Home » Uncategorized » The [Commodore] keeps telling us off, making personal attacks, and interferes in the work of the Commission.

The [Commodore] keeps telling us off, making personal attacks, and interferes in the work of the Commission.

Fiji regime leader imperils consultation process, says Ali

Posted at 09:08 on 21 August, 2012 UTC

A Fiji women’s advocate Shamima Ali says the Prime Minister’s interference in the constitutional commission could undermine the process.

Last week, Commodore Frank Bainimarama said the constituent assembly would be made up of credible people who think positively about Fiji’s future, and that the head of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, is not in that league.

The regime move comes after Fiji’s three leading women’s organisations said some of the non-negotiable principles in the constitution are matters for the people to decide, not for the state to dictate.

Ms Ali says the NGOs were questioning the process of appointing the constituent assembly, which needs to be open and transparent.

“We see this process as flawed, if those things continue happening, if the [Commodore] keeps telling us off, making personal attacks, and interferes in the work of the Commission, because we see that as interference. So, that should be cause for concern for all of us.”

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre’s Shamima Ali.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand


11 thoughts on “The [Commodore] keeps telling us off, making personal attacks, and interferes in the work of the Commission.

  1. I salute you Shamima for the courageous statement against the corrupt regime. The Khaiyum let regime is full of flaws and let by A class thugs. What can one expect from an idiot like Bainimarama?

  2. I suggest Shamima Ali to do some investigation on Nur Bano, Nazhat Shameem and Laillun Khan.These 3 Mafia Queens are behind this illegal regime raking from all angles.

  3. Vinaka shamima ,,,,,, raghwan please provide some more details of the three super sluts noor bano, nazhat bainimarama shameem and lainuni khan how much money these three have made sonce 2006? and did they use contraceptives when selling themselves to he form four fail???

  4. pote …..egg on face on dick taker permalink

    Bainimarama everyone knows you are a fool. dont open your mouth and put it beyond all doubts that fact please. now ghai gives you a verbal wipping you not used to. but boy this is really egg on your face pote big time……..go back and complete your form four maths yaar conman

  5. NZ is endangered to HIV by a very famous business puffter [gay], authorities please act fast.

  6. Raghwan – BBC coconut wireless has claimed the Noor Bano Ali bano manages ministerial salaries for the two conman in the illegal regime is a HIV postive and is sleeping around to pass the dreadful virus in Fiji? this is very mandua for Fiji marhabha women shame on her……please investigate her nocturnal activities in Suva area near USP targetting young students……

  7. Why I Resigned as Chair of the Wages Council
    Fr Kevin Barr
    (Subheadings added by Editor.
    Reply from the Minister and my comment added at the end.)

    In 2008 I was persuaded to accept the position as independent Chair of the ten Wages Councils under the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations. When we began our work there had been no increases in worker’s wages for three years.

    Our first set of wage proposals was due to come into effect on the 1st Feb. 2009. Without any consultation the PM announced that, under pressure from a strong lobby of employers, he was deferring the Wage Regulation Orders to 1st July 2009.

    The second set of wage proposals was then set to come into effect on the 1st July 2010 but again was deferred for ten months until the 1st May 2011 and was reduced by 5%. All this was done without any consultation with me or the Wages Councils.

    In 2011 there were no meetings of the Wages Councils due to the stubborn determination of the Permanent Secretary to have a formula which was unacceptable to all parties. The Wages Councils met in early 2012 and approved a set of Wage proposals to come into effect on the 15th August. Then again, without any consultation there was an announcement through the media that these wage increases had been deferred until 31st October and the Wages Councils would be asked to reconsider them because of objections raised by some employers.

    When I heard the media announcement, I was outraged and angry and considered the lack of proper consultation most unacceptable. It showed no respect for me as Chair and no respect for the members of the Wages Councils who had worked so hard to reach consensus. Above all it showed no respect and no concern for the workers – the 60% of those in full-time employment who are covered by the Wages Councils.

