Bainimarama’s game plan

When Bainimarama declared that, no matter what, elections would take place in 2014 he signalled that he wanted to bring Fiji back into the fold of democratic nations.

When he appointed Prof Yash Ghai as his independent Constitutional Commission head, this seemed to be confirmed. However, when he burned Prof Ghai’s draft, hounded him out of the country and set his paid professional propaganda machine onto the task of discrediting Ghai, the goal of international respectability seemed to have disappeared in a flash.

Now, with the Political Party Decree giving political parties only 28 days to sign up 5000 members, who have to be evenly distributed through-out the country, and come up with $5000 without accepting assistance from companies, unions or NGOs, it looks like there never has been a game plan to hold free and fair elections.

Even the ever reliable Crosbie Walsh has called the Party Decree a mistake. He thinks it ‘plays into the hands of Government’s opponents and will result in a loss of support. The decree should be immediately amended to make the requirements more reasonable and acceptable.”

Has Bainimarama himself got reservations about parts of the Decree? He made sure he was out of the country when the announcement was made, leaving the Decree’s architect as Acting PM to take the heat.

Bainimarama relies on Khaiyum to do the bureaucratic donkey-work of government, but he’s making a big mistake if he relies on Khaiyum to create a political organisation. Khaiyum is the most hated man in the country. His skill is undermining the support of others, not building support.

So who can Bainimarama turn to if he wants to build a political party? Kubuabola? Bole? These old ethno-nationalist re-treads have political organising skills, but there’s not one Indo-Fijian vote to be garnered by them.

Bai is behind the eight ball.

The mental gymnastics of Crosbie Walsh

Regime apologist Crosbie Walsh has proven himself capable of some amazing feats of mental gymnastics to justify the disaster of the 2006 coup, but his latest may be his best yet.

He’s tried to claim that the sugar industry has been in a long term decline since 1994, forgetting that the 500,000 tonnes of sugar exported in 1996, are clearly the high water mark of the industry.

The one statistic Croz has grabbed to try to redeem the record of the regime is the rate of farmer drop out. He says on an annual basis the rate was higher in the years before 2006. Is this supposed to be significant?

If he wanted to rescue the record of the regime he’d point out that the price we receive for the sale of sugar to the EU has been slashed. This, together with the incredibly inefficient milling, means the real price for cane has dropped to record lows. Many small farmers have found that it costs more to produce cane than they get in return.

But then perhaps it’s no surprise that Croz omits this fact, because he is probably aware that Bainimarama threw away $300 million or more in EU help for our cane farmers because he would not agree to hold free and fair elections. These were the rules under which the EU funds were available and Bainimarama understood this.

If the farmers had access to the funds the EU believed they needed they would have been able to adapt to the lower price, but Bainimarama, who had not been elected and had no mandate for his decision, denied them. At the time he promised to make good the EU funds, but this turned out to be a blatant lie. He knew he would not have the funds and he has not provided them.

Crosbie Walsh is deluding himself if he thinks cane farmers can be fooled into thinking that Bainimarama is not the direct cause of the crisis facing their industry.

Frank and his Commission

Professor Yash Ghai is an international expert on Constitutions. His appointment as the chair of Bainimarama’s Constitutional Commission lent it a degree of credibility it would have lacked without him.

Perhaps Professor Ghai thought that this meant that Bainimarama had some sort of obligation toward him, or at least he thought Bainimarama wouldn’t be so stupid as to treat him as some sort of lackey who took orders. After all, what is the point of having someone with an international reputation accept the job and then put them in a position where they may feel tempted to resign.

If this was what Professor Ghai was thinking then he’s overestimated Bainimarama’s intelligence, as well as his scruples.

It’s always been more important to Bainimarama to appear to be the strong man than the sincere democrat. This is the basis of his control of the military and it’s the image he likes to project to the rural Fijian community. He doesn’t go in for debate. He makes decisions. He has to look like he’s in control.

There is no doubt that Yash Ghai understands that he’s been employed by a military dictator. What he does about this remains to be seen. Let’s hope when the whole exercise is over he gives a frank account of all that went on behind the scenes.

TRANSPARENCY – The massive hypocrisy of Frank Bainimarama – CFDFiji.org

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the head of the Fiji Government, is guilty of massive hypocrisy in his attack on Fiji’s Constitutional Commission over the appointment of Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as a short-term consultant.

Bainimarama claims the Commission is not transparent in its operations. He has issued emergency amendments to a decree governing the commission.

This decree now requires the commission to publish the names and salaries of all its staff and consultants.

Commodore Bainimarama claims that Ratu Joni has a conflict of interest because he was a member of a delegation that made representations to the Constitutional Commission calling for Fiji to be a Christian state. The Bainimarama regime has dictated that Fiji must be a secular state and there will be no negotiation on this.

It is scandalous that Bainimarama should be denouncing the Commission and Ratu Joni in view of his government’s notorious lack of transparency.  He is also in no position to condemn anyone for alleged conflict of interest when he is totally compromised over the procedures for drafting and adopting a new constitution.

The emerging rift between Bainimarama and his Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, and the Constitutional Commission was to be expected.

Bainimarama now realises that the Commission is a threat to him and that through its consultations with the people, he has lost a degree of control. The views expressed to the Commission indicate popular discontent with his government and its failure to cater to public needs.

In the interests of the transparency that he now pretends to champion, Commodore Bainimarama should immediately disclose his own pay and that of all his Cabinet members. He has previously refused to do this.

Commodore Bainimarama should also reveal the arrangements for payment of Cabinet salaries and the role of a private accountancy firm in this. He needs to reveal whether the principal in that firm is related to his Attorney General.

He should immediately explain why he will not release the auditor general’s reports on the finances of his government for the last five years. It is the mark of a dictator that he does not feel compelled to tell the people, whose tax payments he is using, how their money is managed.

As the announcement for the 2013 budget approaches, the long-suffering public expect Commodore Bainimarama to tell them what measures he will introduce to make the Fiji budget process more open and accountable. His Government has been judged internationally to have one of the least transparent budget systems in the world.

Following his call for the Constitutional Commission to give details of payments to its consultants, the public will now anticipate Commodore Bainimarama revealing the level of payments to all government consultants.

