Daily Post condemns Information Minister's attack
FIJI'S DAILY POST CONDEMNS INFORMATION MINISTER'S ATTACK
* See Pasifik Nius item 2952
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SUVA: Fiji's Daily Post condemned Information Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola today for his attack on a visiting Australian trade unionist and told him to "get real" over the country's political crisis.
And he was branded the "minister of misinformation" in the letters page of the rival Fiji Sun with a correspondent describing him as "grossly misinformed".
Kubuabola, Opposition Leader in the deposed Parliament and a past information minister renowned for diatribes against critics, has fired blistering salvoes in the past few days against New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff, ousted elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry - and Sharon Burrows, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
An offer of $7 million from Australia if elections were held in six months drew the bitter reaction from Kubuabola. He described Burrows as a racist and said: "The Fijian soul is not for sale."
He added that it was not a question of money, but an issue of principle.
"It is so refreshing to hear this term after such a long time. But Ratu Inoke appears to have a very short memory," said the Daily Post in an editorial.
"What are [rugby union stars] Serevi and Satala doing in France? What are other bright rugby and soccer players doing overseas? Why are indigenous Fijian nurses and other professionals leaving Fiji? What are some of the best Fijian soldiers doing in Britain?
"Why the standoff at Monasavu [hydro-electric power dam and generator] for $50 million or so while the whole country was held at ransom?
"Why the blockage of a learning institution, Ratu Kandavulevu School, by the landowners? Why the confiscation of Indian tenants' standing cane by the landowners who never sweated for the crop? Why is it coincidental that some of the best friends of high and mighty Fijian leaders happen to be rich and influential businessmen?
"Why do some Fijians have to sacrifice their families' wellbeing and feel obliged to sell their taxis and furniture to contribute to church? Who have really gained out of the discord and upheavals of 1987 and 2000?
"Who got new jobs while thousands of others lost theirs? And yet the minister talks about principles over money?
"Ratu Inoke has to get real. Over 7000 [people] have lost their jobs, interim foreign affairs and commerce ministers are virtually begging Australians to reinvest in Fiji, buy our products or visit Fiji to prop up our sagging economy.
"Yet we have the learned Minister of Information talking about principles but kicking in the balls of the very Australians the interim [administration] is trying to woo back.
"If anything, he appears to be throwing the spanner in the works of recovery carved out by other ministries.
"Ratu Inoke is no expert in race relations in Australia or how the native Aborigines are treated. Years of 'easy come, easy go' syndrome has converted many of them into a dependence and handout mentality - exactly the same treatment many nationalists propose for the Fijian people.
"The argument that Australians do not treat its natives well does not remove Ms Burrows', or for that matter, any Australian's rights to ask for early democracy in Fiji or an end to racism. Reminding others about their ills does not remove the ones in your own backyard."
The editorial also reminded Kubuabola of his role in an unelected government that had a responsibility for "healing the wounds and paving the path towards democracy".
It added that the minister should "stop barking and attempting to bite anything that moves". The newspaper said Fiji could not afford to make any more enemies.
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