STATEMENT No 21: SODELPA’S POSITION ON MATTERS MISREPRESENTED BY THE MEDIA

SODELPA

STATEMENT No 21:    

SODELPA’S POSITION ON MATTERS MISREPRESENTED BY THE MEDIA

 August 22 2014

Over the past few weeks certain sections of the media have set their sights on SODELPA through a number of issues. Those concerned have mounted a relentless effort to portray us as something other than a political party with sound values and principles. This is pro-regime propaganda.

It is quite extraordinary that the same media have nothing to say about the usurpers of our democracy, the draconian decrees they have in place, the plight of the 13 families [now 14 with the death of the robbery suspect while in Police custody], whose loved ones were killed, or the numerous citizens whose rights have been abused, with many of them subjected to beatings and other forms of torture, torment and persecution.

SODELPA will seek answers from these aiders and abettors of treason after the elections, but for now, I wish to state our position on the various issues that the media have, in our view, deliberately misconstrued.

1. Christian State

The SODELPA constitution and Manifesto do not call for a Christian State. What we say is that as a government, we will conduct ourselves based on Christian principles and values. These are values shared by all the world’s great religions. We are commanded to love our neighbors and do to others as we would have them do to us. We are required to forgive and to be merciful. We must care for the poor, the sick, the homeless, the forgotten and those in need. We must seek truth and social justice. These are the principles and values by which we shall govern.

We continuously stress that all religious groups in Fiji are free to practice their faith and beliefs without any fear or intimidation or threat from a SODELPA-led government.

The fact that SODELPA is committed to Christian values and principles makes our party more sensitive to the importance of respecting the values and principles of all other religions in the country.

This is in line with SODELPA’s vision of a Fiji that draws its strength from the rich variety of traditions, languages and cultures of its communities.

The alternative vision of a Fiji devoid of its cultural richness and diversity would give us a country that would be a pale imitation of the Fiji we know and love.

2. Common Name

SODELPA does not recognize or accept that two unelected people, who seized power through armed intervention, have the authority to decide arbitrarily that citizens of Fiji are called Fijians.International conventions and declarations of the rights of indigenous peoples stress the importance of prior consultation and consent on the use of their names as their identity. Article 19 of the UNDRIP (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) says quote

‘States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them’.

Again we stress that the indigenous Fijians do not recognize the right of unelected individuals to take away their established identity and give them another like iTaukei.

The indigenous people have, for well over a century, been commonly known as Fijians; that name now is part of their tradition and culture. SODELPA will retain it for the indigenous community.

The issue of a common name for all will be addressed by SODELPA once a democratic, transparent and accountable government is established after September 17th 2014. We will initiate a national conversation among all communities in Fiji to establish a common name that does not divide us but creates a sense of unity and patriotism.

It will not be an imposed decision.

3. Indigenous Rights

SODELPA’s position on the indigenous people of Fiji is in keeping with established conventions of the ILO 169 & UN Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). We are guided by these international instruments.

A SODELPA Government will adopt UNDRIP Articles that ensure:-

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.
  2. Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.
  3. Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  4. Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.
  5. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
  6. Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.
  7. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.
  8. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture:-
  9. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
  10. Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their
  11. cultural values or ethnic identities;
  12. Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
  13. Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
  14. Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

4. Fair Distribution of rental income by Itaukei

SODELPA will allow the land owners themselves to decide how the lease funds received for their land should be distributed. This cannot be dictated to them. It is their money and therefore they should decide how it is shared.

SODELPA notes with concern the attempt by some media reporters to push the Bainimarama–Khaiyum policy of dictating how landowners should share their wealth. The regime’s motives for doing this are very much related to its continuing campaign to undermine indigenous traditions and way of life.

Members of other communities decide for themselves how their earnings should be shared. No one else tells them how this should be done. The same principle should apply to the indigenous people surely.

5. The Abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs

The abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs, like the imposition of a common name, was the decision of two unelected, unrepresentative usurpers of our democracy. They acted and continue to act without a mandate from our people.

The GCC is the pinnacle of Fijian society, and just as other communities continue to enjoy their community and cultural structures without interference from the state, so too must the indigenous people of Fiji have the same right.

SODELPA will bring back the GCC and in so doing take the opportunity to review its functions and operations so that it can be better resourced to ensure more effective delivery in addressing specific issues affecting not only the indigenous people but all the citizens of Fiji.

The decision on the future of the GCC will remain the prerogative of the Fijian people and we expect all other communities to respect that right in the same way that their rights are respected by the Fijian itaukei community.

This is the position of SODELPA on these issues.

Authorized By
Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa
Party Leader, SODELPA
August 22, 2014

Statement from Qarase regarding the Minister for Elections and General Secretary of the proposed Fiji First Party

STATEMENT FROM

L. QARASE – 9 May 2014

 

The angry reaction from the Attorney – General, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum against criticisms on his dual roles as Minister for Elections and General Secretary of the proposed Fiji First Party raises an important issue.

The issue is that of a serious conflict of interest; the people of Fiji have a right to insist that this is not acceptable in a “free and fair” election.

In the Fiji TV news last night (8.5.14) Mr Khaiyum said that his position is no different from what has been the practice in the past. When I was Prime Minister, for example, I was also Leader of the SDL Party. While this information is correct the truth is that I was never Minister for Elections.

