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By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

So iArse got the green light for his casinos.  What can this possibly bring about, other than the further ruination of our once-promising nation?  “Fiji Fantastic”, so the ads used to say. That possibility is now so far out of our reach it seems almost as though it never was.

Gambling. Readers may recall back in mid 2009 Dr Wadan Narsey released a far-reaching analysis into how badly the new illegal regime was performing.  Many others besides predicted how this regime would start rotting our infrastructure. Discombobulated Bubu hit the nail on the head with her Boiling Frog series. Solivakasama (under Kutu, as it was at the time) held many forum discussions on the true corruption of this illegitimate regime. Well, the regime is no longer even pretending to care about moral fibre, and is instead looking at gambling as an easy avenue to a quick buck. (iArse – will you never learn? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EASY MONEY!)

Let’s revisit the facts.

  1. Alleged corruption. When OmniVore illegally took control of our government, he claimed that he was doing so in order to root out corruption blah blah blah. [Anti-IIR bloggers will know that his actual motive was to avoid prosecution for the murder of the CRW soldiers who died in custody. Then Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes (arguably Fiji’s most successful PC) had compiled his dossier and handed it to the DPP’s office. OmniVore got wind of this, through his chum and co-conspirator the malodorous Chodokant, and threatened to hold a coup-d’etat. If only we’d sacked him when we had the chance!]
  2. Qarase Not Guilty. Since OmniVore took over the reigns of power, not one IIR allegation against the Qarase government has been brought to light, or proven. Not one.
  3. Economic death. Since OmniVore took over the reigns of power, Fiji’s economy has plummeted. Whereas under the democratically elected Qarase multi-party government our economy was not only thriving but growly steadily, OmniVore has only been able to keep the country afloat by under-the-table deals like selling off our foreign assets without declaring them (WTF happened to our embassy in New York?) or selling off our mineral, forestry or fisheries resources without declaring them. They are taking non-transparent loans from mainland China (which, as any switched-on African will tell you, is A Bad Idea), asking the IMF for ridiculous loans and essentially throwing our nation so badly into debt that any democratically elected government who comes in after them will have such an enormous and ingrained mess to clean up that it may not be achieved in our lifetime.
  4. Real corruption. OmniVore and his junta are self-appointed, and unelected. They have no reason to perform well at their jobs, and no-one to kick them out for poor results and for this reason, the REAL rot has set in, right from the top. They are systematically crippling our media, the fourth estate, from reporting what is really happening in our government. As the saying goes, the fish stinks from the head. iArse’s own mother has migrated to NZ to escape her son’s double dealings. Anyone who thought that corruption was bad under previous governments (let’s face it, Fiji’s politics has never been snowy white, but at least we had the option before to throw them out when they were really useless – like we did to Chodokant) is watching the IIR in real shock.
  5. Real rot. And now the rot sets in. Whereas before, Fiji’s crime problems stretched as far as home incursions, a fledgling drug trade in the hill tribes, prostitution in the main towns and of course unsustainable illegal fishing in our waters, we are now looking at an entirely new ball game. Fiji’s criminal underworld is now probably better organised than the government itself. Prostitution is all over the streets in any town within 5 hours’ journey of a Chinese workman (just enough time for him to – ahem – come, spend his money and return to work on his next shift). The drug trade has exploded to the point where every province now has a local drug lord who monitors the crop, keeps prying eyes at bay, tries to placate or neutralise the chiefs (some provinces, where a chief has died suspiciously before his or her time, there are tales told of foul play by the local drug lord). The unsustainable fishing has been able to move into broad daylight. Boat captains on the wharves hold clearly visible, bulging brown envelopes which are passed without question to officials who turn their blind eye to the portions of the haul that fall way over quota. How ironic is it that Fiji’s waters are at their most endangered under a naval officer? And without a free and unfettered media, we can only guess at the full extent of the rot.
  6. Gambling. And now, for iArse & OmniVore’s next chapter. Gambling. Not satisfied with the growth of organised crime, drugs, prostitution they now openly court the next addictive vice on their list. Gambling!

