Letters To The Editor, September 11, 2015

PM decision Keith Gregory, Lautoka The decision by PM Bainimirama not to attend the Pacific Islands Forum is the correct call. Though I am a firm believer in natural climate
11 Sep 2015 12:05
Letters To The Editor, September 11, 2015

PM decision

Keith Gregory, Lautoka

The decision by PM Bainimirama not to attend the Pacific Islands Forum is the correct call.

Though I am a firm believer in natural climate change I feel this generation will be laughed at in the same way those who believed the world would end in 1982 as we have experienced some of the coldest days on record !

That said the  reasons I believe the PM made the right decision is that ;

1.The PIF is the defacto neo-colonial arm of Australia and New Zealand. Quite often I am criticised for my stand on Australia and New Zealand, with people saying how generous they both are with aid.

Exactly my point. Aid is not a charity it’s a political tool that’s as indespensible for Australia and New Zealand as well as China and others to open doors for their contractors and their questionable political agendas .

Anyone who thinks bilateral aid is charity should stick to what they know , which is not this topic.

  1. If a person assists a village with foot paths etc then lives there, sure his generosity is noted, but he’s still accountable to the Chief of the village and touraga ni koro and other people who run the place, and should abide by that.

Same between nations. One’s generosity should never be used as a way to dictate terms, then it’s not charity it’s either a bribe or a loan. The Great Game between China and Russia as well as Taiwan illustrates that clearly .

  1. The PIF must be reformed in line with the times. When it started, only Tonga, Western Samoa and Fiji were independent states. The rest were split between Australia, Britain France and New Zealand and the US and in the case of West Papua , Indonesia.

All these colonial powers except Australia and NZ surrendered their seat when they lost colonial power in the region with Indonesia dragging West Papua out of the Melanesian region politically alltogether.

  1. I think its time for the PIF to approach others to help funding it. Norway springs to mind, first, it’s got a huge sovereign fund as it is a major oil producer, second, it has a decent aid budget.

Third, its very sensitive to good governance and human rights but does not interfere anywhere like Australia and New Zealand. Also, unlike these other two powers, Norway can’t claim to be a Pacific country !  Both Australia and NZ  abdicated as leaders in this region when they refused to recognise the then interim government in 2006.

This error has widened with Australia setting up what are actually  concentration camps in PNG and Nauru for refugees using the steel bar of assistance especially to Nauru, where this aid is up to 70 percent of revenue !

The Pacific needs to follow Fiji’s example .

Yes PM it is time the Australians were ignored and asked to leave, just as one does to a person who acts the same way in a village .

No matter what they offer in chequebook diplomacy


Joy of reading

Norman Yee, Nadi

The hot topic nowadays is the lack of literacy among our population. Many people including our PM, and Minister of Education are bemoaning this fact. We can only blame the march of civilisation: to too much technology, TV, computer games and social media.

Luckily, we grew up speaking English at home. And we read a lot. Not only that at the Marist Brothers High School we were not allowed to speak our indigenous languages.

Indeed, our school library had tons of book to read such as  Lorna Doone, Moonfleet, and King Solomon’s Mine. As my children were old enough we used to read to them bedtime stories, and this became a catalyst for boosting their early interest in reading.

A lot of my knowledge of life came through reading, including many self-help books such as ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ as noted in my memoir, ‘Catching the Wind’.

So I would encourage everyone to read. Schools should enforce the ‘English Only’ speaking rule

But this effort is negated by the high cost of books which are mostly published overseas. There are various charges to be paid before they can be brought in.

My own experience has shown this. I recently had my memoir published overseas. Imagine my surprise when I brought a quantity of them into the country. I was charged VAT (15%) as well as wharfage/demurrage fees ($25.15) and Customs Agent Fees ( $75- $100). This is discouraging for local authors.

Apart from schools and parents helping children to make reading a hobby government could do something by reducing the cost of bringing books into the country so more people could afford to buy these treasures and READ.


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