"The AG’s [Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum] modus operandi isn’t genuine consultation and consensus building. He is always the smartest person in the room, with a monopoly on both knowledge and righteousness. And he routinely uses both the dispensing of patronage and the fear of retribution to silence his critics and ensure that those around him are invariably nodding in furious agreement with him or not in the room at all. A genuine democrat, he is not. And the conga line of permanent secretaries who have left – including the PS at the Ministry of Health in the middle of a pandemic – is testament enough to the gross dysfunction at the heart of government...The AG’s power has been consolidated over the years as he has progressively gained control not only over the government’s legal affairs but over the economy, the civil service, climate change, civil aviation (including Fiji Airways) and communications, including both technical communications and information. Which is where I came in, reporting directly to the AG from September 2012 and becoming the government’s principal communications advisor until I resigned from Qorvis in June 2018." Graham Davis, 11 August 2020
Scratch the surface in Fiji and you will soon also discover a climate of fear in which even people of standing in the business community and government are extremely cautious about what they say. This has steadily eroded business confidence, not bolstered it, as business figures are obliged to sit through rambling, off the cuff speeches from the AG, admonishing them for their lack of initiative, telling them how to run their own businesses and even more galling for them, lecturing them on their lack of patriotism.
*Under the AG’s leadership, some of the most important institutions of state have been weakened or manipulated to the government’s advantage. One of the most striking aspects is the prevailing nepotism that allows his brother to simultaneously run the national broadcaster and play a key role in the FijiFirst election campaign.
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