Where is the good governance coup?

In December 2006 the Army Commander seized power in the name of transparency and good governance. It was all about cleaning up government. The issue wasn’t how genuine our democracy was, it was all about cleaning up government. All of the claims about genuine democracy came later as an excuse for not allowing us to elect a clean government. However flawed past elections may have been, they’ve all had more democratic credibility than a Government imposed by force.
In 2007, when Bainimarama was talking all the time about ‘transparency and good governance’, it was obvious that he was repeating words from a coup script written by others. Good governance means more than sacking the government boards and advisory bodies appointed by Qarase. It means making sure all decisions made by government, whether directly through cabinet or indirectly through government-appointed board members, can be seen, understood and questioned by the public.
Over the seven years of Bainimarama rule there has been a steady decline in all the principles of good governance, in paticular transparency. We don’t know what the government is doing and we are not allowed to ask.
Annual Reports from the FNPF have shrunk and no longer provide the information we need to be confident our contributions are safe. The Fiji Sugar Corporation no longer has to produce an Annual Report because it has been de-listed from the South Pacific Stock Exchange, but we know it is insolvent. FSC should be placed the hands of a receiver to protect all the people that trade with it – banks lending it money (if there still are banks foolish enough to do this) suppliers providing it with goods and services and hoping to be paid, not to forget small farmers investing in their farms in the hope that they will sell cane to FSC and be paid.
Then there’s Fiji Airways. Who knows what they owe or what interest they’re paying on their debts. We know the planes are owned by some artifical Irish corporation.
The pine and mahogany industries are covered in fog. We know Aiyaz buddy, Faiz Khan, is head of Fiji Pine, giving him control of Tropik Wood and Fiji Forest Industries. But that’s all we know. Try checking with Bloomberg Businessweek to see who’s running FHCL and you’ll find this: “Fiji Hardwood Corp. Ltd. does not have any Key Executives recorded.” There are no reports to show what is earned from mahogany sales, no doubt because Bainimarama doesn’t want the landowners to be able to work out what share he’s leaving for them.
Fijian Holdings is the one small ray of sunshine even though is shine through a dark and threatening cloud. FHL still publishes the Annual Reports required by the Stock Exchange and from that we find that total liabilities for the FHL group grew by a staggering 244% during the year ending 30 June 2013. Assets grew by only 46%. And yet it is claimed FHL made a small profit. Is this profit real or just a result of accounting tricks?
The FHL Annual Report claims “All Directors are independent Directors with no substantial interest in the shares or Group business.” In other words they lose nothing if the company is bled dry by the regime. Dividends are being paid out to the iTAB and then grabbed back by Bainimarama to repay the ‘loan’ he invented to cover his grab-back of the Qarase Government grant to the iTAB and Provincial Councils of B class shares.
FHL is being looted but at least we can get a glimpse of it in the Annual Report, which is more than we can say for Fiji Pine and the Fiji Hardwood Corporation.
If we had an independent media they could demand answers to these questions, but sadly, we do not

US Sanctions on the Generalized System of Preferences Scheme – Bainimarama’s Appeal to Trade Union leaders – CFDFiji.org

While speaking in Lautoka on Saturday as reported in the Fiji Sun of (30/9), Dictator Bainimarama made his eleventh hour appeal on the union leaders against the looming US sanction that will end the duty free market access into the US. His unconvincing and pedantic decries can be best described as; ‘barking up the wrong tree’. He repeated the ridiculous claim blaming the union leaders for the impending sanction when the problem lies within his defunct regime.

The Regime’s blame game continues.

Simply put, the imminent US sanction cannot be attributed to any of the union leaders in any possible manner. The regime leader is emulating the proverbial ostrich the only difference being, instead of the sand, his head is deeply buried in the lies of his disgraced Attorney General.

The truth of the matter is that the Essential Services Decree blatantly violates international labor principles and standards, which is the only reason for the US sanctions. So, if the US government requires these standards be met by Fiji, how is it the fault of the union leaders? Like Fiji, Iraq is also facing the same sanction, so are there people like Felix Anthony and Daniel Urai in Iraq too? The perplexed Bainimarama ought to research issues of such nature to avoid making himself appear a complete fool.

