Long Live King Frank?……….. I don’t think even Frank is this stupid.

Fiji to replace Queen on currency with military dictator

Fiji is removing the Queen’s picture from its currency and may instead show images of its military dictator, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Fiji is removing the Queen's picture from its currency and may instead show images of its military dictator, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Fijian military Commodore Frank Bainimarama and the Queen’s face on a Fijian two dollar banknote Photo: AP/Alamy

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney

9:48AM GMT 30 Nov 2012

British royals have appeared on Fiji banknotes since 1934 and remained both after independence in 1970 and after the country became a Republic in 1987.

But the country’s current military rulers were angered after Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth following its 2006 military coup and its repeated failure to hold elections.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji said a new currency without the image of the Queen would enter circulation from January 2.

The bank’s governor, Barry Whiteside, said the Queen’s image would largely be replaced by a flora and fauna design. He said he was “sad” to be removing the image of the monarch and the change marked the end of an era.

“We are indeed grateful to have had the privilege of this association over the past 78 years,” he said.

The bank did not say whether a new face would appear on the notes but reports said Commodore Bainimarama and the military-appointed president, Epeli Nailatikau, were both likely candidates.

Mr Whiteside said Commodore Bainimarama, the country’s self-appointed prime minister and finance minister, has approved a currency design committee to oversee the selection of the designs.

Earlier this year, Fiji abolished its annual holiday celebrating the Queen’s official birthday because it was deemed “no longer relevant”. The Union Jack still appears on the flag, reportedly because several hundred Fijians serve in the British army.

But Commodore Bainimarama, who took power in a bloodless coup, has at times spoken of restoring the Queen as head of state and has portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hanging above his office desk.

The bank said it hoped to promote Fiji’s biodiversity, particularly flora and fauna which have been listed as endangered species.

“All Fijians must be made aware of this fact and how critical it is to preserve our heritage,” Mr Whiteside said.

The new note designs will be unveiled on December 12.

A timely reminder on our Fiji Day

Frank’s boat is sinking but he will paddle to Ride Out the Waves

By Russell Hunter


Commodore Frank Bainimarama on December 5 2006 deposed a lawfully elected government by force of arms. This was, as he and his inner circle are well aware, nothing short of treason for which the penalty is life imprisonment. So he now seeks to be somehow spirited from the tiger’s back by a promise of elections in 2014 and the construction of yet another constitution.Even though, he has two overarching difficulties.

Part of his much-touted exit strategy is to stand for election in 2014. But the many thousands of Fiji Islanders who eagerly await their chance to remove him by means of the ballot box are doomed to disappointment. He has no intention of ceding power -not to them or anyone else.

His first problem, then, is that he has conditioned the people of Fiji (and the wider region) to doubt his word. In his takeover address of December 6, 2006 he made eleven clear pledges to the nation, none of which – not a single one – have been honoured.

Frank Bainimarama’s Race Card: The Great ParadoxHe famously remarked “I don’t trust the people” – a sentiment now widely reciprocated. This does little for his election prospects and the harder headed elements among the military are well aware of it. The buffoonery of its public mouthpieces only partly conceals a well organized planning and intelligence function that is much closer to the reality of Fiji than the public statements would have us believe.

Bainimarama’s second highest hurdle is the perennial one of race. His promise to end racism and racial voting has gained deserved support among the commentariat. And deservedly so. The harsh reality, however, is that the majority of the people he illegally governs do not agree – and not just the ethnic Fijian majority. It will take more than a few decrees to end the politics of race in Fiji.

The Fijians strongly feel – with at least some justification – that they are the ones called upon to make all the concessions to a highly identifiable mono-cultural immigrant block that declines to assimilate. Why should it? Its culture has served it well since long before the Bible was thought of. The landless Indo-Fijian community – again with some justification – feel ostracised and unwanted in the land of their birth.

Multiculturalism has proved to be a power for good in Australian and New Zealand. In Fiji, however, there are only two cultures that for the most part stand back to back. This needs to end – but Bainimarama will not be the one to end it. It won’t be achieved by decree or by force, the only weapons left to the dictator as his past catches up with him

The military over which he has complete control still comprises some 99 per cent ethnic Fijians and Rotumans, though precise figures are no longer available in the new transparent Fiji. The language of the military is Fijian. In addition his actions against Fijian institutions, for example the Great Council of Chiefs and the Methodist Church, have engendered a seething resentment among the indigenous population – which now constitutes a clear majority, adding further difficulties for his election campaign.

