Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aid or No aid, Fiji is Moving Backwards at Full Speed


Jose Barroso

Fiji Times News - 11 September

EU commission president Jose Barroso said aid to FIJI was suspended because: 

the Fiji Government had violated the Cotonou Agreement, which affirmed the primacy of democracy and political status across the Pacific.

"The violation of this agreement is the reason the European Union suspended direct development assistance to the Fiji Government in 2007.

"A country's path to democracy can only be made by the citizens themselves."

"In this regard, the European Union can and will support efforts to bring about peaceful change, and to ensure that the people of Fiji do not pay an intolerable price for the lack of progress in restoring democracy," he said at the PIF in New Zealand on Wednesday.

THE recent announcement by the European Union of the continuing suspension of aid to the Fiji sugar industry is to be expected and is no cause for alarm, says a senior Government official.

The Ministry of Sugar's permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said the statement by European Commission president Jose Manuel Durao Barroso to Pacific Island Forum leaders in Auckland of the suspension of aid to the tune of 80 million Euros since 2006 was "nothing new" and "to be expected".

"We have known that the aid was not forthcoming for many years now, since 2006, but this has not stopped us from doing what is necessary to ensuring the sugar industry survives and forges ahead," Lt-Col Vaniqi said.

He said the Government was committed to meeting its social obligations to the 200,000 people dependent on the sugar industry, with or without aid.

"We will not be derailed from our efforts. Rather than wait around for a handout, we are moving ahead with our reforms."

"Government has poured $123 million into fixing the mills, replanting and improving yield.

"The results, so far, speak for themselves. The mills have improved considerably, we have a sugar consultant from Mauritius here to help us improve yield and two sugar shipments have left our shores ahead of schedule,"  Lt-Col Vaniqi said.

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