For the purpose of clarity and emphasis, we repeat the following from a joint letter signed by Sharon Burrow, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation on December 2 2011 to Bainimarama. In her comprehensive letter, Ms Burrow explained in great detail how the Essential Services Decree was in breach of the international labour standards, which if not withdrawn, would result in consequences in the future. Given Bainimarama’s limitations he must have ignored the letter and accepted the assurance from his Attorney General. Today he finds himself caught between the rock and a hard place. Bainimarama had the benefit of good counsel which he paid no heed to and we quote as follows:-

“The Fiji government has issued several decrees that sharply curtail fundamental labor rights in both the public and private sectors. Some of the decrees also eliminate all access to judicial review and redress for past, present, and future violations of those rights or to question the legality of the decrees themselves. These sweeping changes were made without any prior consultation with the relevant trade unions. These decrees include: State Services Decree of 2009 (No. 6); Administration of Justice Decree of 2009 (Decree No. 9); Administration of Justice (Amendment) Decree of 2009 (Decree No. 10); Administration of Justice (Amendment) Decree of 2010 (Decree No. 14); Trade Disputes Decree of 2009 (Decree No. 10); Employment Relations Amendment Decree of 2011 (Decree No. 21); Public Service Act (Amendment) 2011; and the Essential Industries Decree of 2011.

On May 16, 2011, your government promulgated the Employment Relations Amendment Decree which amended the Employment Relations Promulgation of 2007 to exclude all public service workers from the scope of its’ coverage. Thus, roughly 15,000 workers in Fiji’s public service were divested of their important labor rights available under that law, such as collective bargaining and the right to strike, overnight.

On July 29, the government promulgated the Essential Industries Decree, which divested most private sector workers in key industries of their rights. As explained by the ILO Director General Juan Somavia, the decree has “very far reaching implications” including the “ending of existing collective agreements, the designation of new bargaining agents which may not be trade unions, and the possible imposition of compulsory arbitration of disputes and other limits on the right to strike.

Implementing regulations issued on September 9, 2011 subsequently designated the finance, telecoms, civil aviation, and public utilities sectors as essential and purports to allow the military government to include any other industries as and when it wishes.[11]

Together, these decrees are widely viewed as a direct attack on the independent trade union movement, among the strongest voices in Fijian civil society.

In the five years since you assumed power through extra-constitutional means, few steps have been taken to restore the right of Fiji Islanders to participate fully and freely in the governance of their own country. Rather than embracing the important role that civil society, human rights defenders, and trade unions play in good governance, your government has systematically repressed such groups. As international human rights, labor, and press organizations, we urge you to commit publicly to your international human rights obligations and take all necessary measures to protect human rights in Fiji.”

The letter stated – we urge your government to:
  1. Immediately repeal the Public Emergency Regulations – as your government has undertaken to do on several occasions;
  2. Repeal the Media Industry Development Decree, remove government censors from news rooms, and encourage international press organizations to work with the Fiji media to establish a mechanism for self-regulation;
  3. Revise all labor decrees, including the Employment Relations Amendment Decree of 2011 and the Essential Industries Decree of 2011, through a tri-partite process, to ensure compliance with your international obligations to the ILO;
  4. Publicly order security personnel to uphold human rights, in particular fair trial and due process rights, the prohibition on torture, and the right to free assembly and association;
  5. Investigate and prosecute all security force personnel who engage in arbitrary arrest and detention, attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, and physical abuse of detainees; and
  6. Publicly commit to an expedited timetable for elections, implementing the right of all Fiji Islanders to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives and to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections.

On Tuesday, 2nd October 2012, Fiji will be facing hearing in the United States that most likely will end the duty free access for 39 companies. 15,000 to 36,000 jobs may disappear completely and all the regime leaders can do is to continue the blame game and play victim when it is the reckless Essential Services Decree that will decimate jobs and industries – an undeniable fact which the regime leader is too afraid to admit.

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

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

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.