In fact, since Independence in 1970, there has never been a Minister for Elections. The reason for this is that both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections must carry out their functions within the laws regulating their operations, with complete independence and without interference from the Government in power.

This golden rule has been broken for the first time by the Bainimarama-Sayed-Khaiyum regime with the appointment of the Attorney- General as Minister responsible for elections. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum exercises the power of this portfolio as a member of a government with no legal or popular mandate, no accountability and no parliamentary oversight. This is the crux of his problem and public concerns about his role.

In a parliamentary democracy, all government agencies must come under a ministerial portfolio. Both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections have always come under the Prime Minister’s portfolio. As Prime Minister from 2000-2006 my role was two-fold in relation to the two agencies. Firstly, I was expected to deal with their submissions for budgetary allocations and, secondly, I had a duty to respond to parliamentary questions as they arose. In no way did I influence or interfere in the work of the Electoral Commission or the Supervisor of Elections. I am aware that the Prime Ministers who preceded me played a similar role.

In contrast to this legal and accountable role of an elected Prime Minister, both the regime’s Prime Minister and Attorney-General have been in complete control of the current election process. This has included the formulation of the onerous Political Parties Decree, the Electoral Decree, with its controversial provisions, the appointment of the members of the Electoral Commission and the appointment of the Supervisor of Elections. They also have control of the media resulting in self-censorship.

The Attorney – General and Minister for Elections, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum must do the right thing and step down from the position of Minister for Elections. Indeed there should be no Minister for Elections. The general elections must be carried out by a truly independent Electoral Commission and Supervisor of Elections.

 

Authorized By         L. QARASE

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – the Collapse of the Fiji Fishing Industry

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 9/2014]

[Jan 24, 2014]

The UFDF said today that the suggestion by Minister for Fisheries, Forests & Agriculture Lt Col Inia Seruiratu that another committee be set up to ‘look into’ the plight of Fiji’s Fishing Industry’ is too little too late given that this problem has been allowed to escalate over the past 7 years to the point that more than 8,000 citizen’s incomes will now be adversely affected.

The UFDF said today that the suggestion by Minister for Fisheries, Forests & Agriculture Lt Col Inia Seruiratu that another committee be set up to ‘look into’ the plight of Fiji’s Fishing Industry’ is too little too late given that this problem has been allowed to escalate over the past 7 years to the point that more than 8,000 citizen’s incomes will now be adversely affected.

And who might the members of this committee be? The same officials that have been unable to resolve the issue over the past 7 years and they will advise the Minister how he can resolve an issue they have failed to address in 7 years? Have any of the stake holders been asked for their opinions and input? A quick check yesterday revealed they have not been asked to be part of this Ministerial solution.

The UFDF said while courting China into funding its various projects [all loans no aid] the regime has ignored the fundamental problem that has caused this matter to ‘come to a head’ and that is the ongoing presence of 1,800 or so foreign fishing vessels with licenses issued by our island neighbors. A significant number of these vessels mainly from China operate in international waters surrounding Fiji and other Pacific Islands.

The UFDF said one does not have to be a ‘rocket scientist’ to work out how long our fish will depleted when 1,800 foreign fishing vessels are catching our resources in our backyard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Not to mention the damage done to our reefs, our sea life by the trawlers. The loss of other types of seafood that get caught in the process as well as the waste and debris from these vessels.

The UFDF said what makes it even more ridiculous is that these foreign vessels are subsidized by up to $US350, 000 ($F662, 000) per vessel to cover costs, fuel, maintenance and they are the only vessels that can sell to China, our Fiji owned and operated vessels cannot sell their catch to China and not one of them are subsidized.

The UFDF say some of the blue painted Chinese subsidized vessels anchored in Suva Harbour can’t afford to operate even with their $F662, 000 subsidies it’s not too difficult to work out why our local boat operators are unable to sustain their operations.

The UFDF says it understands that a major scam is being perpetrated by foreign vessel operators against the Chinese government where operators are falsifying documents and logs of their catch to qualify for the generous subsidy, while remaining anchored. At least 20 officials are reported to have been executed in China for the scam.

The UFDF said none of the foreign vessels are known to hire local crew but if they did it was a minute number, so other than a license fee, there are no real benefits to the Island nations and the areas valuable fishing recourses is being depleted on a scale that will cause catastrophic failure because of the issuance of an excess of fishing licenses by upwards of 400%.

This the UFDF says is despite well researched and sustainable numbers of fishing licenses recommended to all island nations. The recommendations on limiting the issuance of licenses are being ignored for short term financial gain without any regard for the catastrophic long term consequences that will follow the current excesses in fishing of our resources.

The UFDF said the other part of the problem is the local mismanagement of the resource. In Fiji too many licenses have been issued and the resources’ have been depleted.

The problem has nothing to do with migratory fish or seasons it’s all to do with the mismanagement of resources.

The UFDF said the MSG has failed to adequately and prudently address this issue for the long term sustainable benefit of all the island nations and the current discord among the members over the West Papua issue will unlikely allow them to urgently resolve this major economic catastrophe currently unfolding in the region.

