Saturday, May 07, 2011

Fiji Stance Dangerous - Says Hypocritical Kiwi Businessman

Sai's Comments:
  • Below is a typically shallow and selfish insight from a businessman who is only interested in guarding his interests with no regard whatsoever for the plight of the ordinary Fiji citizens who have been living under a repressive and illegal regime since December 2006. 
  • It does not matter to him that Fijians have been tortured and killed under the orders of the illegal leader himself. There is no press freedom to report on what exactly is happening in Fiji let alone what the illegal regime's use of the resources of the State. 
  • Such callous disregard for the plight of Fijians must be labelled as immoral, uncaring and brutally self serving. And it has no place in today's world, let alone from a Kiwi who undoubtedly enjoys all the freedom and rights Fijians have been deprived of since 2006.
Posted on Intelligentsiya - 05 May 2011 

New Zealand and Australia need to urgently review their stance on Fiji or risk losing their influence in the Pacific, according to a well known Auckland businessman. Tim Preston, who was Managing Director of ASB Securities before retiring in 2006 after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, says the current stand being taken by the New Zealand and Australian Governments against the present Military Regime is not working and they are playing a dangerous game by continuing to shun Fiji. 

"While what is happening in Fiji may not fit well with our ideologies, the reality is that the current regime in Fiji has probably saved the country from collapse," Preston says. "And the longer we keep our heads in the sand, the less relevant we will become for Fiji." Preston says other countries, particularly China, are starting to take a keen interest in Fiji and some serious money is flowing into the country from Asia. This is likely to gain momentum over the coming years and as it does, New Zealand and Australia's influence over the region will dissipate. 

He says Fiji has some key strengths such as tourism and its fisheries and has historically been regarded as a strategically important country because of its location in the Pacific. However, this seems to have been forgotten by our respective Governments but Preston says it certainly hasn't been lost on countries like China. "There is a growing stream of Government officials and investors pouring into Fiji from Asia and they are liking what they see." 

Preston, who has property interests in Fiji, says before the Military takeover by Commodore Frank Bainimarama in 2006, the country was being crippled by corruption and poor economic policies. However, under the current regime, big inroads have been made into stamping out corruption and the current business environment is far more transparent and investor friendly and he says long awaited infrastructure projects are now getting underway. 

As well, given the backdrop of the world financial crisis, Preston says Fiji has weathered the economic storm relatively well compared to some other countries and there is a real desire to address the economic challenges ahead. "We seem to be preaching democracy at all costs. But have we really stopped to think that maybe the current Military Regime was exactly what was required for Fiji at this point in its history and what the consequences would have been had the country continued down its old path? " 

"The democracy they had before was not really a true democracy anyway as the political parties stood mainly on a racial platform," he said. Preston believes when the timing is right, Fiji will return to a better, truer democracy and rather than pursuing its current policies, New Zealand and Australia should be working alongside the current regime to achieve this. "Otherwise, we can kiss goodbye to any influence we may want to have in the region in the future."
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