Bainimarama republic – The New Zealand Herald

By Andrew Laxon

An unlikely secret mission reveals how military power has overturned the country’s rule of law. Andrew Laxon reports

English lawyer Nigel Dodds was able to tell the truth as he passed through Customs on his way into Fiji last November. The 62-year-old semi-retired solicitor from Morpeth, Northumbria, was in the middle of a long-planned world trip, so he ticked tourism as the primary reason for his visit. However, the chairman of the English-based Law Society Charity was really on an undercover mission to determine first-hand whether the rule of law had collapsed in Fiji, as reports had claimed.

The evidence looked damning enough. Since Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in 2006, lawyers who question the military Government’s actions have been rounded up and tortured. The entire judiciary was sacked in 2009 and the Government has ruled by decree since then. However international observers who tried to report on the problems have been turned away.

Dodds thought he might have more luck with a low-key approach. He figured no one would take too much notice of “an elderly gentleman tottering round the world” so, with the help of a few advance phone calls, he worked his way round the main island, Viti Levu, chatting to current and former judges and lawyers in a series of clandestine meetings in bars, restaurants and coffee shops. (Fiji’s public emergency regulations banned any meeting of more than three people without a permit.)

He tapped the brains of the British High Commission and international agencies working in Fiji and tried less successfully to get the views of ordinary Fijians, who were reluctant to speak out.

His report, published last week, was unequivocal. Fiji is effectively a dictatorship, with no rule of law, no democracy, no freedom of expression and no legal way for citizens to challenge Government decisions. Dodds sees little hope in the short-term, as the military has the power to suppress virtually all dissent and rewards those who support it. But he believes other nations can and must speak up against Bainimarama’s abuse of power, as ordinary Fijians can no longer do so.

Under the decree system, courts cannot rule on Government decisions in any way. Notices on courtroom walls remind lawyers and judges not to go down this track and if any cases do slip through the net, the Government-appointed chief registrar can simply terminate them.

“Given you’ve got no right of assembly, you’ve got a controlled press, there’s no way legally to challenge the Government,” he told the Weekend Herald this week from his home in England.

“Even people sticking up minor graffiti are charged with sedition. That’s actually happening… It’s absolutely monstrous.”

Fiji’s legal and political problems date back to 1987, when Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka led an abortive coup in May, followed by a successful attempt in September. Rabuka, who later became Prime Minister, changed the constitution to guarantee indigenous Fijians dominance in Government. Despite this, an Indo-Fijian-dominated Labour Party headed by Mahendra Chaudhry managed to win power in 1997. It was overthrown in 2000 by George Speight, who occupied Parliament and held the government MPs hostage for 56 days.

Witnesses say Bainimarama wanted the military to take over then, but was persuaded to allow the formation of a new Government, headed by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. After two coup attempts, which failed when senior officers refused to support him, Bainimarama seized power in December 2006 and suspended Parliament, which has not sat since.

According to a comprehensive 2009 report by the International Bar Association Human Rights Association – compiled from phone interviews because the group was not allowed to visit – judges soon became the victims of a series of attacks and intimidation. Justice Gordon Ward’s home was burned down while he was on holiday. The suspected arson was never investigated. Justice Gerard Winter’s car was sabotaged by the removal of key mechanical components, which could have resulted in a serious accident. Justice Roger Coventry was reportedly followed by military officers after he made a ruling awarding costs against the interim Attorney-General. The report said lawyers who spoke against the Government were taken from their homes late at night, detained in military barracks and subjected to violence.

The entire judiciary was gradually replaced with judges willing to do the regime’s bidding. Within days of the coup, Justice Daniel Fatiaki, who had provided legal advice to Bainimarama’s opponents in the 2000 Speight coup, was forcibly removed from office on questionable charges.

He was replaced by Justice Anthony Gates, who had previously supported upholding the constitution in defiance of the 2000 coup. By this time however, Gates’ reputation was severely tarnished – overseas-based judges on Fiji’s Court of Appeal found he told guests at a cocktail party that he would “put away” a prominent chief, Ratu Takiveikata, on criminal charges relating to the coup. The three New Zealand and Australian judges who ordered a retrial found Gates lied under oath when he denied in court that he had made the statement.

At the end of 2007, six New Zealand and Australian judges resigned from Fiji’s Court of Appeal, apparently because they felt they could no longer work with the military regime. Other judges resigned or let their appointments lapse in 2008, some explicitly blaming the regime for their decision.