Authorized By                       UFDF

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – One law for the nation, another for the Military

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 7/2014]

[Jan 21, 2014]

The UFDF said today that statements attributed to Lt Col Netani Rika as reported by the Fiji Sun and Frank Bainimarama as reported by Vijay Narayan and Mohammed Feroz show clear breaches of the Civil Service Standing Orders [2011 revision] and abuse of office.

The UFDF says the Civil Service Standing Orders on Campaigning Sec 1222 states quote ‘  Campaigning or political activity by a Civil Servant while on duty is forbidden. Civil Servants must not be canvassing or by any other means attempt publicly to further the activities or aspirations of a political party, or the election or return of an individual (whether a member of a political party or not) in any election to the House of Representatives or to a local Government body including Provincial Councils unquote

The UFDF says Lt Col Rika’s comments are political in nature and breach The Civil Service Standing orders 1222 that disallow quote ‘canvassing or by any other means attempt publicly to further the activities or aspirations of a political party’ unquote. There can be no doubt that Lt Col Rika was canvassing for Bainimarama’s party and as Commissioner Eastern he is abusing the privileges of his office as well as Sec 14 (1) (c) (d) of Decree 4 of 2013.

The UFDF says in the case of Frank Bainimarama he remains Commander of the Military and according to his Regimes own decree No 4 of 2013 he is in breach of the following provisions-

POLITICAL PARTIES (REGISTRATION, CONDUCT, FUNDING AND DISCLOSURES) DECREE 2013 DECREE NO 4 OF 2013

Restrictions on public officers in a political party

Sec 14    (1)          A public officer shall not-

(c)           Engage in political activity that may compromise or be seen to compromise the political neutrality of that person’s office; or

(d)           Publicly indicate support for or opposition to any proposed political party or a political party registered under this decree or candidate in an election

(2)           For the purposes of this section, ‘public officer’ means any person-

(c)           Holding any office in the public service, the Fiji Police, Fiji Corrections Services or the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

(4)           Any public officer who intends to be an applicant or a member of, or hold office in, a proposed political party or a political party registered under this decree, must resign from the respective public office prior to applying to become an applicant or a member of, or hold office in, a proposed political party or a political party registered under this decree.

(5)           A public officer is deemed to have vacated his or her office mentioned in subsection 2 immediately before the time at which he or she applies to become and applicant or a member of. Or hold office in, a proposed political party or a [political party registered under this decree.

The UFDF says the Commander’s repeated statements about forming his own party and contesting elections is in clear breach of Sec 14 (1) (c), (d), (2) (c) and (4) and (5) of Decree 4 of 2013. Just as Lt Col Rika’s statements are in breach of the Civil Service Standing Orders.

The UFDF says Lt Col Rika and Commodore Bainimarama have broken the law and the Acting Commissioner of Police and the Civil Service Commission are obliged to uphold the laws that govern these public office holders and appropriate and immediate action should be taken against them just as they would apply it to any other citizen.

The UFDF says if the newly elected Electoral Commission is serious about ensuring free and fair elections  and remaining impartial and independent then it cannot ‘look the other way’ when clear abuse of office and breaches of the law as reported are committed by their employer.

Authorized By                       UFDF

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – Appointments of the Electoral Commissioner

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 4/2014]

[Jan 10, 2014]

In welcoming the appointments of the Electoral Commissioners, the UFDF said that although it was a positive first step towards credible elections, it was a pity that the regime did not take this opportunity to act in a bipartisan and inclusive manner in these appointments by asking for recommendations from the political parties.

In welcoming the appointments of the Electoral Commissioners, the UFDF said that although it was a positive first step towards credible elections, it was a pity that the regime did not take this opportunity to act in a bipartisan and inclusive manner in these appointments by asking for recommendations from the political parties.

The UFDF said this would have been in line with best constitutional and democratic practice.

Consequently, the UFDF says, these appointees, some of whom it holds concerns about their independence, are all handpicked by the interim Prime Minister and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum. This will place an additional burden of responsibility on each of them to ensure that they act with absolute impartiality and reject any attempts at interference in their work.

The UFDF said the Yash Ghai Commission is a good example of another non bipartisan appointment that was supposed to be independent but that did not stop the regime from attempting to influence its deliberations and directly interfering with its work.

Authorized By                       UFDF

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – Who are the “liars and troublemakers”?

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 36/2013]

[Dec 18, 2013]

UFDF CALLS ON THE PM & LT COL SULIANO TO NAME & SHAME THE ‘PAST POLITICIANS’ THEY CALL LIARS & TROUBLE MAKERS AND PROVIDE THE EVIDENCE THAT SUPPORTS THEIR CLAIMS!

At his recent Christmas celebrations with the RFMF the Commander again claimed to have created a new path forward for Fiji but warned the military to be on guard against ‘past politicians who caused problems?

But who are these faceless and nameless ‘past politicians’ he keeps referring to and what exactly is the problem they are being accused of causing?

The people need to know who these trouble makers are and more importantly what kind of trouble it is they are being blamed for causing?

Since Independence, the only thing that has caused the greatest problems for Fiji and her people, are the 4 coups carried out by certain officers of the military command and possibly some ‘old political & self-serving individual collaborators’. Perhaps these are the people that the Commander regularly refers to.

