Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (January 22) – Fiji’s Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's anger at our big brothers, Australia and New Zealand, for their steadfast stand against the illegal takeover and the interim administration comes as little surprise.

However, his outburst that Fiji will introduce retaliatory measures against the Pacific's big boys must have raised many an eyebrow.

The commander's veiled threats against expatriates and diplomatic staff from these countries are distasteful to put it mildly. He believes that stopping importation from these countries, which is valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, is a viable plan. Sadly, this is not true. Such measures will only serve to hurt Fiji and its people the most.

True, Fiji is a significant trading partner for New Zealand in the Pacific. We import about $337.12 million worth of goods from the Land of Long White Cloud while we export about $58.12 million worth of goods there. In fact, New Zealand and Australia are our largest trading partners.

For New Zealand though, their largest trading partner in the Pacific is Australia and their exchange is valued in the billions. It thus becomes obvious who needs who the most.

The commander would do well to restrain himself from making such ill-thought out statements.

Such incredulous threats not only make him look silly but hurts the very people he purportedly is trying to help. It undermines all efforts to move this country forward.

We cannot move forward on our own, in isolation from the rest of the world. For economic growth, jobs need to be created and for this to happen we need to increase trade.

While it is wise to vigorously pursue stronger relations in the Asia-Pacific region, it is naive to think that their assistance can replace the help we have received from the likes of Australia, New Zealand, the United Nations and the European Union.

Then there is the need to establish the credibility of this interim administration before we inject more resources into projects and directions.

For while certain new projects or directions may be worth pursuing, we do not want to find ourselves in a position where events have to be reversed and started all over again because the agents of change were determined illegal.

That would be a waste of already scarce resources. That would be a crime in itself.

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