Human rights protected under the constitution verses Decrees

 

Waqavonovono wants court to decide on her eligibility

Tuesday, 22/07/2014

NFP proposed candidate Makereta Waqavonovono

A proposed candidate for the National Federation party, Makereta Waqavonovono has made an application in the Suva High Court to determine her eligibility to be nominated as a candidate for the September 17th General Elections.

According to the Electoral Decree, a person is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for election to Parliament only if the person is ordinarily resident in Fiji for at least 2 years immediately before being nominated.

The decree further states that a person is deemed to be ordinarily resident in Fiji if that person has been out of Fiji for official Government business or duties or has been holding an official Government position.

Waqavonovono who is being represented by Tupou Draunidalo and Faizal Koya made an application based on the grounds that this is invalid because it unlawfully discriminates against the political rights of citizens and infringes on their rights to a fair and free election because it restricts their options and they will not be able to vote for the candidates of their choice.

It is understood that Waqavonovono was out of the country for studies for one year.

The matter was called before High Court Judge Justice Kamal Kumar today.

The Chairperson of Fijian Electoral Commission, Supervisor of Elections and Attorney General and Minister for Elections who are defendants in this matter are being represented by the AG’s office.

They indicated to the court today that they will make an application to strike out the matter.

The court will hear both parties on Monday.

Story by Praneeta Prakash

 

The reason for the coup…… Frank was facing prosecution for his crimes.

 

Qarase was plotting to remove Ratu Josefa Iloilo and investigate me – Bainimarama

Tuesday, 22/07/2014

Former Prime Minister and FijiFirst leader Voreqe Bainimarama

FijiFirst leader Voreqe Bainimarama said he took over the Laisenia Qarase led government in 2006 because of the racial differences being promoted by the government.

Speaking to about 800 people at the Ra Provincial ground earlier today, Bainimarama recalled the day he appointed the caretaker government in 2000 which later won the election in 2001 led by Qarase.

Bainimarama said he thought that the former SDL led government would move away from creating racial differences which led to the events of 2000 but that did not happen.

He added that he did advise the former SDL government to take away the racial differences and he told them that his soldiers sacrificed their lives during the events of 2000 in trying to take away racial divide.

Bainimarama said after his advice to the government, Qarase decided to conduct an investigation on Bainimarama for speaking against the government.

They were then called in by the late former President Tui Vuda, Ratu Josefa Iloilo for a meeting.

Bainimarama said in that meeting he then revealed to the late former President that Qarase was plotting to remove Ratu Josefa Iloilo just after two weeks of becoming the President of Fiji.

Bainimarama then stressed that for the country to move forward Fiji must move away from racial discrimination that has prevented the growth of our country.

When contacted by Fijivillage on this issue, Qarase refused to comment.

Story by Aliki Bia

 

Choose Wisely: Qarase

litia cava
suva

 

Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase says people need to choose wisely and make one important decision – either to choose what he calls dictatorship government or democratic government.
He spoke at a Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) campaign meeting at Qauia Kindergarten Hall in Lami last night.
Mr Qarase was referring to the leadership and economic status of the country for the past eight years.
“Our economic status for the past eight years is very weak. This is highlighted with regards to the rate of unemployment, poverty and inflation,” he said. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has strongly disputed Mr Qarase’s claims on the economy.
The PM says his Government has improved economic growth and reduced the net deficit.
Questions were raised in the meeting in relation to education scholarships and national debt.
Mr Qarase said that during his leadership, scholarships were being divided into two; Multi-ethnic and Fijian Affairs Board (FAB).
Close to 150 people attended.
litia.cava@fijisun.com.fj