When it comes to calculating the cost to the country and her people, there is enough evidence available that places this figure at approximately $10 billion dollars or more in lost economic activity, growth, employment and development and the individual loss to our citizens by way of their lives, jobs, homes and the accompanying ‘trauma and stress’ inflicted on them is a cost too high to be accurately measured.

If the PM is referring to politicians who ‘colluded with the military to over throw past elected governments? Then its time he named them and shamed them? And a good place to start would be his own cabinet.

Then there’s the standard veil threat once again from the military command and this time around coming from Lt Col Suliano who refers to the ‘threat caused by liars spreading lies’?

But what is the ‘threat?’ What are the lies? Who are the liars? Unless he can back up what he says with facts, then generalizing as he does amounts to nothing more than lies and rumor? The people have a right to know the TRUTH behind what he is claiming.

Fiji is supposed to be just 10 months away from returning to democratic governance and at this stage of proceedings the regime, indeed the Prime Minister, the Military Command as well as the Fiji Sun and other pro regime media organizations should be at least attempting to ‘walk their talk’ and start ‘practicing’ some of the democratic principles they claim credit for and espouse from time to time, but seem to still have great difficulty keeping in line with.

There is a lot at stake for the people of Fiji in the coming 10 months and veil threats of unproven allegations has no place in a free and open society if indeed that is one of the democratic principles that is part of the Bainimarama promise to the people of Fiji and the world.

The UFDF calls on Lt Col Suliano and the Prime Minister to stop referring to faceless and nameless past politicians and making baseless generalized allegations and challenges both of them to name the past politicians and liars they refer to and clarify the ‘lies’ they are spreading and state exactly how these alleged lies constitute a ‘threat’.

Lt Col Suliano is also quoted as saying ‘the RFMF would stand firm to make sure that the ‘transition of power’ after the 2014 elections would be smooth.

Are we to take from that statement, that even if Bainimarama and his party fail to win a single seat in the next elections that the RFMF will ‘stand firm’ and ensure the Bainimarama Regime hands over power to the new government elected by the people?

Is this ‘true’ or just another lie?

Authorized By                       UFDF

For further elaboration or interviews on our statements please contact anyone of the following:

Mick Beddoes – 830524;  Laisania Qarase – 9993113;  Mahendra Chaudhry – 9921865

 Attar Singh – 9921184;  Tupeni Baba – 9373364

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – Madiba – Ending Apartheid with Compassion & Forgiveness

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 35/2013]

[Dec 7, 2013]

As we in Fiji share the grief of the Mandela family and people of South Africa at the passing of Madiba, we also celebrate the extraordinary life of this great freedom fighter, unifier, reconciliator, statesman and founding father of the rainbow nation of South Africa.

madibaNelson Mandela succeeded in liberating his people through his defiant, persistent and disciplined approach towards the repressive apartheid regime that subjected millions of black South Africans to many indignities and much suffering by stripping them of their rights, freedoms and basic humanity.

The suppression of basic rights and freedoms continues here in Fiji, under the repressive Bainimarama regime, who represent all that Nelson Mandela spent his entire life opposing.

We can draw strength and inspiration for our own struggle from Madiba’s willingness to forfeit his own freedom and liberty for the greater need and good of his people.

After sacrificing 27 years of his life in prison he became, at 76 years of age, South Africa’s first democratically-elected President. His choice of weapons for unifying a divided people was forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation. He embraced his enemies despite decades of harsh and inhumane treatment. Although he could have remained in his job for life, as many leaders try to do, he relinquished power after just 5 years.

Nelson Mandela shows us that outright rejection of any form of imposed rule and fighting for people’s rights, freedoms, humanity and dignity is not only just and moral. It is also a responsibility and obligation we all have towards each other. By endeavoring to adopt the same persistence and discipline of Mandela, and armed with the courage of our own convictions, we can and must restore our peoples’ freedoms, rights and dignity.

Authorized By                       UFDF

For further elaboration or interviews on our statements please contact anyone of the following:

Mick Beddoes – 830524;  Laisania Qarase – 9993113;  Mahendra Chaudhry – 9921865

 Attar Singh – 9921184;  Tupeni Baba – 9373364

LOCAL MEDIA REMINDER

FIJI INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT DECREE 2010

(DECREE NO 29 OF 2010)

 

Schedule 1

Media Code of Ethics & Practice

 Sec 1: Accuracy, balance and fairness: (d) ‘Media organizations have a duty to be balanced and fair in their treatment of news and current affairs and their dealings with members of the public’ & (e) Editorial comment in any medium must be clearly identified as such and kept separate from news reports.

Sec 2: Opportunity to reply: Media organizations have an obligation to give a fair opportunity to reply to any individual or organization on which the medium itself comments editorially

 Sec 21: Impartially and balance: Media organizations shall endeavor to show fairness at all times, and impartiality and balance in any item or programme, series of items or programmes or in broadly related articles or programmes over a reasonable period of time when presenting news which deals with political matters, current affairs and controversial questions.

Croz walks the barbed wire tight-rope

No-one who knows him doubts that Crosbie Walsh is an intelligent man but his faculties of perception so filter the world on the way to his brain that he winds up with a view of the world which is difficult to reconcile with intelligence.