Again, the military planners are well aware of this and have already produced an outline series of measures to build bridges to the ethnic Fijian population. Its effectiveness is yet to be gauged.

Sadly, too, the indigenous population increasingly regard the Bainimarama coup as an Indo-Fijian plot or, worse still, as a Muslim takeover organised by Bainimarama’s “eminence grise”, the illegal attorney general and minister for many things, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. The theory that Bainimarama, the honest though gullible Christian Fijian, has been exploited by a devious Indo-Fijian Muslim is gaining traction in Fiji.

Of course nothing could be further from the truth. As we now know – Bainimarama’s routine denial notwithstanding – the coup of 2006 was his fourth attempt and was driven as much by his urgent need to stay out of jail as by any “clean-up” desire. The potential for racial and religious mayhem should be obvious. Yet the dictator has done nothing to defuse this ticking bomb.


Immunity, Mutiny and Murder ChargesAt the same time, any new constitution will have to contain an amnesty for Bainimarama and his collaborators. The crimes of treason and torture to name but two will be forgiven. But can it credibly afford to offer amnesty for the five murders that followed the mutiny of November 2, 2000, investigation of which the commander has steadfastly stonewalled? If the overwhelming reaction as expressed in submissions to the constitution commission is any guide, it’s clear that the population is set against any immunity arrangement.

That won’t stop Bainimarama. He can’t afford to let it. The betting in Suva seems to be that he’ll simply impose immunity much as he imposed the People’s Charter by the simple device of declaring that 90 per cent of the people supported it. Where is it now?

Bainimarama’s Fiji an economic cot

But Krankie Frankie is no longer in charter territory. An election is a quite different matter with secret voting, international observers and the desire of the people to make a statement regarding their futures. Governments (and prime ministers) offering themselves to the voters need to stand on their records. If that is so, Bainimarama is unelectable. His record stinks. As Minister of Finance he has transformed Fiji from being the powerhouse of the Pacific to an economic cot case. As Minister for Sugar he continues to preside over the death throes of an industry on which 200,000 people depend for their livelihoods.As Minister for Fijian Affairs he has dismantled institutions, alienated the Methodist Church, and angered landholders. Yes, when he arrives in the villages boasting and glad handing, they’ll tell him what he wants to hear. Some fear to do otherwise. But even he must know that they will not vote for him. He has alienated and angered the civil service by his policy of militarisation. At the same time his secret salaries remain a matter of extreme resentment. He has slashed people’s pensions for no apparent reason – the study on which this action was based remains, like much else in Fiji, secret. It’s no way to win an election and his efforts at hand-outs (for which he rightly castigated the SDL in the 2006 election) can never hope to clean up his record in the eyes of the voters.

If an election does take place, Bainimarama cannot allow a winner other than himself. Possibly his only viable survival option lies in the white house on the hill. The illegal president’s term expires in a few days and the dictator must be tempted to have himself appointed and continue to rule by decree while indulging his taste for luxury.But who would be prime minister? Who could be trusted? Or could the position simply lapse? Certainly the option must look preferable to an election he cannot win without rigging it. He once told the world that general elections in Fiji would take place on March 13, 2009, if all necessary preparations can be accomplished in time. But some days later Sayed-Khaiyum, now also Minister for Elections, told the media Bainimarama had only been joking. But these are no joking matters. Neither is Operation Jericho. E-mail: russellfji@gmail.com

NJV given the green-light by Govt against the wishes of the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC)

NJV given the green-light by Govt

September 18, 2012 05:20:20 PM

Fiji’s government has given the green light to the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) to recommence all activities relating to special Prospecting License including exploration, project studies and Waisoi Project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) until 2015.

Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama made the decision following the successful rehabilitation of environmental issues raised by landowners earlier this year.

Government in a statement said the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) and NJV have worked in partnership to address landowners’ concerns that enable both parties to develop a cooperative way forward.
“Government is pleased with NJV’s commitment to the rehabilitation works and the new initiatives that have been introduced which demand more consistent dialogue with Government and TNLC on future works (exploration and geo-technical studies including drillings) together with appropriate rehabilitation programs.”
Government and the landowners will meet again once the EIA is completed.
By Indrani Krishna

Kudos to the Fiji Sun for publishing the following letter to the Editor…….

