Fijians are feeling very unsafe at the moment. People who are a threat to the military are being taken from their homes and put into military camps. Although there have been assurances from Commodore Frank Bainimarama that people can carry on with their businesses and lives, many citizens remain unsure of their safety.
The city is empty at the moment. A few shops are open and some people are still going to work, but a majority of people are staying home waiting to see what happens. A lot of businesses are laying off staff just to keep the business going. Other people are going to work just to make sure their personal belongings are tucked away, to ensure that their computers are not being tampered with.
Throughout the city, the military are very visible. They have not inflicted any violence, but you know they are going about their own business and it’s intimidating. They haven’t been able to form a government, despite their efforts to force people to join them. People are refusing to cooperate, meaning the average citizens have no clear idea who is in control.
Yesterday they swore in the new interim PM, Dr. Jona Senilagakali, an army doctor, and they announced the new chief of police after sacking Commissioner Hughes and the Acting Commissioner Moses Driver. They have also dismissed the public service commission chairman, and the solicitor general, they have also dismissed the CEO in the PM’s office.
They removed the Vice President from his residence and have taken him back to his island. They have also moved into the PM’s residence and told his children to pack up and go. This morning they went to the offices of the Fiji Customs and Revenue Department and tried to remove the CEO but he refused.
In our case, I am just working through a list of people to be laid off. We have a staff of about 77 and we are reducing it to about 40. We cannot continue to operate at a loss. We are not getting the necessary advertisements, and even if we do we cannot get the funds in from last month, so we are trying conserve what little we have.
Even with 40 that’s going to halve the staff to keep the business going. Elsewhere the hotels are empty and the tourism industry has ground to a standstill, and that’s typical of most industries. We are all in survival mode.