His discovery in late 2013 that the military which has ruled Fiji for seven years is mono-ethnic illustrates the peculiar nature of his faculties of perception. The military has not changed. Its ethnic composition is nothing new. And, besides, aren’t we all Fijian now, there are no more ethnic differences, so what does it matter?

Yet it does matter to Croz. The ethnic profile of the military, he says, should reflect the ethnic composition of the society. He is cagey about why this should be the case but eventually comes out with it – “An almost totally ethnic Fijian military cannot inspire confidence among Indo-Fijians and other ethnicities, and in situations where the military (or police) has to intervene, Indo-Fijians in particular will feel doubly threatened.”

Is he saying that Indo-Fijians don’t have confidence in the military government which has run the country for the past seven years? That would be quite a change for Croz.

Does Croz reject the proposition that Indians just don’t want to join the military? There is no formal bar, so what more is needed? Affirmative action? Not usually short of an opinion on anything, Croz seems to be holding back.

It’s as if the obvious truth of the regime has almost made its way into the brain of Croz, only to be thwarted by a brick wall. A government which replaced the Qarase Government, by whatever means, must be legitimate, even if it is illegal, incompetent, high-handed and defies all standards of transparency.

Or, to revert to my original metaphor: how long can Croz continue to walk this barbed wire tightrope?

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – Why Is There No Immunity For Brig. Gen. Driti?

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 34/2013]

[Nov 28, 2013]

The UFDF calls on the Attorney General, the  PM & Military Commander to explain to the people how Brig Gen Driti who was part of the 2006 Bainimarama team that overthrew a constitutional government and is supposedly covered under  the ‘entrenched’  immunity provisions of  the 2013 constitution has somehow been ‘excluded’ and put on trial?

The UFDF calls on the Attorney General, the  PM & Military Commander to explain to the people how Brig Gen Driti who was part of the 2006 Bainimarama team that overthrew a constitutional government and is supposedly covered under  the ‘entrenched’  immunity provisions of  the 2013 constitution has somehow been ‘excluded’ and put on trial?

The UFDF says if a special decree was passed by cabinet under section 161 of the 2013 constitution that excluded Brig Gen Driti from the protection he is supposed to have enjoyed as a member of the 2006 Bainimarama team, why has that decree not been made public?.

The UFDF says it is ironic that Brig Gen Driti is being found guilty of inciting mutiny against an Army Commander who overthrew a constitutional government?

The UFDF asks how was it possible to have a trial where some of the key characters involved in the alleged crime did not even make a court appearance.

If Driti can be charged and brought to court while supposedly being protected under the immunity provisions, the UFDF asks if this means all those who have aided and abetted the regime who think they are protected from prosecution, can also be removed from immunity protection and prosecuted?

Authorized By                       UFDF

For further elaboration or interviews on our statements please contact anyone of the following:

Mick Beddoes – 830524;  Laisania Qarase – 9993113;  Mahendra Chaudhry – 9921865

 Attar Singh – 9921184;  Tupeni Baba – 9373364

LOCAL MEDIA REMINDER

FIJI INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT DECREE 2010

(DECREE NO 29 OF 2010)

 

Schedule 1

Media Code of Ethics & Practice

 Sec 1: Accuracy, balance and fairness: (d) ‘Media organizations have a duty to be balanced and fair in their treatment of news and current affairs and their dealings with members of the public’ & (e) Editorial comment in any medium must be clearly identified as such and kept separate from news reports.

Sec 2: Opportunity to reply: Media organizations have an obligation to give a fair opportunity to reply to any individual or organization on which the medium itself comments editorially

 Sec 21: Impartially and balance: Media organizations shall endeavor to show fairness at all times, and impartiality and balance in any item or programme, series of items or programmes or in broadly related articles or programmes over a reasonable period of time when presenting news which deals with political matters, current affairs and controversial questions.

UFDF PRESS RELEASE – The Truth about the state of Fiji’s Health Services

UFDF Logo

STATEMENT FROM

THE UFDF

[No 33 /2013]

[Nov 20, 2013]

The UFDF calls on Dr Sharma to do the right thing and take responsibility for the decisions and policies he has imposed on the Ministry of Health on behalf of the regime and for once account to the people for this terrible mess and man up and resign.

The UFDF said in his 2014 Election focused Budget provisions; the PM said very little about the state of the nation’s Health except for an admission that quote ‘it is not as good as it should be, given years of neglect ‘unquote.

The UFDF says the regime always speaks of ‘past years neglect’ in general terms so as to infer the democratic government they overthrew in 2006 is the cause of the neglect. But the Regime have been in control for the past 7 years, this is 2 years longer than the previous elected government and still the state of our Health Services is a disgrace.

When the next democratically elected government is in place at the end of 2014, the regime would have had 3 years longer than the previous legal governments to fix things and based on their current performance there is nothing that indicates that they have the ability to fix anything.

The UFDF says there are many hidden flaws and losses that run into the tens of millions of dollars mainly through incompetence, corruption and mismanagement that remain unknown because of the lack of accountability and transparency practiced by the regime and this information needs to be exposed so that people can see what is really going on.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

An official of the UFDF recently visited the Lautoka & CWM Hospital, spoke to staff, nurses, Doctors and other medical personal and the following is a brief summary of what emerged from discussions with hospital personnel.