SODELPA says does not condone racial talk on FB

farisha ahmed
suva

SODELPA does not condone derogatory racial comments on social media, its media manager Sainiana Radrodro says.
Mrs Radrodro was commenting on exchanges on the SODELPA (Social Democratic Liberal Party) Facebook page involving SODELPA supporters and those of other parties.
She said what was posted on social media sites by their supporters was beyond their control.
Mrs Radrodro said, “our officials do not condone racial derogatory comments.
“Facebook … people go there to express their frustration, so we cannot control what they say.”
She said the comments might have been made by SODELPA supporters, but in general, no one could control what was on Facebook because it was a free site and did not get edited as in mainstream media.
“We respect what other races have contributed,” Mrs Radrodro said.
“We all have equal rights and they have a right to call Fiji their home.”
She said people were still frightened to speak out in the media so they went to Facebook and other social media sites to take out their frustration.
She said it was something no one could control since everyone had a freedom to speak and “we have to accept it”.
“We are trying to bring a common understanding between our supporters to respect other races and see how much they have contributed and as well as suffered because of all the coups.”
“All we are asking is respect and recognition for indigenous people for what belongs to us, but we would not ask for what is not ours.”
She said it was unfortunate that such remarks were being made.
“But we have to see that Fiji is big enough for everyone and we wish to make this understandable to our supporters to respect everyone,” Mrs Radrodro said.
Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

An application by the State to have the hearing in September was dismissed.

Court grants early date

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FORMER prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry’s hopes to contest the September general election have been kept alive with the Fiji Court of Appeal granting the Fiji Labour Party leader an early hearing date.

The appeals court will hear the case on August 7. Chaudhry’s appeal is against his sentence and conviction for violating the Exchange Control Act.

Chaudhry’s counsel Anand Singh presented a letter to court from the Fijian Elections Office confirming the date when nomination of candidates must be filed.

An application by the State to have the hearing in September was dismissed.

Justice Suresh Chandra said the appellant, Chaudhry, had until July 30 to file his submissions and the respondent, the State, had until August 6 to respond.

The hearing will take place over the following two days, after which a ruling is expected on notice.

Chaudhry’s conviction has rendered him ineligible for the general election and if his conviction stays until the nomination day, the 72-year old’s chances to get back into government could be over.

According to the dates released by the Elections Office, the Writ of Elections will be issued on August 4. Voter and party registrations close on the same day as well.

The nomination day for candidates is August 18 and the National Candidates List will be out seven days later.

Chaudhry was fined $2million which he has paid but is yet to repatriate close to $A1.5m he is keeping in banks in Australia for which he has until the end of the month.

The ratification may prove extremely costly in the long term for Fiji’s development.

PANG warns against Fiji’s ratification of IEPA

From PANG

News
Mon 21 Jul 2014

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SUVA, Fiji—- The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) has expressed concern that the government of Fiji has announced its decision to ratify the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA).

The decision comes even though Fiji is fully aware of the contentious toxic issues contained within the IEPA such as export taxes, the absence of a development component and its potential impact on Fiji’s ambitions and aspirations to express its economic self determination.

PANG has always argued that the Economic Partnership Agreement is against the fundamental self determining developmental ambitions of island countries of the PACPs.

“Ratification follows the unbalanced pattern of EPA negotiations. Fiji’s decision to sign the IEPA back in 2007 was made to ensure market access for sugar export. Now, seven years later the European Commission is again imposing deadlines that leave Fiji with little choice but to ratify. The European Commission has shown scant interest in the regional negotiations having suspended Comprehensive Negotiations at the end of 2013 – cornering Fiji into this decision. The decision by Fiji to ratify the IEPA is in PANG’s opinion a decision made under duress, Fiji simply had no choice but to ratify the IEPA or lose market access to the European Union – this is not a win-win situation, said PANG Coordinator, Maureen Penjueli.

She accused the European Commission for its strong arm tactics forcing many ACPs including Fiji to sign and ratify EPAs which do not favour development and are likely to affect regional integration agenda by this decision.

“The European Commission has always stated that the EPAs are about development, now 10 years of negotiations it is clear whose development we are talking about. The EPAs are about Europe securing market access for raw materials for its own development. Everyone following negotiations of the EPAs is fully aware that the value of EPAs has been declining due to the erosion of export preferences, the elimination of duty free market access to the European Union market for Fiji and Palau which comes into effect in October 2014, and the removal of sugar production quotas in 2017.