When three Australian judges on the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court decision in April 2009 and declared the coup unlawful, the Government simply sacked all the judges and began ruling by decree.

Dodds’ report says Chief Justice Gates has since used his personal connections to recruit large numbers of judges from Sri Lanka on short-term but renewable contracts. It says the quality is seen as variable and independence from the regime must be difficult.

The report says newly qualified lawyers and recent Sri Lankan imports make up the bulk of staff at the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Four directors have been sacked or replaced since April 2009. The current director is former Solicitor-General Christopher Pryde, a barrister in Christchurch until 2007, who this week described Dodds’ report as spreading “false, outrageous and inflammatory allegations against the country’s judicial system”.

Dodds says he deliberately spoke to a range of people, from supporters to opponents of the regime.

He rejects the argument, sometimes put up by the regime’s supporters in New Zealand, that Bainimarama has done the country a favour, even if his methods are a little harsh.

“That’s been the excuse of most dictators, that they are actually making things better for the people and running things more efficiently.”

In a comparison guaranteed to end any prospect of a return visit, he adds: “Mussolini made the trains run on time.”

Blow by blow

December 2006:
Military commander Frank Bainimarama seizes control in a coup. He suspends Parliament, which has not sat since.
2007-08:
Senior judges and lawyers are subjected to attacks and intimidation, including torture and suspected arson and sabotage. The Chief Justice is removed from office but after two years all charges are dropped and he receives a $275,000 settlement.
2007:
New Zealand and Australian judges on Fiji’s Court of Appeal find the new Chief Justice has lied on oath.
March 2009:
The International Bar Association Human Rights Institute produces a scathing report on the collapse of the rule of law in Fiji.
April 2009:
Australian judges on the Court of Appeal overturn a finding by local High Court judges that the coup was legal. The military government sacks all judges and begins to rule by decree. It bans any meeting of more than three people under public order regulations.
November 2011:
English lawyer Nigel Dodds visits Fiji on a secret fact-finding mission.
January-March 2012:
Public order regulations are suspended but fresh decrees and arrests occur. Elections – originally set down for 2009 – remain promised for 2014.

Please see the following link to the original article on the NZ Herald Website.

Media under tight controls after graffiti attacks.

Fiji tightens censorship rules following anti-regime graffiti

Posted at 05:48 on 26 August, 2011 UTC

Censorship rules in Fiji have been tightened today in a week during which soldiers have been photographed removing anti-regime graffiti from public places.

Today a local broadcaster aired a story about the graffiti and earlier in the week the photographs reached a wide internet audience.

Fiji’s media has operated under censorship since April 2009, when the military regime abrogated the constitution and imposed emergency regulations restricting the nature of reportage to what the interim government terms the journalism of hope.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s interim government promised to lift the regulations with the introduction of a media decree in June last year but both systems of censorship remain in place.

In a mass email today to media outlets and journalists the Ministry of Information asked for all news headlines to be sent to the censors half an hour before stories are published.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Sharon Smith-Johns, declined to comment on the matter.

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

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Dear Publishers

You are hereby requested to send in all news headlines to mediamonitor@info.gov.fj at least half an hour before it is aired.

This will enable us to effectively monitor the coverage for each day.

Your cooperation will be appreciated.

Vinaka

Kalpana Prasad and Qilioani Ravunibola
Media Monitor/Censor
Ministry of Information
Ph: 990 4956 and 990 8885

A paid advertisement from fijipensioners Grey Power advertising our website was refused last week by the Fiji Times

A Biased Fiji Times Management?

http://fijipensioners.com/2011/08/25/a-biased-fiji-times-management/

Dear Grey Power Editor,

A Selina Fotu of Nasinu wrote a letter to the Editor which was published in the Fiji Times today (25/8/11) on the changes proposed by the FNPF Board and Government to our pensions.

What we found surprising was that a letter about the FNPF was actually published by the Fiji Times when pensioners’ letters have not been published at all on any FNPF subject. Moreover, a paid advertisement from fijipensioners Grey Power advertising our website was refused last week by the Fiji Times on the ground that its lawyers had advised not to publish it.