He should immediately confirm the monthly fee paid to the international public relations firm Qorvis, which specializes in cleaning-up the images of dictators. Can Commodore Bainimarama confirm that Qorvis is still paid at the rate of $US40,000 a month? Or is it now being paid extra?

It is disgraceful that his government should be allocating large sums for an expensive PR consultancy when it cannot find the funds to maintain roads and bridges. But that is the way dictatorships work.

The taxpayers should be told why there is no transparency in the issuing of some contracts for civil works.

Why are major contracts regularly awarded to a few select companies from China and Malaysia?

Commodore Bainimarama has knowingly placed himself in a position of severe conflict of interest by seizing the power to appoint the members of the proposed Constituent Assembly.

The Assembly will decide on matters that directly concern and threaten him. From Commodore Bainimarama’s perspective, therefore, it is imperative that he should personally control appointments to the Assembly and try to influence its decisions. It is this group that will decide on such issues as immunity for crimes committed during and after his 2006 military coup. He is very much aware that the people are opposed to immunity.

The Council for a Democratic Fiji again warns the international community that Commodore Bainimarama is not to be trusted. He is a dictator in a very difficult position who must, for his very survival, attempt to manipulate Fiji’s return to constitutional government to serve his own ends. In doing so, the entire process of constitutional reform and elections is likely to fall far short of acceptable international standards and further penalise the citizens of Fiji.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY – Bainimarama’s total control shows due Constitutional progress in Fiji is doomed – CFDFiji.org

Yash Ghai, Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission, has now concluded receiving submissions. A Constitution will be drafted and presented at a later stage to a creation

Can anyone believe what this man says?

of the current regime called the Constituent Assembly, that body being purported to be created by another of the illegal Khaiyum Decrees which the regime continues to issue on the pattern of the practice followed in the seventeenth century by the Stuart kings.

The body imitates the name of the Constituent Assembly set up in France between 1789 and 1791 and it is very much hoped that those perceived by the regime to be opposed to it will not be subject to the guillotine as were those targeted in the French Revolution. No doubt an even worse fate is in store for them under Khaiyum.

The Constitution as drafted by Yash Ghai and his team will be subject entirely to the wishes of the Constituent Assembly. That Assembly will be at liberty to make whatever changes it wishes in his draft and even to reject it altogether. Yash Ghai has already publicly admitted this. He has stated that all members of the Assembly will be ‘totally picked by Frank.’ (perhaps unfortunately for a scholar of his distinction he seems to be on first name terms with the dictator).

Section 9 of the relevant Decree purports to give the alleged Prime Minister full control over the size and composition of the Constituent Assembly, a matter recently taken issue with (quite rightly) by the Fiji Labour Party.

Yash Ghai, unfortunately, seems to have a touching and indeed childlike faith in ‘Frank’.

Can anyone trust this man’s false promises?

The Council respectfully points out that ‘Frank’ cannot be trusted to properly and impartially regulate the size and composition of the Assembly. His track record totally contradicts any element of trust in his judgments and decisions. His recent advance vetoing of Shamima Ali from the Assembly is simply a sign of worse to come. His arranging for prosecution of the political leaders who garnered the vast bulk of votes in the last democratic election is calculated to ensure that they are not represented in the Assembly.

If Yash Ghai has bought into faith in ‘Frank’s’ judgment, he has joined the ranks of the monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

‘Frank’ in many ways resembles the late US President Richard Nixon, also known as ‘tricky Dicky’.

A common question asked in regard to Nixon was: ‘Would you buy a used car from this man?’

Should the international community and more importantly the people of Fiji buy into a Constituent Assembly from ‘Frank’?

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

President JV Bainimarama

There’s no doubt that Bainimarama’s ultimate aim is to install himself as President. The short term tenure given to the current puppet proves that. A two month extension for Ratu Epeli suggests Frank’s not quite ready yet, so we have to ask why.

It could be because operating a dictatorship from the position of President is not easy. The Commander in Chief doesn’t have the day to day running of the armed forces needed to ensure that the military machine is under his control. As President he has ultimate power, but he doesn’t have real power.

Real power comes from having day to day control of the levers of government. Up to now this has been largely exercised by Khaiyum. He has half of the key ministries which can grant all the favours needed to maintain the idea that you only get anything from government by greasing the palm of the hand that pulls the levers.

In theory, Bainimarama has his hand on the other half of the key levers, but Khaiyum in fact took all the day to day decisions via compliant minions in Frank’s office, which meant that the real power gravitated to Khaiyum. If anyone wanted a favour from Bainimarama’s half of the government pork barrel, they usually asked Khaiyum rather than Bainimarama.

The Health and Education ministries have never been in the position to grant favours so Bole and Sharma scored the thankless task of trying to provide services with less and less real money.

If Frank is to step up the job of President, he needs a PM and the only candidate he currently has is Khaiyum, who’s not smelling of roses at the moment. The Police Force is a seething mess of stuff-ups and back-stabbing. The Marshall file dumped the bucket on the state of the judiciary, which Bainimarama is trying to ignore but he knows it’s out there. The industrial relation war with the unions is threatening our duty free access to the USA. Promoting Khaiyum who’s been responsible for all this seems unthinkable.

So where to from now? The residence in Nasese can’t have a tenacy at will, so Bainimarama will have to find a new way out. Some are speculating that Frank has in mind unveiling a proposal from Yash Ghai’s commission for a strong Presidential system of Government, modelled on Indonesia or Pakistan. This would solve the problem of being a figure head President without real levers of power to pull. The problem with this is that all of the submissions have argued for a Parliamentary model, most wanting few changes to the 1997 constitution. Yash Ghai would blow all his credibility if he backed this.

Aside from that, there doesn’t seem to be time for a constituent assembly to meet and produce a fully fledged constitution in just two months.

Frank either has to find a new puppet or re-appoint the current one for a decent period.

Interesting times ahead.

The Fiji regime and its opponents – Who are the cowards? – CFDFiji.org

The Council refers to the practice of the current regime of seeking to brand as ‘cowards’ its overseas opponents who are the subject of trumped up charges by the regime but who decline to accept the invitation of the regime to return to Fiji to, in the regime’s words, ‘face justice.’  A prominent person falling into that category is Ratu Tevita Mara, who considerably embarrassed the regime by his flight from Fiji last year after being the subject of alleged sedition charges.