“The Fiji government, like many other ACP countries, are faced with the tough choice imposed by the European Commission of either ratifying bad EPAs or lose market access which could affect livelihoods and key industries such as sugar, fish, garments and processed foods. The decision to ratify the IEPA by Fiji comes at a great cost – losing the policy tools that many industrial nations have relied upon and sacrificing future development policy space, said Penjueli.

“Unless the Fiji government is able to re-negotiate the contentious toxic issues contained within the IEPA in the Comprehensive EPA negotiations the ratification may prove extremely costly in the long term for Fiji’s development.

Penjueli said Fiji’s decision to ratify may also affect the regional ambition of progressing Comprehensive EPA negotiations as it looks like Europe may have gotten what it wants from the region which is the two large economies – PNG and Fiji.

Airline true profit hidden under the unreported costs and definatly much less than $17.2million

Airline profit
Dr Wadan Narsey, Suva
It was initially quite reassuring to read (Fiji Sun, July 18, 2014) that the Fiji Airways is reporting “record profits of $17.2million” for six months and that the key driver of this was the 10 per cent higher load factor across the whole network, with four per cent more passengers and five per cent more sectors, all used in a “much more efficient way”.
But it was not reassuring to be told that this profit figure did not include the Sydney “hard landing” costs of $8.6million, and the “release of aged management accruals and one-off items like the introduction cost of the first A330”.
In other words, the real profits “in the hand” for the six months was much less than even $8.6million, although we are not told how much in reality as no costs were given to latter two exclusions.
Readers would then be further worried when told by the current CEO that Fiji Airways “was not in good shape back in 2013, with a lack of leadership and strategy and a rather dysfunctional management structure”.
This statement is quite contrary to the immense hype that the public was inundated with by Government ministers, the Board chairman, and the previous CEO (Pflieger) who bought the new Airbuses and disappeared before they flew a single commercial trip.
I hope that Mr Pichler’s performance as CEO will speak for itself when the “underlying” profit trends do become a reality in the long run, without any “one-off” events reducing the actual “profits in hand” which are certainly nowhere near $17.2 million.
He and Fiji taxpayers do not need the kind of deceptive hype that Fiji has been subjected to for several years before his arrival.
But while he is in the media, can Mr Pichler inform us shareholders in Fiji Airways,
(a) what percentage of the increased load factor and increased passenger traffic does he attribute to the new colours and the allegedly unique tapa designs painted on the planes?
(b) what did all that “rebranding”, also hopefully “one off”, eventually cost Fiji Airways, reducing actual profits further?
(c) is Fiji Airways still making any profits from the discounted fares on his monopolised domestic routes and how long will these discounts last?

FijiFirst (supporters) vehicles vandalised

FijiFirst vehicles vandalised

13:05 Mon Jul 21, 2014Taken from/By: FBC NewsReport by: Shanal Sivan

Vehicles belonging to supporters of FijiFirst have been vandalized. Supporters who carry the FijiFirst banner or logo on their vehicle have been targets of stone-throwing culprits. FBC NEWS spoke to one of the victims who wished to remain anonymous.“I took a passenger to Vuci Nausori and after dropping the passenger – when I was returning to Suva – a group of i-taukei boys approached my vehicle and damaged the back screen – because I have the FijiFirst party logo there. I did not stop the vehicle because I was alone and it was night time.”FijiFirst General Secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says people should not be intimidated and report such matters to the authorities.“A couple of people have told us that they were threatened, couple of cars had stones thrown at – obviously this is the kind of thuggery that the other political parties and their supporters engage in.”Assistant Police Commissioner Operations, Rusiate Tudravu says it can’t take any action because there hasn’t been any complaint lodged.“Yeah, there should be an official complaint lodged at our various Police Stations or written to us through any correspondence in regards to such incidents that have happened or in the presence of any police officer – any breach of the law that is done he can defiantly take actions.”The Party also alleges, it’s members have been physically intimidated and threatened. -

See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/21534/fijifirst-vehicles-vandalised#sthash.jClfAlwo.dpuf

Bainimarama admits he has no backbone…… I was pressured to lie… and he caved in and lied.