When queried, the Fiji Times pleaded the subjudice rule, that is, that the issue is before the court. Yet Ms Fotu’s letter supporting the proposed changes by the FNPF is published. We wonder- just where is Fiji Times coming from? Self-censorship? As we used to say in the good old days, ‘(Fiji Times), you’ve come a long way, baby!’.

Let us now deal with Ms Fotu’s letter to the Fiji Times editor.

First, the letter does not say whether she is a pensioner. I am sure if she was a pensioner she would not be singing this song of.,.’ I say go for it FNPF, make those changes..’

Secondly, it is curious that of all the public statements by the FNPF made in recent weeks, Ms Fotu chooses to refer to section 63 of the FNPF Act as justification for the reduction to pensions, the same one that Aisake Taito rather unconfidently cited on TV 1 when the Burness case first went to trial. Section 63 of the Act says nothing about reducing peoples’ pensions. This particular point makes us wonder whether Ms Fotu is actually someone at the top of FNPF in disguise. Of course our letter in response to Ms Fotu would never get published in the Fiji Times otherwise we could have a real debate about the FNPF Act and how it is interpreted by pensioners themselves- the duty to supply information to the beneficiaries for one- sadly neglected by FNPF.

The other point Ms Fotu makes is that ‘only 11 per cent of pensioners will be affected by the changes’. Right madam- that 11 per cent don’t matter do they? Perhaps not to you if you are being heartless and ruthless. But it matters to everyone else- we are not pensioners but we support the right of pensioners to stand up for themselves and defend and protect what is theirs- a product of their hard work and savings. But unless Ms Fotu is a pensioner, she will not understand that. She must be one of a handful of people not standing up to support the pensioners in their fight for justice. Shame on you Ms Fotu.

Grey Power supporter.

Fiji Broadcasting’s News Editor, Stanley Simpson explains how the censors work under PER.

Media constraints

Full Story at http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201108/3299232.htm?desktop

But Fiji Broadcasting’s News Editor, Stanley Simpson, believes the union’s accusations do not factor in the constraints on media organisations under Fiji’s Public Emergency Regulations.

“The PER is what really stops us from reporting some of the issues. Censors come into the newsroom and check the stories.”

He says while media organisations may strive for balance, government censors have the final word on what can be broadcast or put in print.

“It happens that we get a call that (a story) must be removed. Sometimes they give a reason, sometimes not. It’s just that they have given orders.”

Mr Tenakoon counters Fiji’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with documentary proof he has kept from his time with FICAC.

Former prosecutor says he has proof of Fiji political interference

Bruce Hill

http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201108/3295756.htm?desktop

A Sri Lankan lawyer who’s has spoken out about political interference in Fiji’s judicial system says he has documentary proof of high level interference.

Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat aired allegations made by Madhawa Tenakoon, who held a senior position with Fiji’s Independent Commission Against Corruption but was dismissed by Fiji’s military government.

Mr Tenakoon says the government interfered in prosecutions by directing the Commission to launch certain investigations, while also directing some cases be ignored.

Fiji’s Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says Mr Tenakoon was sacked for poor performance and suggests the former FICAC employee is trying to raise his profile in a bid to boost his career.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also challenged Mr Tenakoon to produce some proof.

Mr Tenakoon told Pacific Beat when a democratic government returns to power in Fiji he will produce all the documentary proof he has kept from his time with FICAC.

Tourism Alert……… Fiji appears be keeping the death of a New Zealander out of its censored media for fear of harming the tourist trade.

Silence in Fiji over death of NZ woman

MICHAEL FIELD

Fijian authorities are refusing to release details of the death of a New Zealand woman.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Wellington has confirmed it is “providing assistance to the family involved”.

But Fiji appears be keeping the death out of its censored media for fear of harming the tourist trade.

Some time in the last six weeks it is believed a man and a woman were sailing on a yacht near Fiji when the woman fell overboard and drowned.

The body was recovered and the yacht made it to Suva, but the woman’s death was not reported, and the body was cremated.

Unverified reports say the man then left the yacht moored and headed to Nadi to take a flight to Asia, but was stopped by police. The man is believed to still be in Fiji.

New Zealand police national headquarters refused to comment, while a media spokeswoman for the Fiji police said she was not familiar with any of the details.