    Third deferment in three years

    The recent deferment of the proposed wage increases was the third in three years. In other words every wage proposal made by the Wages Councils had been opposed by a small group of influential employers. What is worse government allowed this greedy and selfish group of employers to get their own way and crush the hopes and dreams of the workers of the country for modest wage increases to assist them cope with the rapidly increasing cost of living. The Ministry of Labour through the Wages Councils is supposed to be protecting the interests of the workers of the country. However others in government who allowed their buddies to influence them chose to obstruct the established process and called for delays and decreases.

    The employers usual ‘litany of woes’
    In his detailed research report Just Wages in Fiji – Keeping Workers Out of Poverty (2006) Prof. Wadan Narsey looked back over 30 years of the operations of the Wages Councils and showed how employers had consistently managed to get their own way:

    “It was clear that most employer’s representatives resisted all proposals for wage increases, and they were quite successful in their attempts. The long term outcome was the severe deterioration in real wage rates and consequently a growth in poverty in the nation” (p. 77). Employers would cite “the usual litany of industrial woes, warn of redundancies and unemployment that high wage adjustments would cause and give a lower counter-proposal” (p.76). They would plead “inability to pay” or “this is not the right time”.

    Nothing has changed and the same old scene gets played out year by year. The root cause of it all is greed and self-interest of a small lobby of employers who want to get their own way and pretend it is in the national interest. Moreover governments have allowed this to happen.

    Present government no better
    And our present government is no different and actually is proving to be not only pro-investor but anti-worker. Some beautiful words have been spoken about concern for all citizens including the poor and marginalised and the need for social justice. But these words now seem like a lot of hot air to fool or silence the gullible.

    In the recent budgets employers and investors have been given huge reductions in corporate tax and in personal income tax. In fact, as Peter Mazey said publicly on TV to his fellow employers “We got all we wanted in the 2012 Budget”. The ordinary people and the workers of the country got bugger all. Moreover workers unions have been emasculated and some union leaders have been bashed and imprisoned. This anti-worker stance is deplorable and has been criticised internationally.

    Increased inequality cause for increased instability and anger

    Not only is all this making for greater inequality, it also creates a cause for instability, dissatisfaction and anger. Those in government responsible for these strong pro-business and anti-union policies have themselves to blame.

    In the current atmosphere of restrictions, workers and others are not free to protest against the way they are being treated. That is why I have decided to protest in their name by resigning.

    My resignation as Chair of the Wages Councils is in protest

    •(a) against the constant opposition to wage increases by a small lobby of selfish and greed employers and
    •(b) against those in government who allow these employers to get their own way.

    I also resigned as a member of the Poverty Alleviation committee in the Prime Minister’s Office because, if there is no concern for just wages for our workers who make up 60% of the population, there is no real commitment to poverty alleviation because wages are a key issue for the alleviation of poverty.

    Despite some good pro-poor programmes and constant beautiful statements there are no economic policies that touch the root causes of poverty. Rather many policies and constant deferments of wage increases are creating more poverty. All the fine words about poverty alleviation we hear over the radio and TV are nothing more than hot air unless there is positive, effective action.

    A step towards justice
    But I do not want my resignation to be seen negatively. I hope that it is a positive step to protest against injustice and make a stand for justice. I want those greedy and selfish employers to examine their consciences and act with decency and human concern for the needs of their workers. I also want government to break its attachment to the employer’s lobby and protect the interests of the workers of the country – to put the people first.

    Some employers backtracked
    I would also like to register my disappointment with a number of actors in the recent pro-employer/anti-union drama:

    Munro Leys who sent out an alert to their clients encouraging them to protest against wage and meal increases;

    Nesbitt Hazelman who gave assurances that there would be no opposition to the wage increases from the Fiji Employer’s and Commerce Federation yet goes ahead and registers his complaints;

    The Garment industry which also gave assurances that they would not oppose the increases because they managed to get a fair hearing. Yet some of their members went ahead and wrote in opposition to the increases. Yet not so long ago in the media Kalpesh Solanki was boasting of huge new developments for the garment industry.

