Home » Uncategorized » How could Commodore Bainimarama be the Rawlings of the islands?…….. No coup is a good coup.

How could Commodore Bainimarama be the Rawlings of the islands?…….. No coup is a good coup.

ON THE ROAD TO RADICAL REFORM

How Commodore Bainimarama could be Rawlings of the islands

By VIJENDRA KUMAR

As the Fiji Government prepares to draft and adopt a new Constitution and return the country to democratic rule, it might be useful to take a leaf out of the history of the West African state of Ghana. It is today one of the few stable and prosperous democracies on the African continent, thanks largely to an air force officer named Jerry Rawlings.

Like Voreqe Bainimarama, Rawlings emerged on the Ghananian political scene at a crucial time and launched a radical and ambitious reform agenda. The lives of these two leaders bear remarkable similarities. Rawlings enlisted in the Ghananian Air Force and rose to the rank of Flight-Lieutenant; Bainimarama chose the Fiji Navy and rose to become its Commodore.

Jerry Rawlings as coup maker ( Photo: Getty Images)

CORRUPTION, CRONYISM

Both were reluctant politicians and seized power because they were appalled by the level of corruption, cronyism and general maladministration that had become endemic in their countries.

Just as Commodore Bainimarama survived an assassination attempt, so did Fl-Lt Rawlings survive a death sentence during their first forays into politics. Fl-Lt Rawlings led a group of air force officers in a coup attempt against the corrupt regime of Fred Akuffo on May 15, 1979 but was arrested, court-martialled and sentenced to death.Before the sentence could be carried out, his fellow officers mounted another coup on June 4 and succeeded in freeing Rawlings and his colleagues and toppling the Akuffo government

Rawlings and company formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and began “a housecleaning exercise” where large sums of stolen government money were retrieved into government coffers. The same year, Rawlings and his council organised a free and fair general election which was won by the People’s National Party led by Hilla Limann. But on December 31, 1981 Rawlings and the revolutionary council deposed the Limann government and assumed power, with himself as chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council.

Jerry Rawlings as democratic statesman (Photo:Getty Images)

He ruled Ghana as a military dictator from 1981 to 1992 and then as elected president of the fourth republic from 1993 to 2001.He founded the National Democratic Party and was popularly re-elected in 1997. He retired at the end of his term and endorsed his vice-president John Evans Atta Mills to succeed him in the 2000 election but this time the Opposition New Patriotic Party’s John Kufuor won.

Rawlings was the joint winner of the World Hunger Award in 1993. He used this money as seed capital in establishing the University of Development Studies in northern Ghana. Today, he is regarded as an elder statesman and is held in high esteem by his people.

Unlike Commodore Bainimarama, Fl-Lt Rawlings resorted to some harsh and brutal measures during the first few years of his rule to bring to book those responsible for widespread corruption and malfeasance throughout the country. But his lasting legacy is a country that enjoys democratic rule and economic prosperity. That the Opposition is currently in power is testimony to the solid roots of democracy that he helped to plant and nurture.

Bainimarama as coup maker (Photo: BBC)

Commodore Bainimarama embarked on a similar radical reform agenda when he deposed the Qarase Government and seized power. However, his method of enforcing change was not brutally repressive but severe and authoritarian. At worst, he could be accused of being a benevolent autocrat.

VISION, MISSION

His vision and mission were clear: to reform a political system that divided the country into racial blocs; to root out corruption; abolish some of the anachronistic institutions and thus clear the decks of the last vestiges of the old colonial power structure, and, finally, to charter a course for a free, democratic and prosperous Fiji.

The establishment of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) has already claimed a few big scalps but the war on corruption is both complex and difficult, not to mention time-consuming. It will take long and persistent efforts to even partially eradicate an entrenched culture of baksheesh, loloma or ghoose. But the very presence of such a watchdog entity acts as a strong deterrent to those inclined to seek and bestow favours, illicitly and in secret, for cash or other considerations.

HELPING POOR

Bainimarama as democratic statesman? (Photo: Graham Davis)

His economic and social reforms have been targeted to help the poor. Free school bus services, increased welfare payments, changes to the tax system and reforms to the land tenure system are significant measures towards creating an equitable and just society.

Among his many bold and historic reforms, the creation of a single common name for all citizens and thus giving our people an internationally recognisable national identity must be singled out as his greatest achievement. It gives all Fijians a sense of belonging and instills in them national pride. It will foster, one hopes, a more cohesive and united civil society. It should gradually purge politics of the curse of racial divide.

On the negative side, the Government’s imposition of press censorship and a blanket ban on public assembly were ill-conceived. They proved counter-productive as bloggers and other critics of the regime went feral on the internet and other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The Government’s message, however positive or well-intentioned, got lost amid a sea of wild accusations, rumours and chatter that dominated cyberspace.

Belatedly, the Government has lifted these restrictions but still seeks to impose some form of control on the media. It must realise that a free and vibrant media is the fourth pillar on which the mansion of democracy rests.

RESPONSIBILITY

For its part, the media has a responsibility to be truthful, fair and balanced in its news reporting, and not assume the role of an opposition political party.

Fiji has been devastated by a series of natural disasters during the past three years which placed severe strains on the economy. The suspension and cutbacks in aid from traditional foreign donors have also hurt growth. Despite these setbacks, Fiji has not become a basket case. On the contrary, its economy is still growing at a modest 2.7 per cent.

As the nation begins registering voters for the next general election and the Constitution Review Commission undertakes the task of public consultation to draft a new Constitution, people should feel buoyed by the winds of change blowing over the country.

Prime Minister Bainimarama has demonstrated through his actions his commitment to return the country to parliamentary democracy and one hopes he will, like Jerry Rawlings, continue to serve Fiji and eventually win a similarly honoured place in its history.

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52 thoughts on “How could Commodore Bainimarama be the Rawlings of the islands?…….. No coup is a good coup.

  1. The lies in that dribble started in the first sentence.

    Was this nonsense written by a green goon in St Giles?

