Sunday, May 15, 2011

What does our General Synod think it is doing, meeting in Fiji in 2012?

The situation in Fiji, in which a somewhat strange, mystifying dictatorship is working out a form of madness, has taken a turn for the worse. A high-ranking Fijian Army officer has had to be rescued by the Tongan Navy in what appears to be a technical breach of Fijian sovereignty. This has raised the ire of Dictator Bainimarama. But the point is that Tonga should feel no need to be rescuing any member of the Fijian military if all were well in Fiji. Stuff has the story here.

I have raised the matter before on this blog: our General Synod is due to meet in Fiji in 2012. It is not appropriate that we seek to conduct the important business of our church in a land where there are no guarantees of the safe passage of people, or of the ability of media to report fearlessly, or that the dictatorship will not interfere in the process of Synod decision-making. We should review the 2010 decision to have General Synod in Fiji in 2012 before air tickets for members are purchased.

Fiji these days is not only a dictatorship, it is an unstable dictatorship.

What do readers think? Would you like the Anglican Covenant to be discussed with the Fijian military present among the assembled Synod? Would any guarantee given now that the Fijian military would not be present be worth the paper it was written on? Should we proceed with General Synod in Fiji if entry was denied to our Tongan members? Would our General Synod be free to make a resolution which expressed its concern about the situation in Fiji?


Father Ron Smith said...

I agree with you, Peter, on this issue. In the light of recent developments in Fiji; one signal of our Church's disapproval of Bainimarama's dictatorship would be to hold the meeting in Tonga.

However, what this might do to the relationship between the Anglican Church in Fiji and the present Government there is anyone's guess.

I confess, I find it interesting that the current spat involves a son of former President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, whose guardianship of Fiji during difficult times was exemplary. He was, of course, part of the ruling aristocracy of Fiji, whose local interests are certainly not being protected by Bainimarama.

Brother David said...

And yet, did not an important Anglican Communion meeting recently take place in Zimbabwe?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
I won't comment on that meeting because I do not know about it.

My concern is not that there be no meetings in Fiji associated with our church (there have been a number during the time of the dictatorship) but that our highest and most significant legislating and resolution making body do not meet there, lest it confer an unintended blessing on the regime, and lest it be found that it is inhibited in its business by the presence of the Fijian military at its meeting (a real possibility).