Caretaker  government

September 18, 2012 | Filed under: Letters | Posted by:

Rajendra Chaudhry Suva

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is no one to tell the people of this country on a caretaker government. Bainimarama’s mentality is best summed up in his own words when he says: ‘My government will not listen to anyone who wants to tell us how to govern the nation.’ For the constitutional and electoral process to have any credibility it must be independent. Professor Yash Ghai has raised his concerns as have other persons both locally and internationally on this very subject and Mr Ghai is a regime appointee and for him to make his concerns, on the independence of the constitutional process, public is worrying to say the least. A caretaker government will ensure a smooth transition to elections and a new Parliament. Bainimarama is and will be an impediment to this process as he is only concerned about his own self-interest.

Come clean, Prime Minister

Come clean, Prime Minister!

[posted 14 Sept 2012,1300]

FLP Website

The Prime Minister’s continuous rhetoric about transparency and his government’s so-called clean-up campaign does not fool the nation anymore, says the Fiji Labour Party.

Although there has been corruption in the past, his own regime has the most appalling record in terms of corruption and a lack of transparency in handling the affairs of the State, FLP said.

The Party is responding to the Prime Minister’s statement to the Fiji Sun (14/9/12) that his government was “promoting credibility and transparency something past governments had ignored”.

If his government is really promoting transparency, then Commodore Bainimarama should answer the following questions:

  1. Why have government accounts and finances not been published for public scrutiny since 2008?
  2. Why are Cabinet salaries now processed by a Suva private accounting firm owned by a close relative of the interim Attorney General and not the Treasury as has been the practice under past governments?
  3. Why is it that the nation no longer knows how much Cabinet Ministers are paid – when Cabinet pays were a matter of public information under past governments?
  4. Why are government contracts awarded to favoured companies without tenders being called as is required under the Public Service regulations?

We can go on – the list is long – but let the four questions above be first answered.

Regrettably, the Prime Minister’s promises and assurances to the nation can no longer be relied on. As for the Constituent Assembly, to safeguard transparency and democratic norms, the Prime Minister should not be the sole arbiter of appointments to the Assembly which will determine the final constitution.

To give one person absolute powers in determining the size and composition of the Assembly is wrong in principle, and no amount of public assurances by Commodore Bainimarama will set this right.

It’s time to leave, Commodore…FLP

FLP Website

Commodore Bainimarama should stop playing god and listen instead to the pulse of the nation and the hardship our people are suffering under his regime.

The mounting social distress in Fiji, the cries and pleas of our people are coming through very clearly in the submissions of the majority of the ordinary people appearing before the Constitution Commission. Most of them have spoken of bread and butter issues, of the struggle to survive, the deplorable condition of roads, the deteriorating state of our hospitals and health centres – to list a few.

Yet the Prime Minister has the gall to tell the Fiji Sun (13/9/12), “My government will not listen to anyone who wants to tell us how to govern the nation”. He was responding to FLP’s call for a caretaker government to be appointed to oversee the constitutional and electoral process.

Bainimarama’s response is the arrogant hallmark of a dictator. He should listen for his own good. Had he done so in the first place, Fiji would not be the troubled nation it is today.

Look at the mess he has made of the sugar industry in the past four years, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of our people. Cane production has slumped from 3.3 million tonnes in 2006 to an estimated 1.4 million tonnes this year. Sugar produced was down from 310,000 tonnes in 2006 to 165,000 tonnes last year and is expected to decline to 125,000 tonnes this year.

The sugar industry is just one instance of the gross financial and economic mismanagement the nation has suffered under his regime. The fact that private investment levels are now down to 2% of the GDP, the lowest on record, indicates lack of confidence in Fiji by local investors.

Fiji urgently needs a change of government, indeed, a speedy return to democratic and constitutional rule, if it is to avoid becoming a failed nation by 2014.

There was scant mention in the Fiji media of the embarrassment of Commodore Bainimarama being snubbed by Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-15/apec-who-cares/4263798

After te Pacific Forum…….

The premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, said the media seemed to be obsessed with Fiji whereas it had been only briefly discussed.

Progress towards elections in late 2014 was noted but full membership was for democratically elected governments.

Samoa’s prime minister even went so far as to describe Fiji as being the only superficial issue discussed. Both those leaders are fulsome critics of Fiji’s military commander and government leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

But while there is some support from some island countries for Fiji being brought back into the fold, the picture is not quite how the military led government in Fiji likes to portray it. That is, that it is Australia and New Zealand bullying the rest of the Pacific into shunning Fiji.