  2. What a load of crap. Bainimarama has not proven massive corruption as alleged but is corrupted himself.

  3. We have corrupt thug as illegal PM in Fiji, one who make the 2006 coup to save himself from naboro-who is murderer of CRW, $20000 illegal fraudlent leave payment thief, $700000 annual salary thief, corrupt taking bribes, woman basher and drunkard.

  4. the last sentence : “Prime Minister Bainimarama has demonstrated through his actions his commitment to return the country to parliamentary democracy, and one hopes he will, like Jerry Rawlings, continue to serve Fiji and eventually win a similar honoured place in its history”.
    I thought someone like Vijendra Kumar with his mountain of experience and intellect would bring a more discerning mind to bear on the situation in Fiji under Bainimarama’s rule.
    He has apparently convinced himself that Bainimarama has “demonstrated through his actions his commitment to return the country to parliamentary democracy”.
    I think that is a premature judgement. I can say a lot more about how Bainimarama’s actions have infact continued to undermine any real return to democratic governance of the country, but I think I will let other Fiji watchers contribute their views on it.

  5. one of the legacy's of Voreqe Bainimarama is the equal distribution of lease money to all mataqali members in Fiji. says:

    A well thought and presented article.

    In fact one of the legacy’s of Voreqe Bainimarama is the equal distribution of lease money to all mataqali members in Fiji. This also applies to those members who are under 18 years of age whose money will be held in trust.

    This has never happened in fiji before where the chiefs and contributors in this blog such as ratu, radio and other chiefs have been sucking our blood for many generations by taking the lion’s share of lease money/

    Vinaka Voreqe Bainimarama

  6. Rawlings started out as a Marxist- Leninist. The Ghanaian dictatorship was a Soviet sattelite state in West Africa.

    By 1990 Ghana was on the verge of economic collapse.

    Its patron the Soviet Union had broken apart in 1989.

    Rawlings turned to the CIA for a lifeline.

    He was told that either he moved Ghana to Democratic Constitutional rule or the CIA would remove him from power. The Yanks and Brits told him that if he chose the former they would assist him to have those elections and rebuild the institutions of governance.

    If he chose the latter they would bury him.

    He went to elections. The Marxist Leninist firebrand has reformed into a democratic leader.

    The Courts in Ghana were reconstituted, the legal system was reconstituted and Democratic governance reconstituted. All these institutions had been removed under the Millitary Dictatorship.

    Ghana today is the result of the work done post 1992 by the British and American government in coordination with the Government in Accra, Rawlings the reformed leader post 1992 is the Rawlings to whom Ghana is much indebted – not the Rawlings millitary officer with Marxist- Leninist leanings pre 1992.

  7. A very well expressed and considerate article, Frank will go in history as the only person to systematically dismantle GCC among other vestiges of Kaivataism.

  8. Who is vijendra trying to fool. Or is he a fool himself to trust the snake who had lied so many times before. Trust me bai is fooling the people and international community with all this election bs. Theres obviously a lot going on now with chinese everywhere building all sorts of things. But I dont trust both the chinese and bai and his gang of you know who. Only time will tell. Question to ask is will bai give up power peacefully and gracefully if he loses the election.

  9. Who said Frank will run for parliament?

    Isn’t it the biggest lie concocted by imbeciles?

    If Frank does consider running for parliament, there is no doubt the 98.6% of the people will support him if not already.

  10. @ piggy bolt

    Jerry Rawlings didn’t do a cassava patch dash, but he did turn on his officers as they stood on the edge of that massive crevice in the summer of 1990 with the Soviet Union collapsing and its sattelite states (including Georgia) all clamouring for self rule. Poland had broken away. The vigils in Leipzig had commenced which eventually led to the collapse of the wll in Berlin. The edifices of militant socialism and leftist revolution, all is sacred temples were crumbling from within. Ideology alone was no longer sufficient to hold the 70 year experiment in Communism together.

    His fellow officers (of the Ghanaian armed forces) who had stood with him because of the “revolution” felt betrayed when he turned to the West in 1990, especially as he turned specifically to the CIA.

    Ghana received $USD5 billion of direct financial support from the US and the EU after Rawlings had his eureka moment in 1990. He was finally able to turn to the IMF and the World Bank as Ghana tottered on the edge of the massive chasm which had been created by his misrule over the 20 yers of his dictatorship. He shed the ganja smoking Stalinist image (what had initially started out as a Leninist – Marxist foray had quickly descended into a Stalinist nightmare for Ghana as Courts were replaced by Rawlings “Tribunals”, Judges were murdered and the rule of law and civil liberties rendered defunct. Commerce predictably nosedived) for a new democratic cloak of respectability.

  11. LOL… @ the vesumona piece. The only place of honour bainimarama and his advisors will know of is Naboro Prisons.

    People must ask WHY didn’t Aiyaz, Nazat, Gates, military officers and gang resign their cushy jobs and work with the people to bring about lasting changes they wanted to see, within the framework of the 1997 Constitution?

    What is so wrong, dirty or difficult about rolling up your sleeves and working the hard yards to win the hearts and minds of the ordinary, educated populace and topple the Govt, within the framework of the 1997 Constitution and save the country from suffering the effects of another coup.

    Why did this lot of losers choose instead to sulk in their cushy seats, plotting and biding their time to ride the same corrupt tiger that others they accuse, had done in the previous coups?

    This year’s the 6th anniversary of their Dec 2006 and look at the mess they’ve made of the country, their sorry legacy.

    They could never set things right, it’s a little too late for that now… they must remove themselves and receive their just desserts from the people.

  12. @ALL Anti government bloggers

    Bainimarama’s legacy among others will go into Fiji’s history as getting rid of the GCC – Great council of Cheats/thiefs and getting rid of the racist communal voting system in Fiji.

    In addition, EQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF LEASE MONEY AMONG ALL MATAQALI MEMBERS IS A KILLER…..PUNCH TO THE ELITE FIJIANS/RATUS

    Vinaka Voreqe Bainimarama

  13. “the Government’s imposition of press censorship and a blanket ban on public assembly were ill-conceived. They proved counter-productive*…”

    * Now THAT, is an understatement.

