Fiji – There is hope for a future

This is a Guest post sent in by a loyal reader. I have only edited the parts that could be used to identify the author.

Fiji - New Chinese Embassy

Fiji - New Chinese Embassy

I read your blog about Fiji and agree with your comments. Attached is a photo of the new Chinese embassy that is being built by Chinese labourers on the waterfront in Queen Elizabeth Parade, Suva (The main road around the waterfront). Friends have just purchased the house next door (you can see the corner of its roof on the right hand side). China, Malaysia and India are the players in Fiji now.

Interesting – I didn?t know that you were born in Fiji. Are you still planning to visit? Fiji has so much potential in the future for so much ? if only NZ and Oz would understand how they think in Fiji.

I have just come back from two wonderful weeks in Fiji ? in Denarau, then time in Suva with friends, the Coral Coast area and then back to Denarau. I see that the NZ Herald is reporting that one of the main reasons why tourists are staying away from Fiji is because of the coup Fiji tourism taking hard hit.? Two years ago over 500 customers attended a conference. This year half that number attended ? not because of the coup, but because some customers can?t afford to travel at present and some businesses have closed because of the recession.

We found that the tourist spots in Denarau and Coral Coast had been taken over by Aussies. In fact the Coral Coast was pretty much booked out.

There was not a soldier in sight in any of the places I stayed.

Every where I went I questioned the grass root locals (rich, poor and in between) about the present situation in Fiji. There were a few against the Bainimarama government but the overwhelming majority told me very clearly that although the coup was seen as illegal it had to happen. They want the standard of living to improve in Fiji, to get rid of the elite (church and state) who are abusing the system and put a stop to the corruption that has plagued Fiji for decades. They said if it takes a military coup to do this – then so be it. One group of young men from Nadi told me to tell our Prime Minister that everything in Fiji is fine and he should come over to see ? they will give him a good time. They want New Zealanders to visit as they are very welcome.

I found that those few who were against Bainimarama were against him for legal reasons, or were Nationalists, or SDL supporters or some didn?t like the Bainimarama side or the Qarase side. If you are a legal person (such as a lawyer) living in Fiji you are in a bit of a moral and legal dilemma. The legalities of the situation always win with legal people.

The message came across clearly that the motives and goals of Bainimarama?s coup are right. Everyone I met is just getting on with life as normal.

Imported items are more expensive. Locals are now growing more of their food. There are a group of youths from a village near Lami who were always getting into trouble. They are now being kept busy planting crops. These youths are now too busy for any trouble.

I felt a real air of change happening in Fiji ? there is hope for a future. This story pretty much sums up the opinions and vibes I got from the people of the Fiji Islands I met over a two week period ? Indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian, European and those of mixed race.

I want to thank my reader for providing some real perspective on what is? or more to the point is not happening in Fiji. Interestingly you see Malaysia is taking advantage of the situation and Malaysia was one of those countries that voted to suspend Fiji from the Commonwealth. Malaysia is also one of the most intolerant countries in our region, persecuting homosexuals and christians on a regular basis.