Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yellow Bucket - a Suva response to the past week

The Yellow Bucket is a column, sometimes humorous, sometimes cynical, about life in Fiji, particularly Suva.

From the Yellow Bucket (kava bucket) at Fiji Village – part of their response to the past week in Suva:

To quote the Acting Commander Teleni “we reserve the right to yell and scream”. Hopefully the Government has learnt that for the moment, the best policy is to develop selective hearing, keep channels open but ignore the extraordinary statements.

Over time hopefully the foreign media will learn that this is a repeat of the popular fable “the Commander who cried wolf” and realize that this is no longer a story.

Sadly this current cycle of bluster started at a time when Howard and Clark were in Fiji for the Forum. Combined with a slow news patch (no great scandals at home and the footy season is over) and Peter Foster taking his dive, it meant that Fiji stuck out on the media radar.

Once the foreign media circus arrives they have got to generate something exciting for back home. Running a “life is normal” story isn’t going to justify the expense budget.

Don’t get us wrong, we don’t blame the foreign media and their interesting interpretations of Fiji politics. We spend hours in debate around the bucket trying to cover all the angles, trying to summarize the complexities in a 60 or 90 second sound bite.
Tragically the message to tourists and foreign investors is once again one of instability. They have an image that the military represents an erratic rogue element within Fiji society, one that they can’t factor into risk analysis with any certainty. The conclusion is then inevitable “nice place not worth the risk”.

For tourists particularly from our core markets there is a growing resilience to these dramas. Many know that the tourists areas have never and will never be affected but at the same time the fear generated by the publicity is real and will affect bookings short term. This is a huge price to pay for some ill tempered remarks.

This brings us to our final conclusion. What has been the over riding sentiment around the yellow bucket this week? WE ARE ANGRY! Angry that as tax payers now paying 15% VAT we have to pay the salaries of all these characters as they tear down everything that we have worked so hard to build and for what, so they can feel important strutting around in the world media.

We just can’t believe that for all their efforts the military is rewarded with a $10 million dollar INCREASE in the budget AND that they still getting a higher allocation than the Police. Meanwhile we navigate disintegrating roads and struggle to get water in our taps. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
More on our frustrations next week when we tackle the Budget!

Another look
We hear Peter Foster’s hunger strike and all the drama generated by mummy dearest has proved quite convenient. It has allowed Foster to remain effectively under lock and key without being charged giving local and international police time to finalize charges relating to apparently to various international money laundering ventures.

As an expert on slimming products Foster will shortly be able to sample the efficacy of the Fiji version dhal bhat and tea and cassava. It seems to have worked wonders on the coup convicts!
So, what is the response of many people in Suva?

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