    “Belatedly, the Government has lifted these restrictions*…”

    * And THAT, purely a sweet fiction, concocted to appeal to the regime’s version of what they believe they are doing.

    But all in all, I think the writer is attempting to influence Frank to become the man we all thought he was in 2001 – the saviour of the nation.

    Having said that, the revelations of his involvement in Speight’s coup, and his subsequent dictatorship, have revealed him to be a cheap, self-serving and venal man, intent on saving his own hide.

    If only it were otherwise. “Haha” says it best: “What is so wrong, dirty or difficult about rolling up your sleeves and working the hard yards to win the hearts and minds of the ordinary, educated populace”? That will prove to be an idea that will haunt them in their old age.

  14. Radio Sidewinder.

    “But all in all, I think the writer is attempting to influence Frank to become the man we all thought he was in 2001 – the saviour of the nation”

    No boy the author isn’t trying to influence Frank at all, in fact the author is expressing what the 98.6% of the people already know that Frank is indeed their saviour.

    Fiji is blessed to have a person like Frank.

  15. @ Ratu Sai – a saviouryou say ?

    45% of people in poverty

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Forty-five per cent of people in Fiji are living in poverty, this was revealed at a workshop on poverty alleviation impact assessment.

    The figures, derived from the yet to be released Household and Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES 2008/2009), was presented to the workshop by the Poverty Eradication Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister.

    This would mean that 360,000 people in Fiji are living in poverty.

    Also revealed at the workshop was the fact that the Government, between 2000 and 2008 had spent $1.5 billion on poverty eradication programmes but the figures from the survey had shown that instead of eradicating poverty, levels had grown since 2000.

    The $1.5billion were budgetary allocation provided by the taxpayers.

    Latest economic statistics provided by the Poverty Eradication Unit indicated that income inequalities as well as the percentage of the population living below the poverty line may have worsened.

    Workshop facilitator Dr Howard White of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation told the workshop that the level of poverty has increased from the last survey done in 2007 which showed that poverty was around 32 per cent.

    He said Fiji suffered from the twin-paradoxes of poverty in the midst of plenty and rising poverty accompanying rising spending on poverty alleviation programmes.

    He said the wealth of the nation was not trickling down to the grassroots but was shared among a few.

    Dr White said that there was a need to promote programmes which would allow people living in poverty to have equal opportunities to goods and services enjoyed by those in the high income brackets.

    Permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua said White was brought in to assess the impact of poverty in Fiji.

    He said Government wanted to see the proportion of Fiji’s population living below the poverty line drop from 35 per cent to less than 15 per cent by 2020.

    Dr White, who has previously led the impact evaluation program of the World Bank, will also be looking at ways in which he will be able to assist Government in reviewing its pro-poor programmes so as to reduce poverty to a negligible level by 2015 as mandated by the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.

    More Indo-Fijians living in poverty: Survey

    May 02, 2012 08:51:16 AM

    There are more Indo-Fijians living in poverty, a survey by Fiji’s Bureau of Statistics has found.

    According to the Household Income and Expenditure Survey, of those living below the poverty line between 2008-2009, 72 per cent were Indo-Fijians and 66 per cent iTaukei.

    Forty-five per cent of the Indo-Fijian population living in poverty live in rural areas while 21 per cent reside in town and city areas.

    In contrast, 42 per cent of the poverty-stricken iTaukei live in rural areas and 17 per cent in urban areas.

    For other ethnicities, 50 per cent of the poor live in rural areas while 16 per cent live in urban areas.

    It was also found out that 15 per cent of Fiji’s poverty stricken famlies live in urban areas while 37 per cent are in rural settlements and villages.

    Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika told the Eastern Division development board meeting last week a recent survey had indicated there is a big increase in poverty in the rural areas.

    Lt Col Rika said those below the poverty line is measured as average households of four members who earn less than $155 a week.

    By Ropate Valemei

    Typhoid alert

    Maciu Malo
    Saturday, July 07, 2012

    Another village in Navosa is under siege from typhoid, a communicable disease that caused the hospitalisation of 29 villagers from the province last year.

    Navosa district officer Atunaisa Keve confirmed that nine villagers from Draubuta were admitted this week after testing positive for typhoid while another eight suspected cases were treated in the village.

    The Health Ministry’s deputy secretary for public health, Doctor Josefa Koroivueta, confirmed the outbreak.

    “There is confirmed typhoid outbreak in this village that requires the mobilisation of outbreak response team to the area,” he said.

    “This is part of the integrated rural development and the whole of government approach to the problem to steer the community towards wellness.

    “It is more than this visit. It will examine the community profile to understand the root issues of the community and then dealing with them comprehensively to solve the community issues.

    “The solution for Draubuta lies in there,” said Dr Koroivueta.

    Sigatoka subdivisional medical officer Dr Dasi Gurumarna Devi said an awareness campaign would be conducted in the village next week.

    She said the health department would be working closely with the Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Council, Navosa district office, police and other stakeholders to contain the disease.

    “We will be conducting awareness in the village from next week just to educate the villagers on the precautionary measures,” said Dr Devi.

    Assistant roko tui Navosa Marika Nagata said a government team consisting of police and staff from the district office visited the village on Tuesday after reports of the outbreak was received.

    He confirmed that nine villagers were tested positive and eight suspected cases were recorded at the village.

    “The nine confirmed cases are admitted at the hospital while villagers have been warned to take extra precautionary measures,” said Mr Nagata.

    “Villagers have been advised to refrain from mass gathering and to remain in the village until the typhoid is contained.

    “The outbreak is a concern not only to the villagers but also to the government,” he said.

    “Villagers have been told to boil drinking water and to also wash their hands after using the toilet.

    “We will be spending three days in the village in a joint inspection with police, health and the provincial council to address the matter to the villagers,” said Mr Nagata.

    Last year it took medical authorities more than three months to contain the outbreak at Nanoko.

    Typhoid on island

    Maciu Malo
    Tuesday, June 05, 2012

    Government is likely to place a ban on movement on two villages on Moturiki after five confirmed cases of typhoid were recorded on the island.