I was pressured to announce elections in 2009 – Bainimarama1

3:08 Mon Jul 21, 2014Taken from/By: FBC NewsReport by: Edwin Nand

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has revealed he was pressured to announce an election date for March 2009 by the Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea and Tonga. Speaking on FBC talk-back show – 4 The Record – Bainimarama confirmed it was never his intention to hold elections until Fiji was ready.“When I said we were going to have elections in 2009, I said ‘If we’re ready by then’. That was the pressure put on me by the Tongan Prime minister and the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister then – to make a comment and say we will have elections in 2009.

I told them I can’t make that promise because we are not ready, and they said ‘just make it’ – (the announcement).

”Bainimarama says he is confident Fiji is ready for elections now because the 2013 Constitution is in place and the new electoral system ensures equality and fairness. In early 2007, a few months after the military Clean Up Campaign began, Bainimarama’s administration was facing international pressure, sanctions and isolation from many neighbouring countries. It was in the middle of all this, when the March 2009 date was announced.

- See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/21535/i-was-pressured-to-announce-elections-in-2009-–-bainimarama#sthash.Pr88KI43.dpuf

Do not involve police in campaign: Police Commissioner

Do not involve police in campaign: Police Commissioner

fileReport by: Ellen Stolz

The Police Force is concerned about political parties involving police in their political campaigns. Commissioner of Police Major General Ben Groenewald said officers must remain apolitical and urged political parties to leave police out of their campaigns. Over the weekend, some media reports highlighted some political parties blaming police for using fear tactics resulting in the poor turnout of supporters at their political rallies. Groenewald said people must not see the presence of police as an intimidation tactic but for upholding of law and order. He said any complaint should be forwarded to police for investigation. – See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/21541/do-not-involve-police-in-campaign-police-commissioner–#sthash.3GLWzyed.dpuf

Fiji’s Sodelpa would revive Qoliqoli Bill

Updated 4 minutes ago

Fiji’s Sodelpa Party plans to revive a controversial indigenous rights bill if it gets into power after the September election.

The Qoliqoli Bill was drafted by Sodelpa’s predecessor, the SDL Party, in 2006 and it sought to restore the ownership of the coastal areas known as the qoliqoli to their traditional owners.

The Bainimarama-led regime’s opposition to the plan led in part to the 2006 coup.

Sodelpa’s leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has dismissed concern that reviving the bill could give rise to another coup.

“I think what we have to do here is to advise people correctly and this will be done mostly through the media and I believe that the 2006 coup took place because the media themselves were not well-informed as to what the Qoliqoli Bill actually meant.”

Ro Teimumu says not returning the coastal areas to their traditional owners was a major shortcoming of Fiji’s independence from Britain in 1970.

PM: In the last eight years our policies have been acclaimed as one of the best policies by any government.

Where Fiji is heading

aqela susu
suva

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation TV last night aired For The Record in its new format. The first guest was Prime Minister and FijiFirst party leader Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama, host Peceli Rokotuivuna and panellists FBC Senior Journalist Edwin Nand and Fiji Sun’s Managing Editor /Training Nemani Delaibatiki.

 

Below is an edited version of excerpts from last night’s show:

FBC TV: In the last eight years as the Prime Minister, you’ve led a drive to change the nation’s development. Many who have come before you may have not made as many changes as you have, what’s behind this drive?
PM: As you know out of this drive in the last few years was born this movement, the FijiFirst and it came from the events of the past especially the political events in the past and most especially the political unrest in Fiji in the past. As you know and as the public know I was also the Commander of the RFMF and we felt the brunt of this political unrest especially in the events of 2000 where the deaths of our soldiers occurred. For the first time ever our soldiers died in the hands of the Fijians in Fiji. We learnt from these events especially those events in 2000, we wanted to change the ball game from what it was to where we should go. These policies that carried us from 1987 to 2000 by Nationalism, we wanted to change that so the people of Fiji can be content and feel good about Fiji and about being Fijian. That was one of the reasons we did what we did in 2006 so we can change all that and we continued from there.

