An email from Fiji

Regular readers will know that I was born in Fiji, and last year I visited Fiji and was able to see the progress being made as Fiji removes the shackles of past corruption and post-colonialist legacies, like the racist constitution foisted on them by New Zealand and Australia.I interviewed a number of key government people and made a general tour around Fiji. My Fiji related posts are found with the tag Fiji.

Recent posts/interviews on Fiji: Whale in Fiji: Christopher PrydeWhale in Fiji: Pio TikoduaduaWhale in Fiji – Aiyaz Sayed-KhaiyumWhale in Fiji: Speaking with Leighton Smith

This week I received this email, I have permission to post it.

Bula Cameron,

Thought I’d drop you a line. I’ve been an observer of your blog for a couple of years and recently your series of interviews in Fiji came at a good time for me.

I had been talking to the Fijian Government about taking on a role in a new government entity – Fiji Roads Authority –  and was doing my due diligence on the situation before making a commitment to take my young family to Fiji. Part of the problem I faced was that everything I found in terms of own research on the political situation and progress seemed not to be recognised by NZ/AUS officialdom. I had come to the conclusion that despite not being what the west might call an ideal political environment, there were in fact some amazingly forward looking things going on – some really courageous moves being made by the Fiji government to make a change for the better, to stamp out corruption and to deliver for Fijians (in a unified way).

The role I was looking at is a case in point. The government completely abolished the Department of National Roads which from the state of the roads was obviously ineffectual. It has been replaced by the Fiji Roads Authority that runs a very lean central operation and largely outsources operations to the private sector – in line with common NZ models of delivery. 

So I took the role and have been here now a little under a month. Loving it so far and looking forward to my family arriving in a couple of weeks.

I do not go so far as to say your interview series decided it for me – but it did give me added confidence in my own gut-feeling based on the research I had done. And the timing was perfect. My new ‘boss’ is Pio Tikoduadua whom you interviewed – Permanent Secretary for the PM’s Office and Chairman of the Board of Fiji Roads Authority.

That’s all – just some feedback and a bit of a thank you. I know you are not a job website but I will try all avenues. I need a couple of top performers for key positions.

Key point is probably that applicants would take these jobs for the adventure, the chance to do something really cool for a small island nation. The money would be OK but we’re not talking ex-pat packages in the middle east! – we’re not here to make our fortunes off the back of a nation where many people earn around $100/week!

All the best and if you can assist with getting the word out I’d appreciate it.

Vinaka vaka levu

Neil Cook
Chief Executive
Fiji Roads Authority

I found Fiji to be completely unlike that which is often described in our media, most journalists and bloggers who write about Fiji these days are desk bound in New Zealand. They foist their prejudices about Fiji and what Bainimarama is trying to achieve and pass moral judgment on Fiji that they would never do on other nations. Most of them can’t go to Fiji anymore such is the hostility of their attacks that the government consideres it a waste of time having them in the country.

Mostly too they are just propagandists for opponents of the government, a case in point is the recent news about the alleged burning of the constitution. I will outline that in a separate post.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.