    Fresh concerns have been raised with the spread of the disease and people have been urged to refrain from attending mass gatherings while a ban has been placed on yaqona drinking.

    Lomaiviti provincial administrator Kelepi Kubunameca said the spread of typhoid was a serious concern.

    Only two cases were recorded earlier and the number just jumped to five lately, he said.

    The villagers have been urged to stop drinking yaqona because this is a major cause of the spread of the illness.

    We are working closely with the Health Ministry, water authority and other stakeholders in trying to contain the disease.

    Mr Kubunameca said the island last recorded a major typhoid breakout in 1980 and attempts had been made since to eradicate the disease.

    There are many factors contributing to the spread of typhoid and people are reminded to always take precautionary health safety measures, he said.

    Most of us dont take health tips and advice seriously and this can always cause the spread of these communicable diseases.

    Villagers are advised to boil drinking water and properly wash their hands after using the toilet.

    We have identified contaminated drinking water as a cause of the disease.

    Commissioner Eastern Lieutenant Colonel Netani Rika told The Fiji Times the situation was being closely monitored.

    He said a government team would be deployed to the island today to monitor the situation before any further action was taken.

    Health Ministry permanent secretary Doctor Eloni Tora is on leave and could not be reached for comment. Several attempts to get comments from ministry spokesman Peni Namotu were also unsuccessful.

    Fiji Sun
    17th June 2012
    Letters to the Editor

    Donald Chan
    Lautoka

    The roads in the West are so riddled with potholes that we would win hands down if Fiji had a competition for the most potholes in a division.
    Can we have a competition?

    Fiji Times
    20th May 2012
    Letters to the editor

    Potholes and smoke

    DRIVING around our capital city is a nightmare of potholes and smoke.

    And our special administrator of Suva and the LTA are not doing their jobs, as I see it, and surely my fellow citizens as well.

    It’s about time our government steps in and issues new decrees for compensation to car owners in Suva with wrecked shock absorbers resulting from the potholes and for compensation to the public at large with black lungs in their bodies, resulting from inhaling bus exhaust fumes.

    I guess that would cost millions, millions which our government currently throws into the new elections and constitutional process.

    Keep some millions aside for the welfare of your people, please.

    Our financial and physical welfare is more important than elections, or is it not?

    ERWIN KARL SKIBA
    Suva

  16. @ Ratu Sai Happy landowners say you ?

    Landowners want fair deal

    June 30, 2008 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

    Written By : Kailash Rao. Poor road conditions and non- payment of lease money has forced villagers of Nasealevu outside Labasa to close off water supply from one of its main source.
    Nasealevu villagers closed off the main valve at Nagata catchment that controls water supply to several reservoirs feeding the town and outlying areas last Thursday after their seven- day notice to the Water Supply Department expired.
    A spokesperson for the landowners Pio Vularomo yesterday said landowners have been compromising in agreeing to waiver payment owed to them from 1975 to 2000.
    “We are only demanding that they pay us lease money from the year 2000 to 2004,” he said.
    “They have paid us lease money in 2005 and 2007 but even that were not in full amounts.”
    He said there are four landowning units Luvutu, Nasealevu, Vatua and Logani.
    “For about thirty years there was no formal lease prepared for the catchment area but after the formalisation of lease papers in 2000, the Water Supply Department has not been faithful in keeping up with its payments,” he continued on.
    “We are struggling here. We find it difficult to send our children to school. It’s ironic that we are supplying the town with a basic need but yet we get little reward or recognition for that.”
    He said many villagers have relocated to places near public roads leaving behind their farms.
    “Why should we have to suffer? Why should our lives be any more difficult than other residents? We gave up our rights to the catchment area and any other possible income we can make from it like picnicking for the general public.
    “All we want in return is better roads so the bus can come to the village, and our children wouldn’t have to suffer and so we can get better access to the market to sell our produce and earn a living,” Mr Vularomo said.
    Water Supply spokesperson Maika Nagalu said the Native Land Trust Board would be looking into the issue on their behalf and he assured Labasa residents they would still be supplied with efficient water supply.
    Water was being supplied from the Navau water catchment to Debau treatment plant for the residents.

    Landowners lift roadblock after talks

    Tevita Vuibau
    Tuesday, February 07, 2012

    + Enlarge this image

    Keleto Waqurutia, the turaga ni koro of Waivaka Village, and his son Beniamino Nakuta show the barbed wire that was used for the road block. Picture: ATU RASEA

    A ROADBLOCK set up by landowners in Namosi the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) has been lifted.

    The roadblock was set up by the mataqali Nabuacoko of Waivaka Village after disagreements with the NJV company over the use of the road running through their land.

    When The Fiji Times visited the village on Saturday, the landowners said the roadblock had been lifted on Tuesday. It was the first time any vehicle belonging to the mining company and workers could use the road since last December.

    Turaga ni koro (village headman) and lewe ni mataqali o Nabuacoko Keleto Waqurutia said the decision to lift the roadblock was made after there had been discussions with Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

    Mr Waqurutia said the road was blocked because of issues arising from the payment for its use.

    Mr Waqurutia said two other mataqali were being paid by NJV for the use of the road because it ran through their land, but the mataqali Nabuacoko had not received any payments.

    He said the road had originally been used by the MX Company to access their quarry.

    In a statement released by the government and NJV, it said the two parties were committed to solving issues raised by landowning units in Namosi.

    This followed a successful meeting on Friday between government and the mining company. Both agreed to map out a process of rehabilitation on environmental and social issues raised by landowners.

    According to the statement, the Prime Minister’s permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Pio Tikoduadua will lead a team to Namosi to inspect and verify issues and grievances raised.

