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Fiji PM responds to Tuilaepa comments

April 21, 2015 6:10 pm

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has dealt his Samoan counterpart a verbal blow in their latest exchange, labelling Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi a lap dog.

The comments follow critical statements made by the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Samoa about Fiji’s stand of not participating in the Pacific Islands Forum while Australia and New Zealand remain members.

Bainimarama also took Australia and New Zealand to task for not leading with strong commitments to alleviate climate change.

Tuilaepa told the Samoa Observer this week that Bainimarama was new to governance and with his military background, he could only “play the drums and train”.

He also said that the Forum is made up of fourteen very poor nations and Australia and New Zealand provide the much needed funding for the meetings and many of the plans that are made.

Bainimarama said he is not bothered about Tuilapea as he is dancing to the tune of the Australians and the New Zealanders.

Bainimarama said “We’ve heard this yapping from the Samoan lapdog before. Its means nothing.

At least I can play an instrument. All he can do is bark and dances to tunes until they feed him again,” Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun.

Bainimarama said for the past six years to seven years “no one cared much about Fiji joining PIF.

“Everyone’s jumping up and down for nothing. We will stay away until things change in the composition of PIF.

“PIF will continue this year and years to follow with or without Fiji. All we are saying is that Australia and NZ should remain funders but not be part of PIF because they bring in a lot of influence with their $ when their agenda is totally against that of the Pacific Island nations.

“The most important of all is climate change. We will continue with PIDF (Pacific Islands Development Forum).

That comment by the NZ Prime Minister John Key questioning funding, if they are no longer members, shows how poor they view our relationship.

“I’m glad for the first time the inclusion of the private sector and civil societies is mentioned.

“We must be doing something right with PIDF. It will be interesting to see if climate change is going to be in the next PIF agenda,” said Bainimarama.

Tuilaepa’s own constant agenda has been to get the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and other regional organisations moved from Suva to the Samoan capital Apia.

He sees this as both lifting his own prestige and helping the struggling Samoan economy.

His latest comments and their deliberately insulting tone, can be seen as just another attempt to provoke Fiji into doing something that will lead to the Forum Secretariat moving