The Council has pointed out many times that there is no more justice in Fiji to which any opponent of the regime can return, that the regime trumps up charges against any party disagreeing with it, and that Bainimarama’s view of sedition as any disagreement is wrong and perverted.

William Marshall QC, who recently left Fiji when his contract was not renewed, has cast further light on the matter of Ratu Tevita Mara’s departure in his 143 page petition to the regime, in which he refers to Ratu Tevita’s distrust of the Fiji prosecution process and legal system which led to his flight from Fiji and to his declining to return to Fiji to ‘face justice.’  He is entirely in agreement with the attitude taken by Ratu Tevita.

Thus, Ratu Tevita in fleeing Fiji and declining to return was not being cowardly in any way.  His departure and refusal to return were inspired by his clear knowledge that there was now no rule of law in Fiji and that the sedition charges against him were drummed up to harass him.

Ratu Tevita is not of course alone.  There are many others the subject of trumped up charges by the regime, some of whom have rightly fled and rightly stayed away.

Who then are the real cowards?

The real cowards are those who enjoy luxury and domination at the point of a gun – the regime and all its adherents.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

JUSTICE MARSHALL’S PLEA – Marshall QC confirms the abrogation of the rule of law in Fiji – CFDFiji.org

The 143 page petition to Bainimarama of William Marshall QC, recently a Judge of Appeal in Fiji, whose contract expired in June this year, confirms clearly what the international

Mr William Marshall QC, former Justice of the High Court in Fiji.

community already knows – namely, that the current regime has abrogated the rule of law and terminated the independence of the Judiciary in Fiji. While these facts are already very well known and proved, Mr Marshall’s additional wisdom is greatly appreciated and he has done the people of Fiji and the international community a great service in showing documentary evidence of the corrupt machinations of the Fiji regime.

In particular Mr Marshall shows how all Judges in Fiji live in fear of the alleged Attorney General and understand clearly that their fates depend upon tailoring their decisions to suit his will; how Sri Lankan judges are relied on having regard to their customary subservience to the Executive; how the alleged Attorney General has grossly interfered in many vital cases including even arranging for the bringing of false murder charges; how he has arranged the selection of compliant Judges and exclusion of those likely to be non compliant; and how he has used the legal system to harass and persecute his perceived foes. Further, his use of the courts to enforce executive wishes is transparently obvious.

Mr Marshall expressly calls for the removal of all Sri Lankan Judges including the Judge who recently convicted Laisenia Qarase.

The former Justice confirms what all international reviews have found: Aiyaz Khaiyum’s actions have destroyed the judiciary and there is no longer any rule of law in Fiji.

Mr Marshall speaks of the doctoring of evidence and distortion of litigation and prosecutions and gives full details of such doctoring and distortion.

Rightly of course Mr Marshall calls for the removal of the alleged Attorney General.

The Council whilst agreeing with that proposal notes however Mr Marshall’s apparent naivety in taking the view that the alleged Prime Minister has been kept in the dark by the alleged Attorney General, and that the alleged Prime Minister does not share the alleged Attorney General’s guilt.

With respect to Mr Marshall, the alleged Prime Minister has been fully aware from the beginning of the antics of the alleged Attorney General. It is ridiculous to suggest that Khaiyum has been acting, in legal terms.’on a frolic of his own’ – Khaiyum simply could not have done what he has done and exercised the power which he has exercised without Bainimarama’s knowledge.

The Council therefore concurs in the removal of Khaiyum but also presses for the removal of the entire regime, and of course its prosecution.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

Khaiyum can’t handle not being prosecutor and judge

Is Khaiyum going to tell the AFL-CIO that they are “plainly ill informed, issuing knee-jerk commentary about our country with an utter disregard for the truth”? That’s exactly what he had to say about Ged Kearney of the AFL-CIO’s sister organisation, the ACTU, when she dared to criticise the regime.

The AFL-CIO has told the regime that it is plainly wrong about the impact of industrial relations laws and its treatment of trade union leaders. The regime should be listening, not denying.

They cannot deny they targetted the FTUC, the equivalent of the ACTU and the AFL-CIO. Felix Anthony, the FTUC National Secretary, was assaulted after being arrested on phony charges, while Daniel Urai, FTUC President, was charged with “Inciting Political Violence by Urging to Overthrow Government.”

The Bainikhaiyum regime propaganda machine has tried to say that Urai and Anthony don’t have the backing of the workers. Even if they can sell this story to their apologists, how do they expect the AFL-CIO to buy this kind of propaganda?

This time it’s different. Khaiyum is not running his critics into a court where he has appointed the judge and prosecutor and interfered with evidence all along the way. His claim that his critics have it all wrong will be tested by US authorities, and his critics, the AFL-CCIO, will be the prosecutors.

A smart dictator would cut Khaiyum loose at this stage. He promised Bainimarama that his laws designed in concert with his buddy at the helm of Air Pacific, Dave Pflieger, would not cause any problems. But we don’t have a smart dictator. We have Frank. He has a good instinct for self-preservation, but he has become totally dependent on Khaiyum.

Unless Frank can find someone else he trusts who can understand the issues and explain them to him with simple analogies and examples, he’ll be relying on Khaiyum. But let’s look on the bright side – the disaster of losing duty free access, combined with the crumbling sugar industry, might just be enough to bring down the house of cards.

Dictator Bainimarama announces review of oppressive Decrees – A ploy to hood-wink the US Government – CFDFiji.org

Fiji’s military dictator remains under siege 24 hours before the hearing commences in the United States against Fiji for breach of  labour rights and standards arising out of the rogue decrees of Aiyaz Sayed  Khaiyum – the  insalubrious Attorney General.

Frank has been left holding the can and is now trying to lie his way out of trouble.

This afternoon the besieged leader managed to raise enough courage to announce the immediate review of the labour laws that contravene (34) international standards. He appeared in a TV ONE news bulletin looking rather perturbed from the looming crisis and attempted to explain the steps being taken to remedy the breach for which Fiji faces US sanctions.

The Fiji village website reported that;

The prime minister has revealed that as part of Fiji’s progress toward establishing parliamentary democracy, the government is reviewing current labour laws to ensure their compliance with the 34 International Labour Organisation conventions that Fiji has ratified”.

