28 Nov 2007

Fiji better off one year from coup - says academic

8:55 am on 28 November 2007

An academic at the East West Centre in Hawaii says Fiji under military rule is managing far better than some other Pacific island nations where regular elections are held.

The Fijilive news website says this is the view articulated in a paper by the deputy director of the Pacific Islands Development Programme at the East West centre, Gerard Finin.

He says Fiji is managing better than some other Pacific Island nations that, simply because they hold elections, claim to be highly democratic but have failed to produce governments capable of advancing the standard of living of their people.

But Mr Finin adds that for all the stability, there are troubling signs that the military has allowed matters to deteriorate.

He says the rule of law is threatened, human rights remain a concern, the economy is declining and tourism is yet to rebound.

Mr Finn also adds that corruption remains a concern although there is no indication that the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, wishes to enrich himself.

He says one year after the military takeover, there remains a small window of opportunity for Commodore Bainimarama and his colleagues to find a path that will lead to a brighter future.