Fiji’s foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, used that exact expression – bullying – when he spoke at the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Tehran recently. “Fiji has learnt not to give in to bullying states,” he said.

This line gets a good run in the Fiji media. Fiji’s attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, was quoted as saying New Zealand’s prime minister was expressing a minority viewpoint when Mr Key told the Forum news conference about Fiji’s continued suspension.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that just the week before the Forum, Fiji had received overwhelming support at an event it hosted called Engaging with the Pacific.

Interestingly, although many Pacific countries were represented at that meeting, very few leaders were there. And although Fiji is chairing the Melanesian Spearhead Group, there was scant mention in the Fiji media of the embarrassment of all three of the other Melanesian prime ministers – they’re from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – not being at the meeting Commodore Bainimarama hosted in Fiji the week before the Forum.

They sent their deputies or other ministers instead.

Commodore Bainimarama must feel he instigated Fiji’s coup too early – had he waited until February 2012, he too could have learned how to usurp power and avoid the censure of the watching world.

How To Plan The Perfect Coup: Lessons From Fiji And The Maldives

Posted: 09/10/2012 1:00 pm
In 2006, in the Pacific island nation of Fiji, troops overran the capital city, threatened the Prime Minister, forced his resignation, placed him under house arrest, imposed censorship on the media, and the coup leader, in the form of the head of the army, went on television to declare himself the new ruler of the country.

In 2012, in my country, the Indian Ocean island nation of the Maldives, mutinying police andsoldiers overran the capital city, gave me, the President, an ultimatum to resign within the hour or face bloodshed, placed me under effective house arrest, raided the headquarters of the national broadcaster, and the coup leader, in the form of the Vice President, went on television to declare himself the new ruler of the country.

In the case of Fiji, the international community swiftly condemned the coup, blackballed Fiji from the club of civilized nations and suspended it from the Commonwealth. In the case of the Maldives, a report drafted by a Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) which was dominated by hand-picked appointees of the coup-installed government, and endorsed by the Commonwealth, has just whitewashed the coup, declaring it a perfectly legitimate and constitutional transfer of power.

Fiji and the Maldives’ contrasting experiences provide useful tips for coup-plotters everywhere. When planning your coup, remember that first impressions count — so don’t dress like an obvious coup leader. The man who takes over from the democratically elected leader should not wear military fatigues, as Commodore Frank Bainimarama did in Fiji; instead wear a lounge suit, as former Vice President Waheed Hassan did in the Maldives.

Secondly, get your messaging right: never, as in Fiji, publicly state you are overthrowing an elected government; instead, as in the Maldives, announce that the President’s resignation is a run-of-the-mill and Constitutional transfer of power.

Finally, have patience: if you follow steps 1 and 2, sooner or later the international community will tire of political upheaval and accept the new, coup-led political order, regardless of outward commitments to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The CoNI report, which declared the Maldives’ coup lawful, has been a huge blow and a profound disservice to the Maldivian people, many of whom watched February’s illegal transfer of power unfold in front of their eyes: in the streets, on television, and through the hundreds of eye-witness video clips posted on YouTube and Facebook.

On the one hand, Maldivians should not have been surprised by the CoNI’s conclusions. The Committee was created by Waheed, the chief beneficiary of the coup, who stacked it with his own allies, and placed the defence minister of former dictator Gayoom at its helm. However, the eleventh hour inclusion of a retired Singaporean judge, appointed with the blessing of the Commonwealth, plus one single nominee, appointed by me, was supposed to provide a modicum of balance to the final report. Sadly, it did not.

My nominee, Ahmed Saeed, resigned from the Committee before its report was released, citing that crucial evidence, such as video footage of the police rampaging through Male, was not included in the Committee’s report. He further noted that the testimony of key witnesses was not included, and that central figures involved in the coup, such as opposition figure Umar Naseer who publicly admitted the existence of a coup “command center” from which events were directed, were not even interviewed.

recent assessment of the CoNI report by a legal team led by Sri Lanka’s former Attorney General, states that the report “amounts to a dangerous and severe erosion of the electoral franchise and mandate of the people.” In effect, the CoNI report says it is perfectly legitimate for a mob of mutinying police and army to topple an elected government from the streets. The legal team’s assessment further states: “there was in fact adequate evidence to suggest that duress (or even ‘coercion’ and/ or illegal coercion as used by CoNI) is attributable to the resignation of President Nasheed.”

