| Colonialism Well And Alive In The Pacific: Kelsey
Scoop Monday, 14 June 2004, 8:52 am
Press Release: Pacific Media Watch By Shobna Decloitre
ROTORUA, NZ (Wansolwara Online/Pacific Media Watch):
Colonialism is still part of the Pacific even though most Pacific island countries are independent, says a New Zealand academic. Professor Jane Kelsey says this form of colonialism is imposed through economic development models. The Auckland University academic was speaking at a conference organised this week by the Action Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (Arena), a New Zealand NGO.
"Colonialisation continues in the models of development that are being sold through a masquerade of trade," she told some 60 people gathered at the Hurunga Marae.
The conference is being held as an alternative conference to the Pacific Island Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Prof Kelsey is the author of the controversial "Big Brothers Behaving Badly" report. In this she accuses Australia and New Zealand of blackmail and coercion during free trade negotiations with island nations. She was referring to two regional free trade agreements - Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER). She repeated her accusation that the agreements were negotiated in secrecy, urging Pacific people to stand up against the trade deals. PICTA calls for free trade among island countries excluding Australia and New Zealand while PACER is inclusive of the two countries. Prof Kelsey said imposing the capitalist model on Pacific island economies could spell disaster for their communities. They will continue to have coups and uprising of all sorts if the economic model that is being imposed by the leaders continues to be implemented. She said Pacific people needed to mobilise themselves and make their voices heard regarding decisions that are made about them in a globalised world.
Annette Sykes, a Maori activist and lawyer, said globalisation was fast replacing traditional memories of the Pacific people. "Children now recognise the big 'M' that is colonialisation, that is the displacement of values."
Another speaker, Professor Vijay Naidu, formerly of the University of the South Pacific and currently with Victoria University, said one could not speak about the Pacific without speaking about colonialisation. He said it was the colonial powers that got the Pacific countries involved in the modern economy.
"All self-sufficient Pacific island economies were prised open by the colonising countries and linked to the world economy.
"They began consuming things that they did not produce and producing things that they did not consume.
"This was the beginning of the dependency syndrome, said Prof Naidu.