If you will forgive me for getting biblical for a moment, there is a story of the time Jesus found the moneychangers conducting their business in the temple of the Lord and, well, he basically lost it. Jesus’ passion, his righteous fury and the reported tantrum that followed, of overturning the tables, scattering the money to the floor, chasing them from what should have been hallowed, sacred and consecrated ground, has inspired believers, preachers, philosophers, artists and leaders alike. For the habitually reasonable and calm Jesus, this was the point at which he said ‘ENOUGH!’ and took a definite stand against the impending rot. Some scholars argue that it was this event which lead to his own people beginning to turn against him and planning schemes to hand him over to the Romans.

I like to think of Fiji as a land of God. The Almighty has given Fiji so many gifts, so many natural resources and precious, beautiful features. Traditionally, the Fijian people have seen ourselves as stewards of our land. We look after it in order to pass it on to our next generation.  This illegal regime takes a vastly different stand. Their only motive is to ravage and pillage Fiji for everything they can get. There is no thought for what will come after, or for the greater good of We The People. There is no consideration of their duty to the Almighty or how they should give thanks (real thanks, not the thanks of a thief) by multiplying the gifts that Fiji has to offer. No. Their only thought is of what they can take.

Why am I so angry about gambling being legalised in Fiji? Because, like the vices of drugs, sex/prostitution and  organised crime, once it has taken root, it will be very, very, very difficult to root out.

During the Qarase government, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre released a story on the real cost to the nation of domestic violence. They counted up the number of reported cases of domestic violence, the amount of hours it took to process a report, treat the victim, prosecute and fine or jail the aggressor. They calculated the hours taken up by police, doctors and nurses, magistrates and court officials, detention facilities. And they were able to tell us all the REAL cost of domestic violence in Fiji. It was in the millions.

The cost to the nation of treating the consequences of gambling and addicts to gambling will be vast. Gamblers suck up their own finances, and the finances of their families to feed their addiction. They turn to crime and, like drug addicts and the prostitution ‘industry’, they feed the cycle of violence that sustains those vices. Fiji will not become the Monte Carlo of the South Pacific. No. Our gamblers will not be the great and the good of ANZ, no. Our gamblers will be our poorest, most vulnerable and most tiresome individual burdens on the state (other than the IIR, of course).

This illegal regime is doing everything it can to bring about the systemic ruination of Fiji. What is next? What lower depths can they stoop to?  I would not be surprised if they work their way around to child pornography, if they are not there already. (I write this in a matter of fact way, but looking into the happy, carefree and innocent brown faces of our beautiful children, the future of our land, I am filled with a gripping horror.) How much further will they willingly push us?

Jesus took a stand. When will We The People decide enough is enough?

Tabu soro.

God bless Fiji

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ID cards – against what threat?

So the dictator believes that we all need to carry ID cards in the interest of national security.

Under this regime we are prohibited from asking the obvious questions, but this IS cyber-space, so I’m going to have a go.  What real threat to our society could POSSIBLY be thwarted by compulsory ID cards?

The main threats to our national interest and civil life include:

  1. This regime, whose junta is unelected, self-appointed and refuses to allow We The People to voice our aspirations for the future of our beloved country
  2. The desecration of our systems of law, order and justice, by the above-mentioned junta
  3. Home incursions, which effect the daily living of every citizen who can no longer sleep securely with the doors and windows open because crime has flourished so thoroughly under this regime that we all must sleep in stifling heat or expensive air-conditioning (most of us under the latter because we cannot afford the former)
  4. The plundering of our national assets by this regime – forestry, agricultural, minerals, foreign assets (the junta has never answered the question of what the hell happened to our Crown properties in the US), fishing, the list goes on and on
  5. The spread of organised crime, prostitution and illegal drug culture which flourishes under this regime and will be almost impossible to stop once it has taken root

There are many other very real threats to our national interest, all of them flowing directly from this junta. So honestly, OmniVore – what or who are you trying to protect with this plan? And how do you intend to pay for it, because these schemes are prohibitively expensive. Many other Commonwealth countries have dropped the idea of compulsory ID cards because the costs far outweigh any potential benefits.