FBC TV: You say FijiFirst is a movement but you’re registered as a political party?
PM: It is a party but it came out of a movement from 2000 and all the events that came in 20000. A lot of people don’t know what happened between 2000 and 2006, a lot of people knew that but they tend to ignore the facts. It is a movement to take Fiji forward, to look after the people of Fiji, the whole of Fiji at large, not just one section, not just one population and not just one race but to look at everyone in total.

Fiji Sun: Do you feel that the Constitution serves as a guarantee that there will be no more repetition of what happened in 2006?
PM: I can bet you my bottom dollar that the 2013 Constitution will protect everyone. There’ll be no repetition of 2000 and 2006 especially 2006 and that is what we have been talking about throughout, the military at least. The 2006 was to be the end of all coups and that was why we came up with the clean-up campaign.

FBC TV: Your political rivals would deny that.
PM: And what would they think?

FBC TV: No guarantee of no future coups in the 2013 Constitution, they have been doing it n their rallies.
PM: I think if you follow the 2013 Constitution there’ll be no coups.

Fiji Sun: So even if you will lose the elections there will be no coup or anything like that? In an unlikely event that you lose the elections what do you think would happen after?
PM: The unlikely event that I will lose the election, a new political party will lead our nation.

FBC TV: All the political parties have been saying that one of their top issues on their political agenda is the reviewing of the Constitution and review of all the decrees in place. If FijiFirst doesn’t win all the work that your government had done since 2006 is at risk.
PM: That’s a prerogative of a new government but let me tell you something else it is not easy to change the Constitution. You will need 75 per cent of the endorsement of Parliament, the parliamentarians and of course 75 per cent of the voting people outside parliament so it will be up to the public at large.

FBC TV: So everything that you have achieved, you relying on the Constitution to uphold?
PM: I put into the Constitution to uphold all that so that’s why I’m saying there will never be another coup if you follow that Constitution.

FBC TV: You made a statement in Rewa speaking in iTaukei addressing potential voters you explained even without the Great Council of Chiefs the traditional iTaukei system are still protected, what do you mean about that?
PM: All the other parties have been talking about the Great Council of Chiefs looking after Indigenous population so whose going to look after you? Who’s going to look after the Rotumans? Who’s going to look after the Chinese, the Pacific Islanders? I have said in the past the Great Council of Chiefs has turned political in the last 30 to 40 years.
Fiji Sun: SODELPA has been trying to target the iTaukei and we have heard that they have been spreading all these talks about land, the Constitution and the BLV. How much penetration do you think you have as a political party among the iTaukei grassroots as far as all these issues are concerned?
PM: In the last eight years our policies have been acclaimed as one of the best policies by any government. That, in itself is a penetration to the people of Fiji what we can do. We’ve gone around in our campaigns and tour as well and we have told all the people at large about the lies that have been spread but we have come up with pamphlets that talk about the issues that we talk about, all to do with the Constitution. This is one thing that my party or my movement will defend the 2013 Constitution. Everything they have talked about in this Constitution is all lies. What they have been saying in all their campaigns are all lies.

Fiji Sun: Since 2006 you have governed without an Opposition, now you will get into an election. Are you prepared to face an Opposition?
PM: That’s what democratic parliament is all about. We will win and we hope that we will continue with our policies that we have to do with infrastructure, to do with development and if the Opposition will go against them, they will have to face the public of Fiji.

Fiji Sun: One of the strengths that you have is to be able to make prompt decisions on matters of national importance and that is one of the things that people are talking about. The efficient quick delivery of your policies. After the elections when you will go through the processes of parliament you will go through that bureaucracy. Do you think that will be a problem?
PM: That should not be a problem because that is a part of the parliamentary process, its democracy that we have been craving for. This is also one of the reasons that a lot of people in Fiji don’t want this election. They want a strong decisive leader.

Feedback: newsroom@fijisun.com.fj

Does this mean the government now seeking election condones violence? It can have no other meaning.

STATEMENT No 13: A BLOW TO THE RULE OF LAW

DATE ISSUED: July 20 2014

SDL Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa said today that the decision to halt investigations into the horrific beating and torture of two men last year is a massive blow to the rule of law.

