Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid – Image Credit: AFP
The Real Survivor Fiji – European Resolve
The USA lite of the European Union, where the Commissioners of a top-down replicate of the United States try to create a meaning for existence beyond economic trade, has finally had enough of the strongman tactics in Fiji.
It has been since December 2006 when the commander in charge of the military forces in Fiji decided that he should be in charge of the affaires of the island nation and staged a coup that displaced the duly elected Government of Fiji.
This excerpted from Wikipedia –
Citing corruption in the government, Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, staged a military takeover on December 5, 2006 against the Prime Minister that he himself had installed after the 2000 coup. There had been two military coups in 1987 and one in 2000 when the military had taken over from elected governments led by or dominated by Indo Fijians. On this occasion the military took over from an indigenous Fijian government which it alleged was corrupt and racist. The Commodore took over the powers of the President and dissolved the parliament, paving the way for the military to continue the take over.
The coup was the culmination of weeks of speculation following conflict between the elected Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, and Commodore Bainimarama. Bainamarama had repeatedly issued demands and deadlines to the Prime Minister. At particular issue was previously pending legislation to pardon those involved in the 2000 coup. Despite intervention to reconcile the parties by the President, Vice President and Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand there was no willingness to make concessions on either side. This therefore failed to resolve the crisis.
Bainimarama named Jona Senilagakali caretaker Prime Minister. The next week Bainimarama said he would ask the Great Council of Chiefs to restore executive powers to President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo. On December 6, Bainimarama declared a state of emergency, and warned that he would not tolerate any violence or unrest.
Following the coup, the Commonwealth of Nations held an emergency meeting in London, where they declared Fiji's membership had been suspended. On December 9, the military rulers advertised for positions in the Government, including cabinet posts, in a national newspaper. They stated people wishing to apply must be "of outstanding character", have no criminal record, and never have been bankrupt.
On January 4, 2007, the military announced that it was restoring executive power to President Iloilo, who made a broadcast endorsing the actions of the military. The next day, Iloilo named Bainimarama as the interim Prime Minister, indicating that the Military was still effectively in control.
In the wake of the take over, reports have emerged of intimidation of some of those critical of the interim regime. It is alleged that two individuals have died in military custody since December 2006. These deaths have been investigated and suspects charged but not yet brought to court.
Following ongoing criticism from neighbours, specifically Australia and New Zealand, the New Zealand High Commissioner Michael Green was expelled from Fiji in mid June 2007, in the aftermath of restrictive emergency regulations having been lifted (recognised as a generally positive development by outside observers).
On September 6, 2007, Commodore Frank Bainimarama said Fiji's military declared again a state of emergency as he believed ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was engaged in destabilization efforts when he returned to Suva after 8 months of exile on his home island Vanuabalavu in Lau, Elections were tentatively set on March 2009.
The interim Government set up an anti corruption Commission which have received numerous complaints and allegations, also there have been a number of high profile dismissals from government and associated industry. The anti corruption body however, has yet to successfully prosecute anyone for alleged corruption.
And so on … and so on … and so on!
It is as if taking over an democratically elected Government through a military take-over wasn't corrupt enough.
Basically, Commodore Frank likes “being the king” and really doesn’t have an interest in free and open elections that a democracy requires. The people of Fiji be damned to the power and will of Frank Bainimarama.
So now we have these revelations on the situation from the European Union.
In May, 2007, Commissioner Michel has renewed his efforts to create a more effective dialogue with Civil Society, starting with an Open Forum with civil society that took place last March 20 th. This resulted in the establishment of a Civil Society Advisory Group, of which Bernard Petit (Deputy Director DG Development) is the chairman. The group has until now held two meetings, on the 4 th May and the 19 th June. Furthermore, on 1st February, Commissioner Michel sent a letter to the EC Delegations and stressed the importance the Commission gives to the reinforcement of the role of civil society in development cooperation which is stated in the Revised Cotonou Agreement and (doc 1 : the European Consensus for Development) . He encourages the participation of a wide range of non state actors as a priority. Image and Caption Credit: ec.europa.eu
This excerpted from the AFP -
EU doubts Fiji commitment to election deadline
SUVA (AFP) — Saturday, July 12, 2008
The European Union expressed doubt Saturday that Fiji will meet a February 2009 deadline for democratic elections and said the "absence of democratic rule" was a cause for deep concern.
At stake is the restoration of millions of dollars in EU aid, which depends on Fiji keeping its commitment to return to democracy following the December 2006 coup.
The European Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, said the concerns included "the vulnerability of rule of law and respect for human rights" when democratic control is removed.
"I can never condone a military take-over," Michel said in a statement after the completion of a fact-finding report by a European Union (EU) delegation which visited Fiji last month.
"The EU expects the interim government to meet commitments it has taken in these areas and to ensure elections not later than the end of February 2009," the statement said.
"Meeting these commitments will allow the EU to deliver its assistance programme, but there is deep concern that the election time-table is at risk of slipping."
Bainimarama also fuelled doubts about meeting the election deadline commitment when last month he suspended meetings with Pacific Forum officials through a working party aimed at facilitating the polls.
A group of six Pacific foreign ministers are to travel to Fiji next week to continue external pressure for a return to democracy.
"Fiji's interim government recently said it would like greater engagement with forum members, and this visit could help Fiji move forward towards elections," New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.
This whole situation between the coup Government of Fiji and the European Union is beginning to feel like a really bad script proposal for the movie, “Team America”. The EU has finally issued its very, very harsh memo ala the Hans Blix character threat to the short little dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-il.
The funny thing about their harsh memo though is that the Commissioners of the EU seem to be more interested in re-establishing the socialist assistance programme than the re-establishment of rights to the citizens of Fiji.