Is this something OmniVore is hoping to pay for with that $1billion he wants from the IMF? Because that idea has SCAM written all over it. If this is an intended programme for that IMF $1billion, who is to say it won’t go the same way as those legendary mill upgrades we were promised from India? That money went to India for the upgrades, but all that came back was spare parts – no upgrade. And OmniVore’s ‘people’ in the sugar industry were too scared and embarrassed to ‘fess up to it because the dictator has a bad temper, man, and they all know that, like all truly powerless people, he shoots the messenger.

Going on past performance, I would venture a guess that OmniVore’s plan is to get $1billion from the IMF, saddle Fiji’s current and future generations with a debt so huge that we stand little chance of ever paying it back and will have to ask, like Africa in days of yore, for amnesty. To justify the money, he will approve lame-brain expensive ideas, like compulsory ID cards, which have been brought to him by foreign (dare I say, Chinese or Indian) based companies who will charge enormous amounts for the service and fail to deliver a quality product. And he will pocket an extortionate proportion of the $1billion for himself and his corrupt cronies, sponsors and family members.

Is any of this sounding too far-fetched? I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that it did.

Free and fresh elections for Fiji. Now. Tabu soro.

God bless Fiji.

IMF between the lines

The IMF released a very typical statement on the conclusion of their visit to Fiji. At first glance, it was the usual bland, official and professional stuff, devoid of any finger pointing. But if you look closer, there is some quite alarming language there, that let’s us read between the lines at what might actually have happened.

Statement of an IMF Mission at the Conclusion of the Visit to Fiji

Press Release No. 10/165

April 22, 2010

The following statement was issued in Suva on April 22, 2010 after the conclusion of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff visit to Fiji:

“An IMF team led by Mr. Jonathan Dunn visited Suva during April 7–21, 2010 at the invitation of the government (OmniVore to IMF “Hey! Gang! Kerekere, you can give me some paisa?”) to discuss Fiji’s economic reform efforts over the medium term (IMF to OmniVore “What the fcuk have you been doing to this place?”) and possible IMF financial support under a Stand-By Arrangement (IMF to OV “You are not getting your crazy-boy hands within cooee of IMF money if you don’t stop this dumbass stuff you been pulling.”) The team met with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Minister of Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) Governor Sada Reddy, Permanent Secretary for Finance John Prasad and other senior government officials. (IMF to self “These nitwits think they can run this place? Oh puhleeze.”) The mission also met with donors, the private sector and public enterprise representatives. (IMF to donors, private sector & public enterprise reps: “Can you believe those bozos?”) The mission collaborated with international financial institutions and they could play an important role in supporting reforms, including in helping to finance the program. (IMF to donors etc continued “OK, we’ll do what we can but it’d be a lot easier if you just got rid of those dumbass bozos in the first place.”)

“The authorities and the mission agreed that the policies should be set so as to put Fiji on the path to sustainable and broad-based growth. We will continue to discuss policy measures required to ensure fiscal sustainability and specific structural reforms to underpin Fiji’s medium-term growth while protecting the vulnerable. We welcome the authorities’ intention to approach donors for support for key structural reforms of public enterprises and the civil service. (IMF to the world: “So the bozos are standing there with a begging bowl out, asking for money for nothing, but doing nothing to sustain their country, which was in great shape the last time we look at them under democratic rule.”)