The new Police Commissioner owes the people of Fiji an explanation? Does this mean the government now seeking election condones violence? It can have no other meaning.

In the absence of a satisfactory explanation from the Commissioner, the police force, under its new commissioner, is compromised.

The government and the police had promised the nation there would be a full investigation into this serious crime.

It involved a prolonged attack by members of the security forces on an escaped prisoner and the man who reportedly harbored him. The assault was seen worldwide on You Tube. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said he stood by his men who were doing their duty.

And now, 16 months later, without any charges being laid or an explanation the police chief of operations, ACP Rusiate Tudravu, announces (Fiji village 18/07/2014) the investigation has been closed and there will be no further comment. This is not ‘good enough’ we demand an explanation from the Police Commissioner.

Ro Teimumu said a SODELPA government will reopen the investigation and ensure the culprits are brought to justice. We want to know what kind of inquiry was conducted and how many people were interviewed?

As elections draw near the rule of law is an issue in the election campaign and it is a keystone for Fiji’s progress.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will have to explain the policy of his Fiji First Party on the application of the law. He must explain this in view of the closing down of investigations into the savagery of the attack on the two men last year without a conclusive outcome and due process fully applied.

Authorized By: SODELPA

A coalition Government is a likely senario

Hard for a party to form a government on its own – Chaudhry

Monday, 21/07/2014

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry

Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry said it’s hard for a party to form a government on its own.

While speaking to about 40 people at their campaign meeting at Riverside Road, Narere, Chaudhry highlighted that the population of Indo Fijians is decreasing in Fiji and it now stands at one third.

Chaudhry said the population of i-taukei is more than 60 percent and Indo Fijians account for between 33 to 35 percent.

He then told the people that the FLP and SODELPA coalition is important.

Story by Dhanjay Deo

“This is an important issue about access and equity and must not be misconstrued as MIDA muzzling media freedom,”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

 

Raj to demand media policies: Narsey

According to Professor Wadan Narsey, MIDA honcho Ashwin Raj plans to follow through on his threats to demand written policies from Fijimedia outlets, although from the wording of his ramblings it seems to be print media only so far. The move will come with less than two months to go before the planned September elections which will hopefully return Fijito democratic rule from military.

Narsey published on his blog an email from Raj to MIDA director Matai Akauola which asks that it be circulated to Fijimedia outlets. In it, Raj seems to seek Akauola’s agreement that such a demand is reasonable. It refers to policies reagarding publication of “opinion pieces, [and] letters to the editor.” As usual, Raj takes pains to absolve himself in advance of any possible press repression. “This is an important issue about access and equity and must not be misconstrued as MIDA muzzling media freedom,” he writes.

Raj also appears to back off his plan for a media monitoring unit, which with the coming election might smack just a bit too much of regime intimidation. “The mainstream media unequivocally rejected,” the plan for a media monitoring unit, Raj writes, “even though such an initiative has been undertaken in many advanced liberal democracies that are strong on freedom of expression.” Here he is mistaken, as most media monitoring operations are not government-run but rather done by academics, NGOs, or professional pollsters. To have government scrutinizing news media coverage on the eve of elections would just validate perceptions that Fiji’s ruling junta is tightening the screws on media, which are already heavily co-opted or intimidated. Doubtless media advisors Qorvis scotched this idea.

The full text follows.

Dear Matai, You will attest to the fact that on several occasions, I have requested the mainstream media to disclose their in-house editorial policy. In the interest of transparency, the public should know exactly the rationale behind the publishing of select articles, opinion pieces, letters to the editor to the exclusion of others. There are some who have received unfettered access and prominence in select media outlets and still lamenting that their contributions are being heavily censored while there are those who are complaining that they have no access to mainstream media at all. I had also suggested the idea of setting up a media monitoring unit which the mainstream media unequivocally rejected even though such an initiative has been undertaken in many advanced liberal democracies that are strong on freedom of expression. So the onus is really on the media to substantiate their claim that they have in place an in house editorial policy that ensures that the media is balanced, that they are committed to ensuring access and equity and are transparent at all times. This is an important issue about access and equity and must not be misconstrued as MIDA muzzling media freedom. How does the mainstream media ensure that there is balance? To date, I have received nothing from the media houses. I am now requiring the media to disclose this. Appreciate it if you can circulate this e mail to the media. Can we convene an editors roundtable soon please? Regards, Ashwin.