The incident has been compared to a real-life version of the 1989 Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman movie Dead Calm, where a navy officer and his wife go sailing in the South Pacific and rescue a man from a damaged yacht, who then terrorises them.

The Fiji military regime has used its martial law powers to downplay incidents involving foreigners, fearing the damage it could do to tourism.

Last month the death of New Zealander Tony Groom, 55, a former Greymouth hotelier, was given only brief attention, while the case of American businessman Don Nicholas, who disappeared while surfing, was given little publicity. His body has still not been found.

How the Military Government killed the Hindu equivalent of Christmas.

Religious gatherings also require permit says Police

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=39002

The Fiji Police Force has clarified that a permit is required for any gatherings that include more than 10 people.

The clarification follows queries from Hindu’s around the country who will be celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna next week.

Questions were raised as to whether a permit was required for religious gatherings. Police spokesperson – Theresa Ralogaivau clarified the issue to FBC News.

“According to the Public Emergency Regulations a gathering that includes more than 10 people requires a permit. The church of religious gathering within home with use of load speakers and where there will be lots of cars parked around – in those cases you need a permit.”

Ralogaivau says while processing applications the Force ensures that the gatherings do not contravene the PER.

Report by : Ritika Pratap

A headline designed to scare away investors. After ten years in Fiji KFC is unable to operate in the current enviroment.

Fast food operator in Fiji closes its doors over spat with government agency

Posted at 03:30 on 02 August, 2011 UTC

The fast food chain KFC has temporarily closed its three locations in Fiji after being unable to import key ingredients.

In a statement, the company says that since October 2010, the Fiji Quarantine & Inspection Division has not allowed KFC to bring in its most needed ingredients – a milk and egg mix and breading salt.

It says the missing ingredients have led to a decline in product quality, which coupled with rising food costs, contributed to decreasing sales.

The statement says KFC has been importing the milk and egg mix and breading salt since first opening its doors in Fiji 10 years ago.

KFC’s management is working to resolve the import restriction with the Fiji Quarantine & Inspection Division.

The permanent closure would affect about 80 full-time and part-time employees.

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

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Fiji Bio-security accuses KFC of false claims


Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Ltd

The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) has clairified that they are not responsible for the closure of KFC outlets in Fiji and says the global fast food

Fiji’s military regime is heavily censoring media reports on the murder of New Zealand businessman Tony Groom

Fiji media censored over Kiwi’s murder

MICHAEL FIELD

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/south-pacific/5340160/Fiji-media-censored-over-Kiwis-murder

Fiji’s military regime is heavily censoring media reports on the murder of New Zealand businessman Tony Groom in Nadi, media sources in Suva say.

Media have also been restricted on reporting on missing American businessman Don Nicholas who disappeared last week while surfing near Nadi.

No reason has been given to editors for the tight censoring but those involved believe the military regime is trying to control any news that could impact on the tourist trade.

Ministry of Information censors operate in all Fiji newsrooms and nothing can be broadcast or published before they clear it.

Their behaviour on certain stories is often inconsistent between publications, but media sources say the censors on all publications have allowed only basic coverage of the deaths of foreigners.

Groom, 55, a former Greymouth hotelier, was operating a charter boat operation at the tourist marina in Denarau, near Nadi, when he was beaten up on July 8. He collapsed eight days later and died last Friday.

His funeral was held yesterday in Nadi.

While police say they are investigating, no arrests have been made and there are no suspects.

Fiji media have been allowed to give more extensive coverage of the murder of a local hotel manager, Tevita Tabua, 51, who was savagely beaten near Nadi.

Three suspects are being questioned.

Meanwhile Fiji authorities have ended a search for an American CEO, Don Nicholas, who disappeared a week ago while learning to surf at the Intercontinental Hotel at Natadola, south of Nadi. The area was being pounded at the time by high swells which were also hitting New Zealand.

The search was called off over the weekend with no sign of the body.

Although an extensive US funded search was heavily reported in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Nicholas was from, it was virtually uncovered in Fiji.

Nicholas’ girlfriend Litsa Kapantais, who is pregnant, told Charlotte media she was opposed to the way Fiji gave up on looking for the man.

