A very brave and unlikely statement…..”All voters to be well prepared”

All voters to be well prepared

16:53 TodayTaken from/By: FBC NewsReport by: Apisalome Coka

The Fijian Elections Office will see that every voter is well versed with how to vote before Election Day.

Election Supervisor Mohammed Saneem says they will be providing booklets identifying candidates and their respective numbers before Election Day.

“Booklets will be distributed from our centres, we will give some to the parties but as you know we have to keep in mind our budgetary constraints, the key priority for us is to have that booklet available on election day and to have people informed as to how to go about negotiating their way into the booklet”

Saneem adds they will use every medium available to advertise all candidates making it easier for voters to identify who they want to vote for.“Before election day we will have a chart of all the candidates listed and we will endeavour to put it up in prominent locations, billboards, if you go to your screens, advertised in newspapers so once the National Candidates list is ready, it will be published in the newspaper and it will be a lift out so you can use it to identify your candidates and it will be available at our election offices around the country.

”The booklets containing the National Candidates list will be available two weeks before elections. -

See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/19273/all-voters-to-be-well-prepared#sthash.7Kkx6ezX.dpuf

The rule of law must apply equally to everyone from the law abiding citizen, the common thief to coup leaders and Presidents.

When we fail to apply the rule of law equally to every citizen our moral & ethical compass as a society fails with it.

An Opinion by:Mick Beddoes Apr 18 2014

On May 1stMr Chaudhry will be sentenced and if it involves a custodial term then he will be the second of our democratically elected Prime Ministers to be sent to prison for offences that can only be described as misdemeanors when we compare it to the capital offences committed by the usurpers of our democracy in 1987, 2000 and 2006.
 Both of our former Prime Ministers have already been disqualified from participating in the 2014 elections as a direct consequence of their convictions and Mr Qarase has already served his time. Yet two of their 3 usurpers, not only remain free, they are eligible to contest the general election that has been denied to the two Prime Ministers they over threw..
 The 3rd usurper, a civilian, was charged and sentenced to death, which was the penalty for treason at the time. His life was spared when the death penalty was removed for capital crimes by parliament and George Speight is still serving his life sentence for his part in the 2000 coup.
 On the other hand the other 2 usurpers of our democracy, both former military commanders, remain free and despite being responsible for the overthrow of the 1987 and 2006 parliaments, both of them are eligible to contest the 2014 elections, because of the immunity they enjoy which protects them from having to ‘face up’ to any criminal charges for carrying out coups and over throwing the elected governments of the people in 1987 and 2006.
 If the rule of law is supposedly applied equally to all, why is George Speight in prison while the 2 other coup leaders are free and able to contest elections? What was different about the 2000 coup from the 1987 and 2006 coups? How have we justified such an unfair application of the rule of law in this instant?
 How can we as a society, think that it is somehow fair and just to punish our democratically elected leaders as harshly as we have done for their misdemeanors, which are unrelated to their term in office, while at the same time remain silent and just accept the imposition by the usurpers of a blanket immunity that protects them not only from the capital offences they committed against the state, the constitution and the people in the past, but which extends to crimes they are yet to commit in the future? And if that is not enough, we even give them the freedom to take part in general elections, without having answered for their crimes.
 There is something fundamentally wrong with us a society if we believe it’s ok to have the usurpers of our democracy, elected to our House of Representatives, where they can help make laws and dispense justice to the very people whose livelihoods, rights and freedoms they abused and suppressed, while all the time being protected from prosecution for overthrowing our previous parliaments.
 Mr Qarase and Mr Chaudhry are now disqualified from contesting elections for their misdemeanors; every other citizen who is registered to vote and eligible to contest the elections is subject to disqualification for various offences as stated in Sec 56 of the 2013 constitution. It is only the usurpers of our democracy and those other citizens who have aided and arbited them in the removal of our elected governments who will not face the kind of scrutiny that other citizens will be subjected to because they enjoy immunity from prosecution. This is what the regime means about everyone being equal.
 The rule of law must apply equally to everyone from the law abiding citizen, the common thief to coup leaders and Presidents. But so long as we keep rewarding the wrong doers and try to make excuses for their actions as being necessary then we fail to apply the rule of law as we are obliged to do and consequently our moral & ethical compass as a society fails with it.
 History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people’. Dr Martin Luther King Jr
 Mick Beddoes

Fijian lobby group in Australia rally behind UFDF

Fijian lobby group in Australia rally behind UFDF

08:28 Sat Apr 19, 2014Taken from/By: FBCReport by: Apisalome Coka

The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement (FDFM), a so called lobby group in Australia is rallying behind the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

FDFM President Usaia Waqatairewa insists the movement is apolitical – even though the United Front is made up of political parties. The movement has held a number of public events in Sydney Australia, denouncing the Bainimarama administration.