The regime leader has finally succumbed to the truth that several decrees his tainted Attorney General has promulgated threaten Fiji with the most serious employment crisis ever, involving 39 companies and 15,000 – 36,000 jobs. It appears that the rattled leader has been forced to make this conciliatory announcement and it may well be more of his typical trickery and lies.

The CFDF wishes to remind the people of Fiji, the trade union leaders and the US government of some of the previous broken promises and pledges of the regime leader and which render this review process meaningless and untrustworthy – it must be treated with grave suspicion.

Following the 2006 coup, Bainimarama vowed to preserve the 1997 constitution under the President’s mandate and subsequently included this in the People’s Charter – he later trashed the Constitution. He also made a personal commitment to the Pacific Forum leaders to hold Elections in March 2009 and later broke that promise.

He promised to be accountable and yet refuses to release the Auditor General’s report on government accounts from 2007 – 2011. He publicly stated that he will only collect the Commander’s salary while holding the position of interim Prime Minister but secretly receives multiple salaries, paid privately through Nur Bano’s Accounting firm in Suva – the details of which he refuses to disclose to the taxpayers of Fiji.

With such an impeccable record in keeping his word; should the US government and the trade union leaders dare consider the review process as free, fair and transparent?  The regime leader’s public record is as poor as his ability to separate issues of national importance from the corrosive influence of his attorney general’s ego and tantrums.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum – the author of so many lies and Decrees, remains silent.

The CFDF urges the Trade Union Leaders not to fall victim again to the lies and dishonesty of Bainimarama – he has no credibility or integrity. The latest knee-jerk reaction comes from international and domestic pressure and is merely a ploy to escape the scrutiny of on-going abuse of labor rights, human rights and the other fundamental rights of Fiji Citizens.

The Unions in Fiji must insist that all decrees identified by the ILO and the ICFTU must be immediately rescinded.

Further, the tainted Attorney General must be ejected from Office. He is the source of most of Fiji’s political and constitutional problems. The review process does not go far enough. It lacks goodwill, competence and commitment to deal with the issues in a holistic manner.

Bainimarama must do the right thing if the jobs are to be saved.  The decrees and its author must be removed from public life permanently to allow for genuine dialogue at all levels.

The workers of Fiji deserve nothing less.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
Cfdfiji.org

Why Bainimarama can’t bear the 1997 Constitution

Bainimarama who has set himself up as the ultimate law giver has told us we cannot have the 1997 Constitution.

If he going to give himself the role of the ultimate judge of our constitution he needs to tell us exactly why the constitution is flawed and when he discovered this.

We can thank Yash Ghai for an account of Bainimarama’s past view of the 1997 Constitution. In a paper written jointly with Jill Cotrell for the United States Institute for Peace, entitled Between Coups Constitution Making in Fiji, Yash Ghai says that he met with the Commander and senior officers in October 2000. They discussed the 1997 constitution, which Bainimarama and his officers told Prof Ghai, they had just started to read. To their surprise “they found it an excellent constitution and a better one could not be imagined. But they had not known this when they more or less supported the coup!”

So let’s get this straight. In early 2000 Bainimarama thought the 1997 Constitution was was so bad he abgrogated it in a process which he and his officers described as “more or less supporting the Speight coup”. That’s right, he admitted that he had more or less supported the Speight coup. By October of that year, however, after reading the 1997 constitution, Bainimarama thought it was very good, so good that he and his officer corps said they could not imagine anything better.

Even after his coup in 2006 he was still swearing his loyalty to the constitution. The Charter of 2008 which Bainimarama gave us declared the 1997 Constitution was the basis of all things good. Then sometime after that he came to see it was “no good for Fiji”.

Bainimarama says it is ‘discriminatory’ and ‘no good for Fiji’ but he hasn’t told us is exactly what discriminatory bits he doesn’t like and when he discovered them.

Does he think we don’t understand what’s going on here? The problem with the 1997 constitution is that, if it is regarded as valid, he is guilty of treason. If we return to the 1997 constitution it means all of the Decrees passed since the Court of Appeal decision in 2009 are not only illegal, they are treasonous. His dishonesty about this does no-one any good.

We need genuine reconciliation, with honesty, openness and a readiness to start anew. The two obstacles standing in the way are Bainimarama and Khaiyum. Given a choice between these two and the 1997 Constitution, who apart from the two criminals themselves would not choose the 1997 Constitution?

Fjiileaks website joins blog ranks to take on illegal regime in Fiji

Fijileaks: You could sent to it confidential documents: fijileakseditor@gmail.com

Fijileaks: It also means since the 2006 coup Fiji has been sinking deeper and deeper into mess

Cartoon: It speaks for itself – dictator trying to keep afloat from the mess he has created since 2006

The Crumpled Document: It reveals his fraudulent back-pay of $185,000.

There are many others in his back-pocket – to be revealed soon on Fijileaks

Keep blogging on Fiji Today.

Vinaka vakalevu, to all.

Read on:

http://www.fijileaks.weebly.com

http://www.fijileaks.weebly.com/blog

A Marshall who got run out of town

The petition from sacked Justice Marshall is one sorry tale.

A lawyer with a substantial career talks himself into believing he’s going to work for a reforming government which removed a corrupt third world regime. The prospect of a senior position on the bench, to be followed by splendid retirement in a tropical paradise blinded him to facts he should not have ignored.

He obviously realised he might need to pirouette around a difficulty or two. The breaking eggs to make an omelette ruse. Fixing the problems of 36 years of misrule might call for a little heavy-handed executive action at times, but that should present no problems to one as experienced as him. Clearly, he had no idea what would follow, and how he would be treated with undisguised contempt by the AG and spat out for failing to perform to the debased standard required.

From the outset he should have been more suspicious, but no, the idea of handing his judgements to the CJ for editing, and then getting them back re-written and ready to present as his own, was not a warning sign. Things started to get sticky when he realised that four innocent men had not only been wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison, they had been framed by a process involving both police, prosecutors and a pathologist. And this had nothing to do with the alleged crimes of the old regime.

Before delivering his judgement, he had been told two things by the CJ: first there was no smoking gun; and second, one of the accused had some sort of Australian status and that Australia had made some sort of representations. It was for this reason he handed his draft judgement to the CJ for emasculation of any reference to possible wrong doing by the executive arm of government.