Despite these serious flaws, and in the interests of moving forward, I have formally accepted the CoNI report – but only alongside Ahmed Saeed’s reservations.

A more useful analysis of the Maldives’ sorry situation comes from a recent report by Amnesty International, whose researchers conducted a professional and truly independent on- the-ground investigation. Amnesty’s report strongly condemns the on-going abuses by the coup-installed regime, stating that: “Without an end to – and accountability for – these human rights violations, any attempt at political reconciliation in the Maldives will be meaningless.”

Many other international human rights bodies have joined Amnesty in categorically condemning the Waheed regime’s repeated human rights violations, including Reporters without Borders and the UN Human Rights Committee.

Unfortunately, the CoNI report has gifted the regime with the get-out-of-jail-free card and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group may now decide on 11 September to remove the Maldives from its watch-list of human rights violators. If they do, it will offer the regime a green light to crack down even harder on civil society, the media and the political opposition.

In an ironic twist of fate, the regime has also announced that they will use the CoNI report as a pretext to place me on trial — likely barring me from standing as the MDP’s elected nominee in the next presidential election.

As the Arab Spring continues its inevitable march across the Islamic world, the Maldives could have been an example of where the international community stood up for Muslim democrats, by forcing a coup regime to hold early elections and restore democracy. Sadly, the Maldives’ case is more likely to be used by aspiring coup plotters, as a useful guide on how to pull it off. Commodore Bainimarama must feel he instigated Fiji’s coup too early – had he waited until February 2012, he too could have learned how to usurp power and avoid the censure of the watching world.

 Follow Mohamed Nasheed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MohamedNasheed

Calling Frank a liar…………..”The PM said that there will be no more coup, I don’t believe that, because he said exactly the same thing at the Bose Levu Vakaturaga in 2000″

No more Coups: Vugalei Submission

07:16 Today

 

Taken from/By: Report by: Apisalome Coka

Calls have been made again to the Constitution Commission for an end to the coup culture.

The Commission was in Tailevu yesterday.

For the people of Vugalei, while proposals ranged from land and village issues to roads and women’s concerns, Taniela Colamoto had this to say.

If I may say there should be strong wording in the constitution so that we know that there will be no more coup, personally even the PM said that there will be no more coup, I don’t believe that, because he said exactly the same thing at the Bose Levu Vakaturaga in 2000 – may I propose the Great Council of Chiefs be reinstated.

The Commission moves to the Coral Coast tomorrow.

No immunity for coup perpetrators……….. These people should be barred for life from holding any public office………

Chaudhry – no immunity for coup perpetrators in Fiji’s new constitution

Posted at 17:12 on 30 August, 2012 UTC

The leader of the Fiji Labour Party says the new constitution should not give immunity to coup perpetrators as they are the ones responsible for political upheaval in the country.

Mahendra Chaudhry, who was re-elected unopposed as the leader of the Labour Party on the weekend, says the constitution should look closely at the role of the military.

He says the Labour Party is still developing its policies, but in principle it supports the 1987 constitution, with some amendments.

He says those involved with staging coups in the country should have a life ban from holding public office imposed on them.

“They’ve been responsible for the upheaval that has taken place in the country since 1987, they have staged all the coups that have taken place since 1987. We feel that there should not be immunity given to perpetrators of the coups, we also of teh view that these people should be barred for life from holding any public office. So we are still developing our thoughts on that.”

The leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry.

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

Bainimaramas past lies make it hard to believe him now……”There is always a chance Bainimarama won’t go ahead with those elections that’s been the position in the past, so we will take it one step at a time.”

NZ’s Key says Fiji’s suspension from Forum remains unchanged

Posted at 19:32 on 30 August, 2012 UTC

The Prime Minister, John Key, says New Zealand is not taking it for granted that Fiji will hold elections in 2014, which is why the island nation’s suspension from Pacific Islands Forum will remain unchanged.

The region’s leaders are meeting on One Foot Island in the Cook Islands for a day long retreat where Fiji will be one of the main topics.

Australia’s Julia Gillard has returned home early after the deaths of five soldiers in Afghanistan.

The other leaders will receive an update about election preparations in Fiji.

But Mr Key until the elections have taken place and the military returned to the barracks, Fiji will remain suspended from the forum.