  • LAUTOKA HOSPITAL [Visit – Sep 2013]
  1. Dr Neil Sharma announced an $8 million upgrade of the Lautoka Hospital & CWM hospitals on April 7th 2010, yet today both hospitals look a sorry sight and in desperate need of repair? So what was it spent on?
  2. In the Lautoka Hospital as late as September only 1 of the 3 lifts it has was operating and according to staff, the others have been out of service for almost a year?
  3. Should the 3rd lift breakdown, patients will need to be carried up the stairs from the Emergency Department to the ICU and CCU and Major Operating theatre?
  4. Patients are still being asked to buy their own drugs and medication because the hospital has none, yet in 2012 $10 million in medication purchased by government sat in stock, then expired and went to waste? [FT Nov 27 2012 Report]
  • CWM HOSPITAL [Visit –Nov 2013 ]

Like Lautoka, despite the supposed multimillion dollar upgrade, the CWM looks a sorry sight and in desperate need of repair.

  1. In addition the ongoing shortages of drugs and supplies continues, but with the added burden of cheap and inferior medical supplies from China and as well as India. . An example of this is the cheaper intravenous cannulas being purchased from China which are apparently of such poor quality and have flaws that expose the medical personnel to blood when injecting the patient. Previous purchases of these were a better quality without flaws.
  2. Doctors and Nurses alike ‘buy their own’ plaster for use on patients because the officially supplied plaster – referred to by all in CWM as the cello tape’  falls off within minutes of being applied to a wound.
  3. The number of the ultrasound scan machines purchased by the government at a cost of $27,000 each and distributed to other sub divisional health facilities have been returned to the CWM because no one can operate them and when repairs are required the technicians in Fiji can’t repair them, there is also a  new lot of hematological  and biomedical equipment  and like the ultrasound equipment the local technicians cannot fix them so the supplier [alleged to be a relative or friend of the Minister] has to be flown up from New Zealand to carry out the repairs.In his 2014 Budget address the PM said quote

Our biomedical equipment will now be serviced by professionals, and $900,000 has been allocated for this purpose’

  • The approximate $243,000 cost for the equipment has already been paid, so add to this the $900,000 put aside for servicing and repairs by professionals? Then someone is making a cool $1.1 million for equipment that can’t be operated or serviced locally? WHY?
  • The regime recently announced a multimillion plan to build 6 new operating theatres in the CWM, however there is a well known shortage of qualified anesthetist and surgical nursing staff to man the 4 theatres already renovated and in place.  Different surgical specialists are already facing difficulties due to the current shortage of trained medical staff and equipment; another 6 new operating theatres will simply compound the situation.
  • There are specialist shortages which are rife in the Ministry and a specific example of this is in the anesthesia department where anesthetist are working 24 hour shifts looking after the country’s most critically ill and surgical patients.  The situation was further worsened when senior staffs were sent to Sudan and only a handful remained to maintain services. The majority of the anesthetists are made up of junior staffs that have recently joined the department, a factor that led to the recent death of a female patient in Lautoka and the suspension of the Anesthetist.The UFDF says all of the examples of neglect and gross mismanagement referred in this statement occurred in the past 12 to 24 months under Bainimarama’s ‘illegal’ regime and are the result of the prior ‘5 years of neglect’ he referred to in his 2014 budget address and have absolutely nothing to do with any previous elected and ‘legal’ government that he tries to deflect blame to.

Dr Neil Sharma has been the Minister responsible since January 2009 and therefore the person directing the regimes failed policies over the past 5 years that have led to the gross mismanagement and neglect which occurred over the past 24 months as highlighted in this statement.

The UFDF says any person of moral and principled standing would accept responsibility for the failures of their policies in the same way they accept the praise and accolades when things get done right, rare though that may be.

The UFDF calls on Dr Sharma to do the right thing and take responsibility for the decisions and policies he has imposed on the Ministry of Health on behalf of the regime and for once account to the people for this terrible mess and man up and resign.

The UFDF says the ongoing daily struggles of our Doctors and nursing staff in our hospitals and the difficulty they face with medical supply shortages, inferior products, lack of trained specialists and the below average remuneration for their profession is a matter that should concern all citizens as the state of our Health Services is something we will all face a need for at sometime in our lives.

More statements highlighting other areas of gross neglect and mismanagement will be highlighted in the coming weeks.

Authorized By                       UFDF

For further elaboration or interviews on our statements please contact anyone of the following:

Mick Beddoes – 830524;  Laisania Qarase – 9993113;  Mahendra Chaudhry – 9921865

 Attar Singh – 9921184;  Tupeni Baba – 9373364

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Land Use Decree plus Constitution equals land power grab by Bainimarama

Understanding of the implications of the Bainimarama constitution’s abolition of all protection for Native land is slowly spreading.

A storm has blown up on the Fiji Democracy Now blogsite on the issue of whether the Qarase Government broke the law with the swap of Native Land for freehold land in the Momi Bay development. It seems two things are being confused here.

