the USAID office is back in Fiji Eni is to exercise the United States "Responsibility to Prevent" so that they can with ANZ exercise the "Responsibility to Protect" when the TIME IS RIGHT ENI. It's all about CHINA!!!!, it is NOT a "Multidimensional Understanding". It has and will always be ONE DIMENSION explained in 3D.

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