Monday, June 07, 2010

A cheap holiday in other people's misery

Good morning. I'm writing from Fiji in a glorious heat. We've taken a week off and have escaped what is shaping up to be a rather aggressive winter and have come here for a treat.
Good morning. I'm writing from Auckland in bed. The weather is not that smart but we have a representative system of government, for the time being at least. But what about that
Commodore Frank Bainimarama?
Well, on the odd occasion when his name has come up, and it hasn't very often, I hear nothing but good. People seem to feel that he is doing well, rooting out corruption in the army and the police. There is consternation at the attitude of Australia and New Zealand. Bainimarama has made transport to schools free.
Or, "I don't know about dictatorship but at least he has made the kids run on time."

At this point, gentle reader, I was going to interrupt this rant with the promo for Bananarama's Cruel Summer; such is the dazzling word play and incisive satire I give you on the Fundy Post. However, to my dismay I found that the copyright holders for the song have gone round YouTube and disabled the audio. Obviously they don't want you to hear the song because you might want to go out and buy it. But you are old enough to remember it, so you can save yourself a few cents and sing along to the visuals:

Home taping: it's killing music.

Anyway, back to the story, the one in which Mr Paul Holmes - a political commentator - goes on holiday to a country with more politics than it needs. Fortunately, there are lots of wealthy white people there, so he does not have to talk to any locals. But he has heard that everything is fine, that the Commodore is sorting it all out. Give Mr Holmes a break: he is on holiday after all.

So, let us leave Mr Holmes to lie in the sun and look for news about Fiji from the cynical workaholics of Radio New Zealand International, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the New Zealand Herald and the New Zealand Press Association.

RNZI: Fiji’s interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says he will have no more dealings with the Pacific Islands Forum ministerial group tasked with liaising with Fiji.This comes after the group reported that the situation in Fiji is worsening. Commodore Bainimarama says the people are happy with the regime and foreign leaders should talk with the people on the ground.

RNZI again: The leader of the Fiji military regime claims the people of Fiji are urging him to delay his plans for elections by 2014.

ABC: The decision by Fiji's military regime to retract an invitation to the Forum's Ministerial Contact Group to visit the country is now a familiar pattern of behaviour according to a political observer. Interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama cancelled Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola's invitation extended at last weeks meeting of the Contact Group in Auckland. Fiji born Brij Lal has been following events from his desk at the Australian National University and says this is not the first time the Commodore has cancelled invitations for observers to go to Fiji.

NZH: Pacific Forum ministers meeting in Auckland yesterday were told Fiji's record has worsened "across the board" since they met last year. But they have decided it is still important to keep contact with the military-installed regime and have accepted an invitation to visit in the next month or two, for what will be the third visit of the ministerial contact group. Fiji was suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum last year and its bilateral relationships with Australia and New Zealand have been strained after a series of diplomatic expulsions.

NZPA Fiji will remain suspended from the Pacific Island Forum because no significant progress has been made in persuading its interim government to return to democracy, regional leaders say. The forum's ministerial contact group met in Auckland yesterday for an update on its attempts to talk the military regime of Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama into holding elections.

All that was just last week's news. Those with more curiosity and longer memories than Mr Holmes might recall a Media7 story from the distant time known as February 2009:

Come to Fiji and leave your principles behind. Enjoy the hospitality of profiteers and cronies. Forget the cares of the world: there is nothing in the papers; there are scarcely any journalists left. Relax and look the other way. As the headline says, there are fantasies for all on these islands.


harvestbird said...

I remember Bananarama as possessed of a post-teenage froideur to which the younger among us could only aspire. Those visuals, however, suggest I may have been wrong.

Robyn said...

Singing Bananas:

Lyndon said...

I feel I should apologise, and by now even I don't remember what half the references are about, but still:

Lyndon Hood: Bananarama Outstays Welcome