1. Was the law broken to effect a swap of native land for freehold?
2. Did the landowners get a fair deal?

On the first issue, it’s clear the law was NOT broken. For starters, if the law had been broken, Sayed-Khaiyum would have jumped at the opportunity to take the Qarase Government before his hand-picked court. Perhaps, the fact that Qarase relied on legal advice might have complicated matters, but make no mistake the opportunity to expose even an innocent mistake would not have been missed.

Without being privy to the details, it seems to me the process was to make an indirect swap. Freehold land was acquired by the State and, under Section 4 of the Crown Lands Act, it is Crown land, and hence capable of being swapped under Section 3. The proof of this comes from none other than Sayed-Khaiyum when he closed what he saw as a loop-hole with (DECREE NO. 7 OF 2013), the STATE LANDS (AMENDMENT) DECREE 2013.

This very specifically disallows the process of an indirect swap. It says “any i Taukei land which is exchanged for portions of State land under subsection (3) must not be exchanged for portions of private freehold land under subsection (4).”

If the indirect swap process was not permitted, why did Sayed-Khaiyum need to issue a decree to ban it?

But let’s not lose sight of what’s important here. Sayed-Khaiyum thought he could take advantage of the confusion and pose as a protector of Native land. And why did he want to do this? Because he knows that once everybody understands that he’s removed all past Constitutional protections of Fijian land he will be the focus of a lot of anger.

As to whether the landowners at Momi got a fair deal, I don’t know and it’s clear there’s a lot of guessing and gossip going on here.

What I do know is that the Bainimarama constitution removes ALL the past protections for Fijian land. Any law on land can be passed with a simple majority. But that’s really no surprise because the key laws covering land have already been swept away by the Land Use Decree, which over-rides the Native Lands Trust Act and ALTA. (The first was designed to protect landowners, the second to protect tenants.)

The Land Use Decree 2010 gives the Prime Minister complete discretion to issue leases of up to 99 years with whatever rents or other conditions he chooses. Under the Land Use Decree 2010 he is required to consider the best interests of the landowners but he must also give equal weight to “the overall wellbeing of the economy.”

It is crystal clear. “All leases issued or renewed under this Decree shall take into consideration at all times the best interest of the land owners and the overall wellbeing of the economy.”

The Land Use Decree also requires that “all land available are leased with the purpose of providing a livelihood for all parties concerned”. What does that mean? Tenant’s rights? Take this in conjunction with “socio-economic” rights in the constitution and it looks like the ASK plan is to create rights for landless people to claim unused Native land, or to have existing leases extended. And remember, the PM’s decisions under the decree cannot be challenged in court. All power to Bainimarama.

This is typical ASK – sneaky and too clever by half. It’s why the constitution had to be rushed through. It’s also why we haven’t heard any details about decisions made by Bainimarama under the Land Use Decree. But ASK is making a mistake if he assumes we are all too stupid to notice the sweeping powers of the Land Use Decree and the removal of all protection of Native land under the draft constitution.

Does Bainimarama have any understanding of what ASK has in mind? Who knows? We can be sure Bainimarama hasn’t read any of the legislation or the draft constitution, but ASK may have told Bainimarama it’s worth trying get these powers over Native land in his hands, as that will be his means of building power.

But this is a very high risk strategy. Once the grab for total power over land is understood by landowners and their family members in the military Bainimarama will be in trouble.

Thank you ASK

The latest Khaiyum decree is certainly the worst. When he stole responsibility for determining rules for political parties from the Constitution, Khaiyum had already over-stepped the mark, but producing new rules without a second’s consultation with anyone, after he’s already announced his rules, shows how out of touch with reality he is.

The attempt to rule the Social Democratic Liberal Party illegal is so transparent in its target that no-one can mistake its purpose, and Khaiyum is so self-centred that he cannot see how blatantly illogical it is.

The ASK decree rules that acronyms of existing parties not seeking to re-register cannot be used, as if this is most natural thing in the world. No explanation, let alone justification is needed.

So no party with any name that might contract to SDL could be used. The Social Democratic League – that’s out. The Sustainable Development Link party, that’s out too. There’s a lot of parties that might want to share the initials.

And let’s not forget all the parties that are still on the books. The acronym NAP rules out any parties using those letters, even if the name is different. Fiji can never have a Green Party, because that’s already been used. Then there’s the CDA or VLV, the FDP and all the small forgettable parties, all of them leaving a trail of now illegal acronyms in their wake.

But even then, so little thought has gone into this knee jerk reaction that ASK has not considered that the acronym SDLP is not SDL, so the effort is wasted.

All Khaiyum has done is make sure we’re in no doubt about how scared he is of the SDL and its support base, which is based on more than a name. Thank you Khaiyum for highlighting this. You are right to be scared of this support base, much of which is based on your participation in the illegal regime that gives you power.

It is you, not Fijian culture, that has a sunset clause.

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.

IS LAISENIA QARASE BECOMING A MARTYR FOR FIJI DEMOCRACY? – Fiji regime continues its persecution of the former Prime Minister – CFDFiji.org

The Corrections Service of Fiji, like every other public institution in Fiji, is controlled by the Army – it is headed by a Lieutenant Colonel. Like every other public institution in Fiji it does nothing which would not be approved of by the current alleged Prime Minister of Fiji, who is head of the Army.

A victim of the hypocrisy of lesser men?