    Police stop protest by landowners

    July 2, 2008 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

    Written By : Lusia Vuruna . Police had to stop a group of landowners from entering a school compound which they claimed was sitting on their land.
    The villagers from Nakini village in Naitasiri entered the compound of the Naitasiri Bhartiya School at Baulevu because of a dispute over the ownership of the land.
    Police media liaison officer Atunaisa Sokomuri said officers from Nausori intervened after the landowners tried to close down the school.
    “Members of a landowning unit from Nakini village in Naitasiri entered the school property yesterday (Tuesday),” he said.
    “But police was called and they managed to intervene and the situation was quickly brought under control.”
    Mr Sokomuri said police managed to convince the landowners to liaise with the proper authorities regarding the ownership of the land.
    “We managed to convince the landowners to take their issues to proper authorities and liaise with them,” he said.
    “So they returned to Naikini village before anything else happened.”
    He said they had referred the landowners to the Lands Department.
    The primary school caters for students up to class eight and has a roll of about 100.
    School manager Salendra Lal said the situation had been brought under control.
    “It was just a small issue and it has been resolved now,” he said.
    “The school committee and the police managed to handle the situation well before it could affect the studies of the students at the school.”
    Mr Lal said the issue arose when villagers claimed they were owners of the land.
    “The land is crown land and therefore is not owned by the villagers.”
    Queries sent to the Native Land Trust Board have yet to be answered.

    Landowners support church over river pollution protest

    January 4, 2009 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

    Written By : Emele Tabucala. People living alongside the Qawa river in Labasa are starting to move away due to its foul smell, says Reverend Savirio Vuata.
    He yesterday said the smell is so unbearable especially during the crushing season when the sugar mill is in operation.
    “It is only at the end of the crushing season when the river is somewhat normal,” he said.
    He said the only response they received so far as the result of the protest march last month against the Qawa river stench was the closure of the mill.
    Mr Vuata said the Methodist church has received support from the landowners and people living along the river.
    “I’m more concerned about all living things in the Methodist church congregation and that include the living things in Qawa river.
    “I cannot sit back and see the people suffering.
    “I feel that I’m responsible for the welfare of all living things in Labasa because most of the people that attend church are benefiting from the river.
    “They get their food from the river but now they are facing a huge problem because all fish in the river have died due to the chemicals and rubbish dumped by the mill and a nearby sawmill.”
    Mr Vuata said there will be another march against the Qawa river stench before the sugar mill opens.

  17. @ Ratu Sai, a saviour say you ?

    Bankrupted FSC unable to provide transport for cane leaving landowner farmers distressed.

    Cane woes

    Serafina Silaitoga
    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    INDIGENOUS cane farmers in the north are worried about harvesting their cane on time as most of them don’t own trucks to transport their crop to the mill.

    The situation, iTaukei Growers Association co-ordinator Adi Sivo Ravuwale said, had discouraged many iTaukei farmers from harvesting this season.

    “Our members have already visited truck owners who are also farmers asking to hire their trucks but have been told to wait,” she said.

    “The truck owners who are farmers have told us they will use their trucks first because they’re also harvesting their cane and when they finish harvesting, they will then hire their trucks out.

    “Right now, most of us are stuck and we don’t know what to do. None of us has started harvesting because we don’t have the available transport.”

    Divisional planning officer north Alipate Bolalevu referred all queries to provincial administrator Macuata Joseva Rokonai who handles cane farming issues on behalf of the Commissioner Northern’s office. Mr Rokonai advised the association to first visit Fiji Sugar Corporation officials in Labasa to discuss the transport situation.

    He said FSC officials and senior government officers would meet today to discuss issues relating to the harvesting season already in progress in Labasa.

    Seaqaqa farmer Iliesa Sakealevu said hiring a truck cost $17 a tonne of cane. “Right now, we have to wait for the truck owners, mostly farmers too, to finish harvesting their crop before we can hire their trucks.

    “Most of us are in areas that rail carts don’t have access to so we depend on trucks. This is the situation we face every year and most of the time, it is the iTaukei cane farmers who have standover cane, we lose out financially.”

    Farmer Manasa Rasalato said: “Right now, we can’t harvest or do anything because of the transportation costs of $17 a tonne and we don’t have or own trucks to transport our cane to the mill.”

  18. frank and regime have f fiji economy and filled the pocket.
    why cant he release the 2006 to 2011 auditor general reports.
    how much salary paid to ministers.
    why aunty bano paying them.
    how much tender been awarded to malaysia/china company.
    bunch of crook/liars.

  19. Anon.

    “45% of people in poverty”

    “Pio Vularomo yesterday said landowners have been compromising in agreeing to waiver payment owed to them from 1975 to 2000.
    “We are only demanding that they pay us lease money from the year 2000 to 2004″

    Let’s start with the poverty, it would fair to say that 35% of poverty is attributed to Rabuka and Qarase because most are cane farmers that were unceremoniously booted out and in most cases their lease weren’t renewed, while 5% of the displaced people are inter-Islanders coming to the main land seeking fortune just to find poverty awaits them.

    The remaining 5% of poverty stricken people are known as economic refugees or victims of circumstances in this case the coup of 2006.

    Lease.

    You will find Pio’s complaint spans numerous years covering several governments plus a few coups however between the years of 2000-2004 the man in charge was Qarase, the latter is in itself explanatory, in that what does one expects from a rogue.

  20. ratu.

    I leave you something to ponder, that is if your have nous, a man is considered wise who talks very little.

  21. @ Ratu Sai….the Saviour is now passing the buck say you ?

    I thought a Saviour creates miracles. Like Jesus Christ who walked on water ?

  22. Anon.

    Frank is far from passing the buck, infact the saviour is addressing the peoples needs and not their wants.

    One must distinguish between needs and wants,

    Poverty is common in most countries, however what compounds Fiji’s problems are crooked past governments and their officials inter-alia Chiefs, the former and latter is well and truly taken care of by Fiji’s miracle worker.

    What else is there to say but congratulate the man.

  23. @ Rt Sai

    Is access to clean water and sanitation, essential to preventing typhoid, a need or a want ?

    Is access to good well maintained canefarm roads on which lorries can transport cane to the sugar mills so that farmers can make their supply and receive fair income from their labor a need or a want ?

    Is the right to jobs, so that poverty does not continue to increase at the rate which it has since 2006, a need or a want ?