Waqaitairewa confirms Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry recently spoke at a meeting of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement.“This is part of our program to organize a monthly mini forum to the proposed September elections and we were lucky enough as we preparing for our first one, we got words that Mr Chaudhry was in town so we can make use of this moment as former Prime Minister”.

Waqatairewa says many who attended were not members of the FDFM“There is a lot of people there I’ve only seen for the first time in my life, the core people who are supporters of the Democracy movement probably will be about a quarter of the people there, but the rest of them I’ve never seen them”.

At its last meeting, Waqatairewa says he asked those in attendances to donate funds to the FDFM however, no financial assistance was forthcoming.

- See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/19249/fijian-lobby-group-in-australia-rally-behind-ufdf#sthash.fqQ65Q1b.dpuf

‘Limited reach’ of the social media

Nasik Swami
Sunday, April 20, 2014

WHILE social media remains a large part of the political process, the SODELPA youth council believes there is a limit to its reach.

Council president Peter Waqavonovono said there were still a number of communities which did not have access to the internet, let alone Facebook.

“Although we have been told that this year’s elections will be on the back of youth votes, the elections will not be won over the internet,” Mr Waqavonovono said.

He said not all young people were active on social networks.

“Not all young people are active on Facebook. Not every young Fijian has regular access to the internet.”

Mr Waqavonovono believes the election will be won in towns, village halls and on the streets.

“Social media is but a tool to maximise the work you can do and we are using these modes of communication effectively to reach out to our supporters,” he said.

He said social media accounts were an extension of oneself and should not be used as a mask to bully or spread hate.

Apart from SODELPA, many political parties and independent candidates have started using the social media as a means of campaigning and reaching out to supporters.

PDP leaps 8%


The People’s Democratic Party scored the biggest gain in the latest Fiji Sun poll.
The eighth weekly voter survey shows PDP jumping from less than one per cent in the Preferred Political Party stakes to eight per cent.
This is a major recovery. In the earlier polls PDP was in double digits. But then its ratings began to plummet. This was attributed to lack of activities. The proposed FijiFirst party lost ground from 66 per cent to 57 but its leader Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama held on to 82 per cent in the Preferred PM polling.
The novelty of the blue bus may have worn off after its launch. But the PM’s personal popularity among the people continues like an unstoppable political juggernaut.
PDP’s resurgence in the polls is surprising. What has it done to deserve it? To a large extent, it’s probably to do with the conviction of Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry for foreign exchange offences. If Mr Chaudhry is unable to contest the election, it will be a fatal blow to the party.
An exodus to PDP, its nearest rival in the battle for votes, has probably begun. The diehard Chaudhry loyalists would refuse to accept it’s déjà vu for the party. They would continue to push the line that their leader’s conviction would galvanise the rank and file and Labour would re-emerge stronger.
But without Mr Chaudhry, there is noone else who can command the same level of respect and support from the members. The poll shows that Labour continues to slip, from four per cent the previous week to three per cent. The uncertainty in Mr Chaudhry’s future has even ruffled the confidence of party faithfuls.
PDP offers the best alternatives in terms of the party’s policies. The trade union bloc which was one of the cornerstones of Labour is now a major force in PDP. Who knows? A merge or amalgamation is not a far-fetched idea. It would make sense and reap political benefits for the members.
The trade unions broke away from Labour because of their leaders’ fight with Mr Chaudhry. If Mr Chaudhry is out of the picture, it would probably smoothen the road for reunification, a coalition perhaps, if there are technical difficulties under the electoral laws.
Despite the drop in its standing the proposed FijiFirst is well ahead of its nearest rival, the PDP in the Preferred Party stakes.
The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), on five per cent below PDP, however, is still seen by 27 per cent of those polled, as the party that potentially will give the PM’s proposed party the stiffest challenge.
There appears to be an assumption here that when SODELPA finally puts its act together, it will become a force to reckon with.
On this count, PDP which should be polling higher and is even behind Labour by 10 per cent, is probably seen as not having the firepower to foot it with the PM’s proposed party in terms of personnel. One would think that the polling results for Preferred Party and party that would give the PM’s proposed party the biggest challenge would have some form of correlation.
But it did not happen in this latest poll. It’s probably the beginning of a new trend indicating that we may be entering a new phase that would be fluid. This means we can expect some fluctuations in polling results because people could change their opinions weekly as campaigns hot up.