“There will always be a range of views but from New Zealand’s perspective we do want to encourage the positive signs we are seeing but we don’t want to overstate those positive signs there is always a chance Bainimarama won’t go ahead with those elections that’s been the position in the past, so we will take it one step at a time.”

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key.

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

Once again the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama attacks submissions to the Constitution Commission. Remember his statement that all were free and welcome to make any submission they want.

Beddoes submission was ‘for his own interest’: PM

07:12 Today

 

Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Roland Koroit

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has taken a swipe at submissions made to the Constitution Commission by UPP Leader Mick Beddoes, saying it was for his own interest.

In his submission Beddoes outlines a number of issues, including the name of the country to be changed to Fiji Islands and that citizens be known as Fiji Islanders.

The Prime Minister says Mick Beddoes is confused, saying the actions of the former opposition leader is nothing less than grandstanding.

“Somehow Mick Beddoes can’t figure out where he is coming from seriously. And the same goes for other Political parties that have come out with their submissions. People of Fiji …and I speak on their behalf, really don’t know how to convince these type of people that this is the right path forward for us.”

In his submissions, Beddoes also calls for the re-establishment and strengthening of the GCC, and that it is given constitutional responsibilities and complete independence from the government, among others.

The Prime Minister believes this is no different from the submissions made by Beddoes political partners, who he says are only driving their personal agenda and the agenda of their political parties, without thinking of the future of all Fijians.

“Whatever you come out with in your submissions should be for the good of the people of Fiji and not for yourselves. I mean look at what he’s come out with? It’s not different from what has been mentioned by the SDL. It’s very self-serving.”

Bainimarama is calling on all political parties and the public to focus on the future and not get influenced by the work of old politicians who continue to remain in the past.

Frank now crying to rejoin “irrelevant” Pacific Forum.

Superpowers focus on tiny Rarotonga for the Pacific Forum

<!—->

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton … leading largest delegation expected to hit Rarotonga. Image: CSMonitor

Pacific Scoop: Report – By Rachel Reeves in Rarotonga

Some of the world’s most prominent superpowers could converge on the little Pacific island of Rarotonga next week.

The Pacific Islands Forum could be the impetus for the United States, China and Russia to be in the same place at the same time.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making global headlines this week, as the world wonders whether she is in fact hauling a cargo plane and a delegation of about 50 people to this South Pacific paradise.

2012 PIF logoWhile China is not officially an observer country, it will be sending a delegation to the Forum. Yesterday coordinators had yet to receive travel arrangement details for the Chinese.

Cook Islands News understands there is a possibility of a Russian delegation coming to the Forum, though Russia is neither an observer nor a post-Forum dialogue partner.

Media liaison officer Derek Fox says Russia is unlisted, but he understands “there may be some interest in someone from Russia coming”.

That, he noted, is unconfirmed. He took the opportunity to point out that Clinton’s attendance is also unconfirmed.

Notable politicians Other notable politicians attending include Britain’s Environment and Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon and Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and current executive of UN Women, who will be leading the United Nations delegation.

A total of 57 countries and organisations will be represented at the Forum.

The average size of a Pacific Island delegation is under 10. Should Clinton make the journey to Rarotonga, her delegation is likely to be the largest of them all.

In total there will be 15 Pacific Islands Forum member countries represented – they are Australia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will be bringing his own delegation of 11 people.

Fiji has been suspended over its military-backed regime.

French Polynesia and New Caledonia are attending as associate members, and the Cook Islands News has confirmation that French Polynesian president Oscar Temaru will be representing the former.

‘Observer’ delegations All up, 12 “observer” delegations are attending – representing American Samoa, Guam, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, ACP Group, Asian Development Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, United Nations, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the World Bank.

Some countries (or blocs) which are neither members nor observers will be sending delegations to Rarotonga – they are Canada, China, European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Other accredited delegations include Cuba, Israel, Singapore and Taiwan.

Nine CROP (Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific) agencies will be attending – Fiji School of Medicine, Pacific Aviation Safety Office, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Pacific Islands Development Program, Pacific Power Association, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, South Pacific Tourism Organization, and the University of the South Pacific.

Fox says the numbers of security personnel are unlisted, as technically the Cook Islands police – and the New Zealand police sworn in to assist them during the Forum – are responsible for maintaining law and order.

Rachel Reeves is political reporter with the Cook Islands News. CIN reports on the Pacific Islands Forum will be featured on Pacific Scoop, along with stories by AUT postgraduate communication studies journalists and students.