    Are the landowners entitled to fair rental returns on their leases, as reflective of rising values in an economy which is creating value, a need or a want ?

    Where has all the mney borrowed since December 2006 gone to ? Roads which now cannot be maintained because Government has maxed out on the credit card ?

    Where does the “Saviour” fit into all of this ?

    Loaded word that word, “Saviour”.

    So the “Saviour” specialises in passing the buck governance.

    What else does the Saviour specialise in apart from that ?

  24. @ Ratu Sai…meeting needs not wants say you ?

    Is access to clean uninterupted water supply a need or a want ?

    It will be 6 years of the Saviour come this December.

    Water cuts affect residents

    Tevita Vuibau
    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    THE Water Authority of Fiji has blamed power cuts as the reason for water supply disruptions to some areas in the capital city on Monday.

    But the Fiji Electricity Authority said the power outage for about 20 minutes during the day should not be the reason for disruptions to water supply.

    A statement from WAF said that work on the Tamavua/ Tovata water pumps was interfered with by a power cut.

    WAF communications officer Kelera Serelini said as a result, they were advising customers to store water because there would be problems with supply.

    “The Water Authority of Fiji wishes to advise its customers living in the greater Delainavesi, Lami, Togalevu, Samabula, Namadi areas and those living along Suva-Nausori corridor to store water immediately,” she said.

    Ms Serelini said that all emergency services including major hospitals continued to receive supply while water was carted to affected areas.

    Affected parts of Suva include those living in Wailekutu, Redhill, Uduya Point Namukailau, Veisari, Bilo, St Thomas, Beni Naiveli, Naikorokoro, Togalevu, Tamavua-i-Wai, Savura, Wailoku, Tacirua, Khalsa Princes Rd junction to Dokanaisuva, Sakoca, Khalsa Road, Tacirua Heights, Rewa, Waila 3b, Nakasi Elevated area Farm road,Tovata, Tovata, Makoi, Tuirara, Upper Caubati, Cunningham, Upper Naveiwakau, Namadi, and Samabula and those living along Nausori-Suva corridor.

    “Eight trucks were sent out (Monday) to cater to the needs of affected residents and a few more to cater for the Suva-Nausori corridor,” said Ms Serelini.

    Late Monday afternoon, the authority said repairs at the Waimanu and Savura pumping stations were causing further disruptions to the same areas.

    However, FEA said in a statement that a power outage had occured in the WAF’s area of operations at 11.41am on Monday but power supply was restored at 12 midday.

    FEA chief executive ofiicer Hasmukh Patel said the power outage should therefore not in any way affect the supply of water to the affected areas as claimed by WAF.

    Late that night, water trucks were again visiting affected areas after another power outage at 8.17pm.

    Water cut angers residents

    Tevita Vuibau
    Monday, January 16, 2012

    RESIDENTS in parts of Suva have called on the Water Authority to perform its duties well.

    The residents were left without water for half the weekend.

    Concerned residents who contacted The Fiji Times on Saturday said while they understood the need for water cuts, they had issues with trucks carting water to the affected areas.

    Sushila Kumar, a resident of Biau Street in Cunningham, said while the authority had announced there would be trucks delivering water, none showed up.

    “The water went off without any warning and now we are without water for a whole day – we are sick and tired of this,” said Mrs Kumar.

    Residents of Wairua in Tamavua shared similar sentiments.

    Pene, a resident of Wailoku, said the cuts began at 2pm on Friday and continued 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

    “Whenever someone doesn’t pay their bills, the Water Authority is very quick to come and disconnect their meter but when we have water cuts, paying customers have to wait for so long to get water from trucks,” he said.

    Authority spokeswoman Kelera Serelini said they sent out five trucks to serve the affected areas yesterday morning. She said customers should call the National Customer Service Centre on 3346777 if they needed assistance with the water.

    Costly intermittent water supply for residents

    Serafina Silaitoga
    Tuesday, March 06, 2012

    A communcity on the outskirts of Labasa Town had to foot extra costs to meet their daily water needs after facing intermittent water supply.

    Residents along the airport road in Wailevu said they were not informed of the water cut they faced from Friday night.

    And as a result they had to hire carriers to fetch water from relatives.

    Resident Suresh Chandra said they were without water until Sunday night.

    “The Water Authority of Fiji did not inform us of any water cuts and they did not deliver water to our area in the weekend,” he said.

    “We called the office number on 3346777 but nobody answered at all and that happened throughout the weekend.

    “Their service to the public is very poor and if they can’t attend to our calls, then what about our water cut problem.

    “We have sick people in our homes to take care of and if WAF had informed us we would have filled up our buckets for the weekend.”

    Mr Chandra said he had to spend more than $50 to hire a carrier to get water from a relative.

    WAF communications officer Kelera Serelini said the low reservoir level at Nabekavu resulted in the low pressure.

    “Supply will be restored once average water level is reached by this evening (yesterday)..”

    “WAF, however continues to advise our customers to call our National Call Centre on 3346777 for assistance.

    “This is how our team is able to access their complaints and execute necessary repairs and even provide water carting to affected areas,” Ms Serelini said.

  25. Water.

    What do you know about water reticulation,cast iron pipelines and factors that will cause breakage along pipelines?

    Now since the British installed water reticulation the length and breath of Fiji service along such pipelines have been negligible and therein lies your answer.

    Only a fool would blamed Frank for the lack maintenance and the incompetence that is rife in the water supply departnment of Fiji.

  26. Thank you people at Fiji Today Open Forum for putting Vijendra Kumar’s article ‘The Road to Radical Reform” up for debate and critical analysis. We have as a result obtained a greater insight into Jerry Rawlings military dictatorship in Ghana and how Frank Bainimarama might have pulled a page or two from it.
    We learn also that the Americans and the British bailed Rawlings out and restored democratic governance in Ghana. That just confirms a point I had made earlier that Fiji needs to go through another round of colonial rule to relearn how to run the country democratically!!

  27. @Rt Sai buck stops at the top.