    The Hotel and Tourist Industry and the Manufacturing Industry who hide their greed and selfishness behind so-called concerns about the “impact of wage increases on Fiji’s international competitiveness and the danger of redundancies for the nation”. Dixon Seeto and Patrick Wong claim that tourism is a billion dollar industry and that the number of tourists are constantly on the increase. If this is so, then why can’t the workers associated with the tourist industry be allowed a greater share of the profits through better wages. The national budget provides the tourism industry with $24m a year. Why do they complain about modest increases in the wages of their workers? Why do they have to run to their Minister to intervene and oppose wage increases like a pack of cry-babies? Wages and Labour issues are under the Minister for Labour. And when their representatives on the Wages Councils agree to increases in wages, why do they then come out in opposition?

    A billion dollars transferred from wages to profits
    In his research mentioned above Prof. Wadan Narsey says that, over the years “stolen wages” (as he terms the refusal to pay an adequate, just wage) have seriously benefited employers but seriously disadvantaged thousands of workers whose quality of life has deteriorated. Narsey claims that in the 30 years since Independence more than one billion Fijian dollars has been transferred from worker’s wages to employer’s profits mainly because the business lobby was exceedingly influential in the Wages Councils.

    There is an unbelievable degree of exploitation of our workers in Fiji – not only in the area of wages but in other areas as well. I have listed all this elsewhere.

    The work goes on
    So, in resigning as Chair of the Wages Councils I do not wish to give up on the workers of our country. I will continue to speak out on their behalf and I hope that my resignation is seen as a protest against the injustices perpetrated on our workers. It is a stand against greed and selfishness and a lack of concern for needs of workers and their families. It is a stand for justice.

    To all of those who say they read their Bibles I would like to remind them of these words in James (5:1-6):

    “Listen to the wages you kept back. They are calling out. Realize that the cries of the workers have reached the ears of the Lord God”.

  8. Fiji PM cops criticism over constitution comments

    Updated 7 hours 38 minutes ago

    Photo: Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s comments were labelled ‘heavy-handed and threatening’ by one opposition politician. (Fiji Ministry of Information)

    Map: Fiji
    Fiji’s interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, has come under fire for recent comments about the country’s Constitution Commission.

    Opposition politician Mick Beddoes has told Radio Australia the prime minister’s “heavy-handed and threatening” remarks risked undermining the commission’s work and credibility.

    “The whole idea of the process is to invite or encourage the population to step forward and make submissions to the commission as it makes its way around the country,” the United Peoples Party president told Pacific Beat.

    “What’s happening is that the prime minister in particular has taken it upon himself to make comments on what some of the people are submitting.”

    Audio: Opposition politician Mick Beddoes talks to Radio Australia (ABC News)

    Last week Commodore Bainimarama warned the academic charged with drafting the Pacific nation’s new constitution to concentrate on his job and not get involved in politics.

    Commodore Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, rejected calls by Constitutional Commission chairman Yash Ghai for greater freedom in Fiji, saying the Kenyan did not properly understand the situation in the country.

    “The comments by the chair are unfortunately misplaced… none of the laws currently in place stop any Fijian or hinder any Fijian from making any submission to the commission on any topic,” he told the Fiji Village news website.

    Mr Ghai was appointed earlier this year to prepare a new constitution ahead of elections scheduled for 2014, with Commodore Bainimarama hailing him at the time as an “internationally renowned constitution and human rights expert”.

    Fiji’s permanent secretary of information, Sharon Smith-Johns, said Commodore Bainimarama had given his full support to the constitution consultations and was confident the commission would produce a constitution based on democratic principles and equal rights.

    In a statement to Radio Australia, Ms Smith-Johns said Mr Beddoes’ comments were part of plot by politicians to discredit the government and the independence of the Constitution Commission.


  9. Shamina you must be daydreaming! Why is a dictator called a dictator? Because he dictates. So please get used to it and let us come up with a constitution that he likes. If we don’t he will stage another coup.

  10. @ Penny

    While I agree with your assessment, we have to remember that this has been going on for over 6 years now – where will all this poverty, corruption, threats and intimidation end? What do you say to the next generation that have to live with the results of OUR combined cowardice?

  11. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest
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