“The mission greatly appreciated the authorities’ openness and the frank discussions of the economic challenges faced by Fiji. (IMF: “He looked me in the eye and admitted that he doesn’t know what the **** he is doing and he has no clue how to run the country.”) The IMF looks forward to the possibility of making further progress toward these ends in the coming months that would ensure external stability and help catalyze donor support for Fiji’s reform efforts.” (IMF: “Anything has to be better than what they were doing before, and what they were planning to do up until we told them to stop it. What a bunch of freaking losers, especially their AG. If left to their own devices, they’d have sold the country to China by now.”)

God bless Fiji

Changing Fiji life by decrees – from The Australian

Ratu Sukuna noted the importance of the ‘three-legged stool’ in our traditional way of life – vanua, lotu and matanitu.  Back in the day when they originally fell into cahoots, OmniVore and his Uncle Chodokant cooked up a plan to annihilate the same belove way of life. They realised that Rabuka had only achieved half-baked aims, and as a result Fijian society returned to our three-legged stool. Chodo tried to get at the land, and oh boy, did that backfire on him.  He knows that if Speight hadn’t bumbled onto the scene and made an idiot of himself, Chodo would have been democratically ejected by Parliament’s tabled vote of no confidence.  Realising they can’t do this piecemeal, their plan is to shatter Fiji entirely and try to rebuild our beloved country – heretically – in their own image.

So OmniVore – who will do anything humanly possible to avoid being prosecuted for ordering the murder of the CRW sotia – is systematically attacking each leg. He has already taken over government (even though he is completely incompetent to run the country). He is trying to slowly eradicate the Methodist Church by banning the activities which sustain their flock, and therefore the Church itself. Meanwhile, as the country looks on unawares, they are unpicking the legal framework that dates back to Governor Gordon, and trying to take our Land.

Changing Fiji life by decrees

Rowan Callick, The Australian February 12, 2010 12:00AM

THE Fiji military government’s rush to remould the country is most evident in the militarisation of public life. But a second major thread of this program has now been highlighted: the issuing of decrees.

Three new decrees were promulgated on criminal law last week, taking past 50 the number of such decrees issued since the government abrogated the constitution in April last year.

The latest items are the 126-page Crimes Decree, the 85-page Criminal Procedure Decree and the 19-page Sentencing and Penalties Decree, handed down like the other decrees, becoming law without debate or discussion.

The Crimes Decree extends the geographical jurisdiction beyond Fiji itself. This means offences may be deemed to be committed by any citizen, corporation or resident of Fiji “in any place outside of Fiji”.

Offences may be considered to have occurred partly in Fiji “if a person sends a thing, or causes a thing to be sent from a point outside Fiji to a point in Fiji” or “from a point in Fiji to a point outside Fiji”.

An elaboration of this clause makes explicit that this is aimed in part at internet criticism of the regime, for it specifies that this “thing” might be “an electronic communication”.

The decree defines as a new indictable offence — triable summarily — for which the penalty is up to 10 years’ jail: making any statement or spreading any report, including by the internet, likely to incite dislike or hatred or antagonism of any community, or promoting “feelings of enmity or ill-will between different communities, religious groups or classes of the community, or otherwise prejudices the public peace by creating feelings of communal antagonism”.

It defines as “seditious intention” punishable by seven years’ jail, “an intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the government of Fiji to excite the inhabitants of Fiji to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter in Fiji as by law established to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Fiji to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the inhabitants of Fiji or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Fiji”.

This seven-year sentence can apply if a person “utters any seditious words, prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication or imports any seditious publication, unless he has no reason to believe that it is seditious”.

Someone can now be jailed for one year “if without lawful excuse the person has in his possession any seditious publication”.

The new decree creates an offence of sacrilege, punishable by 14 years’ jail, for entering a place of worship and committing “any act of intentional disrespect”. It also imposes jail for up to five years for a person who “pretends to exercise or who practises witchcraft or sorcery”.