Only later, after a whole series of incidents, did he realise that the Attorny General himself was the key suspect in the orchestration of the framing of the four men convicted of murder. This was followed by blatant perjury on the part of a Khaiyum bodyguard in an attempt to get Marshall recused from the Mothibai Patel appeal case.

Even when he came to understand that Sri Lankan judges took orders from Khaiyum via Chief Registrar Irani Wakishta Arachchi (who is likely to return as a Visiting Justice of Appeal) he thought he might be able to continue working for the regime. He hoped that Madam Nazhat could put in a good word for him, along with the CJ, who, it seems, wanted him because he added a bit of credibility the Sri Lankans couldn’t provide.

It’s obvious he does not understand that he’s been fed a pack of lies by Shameen and the CJ. One of the lies he swallowed is particularly revealing. He asserts that there had been no serious investment in infrastructure since 1970! Since 1970! It seems all the previous regimes were corrupt and not interested in good governance. He had no idea when the Suva Nadi highway was built, nor the Monasavu dam, plus roads opening up Viti Levu and facilitating a whole new timber industry based on pine, nor the Seaqaqa sugar scheme etc etc. Did he imagine Nadi airport in 1970 looked the way it does today?  The Brits left little in the way of infrastructure in any of their Pacific colonies.

In one respect, however, he derserves pity, if not sympathy. When he wrote this pathetic petition to the dictator, he clearly thought he was writing to a good King who had been misled by a crafty courtier. He had no idea he’d fallen into the company of criminals who were bound together by their shared guilt in more things than he could imagine.

YASH GHAI STUMBLES: Fiji Constitutional Review at Crisis Point – CFDFiji.org

The Council for a Democratic Fiji has the highest respect for the intellectual brilliance and integrity of the Chairman of the Fiji Constitutional Review Commission, Yash Ghai.

Notwithstanding this, however, the Council is constrained now to make known its belief that the work carried out by him in Fiji has run into a blind alley, and that he ought to have anticipated that this would happen.

Yash Ghai: Having second thoughts.

For the current regime, the making available by himself of Yash Ghai was indeed a major coup – to use that word colloquially. Here was an internationally respected figure who could give the regime’s Constitutional ambitions and processes a clear appearance of being pursued in good faith, notwithstanding the reality of the situation in Fiji.

For Yash Ghai, however, his acceptance of the role of Chairman has in the Council’s submission now resulted in him being placed in an impossible situation potentially prejudicial to his good
name and reputation.

The Council wrote to Yash Ghai at the time of his acceptance of the Chairmanship warning him regarding the true intentions of the Fiji regime, but to no avail. The fruits of his acceptance of the
Chairmanship are however now emerging.

There are two matters upon which the Council would focus, namely the minimal numbers of those coming forward to make submissions, already noted by Yash Ghai himself, and the issue of  the stipulation by the alleged Attorney General that a priority in drafting the new Constitution should be for amnesty for those participating in coups- such as the alleged Attorney General
himself.

As to numbers coming forward, Yash Ghai has very correctly stated his view that many will not come forward because of fear, and he is now going back to the head of the Army and alleged Prime Minister to seek assurances in this regard.

With respect, Yash Ghai should have anticipated this major problem well before he accepted the post of Chairman. He is very familiar with Fiji and has been engaged by the regime previously.

Amnesty International has been very critical of the regime.

 

The truth is, and has been since 2006, that Fiji is under a reign of terror. It is not so dramatic and visible as, for example in the case of Syria, but it is a reign of terror nonetheless. That reign of terror is not expressed simply in terms of the innumerable repressive and draconian decrees imposed by the alleged Attorney General since 2006, immunising the Army and alleged Government from scrutiny or challenge, and destroying basic human rights. It is also a de facto state of affairs which needs no written law to support it .

The Law Society of the UK has condemned the regime.

The factual absence of the Rule of Law and lack of independence of the judiciary is but one aspect of this issue. The unpunished beatings, rapes and killings perpetrated by the regime, the tapping of all communications, the omnipresence of spies and quislings to monitor the public are other aspects. Basically the Army can and does do whatever it wants without let or hindrance. The regime is, as the Australian Foreign Minister recently pointed out militarised and there is no prospect of return to barracks. The entire population is muzzled.

The above factors show why the Fiji ‘popularity’ survey done last year and purporting to show popular support for the regime was a farce. The public whom Yash Ghai wishes to hear from is very aware of this and that the regime cannot and will not tolerate dissent or expression of dissenting views. How then does he expectit to co-operate with him?

Human rights abuses and politically motivated intimidation continues.

It is the Head of the Army and alleged Prime Minister who has been orchestrating the abuses mentioned. What point is there then in seeking any assurance from him? His credibility as per past broken promises is zero. He himself has even personally assaulted women prisoners and stated that those who disagree with him ought to be taken up to the Army barracks. What person is this for Yash Ghai to be dealing with?

No doubt, the alleged Prime Minister may utter whatever words he wishes to silence Yash Ghai’s concerns, but such will not be worth the breath with which they are spoken or the paper on which they are written. Like considerations apply to assurances by the alleged Attorney General, Foreign Minister or other agents of the regime.

Submitters to the Review will know full well that the Regime will find out the fact and nature of their submissions and react accordingly – if not now, in the future, after the glow of the Review has died and Yash Ghai is no longer around to complain. In this regard, the practice of the regime in harassing the relations of those whom it dislikes would no doubt be continued.

Even if there is now a temporary lull in harassment, such is a chimera. The regime will tighten the cords of strangulation of free speech whenever it pleases. There are of course some whose submissions the regime would embrace, such as those of Akuila Yabaki. The reasons for such attitude are clear. They are admirers of the regime.

Turning to the issue of amnesty, the alleged Attorney General seeks priority for insertion of same into the Constitution. This is small wonder because he himself has committed the capital offence of treason and has endorsed the malpractices of the alleged Prime Minister.

The request is of course outrageous and any amnesty even if inserted into an alleged new Constitution would have no validity. Any truly democratic Government taking power in the future would no doubt incarcerate the alleged Attorney General for a long time.