“I live by that principle because I swore under the 1997 Constitution to be the Speaker of the House.”

Long walk for Nacuva

Nasik Swami
Saturday, April 19, 2014

THE fifth day of December 2006 will always be remembered by ousted speaker of the House of Representatives Pita Nacuva.

And while the political turmoil of that year still triggers the experiences of those who were victimised by it, Mr Nacuva says his routine that day was not an ordinary one.

Recalling his experience, the bold parliamentarian shared it with The Fiji Times.

Mr Nacuva said on that day he was being driven from his Namadi Heights home to the Parliament complex in Veiuto in his government vehicle.

He said when they reached the intersection of Laucala Bay and Ratu Sukuna roads, his car was stopped by two military officers.

“Two iTaukei soldiers in full combat armament, one from Lomaiviti Province and the other from Lau, stopped my devoted and loyal driver Willie Sasala and I in my official vehicle GM827 about 7:30am,” Mr Nacuva said.

He said after being stopped, his official vehicle was commandeered by the soldiers and they were left on the road to find their way to Parliament.

Mr Nacuva said he and his driver had to take a taxi to the parliamentary complex.

“There two iTaukei soldiers in full combat armament, one from Cakaudrove Province and the other from Macuata Province, came to my Speaker’s Chamber at about 10am on Wednesday, 6 December, 2006, met me and conveyed a directive that I vacate my chamber and go home for good.”

He said caretaker prime minister Dr Jona Baravilala Senilagakali wrote to him on December 6 advising him to vacate his position as the Speaker.

“That you are to vacate your position as the House of Representative Speaker with effect from December 5, 2006, and your government/PSC quarters within one month from the date of this directive.

“The letter was hand-delivered and received at my residence at 5 Griffith Place, Namadi Heights, Tamavua, on Tuesday, 2 January 2007.

” I replied on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 and personally hand-delivered the letter at Dr Senilagakali’s office the same day.”

The former national rugby captain and volleyball rep said while the events of post 2006 may affect developments, it was important for Fijians to move on.

He said while the September 17 general election would be an opportune time for Fiji’s return to democracy, he had no plans of contesting the general election.

Mr Nacuva believes he is still the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“To me, the 1997 Constitution is still in place although it’s purported to have been abrogated in 2009.

“I remain as Speaker until the new members of parliament are sworn in. That’s my belief. I maintain my integrity.

“Therefore, I’m not contesting the elections because I’m still the Speaker of the House.”

Mr Nacuva said he believed in ethics, honesty and abiding by the law, saying he based his morals on these.

“When someone is in Parliament, he is called honourable because he’s a person who has ethics and has integrity.

“I live by that principle because I swore under the 1997 Constitution to be the Speaker of the House.”

Mr Nacuva has urged people to have faith and believe in God.

“God is the only one who will help you. Pray and believe.”

Unreported FNPF sale?

Yatule for sale: While Samoa’s superannuation fund is buying property, its counterpart in Fiji seems to be going in the opposite direction, at least this seems to be true for one of its properties.
The whisper is that Yatule Beach Resort, smack-dab in one of Fiji’s most beautiful beachfront has been sold for an undisclosed sum.
It sits on Natadola Beach, next door to the 5-star exclusive Inter-Continental Fiji Resort & Spa, both of which are owned by Fiji’s National Provident Fund.
The Fund would not comment publicly on the reported sale.
Yatule was built to house engineers and supervisors at the time of the construction of Inter-Continental, and has been running successfully catering for the family and youth market.