The new Criminal Procedure Decree restricts media coverage of committal hearings to the identity of the court, name of the magistrate, name, age and occupation of the accused, summary of the offence, name of the lawyer representing the accused, and whether the accused is in custody or on bail.

Contravention of this restriction means a fine of up to $F10,000 ($5700). The Crimes Decree also strengthens the laws on sexual offences, including making people who hire prostitutes liable to 12 years’ jail.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said these three decrees “put us on a modern step”.

“They help us to ensure that we have a criminal justice system that is fair,” he said.

Workshops have been held for prosecutors to introduce them to the new criminal law framework.

The Rev Akuila Yabaki, the Suva-based chief executive of the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum in Fiji, says the promulgation of so many decrees “is perpetuating the coup culture”.

He pointed out that “a new element of intention is now incorporated into crimes relating to treason. A person committing treason who can justify that they were acting in good faith or that their action was necessary, will now incur a sentence of less than 15 years or could even go free.”

Fresh considerations “mitigate the offence of treason by making it more acceptable in law if it is done with good intentions”.

These provisions also provide a very useful basis for a defence if the military regime is itself overthrown, or eventually concedes the holding of elections — following which its leaders risk incurring treason charges, as happened to George Speight and his leading co-conspirators, still in jail following their 2000 coup.

But failure to report knowledge of treason can now incur life imprisonment.

However, the new Crimes Decree has removed the statute of limitation of two years that was placed on treason, permitting Commodore Frank Bainimarama and his colleagues to be prosecuted, whereas previously they might have escaped prosecution altogether under this loophole.

The next decree to be issued, said military ruler Commodore Bainimarama, is a Media Decree, “to place greater emphasis on responsible reporting. It will encourage the media to re-look at their editorial policies and the contents of their articles and their television programs.”

Another decree, issued late last month, gives the government the power to stop paying pensions to people who criticise the regime, or bring disaffection against the judiciary.

God bless Fiji

The truth about Vore’s new best buddy, China – Part 1

The best way to explain the dangers posed by OmniVore cuddling up to the People’s Republic of China is to see what China has already been doing is Africa, and how they have gone about it.  

In 2007, Sebastian Junger wrote “Enter China, the Giant” for Vanity Fair.  In the next few postings I will try to reproduce that article here.  My sincerest thanks to Conde Nast Magazines and Mr Junger for their generosity in allowing the reproduction of a most excellent report.  

Thinking of the similarities between what Fiji has to offer – with our pristine ecosystems, our minerals and natural, untouched resources – and what has happened in Africa, one cannot help but shudder at the prospect of the illegal regime p***ing it all away because they are broke and China offers easy instant money with long-standing ties.  

Enter China, the Giant

Desperate for Africa’s oil, China has been investing hundreds of billions of dollars in pariah regimes – most controversially, Sudan – then selling them the weapons to stay in power.  But outrage over the Darfur genocide may change Beijing’s bottom line. 

By Sebastian Junger, published in Vanity Fair July 2007, copyright Conde Nast Magazines

The rebels came out of the eastern desert in a column of pickup trucks a hundred vehicles long and were not spotted until they had crossed most of Chad.  The trucks were rumoured to have com from a Chinese oil base, and the rebels carried Chinese weapons and were backed by a country – Sudan – that got most of its revenue by selling oil to the Chinese government.  By the time American spy satellites picked them up, the rebels – calling themselves Front Uni pour le Changement (FUC) – were 60 miles outside the Chadian capital of N’Djamena and closing fast.  Mirage jets, part of a French stabilization force, fired warning shots at the advancing column, but nothing would slow it down. 

Each truck carried 55-gallon drums of water and spare fuel in the back and could operate across a thousand miles of desert unaided.  Pouches of rocket-propelled grenades hung from the sides, and belt-fed machine guns were bolted to the rooftops.  Five men rode inside the cab, and another 5 or 10 men rode in the back along with bedrolls, ammunition, fuel drums and spare tires.  Some trucks were plastered with mud to blend in with the desert, and others had their windshields punched out to allow for an additional machine gun on the dashboard.  Outfitted like that, there was virtually nowhere in the Sahara they couldn’t go. 