The Council is of the view that the above occurrences have now placed Yash Ghai in an impossible situation, and respectfully calls upon him to relinquish his current role. Yash Ghai must now cease to lend credence to the charade of Review being played out by the Fiji regime, and of which he has inadvertently become a participant. This can only be achieved by his resignation as Chairman.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
14th August 2012
Cfdfiji.org

SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL: The New Zealand Government’s new stance towards the Fiji regime – CFDFiji.org

The motto of the three famous monkeys has now come very much to be exemplified by the Government of New Zealand in its dealings towards the current military dictatorship in Fiji. The latest rapprochement and cosiness of the Government towards the regime is in stark contrast to its former principled stance:

  • Government was concerned that the regime is a military dictatorship.
  • Government was concerned about the many human rights abuses committed by the regime, notably against the hundreds of people taken to the Army barracks and systematically raped, beaten and abused and even killed.
  • Government was concerned about the repressive decrees produced at whim by the evil genius of the regime, the purported Attorney General, the practice of which was in 2009 condemned by the Fiji Court of Appeal.
  • Government was concerned about the absence of basic human rights, suppression of essential freedoms, tapping of communications and other evils committed by the regime.

In the twinkling of an eye all that is changed.

The engaging by the regime in the current charade of Constitutional Consultation, and its giving of blandishments to the apparently gullible New Zealand Government, has changed everything.  Suddenly, lifting of sanctions and diplomatic engagement is full on. New Zealand taxpayers’ money is being channelled to the regime, on top of the many millions of dollars wasted in previous Fiji elections. And all this on account of the ‘word’ of the regime itself.

The untrustworthiness of the regime has been proved on many occasions in the past. What makes the regime trustworthy now? What justification is there for the expenditure of taxpayer funds in return for promises from the like of the alleged Attorney General?

Actually, nothing has changed. Fiji is still fully militarised, under the very militarisation not long ago condemned by the Australian Foreign Minister. The Army has not withdrawn to barracks. There is no independent body running the country in the run up to promised elections.

Pernicious decrees remain in force. De facto, apart from the technical position, the Army retains complete control.

Any alleged temporary relaxation to accommodate the current Constitutional process is a chimera.

As has been stressed many times before, there is no real prospect of a genuine democratic election because the alleged Prime Minister and Attorney General simply cannot afford ever to truly relinquish power. Genuine relinquishment would entail their prosecution for the host of grave offences of which they are guilty. Hence the feverish desperation of the alleged Attorney General to force into a new Constitution clauses absolving him and his cronies from guilt.

Even if the saving clauses are forced through any future truly democratic Government would be unlikely to respect them.

It is necessary, in considering the current charade, to look at the unduly respectful language currently being used by the international community and others in regard to the regime. Thus, the Foreign Minister of New Zealand refers to the alleged Fiji Foreign Minister as his counterpart. But he is not. He is the illegal creation of a military dictatorship. Nor can he properly be called Foreign Minister.

The Fiji police refer to controlling the process surrounding the conviction of the former Prime Minister as necessary to protect the independence of the judiciary. But such independence does not exist in Fiji.

The Australian media refer to the body convicting the former Prime Minister as a court. The word ‘court’ implies legality and Constitutionality. But those attributes do not pertain to that body. The media also assert that it cannot comment on the verdict because it is ‘sub judice’. However that assertion is also false. Nothing produces nothing. The right of appeal only attaches to a genuine verdict.

The Foreign Minister of New Zealand produces as a pretext for lifting sanctions that this will enable Fiji to recruit competent persons in high positions to enhance an alleged movement towards free and fair elections. The point however that he misses is that it is not a good career move for a person from outside Fiji to take up high position in a military dictatorship. Nor does such a move enhance that person’s reputation.The Foreign Minister in this connection should, with respect, for an example, seek the views of past Judges and Directors of Public Prosecutions axed by the regime, and of the Law Societies of Australia and New Zealand.

The fact that the current charade in Fiji is indeed a charade is already apparent but this will become even clearer in time. There may indeed be elections but in their nature they cannot be free and fair .

At this time, the Council calls upon all fair and right minded people everywhere to reject that charade.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara
Council for a Democratic Fiji
8th August 2012
CFDFiji.org

Bainimarama’s role in the Speight coup

It seems that there are people who simply can’t believe that the author of race-free Fiji could have been involved in the Speight coup. If he’s the enemy of Qarase, he needs no other credentials.

It doesn’t matter that in 2000 and 2001 all of the allegations against Bainimarama, Ah Koy and Kubuabola were made by Qarase’s enemies, including Sayed-Khaiyum. If Bainimarama changes side, the facts change sides with him.

There are hard facts in the report of the RFMF Board of Inquiry. It’s over a thousand pages long and much of it is recorded in the language of the RFMF other ranks (na vosa vakaviti) so Crosbie Walsh cannot access the evidence first hand, but the fact is it’s clear RFMF supply and rotation of staff at Parliament House continued for some time after the seizure.

Then there’s the issue of all the weapons taken out of the armoury. Who approved this? It seems no-one did.

It wasn’t until 6 June that Bainimarama ordered all his troops out of Parliament complex. This is a matter of record, not conjecture or rumour.

Question S of the Board of Inquiry terms of reference asked what the reaction of the commander was to the takeover of Parliament. The Board report stated that they “‘cannot answer that question because the Board was unable to interview him”.

On Saturday 1 July 2000, the BOI report states Army Commander Bainimarama, who had assumed the Executive powers of the President declared “issues concerning Fijian interests and aspirations will be give priority in response to questions on the delay in the appointment of an Interim Government”.

The BOI report doesn’t have enough information to convict Bainimarama of complicity, but it raises enough suspicions to warrant a full investigation.

Blanket Immunity – a blanket to cover what?

When the Parliament was debating the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill (PRTUB) in 2005 Bainimarama flew into a rage. By the miracle of selective vision, many supporters of the overthrown Chaudhry Government took this to be rage at the prospect that the thugs who had ousted the elected government would be freed from prison.

But it is now obvious that Bainimarama had other things entirely in mind. He wasn’t worried about freeing them, because that’s exactly what he plans to do with his blanket indemnity.

We’ve all been fed the story that indemnity for the the takeover is needed to persuade the troops to return to their barracks and end the coup culture, but why does this have to go back before 2006, or Bainimarama’s treasonous warm-up acts just before the coup?

The answer is not hard for those who’ve read the Board of Inquiry report which has been posted on the Roko Ului website.

