“Fiji’s coup leader-turned Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama may star on the international stage, where many diplomats take at face value his reformist claims, but his fortunes are more troubled at home.
Overseas, he has become chair of the Group of 77, a UN gathering of developing countries, and he heads the London-based International Sugar Organization.
Last week, Fiji hosted the inaugural meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), a new organization separate from the longstanding Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), in which Australia and New Zealand are powerful members but from which Fiji was expelled in 2009.
At the Nadi PIDF summit, Mr Bainimarama — who doubles as commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces — criticized the PIF on account of its ‘army of overpaid officials’ and ‘top down solutions’. He described his new rival Suva-based organization as the ‘antithesis of most bureaucracies’….” [read more].