Sunday, September 24, 2006

Frank was quiet, now he's speaking again

from Peceli
from Fiji SunArmy outburst ‘on US advice’
Stay out of our affairs: Beddoes


Military Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday said his warning of a return to cannibalism if divisive Bills continue to be pushed by greedy and selfish people in power was based on the advice of an American army general. Commodore Bainimara-ma said he was motivated to speak out against the Qoliqoli Bill by US General John Brown’s challenge during last week’s Pacific army management seminar (PAMS) in Nadi that divisive issues “should not be faced with politeness but with honesty”.

“In Fijian, it is vosa vakadodonu. It is addressing something that is wrong right there and then rather than holding back or keeping quiet about it,” he told the Fiji Sun.

His comments that Fijians may find themselves in grass skirts and in pagan beliefs if such Bills are made law was met with condemnation by religious and political organisations. etc..
It's interesting that after a long silence, the Army Commander, Frank Bainimarama is speaking again, after the white paper has been passed. Now he's comfortable to say his thing again. The question we have to ask is what is his motive in saying it in Fijian to a group of secondary school cadets at their passing out parade. Or he wants to get into the newspapers again. I don't think he should pass on the attention to someone else for his speaking up.

Without doubt the Qoliqoli Bill has a lot of complications and to me it has to be deferred and certainly talked about. Perhaps he means that mataqalis will argue with one another on who owns what and their will be greedy intentions. Like some of the concerns about NLTB and they are even critizing Ratu Sukuna now.

Maybe Frank Bainimarama should make up his mind. Does he want to be Army Commander or does he want to be a politician. As a citizen of Fiji, Frank has the right to give his opinion of course.

In Macuata we too have a dilemma about the qoliqoli areas. We know that we own an area, yet who really claims it, the mataqali or the yavusa?


Anonymous said...

The biggest issue with the Qoliqoli Bill is the uncertainty that it has and will bring to the tourism industry. There is, in fact, no clear and objective formula included where the loss of fishing rights is outlined in the Bill. The Bill simply states that tourism operators or others involved in commercial ventures should simply go and work something out with the Qoliqoli Owners. I also know of many situations where recreational users, ie people, like myself, who use the Qoliqoli areas for personal recreation like surfing who are being asked to pay for this right. This is simply illegal under the current version of the Bill. I'm all for an inclusive approach to tourism especially here in Fiji where the culture is such a huge part of the interest in visiting Fiji. It's just the uncertainty that the Qoliqoli Bill will bring to the small resort and tourism operations (which most are) and which unfortunately will lead to certain situations where unrealistic compensation will be sought.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Yes, I have heard that visitors are being harassed to pay $20 to go surfing etc. This is in Kadavu. This is surely illegal under the current law. I don't know about other places.
It is against the norm of Fijians being hospitable when unreasonable demands are being made on tourists. I know there's a feeling at times that local people are exploited but this qoliqoli bill may have consequences that will really spoil tourism as well as the reputation of the people of Fiji.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the timing of this Qoliqoli Bill should arise in parallel with the progress of Tourism developments on Macuata.

Is the government witholding crucial information on the prospects of 'black gold' as opposed to the 'green gold' of Babasiga from yester-year perhaps? Is the WWF 'tabu' areas pronounced by the Tui Macuata (For which he received a UN prize for at UNHQ, NY) really to conserve our marine life for future generations?

I'm only speculating as a member of the once 'forgotten province'.

George said...

Qoliqoli ownership will be mainly vanua based. Personaly I can see this quite hard to administer as there are lot of problems in land owner by yavusa, expect the type of problems from Vanua ownerships.

Pandabonium said...

This kind of issue is critical. A clear understanding of property rights must be grasped before passing any such legislation. Otherwise it is merely a grab by who ever has the votes.

No one likes to hear this, but it is important: the peaking of oil production in the world, which is already causing war in the middle east and clashes between the developed and developing nations and the fossil fuel rich. (Think of the USA, Europe, Japan as consumers; Middle East, part of Africa, and Venezuela as reservoirs; China, SE Asia and India as the major developing consumers and Russia a combination of the three).

If Fiji pins its hopes on tourism, it will be bitterly disappointed in the years to come when transportation becomes ever more expensive. The Qoliqoli bill will not bring the riches some surely envision, though the PRINCIPAL of property rights is certainly worth discussing and coming to an agreement about (if not essential) but for other reasons than short term material gain.

In my humble opinion, the people of Fiji will be better served by looking to establish a sustainable future that is not reliant on outside sources.