If immunity was given for people freely confessing their parts in the Speight coup and offering evidence about the role of others, Bainimarama would be exposed. He knew about the coup, but deliberately left the country, returning to try to take advantage of the chaos. Troops involved in the siege of Parliament continued to be paid. No action was taken until he had deposed the President, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, while positioning himself to take power.

After seizing power in 2006 there was no pursuit of those suspected of involvement in the Speight coup who had slipped the net. Quite the opposite. Jim Ah Koy, the reputed financier- of Speight, was made Ambassador to China. Bainimarama even tried to give former Commissioner Isikia Savua a Government position in the Charter process, withdrawing it only after heated protest. Inoke Kubuabola, another reputed 2000 veteran, also joined the government.

What Bainimarama feared from the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill was the exposure of his role in the Speight coup, not the prospect that the guilty would escape judgement.

One of the great mysteries of the Bainimarama dictatorship is how he has managed to keep the military behind him. He has no military credentials and his continued rule threatens to ruin the RFMF as an institution.

The only possible explanation is his talent for involving others in his crimes. He made sure that none of his senior officers could avoid having their finger-prints on the crimes of the RFMF in 2000 or 2006. Roko Ului’s muted comments about 2000 and 2006 can be traced to the way Bainimarama made sure that as many as possible of his officers were compromised in one way or another.

Conflict of interest

The regime is attempting argue that Laisenia Qarase should have declared a conflict of interest between his role as a director of FHL and his role as a member of Mavana village. Was there someone on the FHL Board who didn’t know that Qarase was from Mavana?

Did Jo Kamikamica or Lt Col Navunisaravi declare their interest in Tailevu Dairy Farmers Coop of Tailevu Provincial Holdings? Everyone knows they’re from Tailevu, just as they know Ratu Jone Kubuabola is from Cakaudrove, the Provincial Council with the largest holdings in FHL.

What Jo Kamikamica, Ratu Jone Kubuabola and Jo Kamikamica also have in common is that they are highly educated in economics and business. They held their positions as Directors on merit. They no doubt advised the communities they served to invest in FHL. Were their communities supposed to be disqualified from investing just because they had within their ranks well educated men who were contributing to the development of the nation as well as their own communities?

The authorities have blocked the news sites reporting the trial but thanks to a blogger on Fiji Today we know that Sitiveni Weleilakeba confirmed that Qarase did not actually own shares in the three companies he was accused of having an interest in. His wife owned shares in one, but not Qarase himself. These days K.haiyum and Jiko Luveni are always boasting about the regime’s achievements in gender equality, including the right to own property in their own right.

Sitiveni Weleilakeba also confirmed that he drew the Board’s attention to the role of Qarase as the financial advisor to the three companies in question.. There was no hidden conflict of interest.

While on the question of conflict of interest, surely it is a conflict of interest to hold the office of Prime Minister and Commander of the Military, or AG and the Electoral Commission, or Solicitor General and DPP, not to mention a host of other government offices?

It’s almost beyond belief that Bainimarama and Khaiyum can utter the words ‘conflict of interest’ without choking.

Business hazards in Fiji for New Zealand companies – CFDFiji.org

An overview by the Council for a Democratic Fiji

As the Fiji New Zealand Business Council prepares for its June 16th meeting, the Council for a Democratic Fiji (CFDFiji) issues a strong warning about the considerable risks of investing in Fiji.

On the surface, the environment for business in the coup-stricken country might appear to have some appeal. The people of Fiji are as friendly as ever and the military regime of Commodore Frank Bainimarama makes a lot of noise about its pro-investment policies. Bainimarama and his No 1 collaborator, Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum, the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce, regularly pump out propaganda dishonestly painting a picture of a buoyant economy on a strong growth path. This is what will happen at the business council meeting.

Delegates will be told that Fiji is “moving forward”, “modernizing” and “reforming” and that commercial opportunities abound. They may hear that a “truly democratic” future beckons and that elections are scheduled for late 2014. There is wide scepticism, however, about whether Bainimarama is willing to relinquish power in a free poll.

Any business person conducting a proper due diligence on Fiji designed to protect shareholders and their capital, will uncover a very hazardous landscape, full of potential pitfalls and some unpalatable truths.

The reality is that Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum run a dictatorship that was declared unlawful by Fiji’s Court of Appeal. This was before Bainimarama sacked all the country’s judges and installed a new hand-picked judiciary that has been denounced as lacking independence by many credible international authorities. A recent investigation by an affiliate organization of the Law Society of the United Kingdom found that the rule of law no longer operates.

This is a crucial issue for all New Zealand investors and firms involved with Fiji. It is just one of the many reasons that an increasing number of prudent business owners and managers from New Zealand treat the country with extreme caution.

Since 2006 when Bainimarama executed a military coup, he and Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum have led Fiji into an unprecedented spiral of decline. They have propped themselves up by severe and brutal abuse of human rights and suppressive “decrees” to control and intimidate the population.

More than 200 of these dubious legal devices have been imposed since April 2009 covering a host of topics and issues. These are no more lawful than the regime itself.

Social conditions have worsened dramatically. It is estimated that the percentage of Fiji’s population living in poverty has increased to 35 per cent. Suicides are on the rise and child malnutrition is a problem.

The economy is in a negative cycle, meaning that for much of Bainimarama’s time as “prime minister” it has actually gone backwards. It has not even returned to where it was in 2006.

Recently a respected economist at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Professor Biman Prasad, caused a stir when he spoke of the kind of woeful statistics of failure the regime does not like to hear. He declared that the medium-term outlook was not encouraging. Professor Prasad cited Asian Development Bank figures on the ratio of private investment to GDP. This was put at only two per cent for 2011 which underscores abysmally low levels of confidence.

The response from the regime was to roll out a propaganda blitz claiming that Fiji could expect investments in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The people of Fiji have been told similar stories before. The Reserve Bank suddenly announced an upward revision in its immediate growth projections, higher than the impartial forecast of the ADB.

As usual Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum are staying quiet about some of the current international disclosures which further damage Fiji’s reputation and give the lie to their claims about business friendly policies and transparency.

The International Open Budget Survey, which measures budget transparency and accountability around the world, placed Fiji at the bottom of a list of 94 countries. It was bracketed with Iraq, Chad and Equatorial Guinea. This means there is scant budget information available in terms of expenditure, income, capital projects, infrastructure and controls. The long-suffering taxpayers really have no idea how their money is used. There is fertile ground here for corruption and mismanagement.