His sister, Lisa Ross, has been in Fiji for the last several days but is being stonewalled by the Intercontinental Hotel.

“She needs the backup and the support from the hotel. She needs to have access to the boats, she needs to have access to the dive teams,” Kapantais said.

She said she believes Nicholas is still alive but may desperately need help. She said Nicholas either drifted or swam to another island after strong waves knocked him off his surfboard.

 “I don’t think that they looked enough. I don’t think that they searched enough, the nearby islands enough. He could have very, very easily found something to capture onto in the ocean and be on another island somewhere,” she said.

Fiji’s military regime Voreqe Bainimarama last week imposed a ”Surf Decree” prohibiting private use of surf beaches.
Fiji has been advertising itself as a major surf destination.

One of Fiji’s anti-regime blogs, Coup Four Point Five, claims the regime is controlling the news over Don Nicholas and Don ”for fear of spooking tourists”.

Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in 2006.

He purported to abrogate the constitution in 2009 after a court decision found his regime illegal. He imposed a state of emergency then, which included extensive censorship and media control.

The state of emergency continues, although Bainimarama has promised elections in 2014.

– Stuff

This is actually good news as it shows an easing in the media muzzle. The public cannot be expected to help the Police if they are not informed.

20 drivers robbed in a month

Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, November 02, 2010

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=159061

POLICE have identified an emerging trend of robberies by young Fijian youths on vulnerable taxi drivers after 20 cases were reported last month.

Police assistant spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the targets were mostly Indo-Fijian taxi drivers while the suspects and perpetrators were young Fijian youths.

“This is the new trend observed by the Fiji Police Force. For the month of October alone, 20 cases of robbery and assault of taxi drivers were reported from the Southern region ù from Nasinu to Lami,” he said.

“Last month, the Raiwaqa Police Station reported six cases, Nabua reported four, Samabula reported three cases, Lami reported one case and Totogo reported three cases.

“There was an early morning robbery and assault case on early Sunday morning at Ritova Street. Most of the taxi drivers that were assaulted and robbed were admitted to hospital for treatment to injuries sustained.

“The trend is that perpetrators hire the taxis from Suva and upon reaching their destination, they turn on the drivers, robbing them and assaulting them.”

Insp Sokomuri said most of the suspects had been caught and charged while others were still being pursued by the police.

He said perpetrators targeted taxi drivers they knew could easily be overpowered. “Our advice to taxi drivers is that if at any time they pick passengers that look and behave suspiciously, they can take them to the nearest police station to have them checked or interviewd,” he said.

“The second advise is for drivers to be extra careful when driving after 12am and into early morning.”

Franks Irish Wolfhound defends dog and cat stories.

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=131010379eff6cc02a7731468c9f5e

Some overseas media outlets and individuals being interviewed are now saying that the Fiji media is only doing dog and cat stories and the journalistic standard in the country is now low or is being lowered.

One overseas media outlet, the ABC has interviewed the former Editor of Fiji Times, Netani Rika who also said the standards have been lowered.

Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns said it is clear that Rika has got a personal agenda after leaving the newspaper and wants to continue his anti-government approach.

Smith-Johns said it is also laughable that some overseas media outlets are saying that the Fiji media is only doing dog and cat stories.

She questions why this perception is being created and also raises the issue why these media outlets keep speaking to the same group of individuals who are against everything the current administration is implementing.

Smith-Johns said the so called experts on Fiji are either experts in nothing or do not even live in the country and do not have any idea about the reality of the situation on the ground.

 

Telephone deadline extended again and again and again. This well thought out decree is now egg on the AGs face.

 

Deadline for cancellation of Telephone Communications Services is extended to 8th November.

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=111010eafaae95287e390b49676e17

This announcement has been made by Attorney General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who said in a public notice that ABy virtue of the powers under section 3(5) of the compulsory registration of Customers for telephone Services Decree 2010, he extends the time set out in section 3(4) of the Decree.

He warned that any service provider who by this date fails to cancel telephone communications services is liable to be convicted to a maximum fine of $200,000.

This applied for land or mobile number which has not been registered under the provisions of the Decree and the service provider shall be guilty of an offence.

Story by: Ronal Deo

Another broken promise…… The Fiji Times has now been sold so that excuse no longer holds water.