Around 4am on April 14 2006, a Chadian Army commander spotted the rebel column on the outskirts of N’Djamena and radioed in to his headquarters, “We are face-to-face.”  Moments later, the first rockets came in.  The FUC commanders had expected Chadian officers to switch sides as soon as the column arrived but, instead, the rebels found themselves surrounded in the centre of town and getting shot to pieces.  By midmorning the corpses of scores of FUC fighters had been dumped in front of the new National Assembly building. 

The coup had been thwarted, but the fact that rebel forces could get anywhere near the capital was troubling to foreign investors, and Chad’s fledgling oil industry was not yet self-sustaining.  Facing the combined might of China and its client state, the Sudan, Chadian president Idriss Deby did what – in African politics – could only be considered the obvious : he made FUC leader Mohamat Nour his minister of defense, and he invited the Chinese government into Chad to drill for oil. 

In addition to supplying oil money and weapons to Sudan, China has adamantly defended the country against any international criticism over Darfur, the region of southwestern Sudan where militias, supported by the Islamist government in Khartoum, have killed hundreds of thousands of tribal Africans.  The war has spilled into Chad, causing an immense amount of suffering and destabilizing the entire region.  Yet, in the year since the attack on N’Djamena, the Chinese have made astonishing inroads into Chad – a country that could easily consider China an enemy.  It is the particular brilliance of Chinese foreign relations in Africa, however, that they seem to be able to conduct business with both sides of a raging war without alienating either party. 

The groundwork for Chinese involvement in Chad was laid in 2000, when the World Bank lent the African nation $37million to build a pipeline from its Doha Basin oil fields, through Cameroon, to the Gulf of Guinea, where it terminated in an offshore loading platform.  Chad’s portion of the oil revenue was expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars annually – an enormous boon for a country that ranks at the very bottom of the world’s poverty list.  In an attempt to break the endless cycle of corruption that so many African countries are known for, the World Bank stipulated that 80% of those revenues be spent on social programs.  The problem was that the World Bank conditions – though well intentioned – restricted President Deby’s military spending so drastically that Sudan was able to outspend him by 50 to 1, which made the outcome of the war almost inevitable.  In October 2005, Deby declared that he was no longer abiding by the loan agreement, and within months the World Bank ended all loan payments to Chad. 

In the world of international development, there was a huge amount riding on the Chad-Cameroon pipeline.  Over the past century, Western companies have extracted trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas, minerals and timber from African countries that were simply incapable of investing the revenue in a responsible way.  The countries were too young, too fragile, too riven by tribal tensions and, frankly, led by men who were too greedy to put the money to good use.  The elaborate system of loan conditions and monitoring mechanisms set in place by the World Bank was one of the first major attempts to avoid this trap, and by all rights it should have worked.  It was innovative and forward-thinking and could well have provided Africa with a way out of poverty. 

Instead, Chad’s war with Sudan got in the way.  Four months after the attack on N’Djamena, President Deby severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and invited the Chinese into his country to drill for oil.  To many experts it seemed a bald attempt to bribe China into easing its support of Sudan.  Once in Chad, China didn’t waste any time.  Last January, the Canadian company EnCana announced the sale of its 50% share of a vast, undeveloped oil field, named Block H, split between the northern and southern parts of the country, to China National Petroleum Corporation.  The company then quickly partnered with another Chinese petroleum firm to buy up the rest of the block.  With that purchase, the Chinese held oil interests in a swath of troubled, politically repressive countries stretching from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Guinea. 

