One of the most important reasons for people’s acceptance of Fiji’s Interim Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama is his promise to change the political and social landscape of the country forever.
His ‘One-Vote- for all’ policy, ending the erstwhile system that discriminated against non-ethnic Fijians and other social ills have earned wide acceptance.
The country has also been subject to economic sanctions, travel ban and suspension from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Island Forum; these have tended to isolate Fiji from mainstream countries of Asia Pacific (such as Australia and New Zealand).
It is only in recent months (following the announcement of general election on September
17, 2014) that some of these restrictions have been lifted.
But these have caused harm to the Fijian economy, although the country’s leaders would not acknowledge the extent of the impact.
Politics is not the only concern of the current Government.
Fiji’s economy has been suffering from the adverse effects of the global recession, compounded by its own paucity of finance and hitherto lacklustre plans and ill-executed projects. In tackling each of these, the country’s political and economic leaders are hopeful of improved financial status and better infrastructure as significant improvements are made to public utilities and amenities.
Private sector partnership, including foreign direct investment is sought in the process.
For years, this South Pacific country of 330 islands has been an enigma even to the most persistent travellers, historians and writers, with political hurricanes hitting the shores with the same ferocity as their natural counterparts. Like the cyclones that submerge villages, towns and cities for a while from time to time, coups and political dramas have traumatised natives and foreigners alike, leaving them to wonder if a day would dawn to steer the country towards a better future.