Opinion: Fiji PM's boycott of the Pacific Islands forum was perfect timing

Its all in the timing.

It appears a clampdown is underway in the Fiji which is causing concern at the Pacific Islands Forum. Source: 1 NEWS

And like a well oiled cuckoo clock Frank Bainimarama has perfect timing but it does have a touch of controlled madness to it.

Boycotting the Pacific Islands forum wasn't quite enough of an impact so on the eve of the leaders retreat Mr Bainimarama removed the foreign affairs portfolio off the man he sent to represent him.

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola found himself sitting at the table with the other Pacific leaders out of a job. He has defence instead, a safe portfolio.

Frank Bainimarama may not have been here, but his message to the Forum leaders is clear... You will have to deal with me now.

It's sent chills down the spines of New Zealand and Australian officials. Unlike Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Frank Bainimarama isn't known for his negotiating skills. He does what he wants, when he wants.

He is a democratically elected leader now but he still acts like a military dictator – with Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum whispering in his ear all the way.

And just to hammer home the point and clean up any loose ends which might be causing a few anxieties - opposition leaders, a former politician and the general secretary of the Fiji Council of Trade Unions have been held in police cells overnight.

They are Binman Prasad, Sitiveni Rabuka, Tupeni Baba, Jone Dakuvula and Attar Singh. The reason given is that they were at an unauthorised meeting earlier in the week – in Fiji you need a permit to hold any sort of meeting even an elderly embroidery group – and they have been arrested for making "utterances".

This blatant abuse of power in Fiji is typical of the regime there – democracy is fragile and dependent on how secure Frank is feeling.

Little wonder New Zealand was pushing for New Caledonia and French Polynesia to be part of the Pacific forum and officials will be relieved they have been accepted into the forum fold.

The geopolitics of the region is changing and it is important the Forum to be strengthened.

Frank Bainimararma's boycott and empire building making connections with non-traditional alliances like Russia, China and Indonesia has meant the Forum has had to take action too.

On the surface of it, French Polynesia and New Caledonia are part of the Pacific, but some Pacific countries have major reservations because of concern over the French influence.

Some island countries are not happy about the way the local indigenous populations of those countries do not hold the reigns of power.

But that's politics folks. Watch this space.