 

I arrived in N’Djamena just before the one-year anniversary of the April 13 attack.  Despite some skirmishes and a Sudanese air raid near the town of Bahai, things were quiet inside the Chad bornder.  There were rumours that Sudan’s militias were going to make another attempt on the capital, but there was nothing anyone could do about it except wait and see. 

With a population of around one million, N’Djamena is a city of low cement buildings and long boulevards that could never be traversed without the huge shade trees that the French planted a hundred years ago.  Chad is a country of almost biblical harshness : kiln-like heat and droughts and locust plagues and deadly scorpions that ride atop the monstrous camel spiders found in the eastern deserts.  Refugees from Darfur don’t fare well on foot in eastern Chad.

With the discovery of oil there have been some improvements, however.  There are now paved roads to the oil fields, a couple of new high-rises in N’Djamena, and the amazingly ghastly National Assembly building that the Chinese slapped together out of steel and beige tile.  Farther out of town, beyond the earthen berms of the French military base, the government is building a housing development for the influx of people they expect once the oil money hits town.  The site is 143 acres of bone-dry gully and hardpan that had to be filled and graded and laid out in a huge, well-drained grid.  An American company put in a bid for the job but never had a chance against the Chinese. 

“Not only are the Chinese cheaper, but they said they could do the job in 3 months”, the project director explained to me as we drove around the jobsite.  It was around 120 degrees, and workers were moving slowly through the heat and the dust, preparing the roadways for hardtop.  The labourers were all Chadian, but everyone else on the job – engineers, drivers, architects, crew bosses – was Chinese.  “They don’t have limited hours; all they do is work,” the director says of them with admiration.  “And they are not paid well – no insurance, nothing.  They’re fast, cheap, and they don’t argue.  That’s why they got the job.”

According to experts, Chinese construction firms regularly underbid Western rivals by importing cheap Chinese workers and slicing their profit margins to as little as 3%.  As a result, American companies lose one construction contract after another in Africa.  Even in small business ventures, the Chinese are hard to compete with.  A Taiwanese restaurant owner in Chad named David Wu, whose parents immigrated to Angola when he was young, admits that he hires Chinese workers because they are so cheap.  “I would rather take Taiwanese workers, but I can’t,” he explains.  “They take a month vacation every six months and want to be paid $2,000 a month.  The Chinese don’t take vacations and will work for $700 or $800 a month.  Chinese merchants are everywhere now – in Angola, in Niger, in Congo.  They’re able to undercut locals because all their goods come from China.”

I asked an American military officer with long experience in the region how the Chinese can be so successful doing business in one of the poorest and most unstable parts of the world.  The man’s answer came out in one long rush. “The Chinese say to these countries, ‘Look, roads will help your economy, so let’s build a road, and we’ll provide most of the money for it,’” he said.  “The rest of the loan is then provided by Chinese banks and secured against future oil revenues from the country.  The road-building contracts go to Chinese construction firms with Chinese engineers, workers and equipment.  All of this comes in a package.  Why internationalize something when you can do it yourself? The construction materials come on Chinese ships  and are moved on Chinese trucks and Chinese equipment that use Chinese-made rubber gaskets.  The Chinese Embassy in Chad is totally self-contained – they even grow their own vegetables.  The US government can’t plan past six months from now.  The Chinese think a hundred years in advance.”

 

China’s relationship with Africa started in earnest in the late 1950s, when its support – along with the Soviets’ – for rebel leaders like Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe helped overthrow colonial administrations all over the continent.  It has been only in the last 10 or 15 years, however, that China has entered Africa with bulldozers, engineers, and construction crews.  With foreign-currency reserves toppling $1trillion and an economic-growth rate of 11 percent a year, China is both desperate for national resources and in a position to spend enormous amounts of money to get its hands on them.  Oil is of particular concern.  Chinese oil needs are rising 10% annually – by far the fastest of any nation in the world – and if those needs are not met, their economic expansion will collapse.  That has sent them to Africa. 

