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So-called leader goes after small fries instead of tackling the big one

May 18, 2013


Letter published by South China Morning Post

Why brave shark infested waters when it’s easier to go after those who apparently never did anything for Fiji before he came along and saved the country in2006?

The national airline, Air Pacific, is facing yet another controversy but Frank Bainimarama, who is in France to collect the second A320 airbus that was bought with pensioners funds, is staying well away from the debate.

While the leader of most countries would front toanswer the damaging allegations, this self-appointed prime minister is sticking to his well-worn repertoire of repeated dismissals of people who dare to challenge the regime’s legitimacy and effectiveness.

That’s in spite of a revealing South China Morning Post story that this week

  In France to collect second A320

exposed Air Pacific as one of the world’s major carriers of shark fins into Hong Kong.

The SCMP article shows that Air Pacific (soon to be Fiji Airways) and its new Airbus A330 aircraft were, according to a group of pilots familiar with its operations “basically a thinly-disguised freighter”, carrying shark fins to the territory from Pacific islands.

Hong Kong is the world centre for shark fin trading with the fins used to make an expensive soup.

The South China Morning Post story quotes a coalition of environmental groups who say in a letter to the airline that a “substantial amount” of the shark fins imported into Hong Kong arrive on Air Pacific.

“Hong Kong government data indicates that more than 1,162 tonnes of shark fins were imported into Hong Kong in 2012, of which 14.1 per cent was by air cargo,” it said. “Of that percentage a substantial amount would have been flown to Hong Kong on Air Pacific’s planes.

“As you may already know, Cathay Pacific took a great step in the right direction last September by making a public commitment to stop carrying shark fins and related products on its subsidiary airline, Cathay Pacific Cargo.

“As a code share partner, this places Air Pacific in a difficult position regarding the continued revenue stream enjoyed by your airline from the transportation of shark fin.”

Air Pacific’s PR man, Shane Hussein, has told media the airline is investigating but has been quick to suggest the claim is over the top.

Hussein will have to be on his game because there’s already talk the second plane will likely carry similar cargo to the first A320 to make money for the newly-branded company.

Air Pacific’s involvement in trafficking shark fin comes at the same time as reports the International Court of Justice is sending a team of private investigators to Fiji in 10 days time to look at human rights abuse.

The complaint was reportedly lodged by the International Law Commission and Amnesty International, specifically Sir Michael Wood, a member of the Commission, who gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry in November 2009, and who was also Principal Legal Advisor at International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

CRW victim: Investigation at last?

Reports say those that will be interviewed include the families of those who’ve died at the hands of military, such as the CRW soldiers, and leaders including the country’s last democratically elected prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Source- Coupfourpointfive – Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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