    So what has the Saviour done in the last 6 years to fix those woes, other than pass the buck and have meetings to listen to grievances ? 6 years is aong time. A lifetime.

    Hundreds of millions in loans since December 2006 when the Saviour came into power, supposedly gone into infrastructure (water and sanitation and roads ?), and nothing to show for it except more infrastructural problems and massive debt.

    Has the Saviour dropped the cross somewhere on the road to Golgotha ?

    How goes the $210k back pay the Saviour (mis ?)appropriated for himself ?

    Must be a very hard job all this passing the buck.

    Rhetoric does have its consolations though. You can bullshyte half the people all the time and all the people half of the time, and fill your pocket in the process.

    After all, a self proclaimed Saviour surely must be able to walk on water shouldn’t he ?

    Even if its all an illussion of smoke and mirrors (and debt, and broken down infrastructure, and of course passing the buck).

  28. @Vijendra Kumar

    A journalist highly respected in Fiji has just tainted his reputation with all this dribble about
    Bainimarama and his ‘philanthropic’ take over of Fiji. People outside Fiji should be very carefully about what they write because they are obviously not aware of the ground situation. In VK’s case a little bit of research would have revealed the truth about this dictator who has tasted power and is now unwilling to let go. He is simply building his nest egg, travelling at the drop of a hat and doing no real work. Just getting Fiji deeper and deeper into debt.

    A 2.7% growth for 2012, Vijendra? You must be dreaming.

  29. @ Ratu Sai, speaking of Saviour’s, go on have a laugh….

    here’s a story of a Saviour, an excerpt from VS Naipul’s Miguel Street.

    Man-man wandered about for days, looking dazed and lost.He no longer wrote words on the pavement; no longer spoke to me or to any of the other boys in thestreet. He began talking to himself, clasping his hands and shaking as though he had ague.Then one day he said he had seen God after having a bath.This didn’t surprise many of us. Seeing God was quite common in Port of Spain and, indeed, inTrinidad at that time. Ganesh Pundit, the mystic masseur from Fuente Grove, had started it. He had seenGod, too, and had published a little booklet called
    What God Told Me.

    Many rival mystics and not a few masseurs had announced the same thing, and I suppose it was natural that since God was in the area Man-man should see Him. Man-man began preaching at the corner of Miguel Street, under the awning of Mary’s shop. He did thisevery Saturday night. He let his beard grow and he dressed in a long white robe. He got a Bible and other holy things and stood in the white light of an acetylene lamp and preached. He was an impressive preacher,and he preached in an odd way.

    He made women cry, and he made people like Hat really worried.

    He used to hold the Bible in his right hand and slap it with his left and say in his perfect English accent,‘I have been talking to God these few days, and what he tell me about you people wasn’t really nice to hear.These days you hear all the politicians and them talking about making the island self-sufficient. You know what God tell me last night? Last night self, just after I finish eating? God say, “Man-man, come and have alook at these people.” He show me husband eating wife and wife eating husband. He show me father eatingson and mother eating daughter. He show me brother eating sister and sister eating brother. That is whatthese politicians and them mean by saying that the island going to become self-sufficient. But, brethren, it not too late now to turn to God.’I used to get nightmares every Saturday night after hearing Man-man preach. But the odd thing was that the more he frightened people the more they came to hear him preach. And when the collection was madethey gave him more than ever.

    In the week-days he just walked about, in his white robe, and he begged for food. He said he had donewhat Jesus ordered and he had given away all his goods. With his long black beard and his bright deepeyes, you couldn’t refuse him anything. He noticed me no longer, and never asked me, ‘So you goes toschool?’The people in Miguel didn’t know what to make of the change.

    They tried to comfort themselves bysaying that Man-man was really mad, but, like me, I think they weren’t sure that Man-man wasn’t really right.

    What happened afterwards wasn’t really unexpected.Man-man announced that he was a new Messiah.Hat said one day, ‘You ain’t hear the latest?’We said, ‘What?’‘Is about Man-man. He say he going to be crucified one of these days.’‘Nobody go touch him,’ Edward said. ‘Everybody fraid of him now.’Hat explained. ‘No, it ain’t that. He going to crucify hisself. One of these Fridays he going to Blue Basinand tie hisself to a cross and let people stone him.’Somebody-Errol, I think-laughed, but finding that no one laughed with him, fell silent again.

    But on top of our wonder and worry, we had this great pride in knowing that Man-man came fromMiguel Street. Little hand-written notices began appearing in the shops and cafés and on the gates of some houses,announcing Man-man’s forthcoming crucifixion.‘They going to have a big crowd in Blue Basin,’ Hat announced, and added with pride, ‘and I hear theysending some police, too.’That day, early in the morning, before the shops opened and the trolley-buses began running in Ariapita Avenue, the big crowd assembled at the corner of Miguel Street. There were lots of men dressed in black and even more women dressed in white. They were singing hymns. There were also about twentypolicemen, but they were not singing hymns.

    When Man-man appeared, looking very thin and very holy, women cried and rushed to touch his gown.The police stood by, prepared to handle anything. A van came with a great wooden cross.Hat, looking unhappy in his serge suit, said, ‘They tell me it make from match-wood. It ain’t heavy. It lightlight.’Edward said, in a snapping sort of way, ‘That matter? Is the heart and the spirit that matter.’Hat said, ‘I ain’t saying nothing.’Some men began taking the cross from the van to give it to Man-man, but he stopped them. His English accent sounded impressive in the early morning. ‘Not here. Leave it for Blue Basin.’Hat was disappointed.

    We walked to Blue Basin, the waterfall in the mountains to the northwest of Port of Spain, and we got there in two hours.

    Man-man began carrying the cross from the road, up the rocky path and then down to theBasin.Some men put up the cross, and tied Man-man to it.Man-man said, ‘Stone me, brethren.’The women wept and flung bits of sand and gravel at his feet.

    Man-man groaned and said, ‘Father, forgive them. They ain’t know what they doing.’ Then he screamed out, ‘Stone me, brethren!’

