Thanks to Pacific Media Watch and Pacific Scoop for a transcription of the Frank Bainimarama interview with Native Affairs' journalist Julian Wilcox:
Re the coups: "I'm trying to do what is good for Fiji, not what's good for Australia and New Zealand. This is our one and only chance to right the wrongs. We have had four coups. We don't want any more coups.”
Re nepotism: "It was no secret that what we wanted to do was get rid of corrupt practices [under the previous elected government of Laisenia Qarase], get rid of the racial policies that were around us - especially the racial policies that were going to take our country down.
"It boiled down to the public service not doing their thing, their bit. We have removed just about all the people for abuse of authority, abuse of office and abuse of funds. These people were part of the elite group. It was nepotism throughout and we could see that. So we wanted to get rid of it."
Re failed states: "People see this nation as a failed state. The European Union sees it as a failed state. The Commonwealth, the whole reason why they have suspended us is that they see this nation as a failed state.
"The [Pacific Islands] Forum, Australia and New Zealand see this nation as a failed African state. You have a preconceived idea of what is happening [in Fiji] when you don't understand what is happening here and people don't want to understand because you want to interfere in the way we do business.
"In fact, right now Australia is trying to get us out of the United Nations peacekeeping [role]. What benefit will there be for the Australians? Would it benefit the Maori, for instance; would it benefit the Aborigines if we were removed from the UN peacekeepers?”
Re being bullied by New Zealand and Australia: "Yes, because you don't understand what is happening here, what we're trying to do. All you see is the military removing an elected government and it wants to remain in power for the next five years. Yes, we removed an elected government - for good reason. We wanted to bring about development in this country. We wanted to bring this country forward instead of keeping us in the old cannibalistic days."
Re democracy: "In Fiji, you don't come up with your own vote. Your vote is dictated by the chiefs, it is dictated by the Great Council of Chiefs, it is dictated by the provincial councils, and it is dictated by the [Methodist] Church. So it's not your vote. So don't tell me that it's democracy."
Re censorship: "The press is still churning out newspapers. The TV station is still on, the radio is still on. What we have censored is irresponsible reports, that's what we have censored. The media are free to express what they want - just say the right things, don't say rubbish."
Click to read - http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2009/09/bainimarama-vows-not-to-be-bullied-by-australia-nz/