During the tenure of the last elected government the Word Bank Group ranked Fiji 35 out of 155 countries for ease of doing business. Under Bainimarama, Fiji has dropped down the scorecard, underlining Fiji’s lack of appeal for investors. In 2012 it has been listed at 77 out of 183 economies, down five places from its ranking in 2011. In the category of starting a business, Fiji went from 105 to 119.

The perception of Fiji as an extremely risky investment location was illustrated very clearly last year when the government had to pay nine percent interest to purchasers of an international bond floated by the regime. This put it into the junk bond category.

In the area of enforcing contracts Fiji has also slipped. The notion of sanctity of contracts as an essential prerequisite for all investors appears to have been abandoned by Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum.

A business which has entered into any contract with the dictatorship should be aware that its position can be compromised at any time leaving it without redress and its shareholders exposed. This raises clear accountability issues for directors and managements of New Zealand companies engaged with Fiji. Recently, for instance, a decree has been used to cancel contracts for commercial concessions at Nadi International Airport.

The trend is spreading; there are allegations that employment contracts at a university are not being honoured.

Another notorious decree has trashed pension contracts. Pensioners have been left with no legal recourse.

Earlier, legislation interfered with private commercial rights at two tourism projects.

Qantas has found itself at the receiving end of an Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum decree that has affected its role as a shareholder in Fiji’s national airline Air Pacific.

The national debt is high – with contingent liabilities it may be well over 80 per cent of Fiji’s GDP. It is difficult to get a precise picture. But any prudent analysis must take into account the prospects of the regime defaulting on its payments to creditors. A recurring theme in private conversations among Fiji citizens is that the regime is essentially broke. This “coconut wireless” communication is often accurate.

The erratic and arbitrary nature of the Fiji legislative environment is one of the greatest challenges for commerce.

Price control, for instance, has been imposed at whim on thousands of consumer products. Bainimarama has ignored advice from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank, to get rid of this form of regulation because it is a disincentive for investment.

Decrees are not made in line with any cohesive strategy or by any proper process of open consultation. These are normally considered in secret and then simply announced.

Rule by decree means statutes that affect business can be drastically altered without any right of appeal or review. A recent example relates to the huge restrictions on company claims for losses for tax purposes enacted because of the regime’s financial plight. Another is the manner in which Bainimarama designates at will what he chooses to call essential industries.

When a functioning democracy and constitutional rule are restored, all financial and commercial transactions with the regime will be subjected to scrutiny by parliament. Whether they will be honored is a moot point.

This should concentrate the minds of members of the Fiji New Zealand Business Council.


Council for a Democratic Fiji

17th June 2012
CFDFiji.org

Please refer to the following link for more information and a copy of this media release.

DOING BUSINESS WITH FIJI – Be very careful with an untrustworthy regime, warns CFDFiji – CFDFiji.org

The Council For A Democratic Fiji (CFDFiji) urges the Pacific Islands Forum to be extremely vigilant in tracking the performance of the Fiji regime in its constitutional review process leading up to elections supposedly to be held in 2014.

The recent visit by the Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) was useful. It forced the regime to make clear public commitments and answer questions it does not normally have to face.

We understand the desire of the MCG to be positive about its re-engagement with the regime. But the CFDFiji warns that this should not blind it to the devious and untrustworthy nature of the dictatorship. It is known for breaking promises.

It was significant that Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama made no attempt to return from one of his expensive overseas trips to meet with the visiting ministers. This lays bare the hypocrisy of his oft-repeated calls for greater engagement with Australia and New Zealand. There was an opportunity for him to engage with both countries and explain his regime’s roadmap to elections. But he chose to stay away and leave the talking to his Attorney General, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was visibly agitated and peeved when the ministers met with a diverse group of stakeholders, including opponents of the regime. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had tried unsuccessfully to exercise some control over the people and organisations with whom the ministers would consult. His idea of dialogue is for him to indulge in a monologue.

The CFDFiji strongly endorses the statement by the Australian Foreign Minister, Mr Bob Carr, that sanctions against the regime, will only be lifted when a free, fair and credible election takes place. Any attempt by Commodore Bainimarama and the Attorney General to gerrymander the outcome will be noted and condemned by the international community. Further sanctions will follow.

The truth of the situation in Fiji is that the environment is still not right for an open and free discussion on constitutional issues. Despite the regime’s claims that the way is now clear for consultations, significant obstacles remain.

The CFDFiji joins with many other major groups in demanding that oppressive, punitive and anti- democratic decrees should be immediately removed. These curtail freedom of assembly, speech and the media and deny justice.

The offending laws include the Media Decree, Essential Industries Decree, Public Order Amendment Decree, State Services Decree and all other Decrees that limit full access to legal rights. If these are not lifted the public participatory dialogue required for a legitimate constitutional process will not be possible.

Professor Yash Ghai, chair of the newly-formed Constitutional Commission knows this. So he now has some decisions to make.

The CFDFiji, like other key stakeholder groups, believes the 1997 Constitution is still in existence. Any constitutional review, therefore, should be based on the 1997 supreme law.

A civilian government must be appointed to guide the review process and manage the elections. This takes on added importance in light of revelations that the Military is considering forming a political party. Commodore Bainimarama has not denied this.

We support the call by the leaders of Fiji’s principal political parties, the SDL, the Fiji Labour Party and the United Peoples Party, for a referendum to be held on the result of the constitutional dialogue.

The regime’s proposed Constituent Assembly to decide on the constitution, will be undemocratic and susceptible to manipulation and control.

Serious issues remain about the continuing involvement of members of the Military in numerous strategic areas of government. This means large sections of the administrative machinery are controlled by Military officers. Their ultimate loyalty is not to the civil service but to their military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

This militarisation of government was commented on by the MCG. The Group would like it to come to an end.

In recent interview, however, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum indicated that he could see nothing wrong with army officers continuing to serve in government.

This is a very clear indication of his warped view of politics and governance issues. It is also self-serving. He knows the army officer corps is united in its dislike of him and want him out of the regime. He may feel that a statement supporting the military role in the public service will work in his favour.

 

Secretary
Council for a Democratic Fiji
5th May 2012
CFDFiji.org

Please refer to the following link for a copy of this media release.