In December 2006 Commodore Bainimarama, head of the Fijian armed forces overthrew the lawfully elected government. The stated reason for the revolt was that the government proposed to transfer prime coastal land to indigenous Fijians and out of the hands of ethnic Indians who had been imported by the British.
The US, France and Australia all protested against the revolt against a lawfully elected government but did nothing to prevent it. Or did they do nothing?
Later in 2006, the new government ( the Revolt was successful) accused the Australian and French of planning an invasion of Fiji to overthrow the new government. Before the revolt, Australian federal police had several members seconded to the Fijian police and had played a key role in developing a tactical response group whose prime purpose was to provide a civilian response to the military.
Australian SAS were accused of importing large quantities of goods into Fiji and at almost the same time as the revolt, there was a disaster when a Blackhawk helicopter crashed when trying to land on an Australian warship which may have been in Fijian waters. Despite this, a large number of Australian nationals and Fijian politicians considered to be at risk were extracted from Fiji.
At the same as the revolt, members of the tactical response squad were diverted into a major drugs bust at the request of the French government as many of the drugs were finding their way to France via New Caledonia
Robert King and Fabienne were continuing to celebrate their reunion. The beach, backed by endless rows of palm trees was only meters from the terrace outside their room. They had made a plan to spend the late afternoon basking in the sun.
‘ I am a film star?’
‘Yes Just enjoy it, Fabienne,’you are a pretend film star, it will mean that we have total privacy.’
‘But who is paying for this.’
‘Don’t worry about it. It is simply a reward for services rendered.’
They had been invited by Fabienne’s friends from Paris, Gaétan and Gabrielle to spend two weeks, longer if they liked, at an adults-only resort on Matamanoa Island. Apparently, Gabrielle’s’s parents owned a unit, a very special unit, at the resort.
‘I have not told them there will be no-one else on the island.’
” I don’t think they need to know.’
Currently, Robert and Fabienne had taken a room for two nights at the Sheraton on Denarau Island whilst the awaited the arrival of the flight from New Caledonia. Thanks to years of land reclamation Denaru was no longer an island, but more of a tiny peninsula between two rivers.
Fabienne flowed into the hammock, strung from the palms outside their bungalow in one effortless movement. She stretched her sun-bronzed leg and thrust her toe into one of the diamond-shaped apertures. She then gently flexed her thigh muscles until the hammock rocked to a sinuous rhythm.
“At Fiji marketing, we belieeve in Qualiteee” she sang softly. Robert chuckled. As the hammock swung to and fro Robert lay almost beneath, at the extremity of its motion. This was not the woman he had married seventeen years ago. She was decisive; assertive; adventurous. These were not qualities he would have associated with his wife during the five hundred days of their marriage.
Round her neck, she had a necklet of a hundred stars. Tiny sparking crystals which appeared to float in a never-ending nebula. The elegance of her slender feet was emphasised by gold anklets linked to a toe ring by a heavy gold chain. Matching bracelets adorned her wrists. She wore a crocheted bikini which concealed absolutely nothing.
As she swung the hammock, the chains adorning the anklets and bracelets also oscillated in harmony with the song she sang. It was a magical moment enhanced by the alternating fragrance of ozone and frangipani brought to them by the variable breeze.
The previous evening they had travelled into Port Denarau on “The Bula Bus”.The bus had no sides, was crowded and the conductor was in full voice, singing along to the music blasting from the bus’s stereo system. Bula in Fijian possibly means hello, welcome, enjoy, or more likely a subtle variation of all three. The Bula Bus conveyed tourists between the various resorts on Denarau Island and the island port, gateway to the outer islands of western Fiji. The signs at the side of the road said “ Quiet please, residential area” but that did not seem to apply to the Bula Bus which pierced the quiet night with its unsilenced engine and a variety of songs. All the songs were delivered with the rhythmic South Pacific sound, born of a melding of tribal traditions and Christian missionary hymns. The song Fabienne now gently mimicked was one of the trademark Bula Bus songs.
The restaurant at Port Denarau had been crowded. Despite weather forecasts which predicted stormy weather, it was a perfect winter’s night, warm but not hot, high but not unbearable humidity. It was nights like this which have made the Fijian Islands famous. Both men and women wore the absolute minimum to meet common standards of decency and the dress codes of the better restaurants.
The next morning dawned fine; there was no sign of unpleasant weather. They waited at a restaurant and Fabienne’s friends were exactly on time.
Fabienne pointed excitedly .’There they are.’
Robert could not fail to be impressed. The couple positively glided along the boardwalk.
Gaétan wore a white shirt, lightweight trousers rolled up to just below his knee, bare feet.’ Gabrielle wore a bikini top and a rainbow coloured lightweight skirt slung low on her hips. She wore gold anklets and bracelets very similar or perhaps identical to the ones worn by Fabienne. In addition, She wore a heavy gold choker necklet.
Fabienne jumped to her feet to greet them. They indulged in a passionate three-way embrace.
The embrace told Robert that Fabienne knew this woman…and this man well… very well. He rose cautiously to his feet.
Fabienne broke away and beckoned Robert to join them. The introductions were only just completed when Gabrielle threw herself at Robert. She did not kiss him lightly on the cheek, which is what he had expected, but firmly, voluptuously, on the lips.
‘At last, I meet the famous Roberre. She wrapped both of her arms around Robert’s arm which was nearest to her and showed no intention of leaving go.
Robert snatched a quick glance at Gaétan. Gabrielle had pulled herself in so close that her bikini-clad breasts were now separated by his arm and his hand was pressed against her thigh. Gaétan showed absolutely no reaction.
Robert then looked directly at Fabienne, but she smiled with delight. ‘ Do you like my best friends Roberre.’ Robert mentally shrugged his shoulders. If Gaétan and Fabienne were unconcerned then he certainly wasn’t. The lady pushing herself against him was very, very attractive.
Gaétan pointed down the boardwalk to a jetty which gave access to a small marina. ‘The seaplane we have hired will pick us up from the jetty over there.
Gabrielle did her best to walk along the boardwalk without releasing her grip on Robert. In the end, she broke away, as a seaplane circled overhead, landed just outside the harbour and taxied towards the jetty. ‘The pilot is a good friend of my father, I want to have a quick word with him.’
As she ran down the jetty. Fabienne guided Gaétan back towards Robert and linked arms with both of them. Wonderful! I am so appy that it has been possible for you two to meet. The next two weeks are going to be so good.
Robert was left with something else to ponder. The pilot was very young, How could he be a good friend of Gabrielle’s father? It was not quite the correct term to use. But then… they were French, they were speaking a foreign language. Robert had no Idea what Yvonne had said to the pilot but he did not just take them to Matamanoa Island.
He then took them on an hours tour of the surrounding islands; Mana, Tavua, Yanuya, Tokoricki, Monuriki and Monu. He spent more time circling Monuriki than any of the other islands. He explained that Monuriki was the island chosen to film the movie ‘Castaway’ which had starred Tom Hanks.
‘They are supposed to have built some luxury accommodation on the island where the cast and the technicians stayed whilst making the film, but although I have looked every time I fly over the island I have never seen it. I have no idea where it is or indeed if it ever existed.
He then flew back to Matamanoa and taxied up to the beach before he cut the engines. They left the seaplane by walking along the floats. As Robert jumped onto the beach. His sixth sense, born of over twenty years in the secret service started to jingle bells inside his head. There was something going on he knew nothing about and he was never comfortable with that situation.