Public Emergency Regulation extended

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=2109105da110ace253cbb4af95a0ea%20

The Public Emergency Regulation has been extended for another 30 days with effect from the 22nd of this month.

This has been gazetted and signed by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on 14th September 2010.

The PER has been in place in Fiji since April 2009.


Story by:
Vijay Narayan

Blame! Blame! Blame!……. It is never the fault of the Government.

Govt blames Fiji Freedom Movement in Aust

Full Story http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=230910d393570224f311469977adc6

The Fiji Government said the death of a Fiji citizen at the Villawood Detention center in Sydney was unnecessary and has blamed the Fiji Freedom Movement in Australia for creating hysteria over the reality in Fiji.

New South Wales Police is now investigating the death of 36 year old Josefa Rauluni who died after he was informed he was being deported on Monday.

Speaking to Radio Australia, Permanent Secretary for Information Sharon Smith Johns said incident was fueled by the negative reports on Fiji being spread by the Freedom Movement in Sydney.

Smith Johns also said that the unfortunate incident is now being politicised by the Freedom Movement.

Implementing a Decree does not mean it is working Mr AG

AG TELLS ALI

http://www.fijisun.com.fj/main_page/view.asp?id=46197

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is warning women’s organisations to refrain from politicising and personalising issues concerning the Domestic Violence Decree.

Earlier last week, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum raised concerns that women’s right advocates remained ignorant of the implementation and existence of the Domestic Violence Decree.

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre had claimed it is unaware of the decree’s implementation. It has not advised its clients accordingly.

In a text message conversation obtained by the Fiji Sun between Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, Ms Ali said the decree was not in operation and that her organisation has not been informed.

“The courts have informed us and police that it is not in operation,” she said in her text messages to the AG.

“I have checked several times.

I never lie about these things. Why don’t you talk to me??

“The Fiji Women Crisis Centre has more integrity than most and we will never let our women down for personal gains.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum replied, “Shamima, your information is incorrect because the Domestic Violence Decree is very much in operation – an example of which is that being issued under the decree in the courts at all levels.

“If Fiji Women Crisis Centre believes that police are not doing their job in enforcing the decree then it should inform us or the Ministry of Women plus take a collaborative approach rather than making pronouncements through the media in the first place.

“Domestic violence is a serious social issue and therefore it is crucial that all interested parties collaborate rather than take a confrontational approach and obstructive attitude and politicise and personalise the matter.”

However, Ms Ali said collaboration will happen if government listens.

“I hope the decree works too and then we will support.”

The Domestic Violence Decree was approved by Cabinet in July 2009 and it came into effect on December 1, 2009.

The decree creates a new offence of domestic violence as any act of violence committed in a family situation.

The definition includes acts of violence committed in a de facto relationship and any violence committed on children.

“This decree allows greater protection in particular for women and children and gives women greater access to justice,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We have already conducted numerous workshops for and including the police, prosecutors, NGOs and the judiciary,” he said.

Motibhai Group of Companies the only buyer left for the Fiji Times.

No to Fiji Sun offer for Times: Commerce

Monday, September 13, 2010

 http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=30737

 Taken from / By: FBC News

The Commerce Commission says it will not allow a monopoly situation to develop in the media industry.

This is after the Fiji Sun expressed interest in buying the Fiji Times newspaper.

Fiji Sun CEO Peter Lomas told FBC News they had approached the Commerce Commission expressing their interest in buying out the company but this was turned down.

In an article yesterday the Fiji Sun says it would have run both papers as distinctly different entities.

Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy told FBC News he was first approached by Price Waterhouse Coopers partner Jenny Seeto – who is in charge of the sale – on the possibility of the buy out.

Dr Reddy says he was later approached by the Fiji Sun – and he informed them that this would not be allowed.

“This is a case of take-over and merges and takeover which will result in a case of a monopoly entity cannot be cleared by the Commerce Commission. It is very clear that there are implications should it close but that’s besides the point. As far as the Commission is concerned we cannot allow merges or takeovers that will lead to a monopoly entity.”

Media reports have tipped the Motibhai Group of Companies as the front runner to buy the Fiji Times.

Report by : Elenoa Osborne