    A pebble the size of an egg struck him on the chest.Man-man cried ‘Stone, stone,STONE me, brethren! I forgive you.’Edward said, ‘The man really brave.’People began flinging really big stones at Man-man, aiming at his face and chest.

    Man-man looked hurt and surprised. He shouted, ‘What the hell is this? What the hell you people think you doing? Look, get me down from this thing quick, let me down quick, and I go settle with that son of abitch who pelt a stone at me.’From where Edward and Hat and the rest of us stood, it sounded like a cry of agony. A bigger stone struck Man-man; the women flung the sand and gravel at him.We heard Man-man’s shout, clear and loud, ‘Cut this stupidness out. Cut it out, I tell you. I finish with thisarseness, you hear.’ And then he began cursing so loudly and coarsely that the people stopped in surprise.The police took away Man-man.The authorities kept him for observation. Then for good

  30. This is a load of crap. Bainimarama is a thug and a military goon dictator. This thief has raped his nation. History will be written by real people not coup groupies and facist fools. And kumar has just joined this pack of retards and gets the qorvis medal today for public wanking.

  31. the Man-man arseness continues in Fiji… Man-man was a village idiot . But the remarkable thing is that many intelligent people came to believe in him and helped him !
    We have the same stupidness going on in Fiji now.

  32. @ Anon re Logic and ‘Saviour’

    I am sorry that you seem to be meeting with the brick wall that is Sai’s sense of logic – facts, truth and logic do not play a large part in his life and love for the Dictatorship.

    Perhaps a better method of getting him to review the “saviours” accomplishments is to word them a little bit differently – such as say:

    1. Frank has “saved” Fiji’s economy from success and growth;

    2. Frank has “saved” his regime from the judcirary;

    3. Frank has “saved” Fiji the costs of running a real government;

    4. Frank has “saved” money and taxes by sending all his pay to an overseas bank account in Dubai;

    5. Frank has “saved” time and money by refusing to release budgets, economic figures or accounting for his pay;

    6. Frank has “streamlined” justice by cutting out the court system and hiring and firing his own pet judges;

    7. Frank has “saved” time and money by giving all the important decisions he makes to Aiyaz; and

    8. Frank has “saved” time and money by ignoring all his promises and exceeding all expectations in his own incompetance.

    So by Sai’s logic, you can see just how successful Frank is at NOT being a leader – he is a saviour of the lazy, stupid and wilfully ignorant – they refuse to be accountable, lie without hesitation and misconstrue the bald truth of reality.

    This is what the regime is great at – and so it can hardly be a surprise to watch his fans do the exact same thing.

    I know I have said it before but I doubt that either Frank or Sai could even see the truth – even if it bit them in the face.

  33. On the road to radical reform… Syrian President Basher assad promised radical reforms in Syria. Many international partners bought into his “reform” agenda. They reforms he promised never happened. Look what’s happening in that country now? Shits happening there big time! God forbid Fiji ever going down that road. It is therefore crucially important that we are on the right road. Right now we are NOT! And, Vijendra Kumar’s analysis does not alter that fact.

  34. Radio Slippery Slope.

    Boy your argument is fallacious for this reason you can not assert the event of 2006 alone is the causation of Fiji;s woes and therefore as such unknown events will occur.

  35. Radio Fallacious.

    What cause and and what effect?

    You cannot extrapolate that because the event of 2006 alone is the main causative factor now can you?

    Because if you were than your argument would be illogical don’t you think?

    It could be argued the coup of 2006 alone isn’t the causative factors behind Fiji;s woes because one must take into account all preceding factors.

    What do you reckon pap?

  36. Stay on the topic to make the discussion worthwhile and meaningful. It certainly is a topic worth debating. And don’t attack and demean the author of the article “On the Road to Radical reform”. The author Vijendra Kumar is a former Tilak high school principal and a highly respected former editor of The Fiji Times. He is not a racist and fascist. He is a democrat. He has in my view got the unfolding politics in Fiji wrong. We should set him straight on that. That should be the aim here. To contest his view and to demonstrate its flaws. Mr Kumar would probably be the first to acknowledge he might have got some things wrong. That’s the way of a mature mind. And, Mr kumar certainly has that on his shoulders.

  37. Can the person who “borrowed” my copy of VS Naipaul’s Miguel Street please return it to me extra fast before I decide to send Man-man to fetch it from him!

  38. @ Ratu Sai

    “It could be argued the coup of 2006 alone isn’t the causative factors behind Fiji;s woes because one must take into account all preceding factors.”

    It could be. In the same way that we could also argue that YOU are the cause of all Fiji’s woes.

    But that argument, like the former, is stupid, Sai.

    There is no “confusion” about where the current crop of stupidities stem from Sai – the only confusion seems to reside in your pickled head.

    Your head seems to be the only place on planet earth where Frank and Aiyaz are our saviours, Fiji is doing really well, and you know all this because you live in NZ and have lunch with Frank every week. Seriously, every time you type something its as if there was an argument between your brain and your arse, and whomever won, got to type your post. Honestly.

  39. Radio Nitwit.

    So boy, do you think all preceding coups had no bearing on the economy among other things?

    It is infantile of you to conclude Frank and his usurpers is the main causation of all of Fiji woes don’t you think?

    To understand where Fiji is at to-day you must peek in the past because Frank is only attempting to correct the errors of the past what say you?

    Maybe a ear flush just might do you good.

  40. Conman ratu sai.

    Sure, Frankenstein is only trying to correct the errors of the past, and not escape his own responsibilities FOR the past, i.e. CRW soldiers’ murder, treason, theft on a massive scale, with his family and pals as accomplices (regimental fund & national treasury), Lots of thieves to protect apart from him & his aye? On second thoughts, may not be a good idea to peek in the past, aye?

    Perhaps a boot in your mouth might trigger some sense.

  41. @ Dalit

    “Perhaps a boot in your mouth might trigger some sense.”

    Judging by the nonsense he writes, I think the boot got stuck.

  42. Vinaka vakalevu…..Ena qai tukuna ga mai ko gauna…na DINA ena basika kina na lagilagi, ia na LASU ena basika kina na madua kei na vuni!

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