No one likes that kind of talk, I know. They would rather dream of emulating the so-called 1st world countries who are busy burning up the world's legacy of fossil fuels. But it is chasing an illusion to do so and will result in a great deal of suffering.

What is happening now on a global scale has happened to many individual civilisations in the past. In the South Pacific is has happened on Pitcairn, Manga Reva, Rapa Nui, and other places. Over use of resouces resulting in collapse.

While the average person in Fiji might be happy with a simpler, sustainable life that can be handed down to the next generation in tact, I fear that those who make the decisions are motivated too much by greed to have the long term vision necessary to avoid calamity.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

If the qoliqoli is appropriated to the vanua and not the small mataqalis that makes sense in that all the nearby families can fish in the whole area, but if they are actually looking for compensation in the form of cash, then how to dish it out?
I really think that people do not 'own' land or sea, but are caretakers, but that's a whole philosophical question.

Peceli can respond to you later perhaps. He's watching a DFAT speaker on ABC at present - an interesting spin on global and neighbourhood matters. (Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Anonymous said...

Panda, miau sa bula sia! Please allow me to make further speculations following your post.

While I respect your opines, I can see how you have pulled together the speculations I posted earlier on 'black gold' and 'tourism' on Macuata to zone in on the importance of understanding the 'principal of property rights' over it's effects on the Qoliqoli Bill.

I totally agree with you that Fiji needs a 'sustainable future not relying on outside sources'. Indeed, it's a dream I have for my nation, vanua and yasana.

But I am afraid, I feel that in reality we are 'done for' (ie) made to live with the decisions and the legacy of those who lived before us.

By this I mean, looking back to history and seeing how our forefathers ceded the Fiji islands to Great Britain in 1874, gaining independence in 1970 and 3 days later joining the UN (13 Oct,1970).

Have we not already surrended our sovereignty like other 191 member-states to the UN?

I ask this question because everything that basically involves our human livelihood is required to 'meet the STANDARD' or be 'COMPLIANT with' for instance; Property Rights (WIPO), Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS),Working Conditions (ILO), Health standards (WHO), Weather issues(IMO), monetary issues (World Bank, IMF, Trade (WTO), Conventions concerning the Environment (UNEP), Human rights (HRCouncil) etc etc.

You will notice that these bodies are all the working tentacles of the UN and there is a global trend to comply with what the UN 'dictates', whether it be in the economic, social or political circles.

Our history books tell us that the UN (formerly League of Nations) was formed on the ruins of 2 World Wars in the hope that she brings Peace to this world. After 60 years in action ; there has been increased violence from all regions of the world, people are now more insecure than before, millions are dying through the scourges of war, and life-threatening pandemics, corruption is rife along with drug and human trafficking -isn't there something wrong somewhere? Where is the Peace that the UN is mandated to achieve?!

Maybe, Commodore Frank Bainimarama is right after all about his concerns of the Qoliqoli Bill becoming legislation.

For my part, I think that whether we endorse the Bill or not; we have to accept that this world is heading towards the 'New World Order' under the guise of 'globalization'; which begs my next question.

Is the UN perhaps, the political arm for setting the stage, and preliminary requirements of this so called economic order?

If the UN is only the usher or puppet, then who is the Leader pulling the strings?

God Bless Caumatalevu, and God Bless Fiji.

"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him, must do so in spirit and in Truth"

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

To Anonymous - can I call you Ratu Noni or something!
Wow! Globalisation is a topic that really gets people talking. I don't go to the protests but some of my friends do when there's a meeting.
I guess for Fiji - you can't change history - but there have to be ways to stay authentic to being Fijian without being manipulated and manoevered so much. The U.N. as an ideal sounds great but in practical terms it is a bureacracy tilting over. Certainly small nations like Tuvalu, what chance have they got these days?

Pandabonium said...

Anonymous -

Vinaka. I agree with you for the most part, but I'm not ready to resign myself the new world order (though I do think my native USA is lost for a long time to come).

I still retain hope. For one thing, there is resistance in many places. There are limits and weaknesses in those who wish to impose it. And I don't think the "new world order" is monolithic - there are factions. Maybe too deep a topic to get into detail about in these comments.

In general I think we're on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, bula si'a. I'd rather that you knew me as a 'Gone ni Caumatalevu'. My parents are both from Macuata - a born and bred 'tawa-vanua'.

Panda, I'm glad that we're generally 'dancing to the same tune'.


Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Gone ni Caumatalevu,
Bula si'a. Nice to read your contributions and your understanding of the values we have in Fiji. I hope I can meet you one day.

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