Cook Islands News

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

and after an unproductive MSG meeting the bleating to rejoin a Forum he has often called useless and a waste of time.

I guess our Miss World contestant isn’t the only turkey in Fiji.

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

PM calls for re-entry into Pacific talks

Forum wrongly using its influence – PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama declares we are now “Kai Viti”……….an ethnic slur?

iTaukei are the Kaiviti: PM

13:44 Today

 

 

Taken from/By:  Report by: Apisalome Coka

The i-taukei community will be known as the Kai Viti says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Bainimarama made the comment after concerns were raised on why all citizens of Fiji are called Fijians.

He says calling citizens, Fijians is to unite us together as a nation and remove racism.

The Prime Minister says the i-Taukei must not be moved by this name as they are the Kai Viti, the landowners.

Bainimarama says those who are trying to take away the name Fijians for all are trying to bring back racism in the country.

Fiji will not be part of that forum as it remains suspended from it.

Forum wrongly using its influence – PM

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has today said that it is time for Fiji to be accorded full participation in the Pacific branch of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group.

As Commodore Bainimarama called for unity amongst the Pacific island countries to assist small island developing states while opening the Engaging with the Pacific meeting in Nadi, he said he believes that the Pacific Islands Forum has wrongly used its influence to bar Fiji from top level participation in the forum.

Commodore Bainimarama said this policy is no longer sustainable as Fiji needs to be part of the negotiations on the economic partnership agreement with the EU and the implementation of the Pacific Island Countries’ Trade Agreement.

He said some of the neighbouring countries are now beginning to realize what others have known for a long time – that Fiji’s stated objectives are not just words, they are commitments that the government has been steadily meeting since their first day in office.

Commodore Bainimarama said this is a great moment in Fiji’s history as it builds a fully inclusive and democratic society.

He highlighted the massive voter registration drive and the constitution consultations underway.

Commodore Bainimarama said the principles that guide Fiji’s roadmap are a secular state, a common national identity, the removal of systematic corruption, an independent judiciary, elimination of discrimination, good and transparent governance, social justice, one person one vote one value, the elimination of ethnic voting, proportional representation and a voting age of 18.

He said these principles are unassailable.

Commodore Bainimarama also said the island countries must be united to find solutions to global warming and its effects such as the rise in ocean levels, markets for goods and to provide opportunities for the people.

Representatives of 14 countries are attending the Engaging with the Pacific meeting hosted by Fiji today and tomorrow.

This meeting is being held ahead of the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum which will be held in the Cook Islands next week.

Fiji will not be part of that forum as it remains suspended from it.

Top leaders and senior officials from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, PNG, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kazakstan and Kosovo are attending the meeting.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

Bainimarama does not grasp the concept of people lobbying politicians ……..no top “accountant, lawyer, engineer and other professional” is going to leave their profession to be a poorly paid politician.

Stop being “silent” : PM

13:05 Today

 

Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Indra Singh

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is calling on those who he calls the “silent elites” to start working towards shaping the nation.

Bainimarama made the comments at the opening of the 2012 CPA Australia-Fiji Branch Congress in Nadi this morning.

The Prime Minister did not mince his words as he says in the past accountants, business people and professionals have shied away from such nation building processes.

He says all should be part of the ongoing electronic voter registration and constitution consultations.

Bainimarama says too often in the past, some of the above have put forward their agendas through the mouths of others, and have not come forward themselves.

He adds that some accountants, lawyers, engineers and other professionals actually are the movers and shakers in the country, but only behind the scenes.

Bainimarama says each and every Fijian has something of value to contribute to the commission, through her or his unique experience and individual knowledge and reiterates they must no longer remain silent.

He further adds there is a need to break away from pattern of the past , when professionals were content to attend forums, and leave the reform processes to others—to the political parties and the other groups that have traditionally held power in Fiji- what he calls the “vocal elites

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama stressed that he will remain the Prime Minister and Army Commander of the country.

Bainimarama stresses he will remain PM and Army Commander

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama stressed that he will remain the Prime Minister and Army Commander of the country.

This follows comments made by Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry that Commodore Bainimarama should make up his mind.

“I think that it is about time Bainimarama also decides whether he wants to be a politician or an Army Commander. He cannot do both because there is a very clear conflict of interest and the Public Service Regulations address this. So why is there special exception for this man.”

