Pro-democracy bloggers who blame the Bainimarama Government for the murder of an Australian tourist don’t do the cause of democracy any favours.
As far as I’m aware the murder rate in Fiji hasn’t risen in the 8 years since Bainimarama seized power. It remains fairly low by world standards. If anyone has figures to disprove this please feel free to post them. I’m no expert but I do know murder is different to other crimes. Except in the worst crime hot spots, murders usually result from disputes between family and close friends. People don’t murder strangers for no reason and Fiji is not one of those places full of guns that commit half the murders. Thanks to the RFMF’s monopoly on guns, we don’t have guns making our crime problem worse.
But Bainimarama is not blameless in relation to crime. Playing around with the police force – hounding a top professional Commissioner out of the country, replacing him with a local who has soon despatched and then installing an incompetent military mate who knew nothing about policing, and then replacing him with another military mate – all this did nothing to help make the FPF an effective professional force.
Crime is still a problem, but home invasions are the high end of what we’ve got. (Let’s not get into the question of sedition, political thuggery and treason. The fact that Bainimarama’s constitution gave him immunity against these crimes is a signed confession, but let’s put all that behind us.)
The crime problem that worries us is the problem of burglary and home invasion and that calls for a properly funded, professional police force, which responds to calls for help. The random murder of a tourist should not be laid at the feet of Bainimarama. It’s the damage to the FPF we should be holding him to account on.