Posted by

Opposition is part of democracy: Bainimarama

 

07:55 TodayTaken from/By: Report by: Elenoa Turagaiviu

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says having an opposition in parliament will not be a problem for him and his party as it is part of democracy. Speaking on FBC TV’s 4 The Record Show last night, the FijiFirst leader was confident, his party will win the upcoming elections. Bainimarama was asked if will be able to deal with an opposition team given that he has been ruling the country without any opposition for eight years now. He replied that if the opposition goes against their plans to continue to upgrade and develop the country, then the opposition itself will have to face the public in Fiji.“That should not be a problem because it’s part of the parliamentary process. It’s democracy that we have been craving for and that is also a reason a lot of people in Fiji don’t want this election. They want a strong decisive leader. Have a look at the other political parties, look at their leadership.”Fiji will have a 50 member parliament after the elections, 3 more seating’s than the previous ones.

- See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/21517/opposition-is-part-of-democracy-bainimarama#sthash.NMiDzo2M.dpuf

Ex RNZI…… Electoral Roll a Government secret?

Electoral process casting doubt on Fiji elections

Updated at 4:33 am today

The Fiji Labour Party says no one can have any confidence in the National Register of Voters because the government has decided to not make it public.

It says in March this year the regime slipped in a change via Decree 9 that removed the requirement to publish the National Register and a registered voter’s right to object to the names registered in it.

The Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry says they only discovered the change recently.

He says the Register could contain thousands of bogus voters but it won’t be possible to flush them out because the government is not obliged to publish it.

“One can only access his or her own information nobody else’s, it’s now become a secret document, accessible only to the state and of course in this particular case, to the state, maybe to the Fiji First party, to the exclusion of all other political parties and registered voters.”

Mahendra Chaudhry questions how the international community can continue to believe that the September polls will be free, fair and credible.

Ex RNZI

Amnesty irked by Fiji ‘impunity’

Updated at 4:33 am today

Amnesty International has called on the international community to speak out against the apparent impunity for those committing serious human rights abuses in Fiji.

Fiji police says they have closed the case of last year’s video which shows Fiji security personnel beating a handcuffed man with batons and metal bars, and another man being set upon by a dog as the animal’s handler urges it on.

The incident prompted the New Zealand parliament to unanimously pass a motion condemning the beating and torture while the European Union said it was deeply disturbed by the video.

Amnesty’s Grant Bayldon says while there is broad support for Fiji’s move to return to democracy, there is more to it than just holding elections.

“For those to be truly democratic we need to see the rule of law, we need to see that security forces are held accountable as well as all the other human rights issues that are still ongoing in Fiji around the media and the courts and even around the right to gather peacefully.”

Grant Bayldon of Amnesty International New Zealand

A good question from FDN

Land Use Decree versus NLTA

July 18, 2014

Bainimarama is banking on most people not understanding what the Land Use Decree does. He has been careful to keep the huge powers it gives him up his sleeve, but the difference is really very simple. The NLTA established by Ratu Sukuna says native land leased under the NLTA “shall be administered by the Board for the benefit of the Fijian owners“. End of story. The interests of the owners is the only thing that matters. The LUD says: “All leases issued or renewed under this Decree shall take into consideration at all times the best interest of the land owners and the overall wellbeing of the economy.” That ‘and’ is important. The interests of the landowners have to be balanced with the “well being of the economy”, which can be whatever Bainimarama says it is, because his decision cannot be taken to court. Does any of Bainimarama or Khaiyum’s property have this applying to it? This is a simple question which Bainimarama must be made to answer.

 

“Some school managements we approached are reluctant to allow political parties to use their premises for campaign fearing, that the government will not give them school grant next year,”

NFP: Pay to use schools

Salaseini Moceiwai
Sunday, July 20, 2014