From this we can understand the Correction Services’ latest affront to humanity by declining to transfer a sick old man to a medical facility as distinct from the rigours of the Fiji prisons. The person involved is the former Prime Minister of Fiji, Laisenia Qarase, who gathered the largest number of votes at the last democratic election held in Fiji.

A long time ago the current illegal Attorney General was boasting that he would prosecute Qarase and drag the case on to keep him out of public life.

Qarase has been outspoken against the regime, including stating that he would stand in any elections to be held by the regime and that he would win them, and, after the latest coup the current alleged Prime Minister agreed and conceded that if fresh elections had then been held Qarase would win them.

The following is the full list of indignities inflicted by the regime upon Laisenia Qarase:

  • He was selectively charged upon outdated offences dating back to the early 1990s whereas those who arranged for his prosecution have never been charged for the much more recent crimes which they have committed, in the current alleged Prime Minister’s case extending at the very least to murder and treason, and in the case of the current alleged Attorney General to not only treason but many other offences.
  • He was tried by an imported Sri Lankan Judge who, together with other Judges is completely discredited in the recent petition of William Marshall QC, former Judge of Appeal.
  • His appeal is being ‘entertained’ if that is the word by another like Sri Lankan import.
  • He is being refused a healthful environment  for recovery from his grave illness.

Clearly Qarase was charged to remove him from public life, by those who should not even be in public life.

The Council deplores the Regime’s treatment of Qarase.

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

United States AFL-CIO Puts Fiji on a 21 day Notice to change its Stance on Labor Rights – CFDFiji.org

American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organisations

The American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO) Hearing in the United States against Fiji for breach of labor rights and standards has ended its preliminary hearings with issuing a 21 day Notice served on Fiji to resolve the labor rights breaches or face the consequences of losing the duty free access.

This effectively means all the decrees that infringe rights and interest of workers will have to be revoked.

These decrees include:

  1. State Services Decree of 2009 (No. 6);
  2. Administration of Justice Decree of 2009 (Decree No. 9);
  3. Administration of Justice (Amendment) Decree of 2009 (Decree No. 10);
  4. Administration of Justice (Amendment) Decree of 2010 (Decree No. 14);
  5. Trade Disputes Decree of 2009 (Decree No. 10);
  6. Employment Relations Amendment Decree of 2011 (Decree No. 21);
  7. Public Service Act (Amendment) 2011; and
  8. The Essential Industries Decree of 2011.

Following the Hearing, the AFL-CIO categorically stated that only the Fijian authorities can avert the US sanctions now before the substantive ruling on the matter is completed.

Radio Australia has also reported;

“…in an interview with Radio Australia, the United States trade union movement has said that suspending Fiji’s access to the US market is the last resort, at least not right away, and that they would prefer the interim government work with the authorities to improve workers rights. Speaking to Radio Australia, American Federation of Labour- Congress of Industrial Organisations Trade Policy Specialist, Celeste Drake said the trade union movement in the United States do not necessarily want Fiji to be punished with loss of preferential access to the US market because of its record on workers’ rights. She said onus is on the Fiji Govt saying that the massive job losses to Fijians will only occur “if the government has absolutely no intention of working with the US government to try and improve things for workers. So it’s really all in the Fijian government’s hands.”

The regime’s leader and its rogue Attorney General must swallow their oversize egos and pride to immediately revoke all the decrees identified by ILO and open fresh dialogue with the Trade Unions and Employers without delay.

This is not a time procrastinate or massage each other’s ego. The regime must accept responsibility now for a cardinal error of judgement in promulgating such anti-labor rights laws without considering international conventions. It’s defeat for tyranny and victory for workers in Fiji.

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

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

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

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

Did Siti roll over?

After a couple of days the question that many people are asking is: did Sitiveni Weleilakeba roll over to help FICAC rail-road Laisenia Qarase.

On the negative side is Siti’s evidence that if Qarase had mentioned his relationship to three companies applying for shares, it would have been in the minutes of the Board meeting approving share allocation. On the other hand, he may be the first to admit human error if other directors present at the meeting have a different recollection of what was said, especially recollections of any comments by the then Chairman, the late Lyle Cupit.

In Siti’s favour, however, is his confirmation that the Articles of Memorandum of FHL when it was a private company did not restrict directors or executives from participating in board meetings that allotted shares to a company in which the director or executive had interest. Directors and executives of FHL were also free to apply for shares on behalf of another entity.

Weleilakeba also said he thought it was not at all unfair to the Fijian community to allocate shares to private individuals. He could hardly say it was unfair because he also applied for and obtained shares. More importantly, he said FHL was well known in the indigenous Fijian community and the opportunities at FHL were well known to the community. The Board resolved that there should be no restriction on shareholdings by Provinces and Tikinas. Siti also confirmed that there was nothing wrong with obtaining a Fiji Development Bank loan to buy shares.

Blanchflower, FICAC’s international hired gun lawyer, objected to questions about fairness, knowing that it undermined more than a decade of politically motivated gossip started by the FLP.

On balance, I’d say Weleilakeba has told the truth according to his recollection. The fact that he thought there was no declaration of interest (though his recollection could be proven wrong) only serves to make the points in his evidence which were positive to the defence more credible.