China now gets 31% of its oil from Africa and is the top trading partner for several major oil-producing African countries.  Chinese trade with the continent has quadrupled since 2000 and is expected to triple again by 2010, blowing past the United States to hit $100billion a year.  To top it off, China has cancelled more than $1billion worth of African debt.  On a continent as mired in poverty and corruption as Africa, that kind of money will buy you a lot of friends. 

“China’s primary goal is to import from Africa those key raw materials that will sustain its booming economy,” says David Shinn, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso and currently an adjunct professor at George Washington University.  “That’s oil, but its also minerals and timber.  The Communist Party is more or less predicating its future on maintaining booming economic growth, and if it should stumble, then I think the party is in danger of losing power.”

To be continued …

God bless Fiji

Think Outside The Box

The overwhelming disappointment at the UN’s failure to censure Fiji’s illegal government, through banning all peacekeeping missions, has struck a sour note for those who would see Fiji return to the path of democracy.

Are we being too narrow minded in seeking a solution? 

It appears to me that the prime instigators of this illegal regime are

a)     Vore Bainidia

b)    The malodorous Chodokant (who might be crying over spilt milk now, but have no doubts – as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, Chodo is the one pulling Vore’s puppet strings)

c)     The Tui Vuda, who is a few flowers short of a salusalu, if you know what I mean

d)    Soldiers / officers who follow Bainidia because they are scared of what might happen to them if they turn on him, but perhaps if they were assured of safety would happily turn on him

e)     Attorney General MyArse and a handful of fat, corrupt lawyers, some pretending to be judges

f)     A handful of fat, corrupt has-beens with chiefly titles who could not earn themselves a decent living and prefer to live off the labour of others

Thinking outside the box, what if we were to just ask the ANZ governments to send in their troops and just take these f***ers out?  There are so few of them.  It would be easiest thing in the world for properly disciplined forces to step in and neutralise them.  Then appoint a caretaker government to return us to free and fair elections under the 1997 Constitution within 12 months, ensuring the coupsters are brought to justice with a full and fair trial. 

It restores us to democracy more quickly.  It stabilises the region.  It kicks into touch this ridiculous Chindia axis that Bainidia is trying to create.  It saves our natural resources before Vore is able to completely sell them out and devastate our ecology.  Similarly it saves our national resources which Vore is milking dry and hoping none of us will notice.  

But why would the ANZ governments take this kind of action if they see that We The People are not even bothering to register our protest against this regime with marches, strikes and civil disobedience? 

Why should they step up the pace for us if we are not even willing to cast the first stone, except via anonymous blogs? 

Time for public protest, people. 

God bless Fiji

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

So, Vore has paid the Indian Government FJD8m of tax payers’ money for a piece of land to build a new Super Consulate / Chancery in Delhi. 

Apparently the land is valued at $23m.  And yet the Indian Government, which is not known for unconditional generosity (and has learned many a useful lesson in their time as an ally to Soviet Russia) has decided to gift it to the illegal interim regime of Fiji for a paltry $8 million. 

Hmm. 

Meanwhile, Vore is trying madly to cut ties with the Pacific Forum, which occupies a similarly well appointed plot of land in Suva.  Obviously Suva and Delhi are not exactly on par with each other. 

But if Vore manages to oust the Forum from Fiji, what will happen to that land?  My money says the illegal regime will sell it to the Indian Government for a similarly paltry sum, as a quid pro quo for the plot in Delhi.  

One thing is for sure – whatever the payback, you can bet the land in Delhi comes with a hidden price tag that our electorate would NEVER condone under democratic rule.  

Yet another part of the malodorous Chodokant’s ‘Master Plan’ which he continues to inflict on our nation, bully that he is.  The purchase, which is surely unconstitutional, is without doubt unethical. 

How can we stop Vore and Chodo?  By speaking out.  By public protest, strikes and speaking with one united voice.  We want free and fair elections, Fiji for democracy NOW. 

God bless Fiji