Monday, July 24, 2006

Is a scam? - Response to negative digg article

As a person with relatives in Mali and was on Vorovoro last weekend. I thought I should respond to the Digg story as a few negative logical comments may wreck the aspirations of a large portion of may family from mali.

First note I am biased as I want tourism developments in my area. Northen Vanua Levu is not like the rest of Fiji as it does not have many tourisim sites. Tribeswanted is one of the first tourism developments in the islands around Labasa.

From the Digg Article the main red flags were

Red flag #1: a lack of critical details

From what I can tell there is no critical details because the critical details are part of the process of being a tribe member and creating the tribe.

The cost of this should not even be debated as the rates are less then local hotel rates eg Last Friday I stayed at Savusavu Hotsprings for $102FJD a night and there is no beach experiance etc. I agree that travel costs will be exponationaly higher then staying in Vorovoro

I think 200 acres include Mali Island but Vorovoro will be able to handle 100 tribemembers if water situation is sorted out.

Red flag #2: they're collecting a lot of money in advance

I was there last weekend and there is only one bure setup and they need money for solar power, water and internet access. Creating all the amenities is part of the adventure. I am guessing if you want to just sit on the beach and drink coctails then you should be aiming for another of the other fijians resorts that will cost you US $220 for one night.

I was told that the developments are about to start in the next few weeks.

I agree not getting your money back if the tribe is not formed is a risk but I have faith it will turn out okay just the amenities may take longer then expected i.e "Fiji Time"

Again I was their last weekend and villagers are all positive. Whatever there will be karma benefits

Digg author talks about not being a lawyer well Ului the Mali representative was a practicing lawyer in Australia mainly in cases for Australian Aborigines. I consider him one of fiji's best land lawyers so would go on his judgement this venture should be legally okay in Fiji.

From what I have seen so far the tribe owners are using their funds to try and find ways of addressing the water, electiricity and internet needs of vorovoro. Really its up to the tribemembers on how they will support the community efforts and what they are willing to bear on the island

Possibility of fraud doesnt mean there will be fraud but slinging mud when there isnt any may cause a self fulfilling prophecy.

Red flag #3: it's only for a select few (suckers?)

If this is a confidance scam then again karma is a bitch especially Mali Karma, so if this is a scam I would not want to be Mark or Ben. But from what I have read on the internet and physically seen the gang interested in this is not your regular fiji tourist more interested in new experiences that add value to their lives and other peoples lives.

Vorovoro is one most beautiful islands in Fiji and I was surprised that Tui Mali has allowed a development to occur on the island. You will be considered a select few to stay their. For the first few years anyway.

I am guessing that membership is being drived through the internet and it is history making for the people of Mali and Vorovoro as they have never had a resort on their islands and its history for babasiga. So for my people it is history making.

Red flag #4: bad PR

Questioning Imal Wagners credibility as a PR consultant. Makes a goods case against Imal but in the end if the villagers get their developments, tribe members get their experiences and ben and mark make some money is that bad.

Its easy to create logical arguments that can point flaws in business ventures and hopefully those flaws dont come to fruition in this project. My main mantra in life is "a man is only big as the dream he dares to live". Hopefully mark, ben, Mali Villagers and the tribes members can live that dream.

Readers of this blog know that I am a betting man and that I am usually right in my predictions, I would bet that not all expectations will be met by villagers, tribe members and owners but it will be a valuable experience to all.

read more | digg story


Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Thank you George. Discussion on the web about the tribewanted project is speculation and what is needed is hands on experience and as you said you were in Vorovoro this weekend, you can make a better judgment than people leaning over their keyboards.
I am a cautious person, even pessimistic, and I've been looking for the flaws in the Vorovoro development plan so I'm glad to read that you have answered some of my queries.
I'll put a memo on our blog to point people to your posting.

3:00 pm  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

George could you look at the comment I left on Geelong Visual Diary blog to see if you could help me out with a favour
Many thanks, Julie

2:18 am  
Anonymous George said...

Just watched Ben and Ulai on Fiji TV promoting Tribewanted. Explained the concept sounded really geniune. Wants local companies to also be involved, talking about 900 members starting in september.

Best thing for us though was that we were just on vorovoro so my kids were yelling about being there seeing the beaches in vorovoro.

This is a big plus for me as I cant remember vorovoro and mali ever being on Fiji TV there has been a few articles in the fiji papers though.

This is making me even more determined in supporting this project.

7:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not investigate further! I agree it is a very good idea, but there is always a catch to everything. In this case, one of the chiefs... MJ, Mark James, whatever you want to call him is not the 'honest joe' that he wants you to believe. I don't know Ben, but I am sure he is a good lad... I used to know MJ, Mark James (whatever he wants to call himself now) and I wouldn't trust anything he says at all!

Cya.... RW!

7:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The link on the previous post is active (copy it into your address bar)... Go to the Jem Report and read what it says! Go to travellers point and read what some are saying there as well!

7:08 am  
Anonymous George said...

This post was a response to the Jem article. I dont know mark and ben and am giving them a second chance as its to important a project to fail for my gang.

9:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George, If you want this to work then go for it m8. Just be careful and watch yourself; people aren't always what they might seem - its better to be safe than sorry and better to have an idea of the bigger picture before you go into something big like this!

6:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bula mate. I dont really know if you're a real fijian but thats ok. What I really would clarify is when "" collects money, whose name are they using. Is it theirs or is it the local people. I'll run this through NLTB and I'll get them to chase it. If you guys really want an investment for your children, exposing yourself is not the best way to go. I'll run this through NLTB again and post again. Cheers mate. As I said, I am all for these sort of project, as long as the local people are not being manipulated and taken for a ride. Cheers mate.

10:40 am  
Anonymous George said...

Peceli's blog is at and he is currently in Labasa/Mali

I am guessing project is registerd under the tribewanted as that whats it been saying in the press, just for your info I was a manager at NLTB for more then 5 years.

I am supporting the project because it involves the local people more then usual NLTB tourism projects besides effecting my area

12:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah but the thing is Mark is someone who has these great big ideas and then.....they fail. It is his proven track record. I was at university with him when he was known as Mark Bowness.

It worries me that all these people are giving their money away - they are not going to have 5000 people by Sept, hec thats 31 days to find 4000+. So then what happens?

12:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bula, Ive got a family memmber married into the chiefly tribe in Mali(vorovoro)and I visit this island 3 to 5 times a year with my family. We now live in Australia for the past 20 years.Iknow the Tui mali very well and also lived in his house in vorovoro island.That trible thingy to me is just a scam.Iwrote a letter to the chief in the area to be ware.
This Mark and Ben had very bad records.At the moment most of my family are working in vorovoro for free.Please have a heart for this villages and dont join the tribe.

3:11 pm  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

To the last Anonymous,
I've been following the Fiji blog on tribeswanted and at least they are moving - the logs etc. have arrived on Vorovoro for the big bure and they have plans for the composting toilets ready to go. Of course the Mali guys are helping - that's their way, and they are being fed aren't they? So far, so good. Don't knock the project, mate. It is an opportunity for appropriate development on Vorovoro and Mali Island.

9:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So George, Mark? Mark, George? I'm confused. Is it just me or are these guys the same?!


10:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharkey, good one!

Looks like the first footers are having a great time! Seems well cool!

Just a thought tho?! Where is Mark James? Ben is all over the photo's as the founding member, but where is Mark? Is he not on the island? If he is not there (for whatever reason) I bet he is well gutted!!!


6:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the first time in 15 months I have decided to comment on these posts online. You can read my comments here:

My intention is to provide a context to these comments and not get into online conversation with anonymous comments. If anyone would like to discuss these comments with my face to face, get in touch, I would be happy to do so.

Please also take a look at details of the Channel 4 4Talent award I have recently won:

Mark Bowness

2:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gEORGE have you been to Vorovoro again recently?
whats going on there now?
i just looked at Marks website for his 'consultancy' work and its not so much about people and the planet and all about him and how
hope your family there are still happy sharing their beautiful homeland with the fake 'TRibe'!

9:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:51 pm  
Blogger TheDon Sansone said...


Im sorry ladies and gentlemen... George IS Mark Bowness !!!

I've studied hundreds of Marks own posts and the telltale signs of Marks writing are everywhere on Georges posts!

This is a normal Net marketing tactic of Bowness . . no matter what smart comment comes back from "George" - ridiculous, seen exactly the same stuff in AMTvStar / Hijack5 and have You Got The Nerve... Deceitful practices used to further his own goals!

Im watching you MB

3:39 am  
Blogger bathmate said...

That’s looks so nice your posting.
Everything looks good in your posting.
That will be necessary for all. Thanks for your posting.

10:00 am  

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