The Prime Minister said Chaudhry and the Labour Party leader cannot do anything about him holding both positions..

“I have been both the Prime Minister and Army Commander in the last six years because of the circumstances that we have been through and people have accepted that widely but I’m going to be the Commander RFMF and Prime Minister for the next two years until elections and unfortunately for him and his father there is nothing they can do to change that.”

Rajendra Chaudhry also questioned why Commodore Bainimarama is raising concern about the constitution submissions being given by other organizations.

“It should not be influenced in any manner, shape or form by anybody, least of all by the Interim Prime Minister Mr Bainimarama who is obviously an interested party in the proceedings of the Constitution Commission and they are making comments on submissions by other political parties or NGOs. That is not proper for him to do. Let the people express their views, let the commission record those views.”

Commodore Bainimarama said it is interesting that Chaudhry has changed his view on these matters when his father is no longer in government.

“I heard very briefly his attack on me yesterday. Of course he was calling me the Interim Prime Minister and of course the interim government. His memory is very short. Things have changed very quickly with Rajendra Chaudhry. Nothing was interim when his father was in government a few years ago. In addition to that he was also attacking my supposed interference in the whole process. He has been speaking out exactly on the same note against what we are talking about so obviously he can speak out but we can’t. That’s what he is saying.”

Chaudhry has also said that the Constitution Commission should not be bound by any of the non-negotiable principles set out by the Prime Minister.

He said no matter what the non-negotiables are, if majority of the people think otherwise then the commission should take their point of view.

Commodore Bainimarama said the non-negotiables for the constitution are important because it is aimed at eliminating discrimination and race based policies.

He said it seems Rajendra Chaudhry has forgotten so quickly that in 2000, he and his father were put in one of the rooms in parliament for 56 days.

The Prime Minister said the non-negotiables in the next constitution is to bring about an environment that will stop people from doing the same thing they did in 2000.

Story by: Vijay Narayan & Ronal Deo

The regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, was among those involved.

Fiji’s Anthony reiterates police report on Bainimarama is unchanged

Posted at 06:39 on 15 August, 2012 UTC

A Fiji union leader Felix Anthony has reiterated he has not withdrawn or changed his statement to police over threats and abuse he says he was subjected to by military officers 18 months ago.

He says the regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, was among those involved.

Mr Anthony was speaking out again in reaction to an interview with the Commodore who told Radio Tarana Mr Anthony had withdrawn his statement.

But Mr Anthony says there needs to be a reality check and mischief-making by some media is part of the Fiji regime’s strategy to sweep the abuse under the carpet.

The interim government last week dismissed Mr Anthony’s claims saying he had no evidence but Mr Anthony says the regime should stop misleading the Fiji public and the international community.

He says he has medical reports on his injuries but has been told he can’t have a report by the first doctor who examined him at Lautoka Hospital.

The union leader says he is waiting to hear about progress in the police investigation.

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

The “did they or didn’t they” saga continues……MEDIA RELEASE SDL Party.

However, the SDL’s National President, Solomone Naivalu, says the party’s representatives have not appeared before the Constitution Commission and therefore made no submission whatsoever.

He says the reports on the Fijivillage website are perhaps written with the intent of painting an evil image and portrait of the SDL to foment racial discord.

http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=70200

MEDIA RELEASE SDL Party.
The Vijay Narayan penned article in the Fiji Village Website, alleging elements of a submission made by the Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party to the Constitutional Commission is unfounded, false and mischievous.
It is a clear figment of his imagination written perhaps with the clear intent of painting an evil image and portrait of the SDL to ferment racial discord.
The SDL wishes to state categorically that it has not as yet finished preparing its submission to the Constitutional Commission. The views expressed and quoted by Vijay last Friday August 3 are those of SDL supporters. Party President Mr. Solomone Naivalu was at the opening of the public submissions to view and observe how the Commission received submissions.
To link his name with the submissions made and assume that the submissions were those of the SDL Party is erroneous and mischievous.
The SDL Party further declares that its representatives have not appeared before Professor Yash Ghai and the Constitution Commission and therefore made no submission whatsoever.
Further the SDL is still consulting with its allies the Fiji Labour Party, the National Federation Party and the United Peoples Party before finalizing its submission to the Constitution Commission.
The SDL categorically denies that it has decided on any of the policies cited by Mr. Narayan in his article. Discussions within the SDL Executives are still ongoing with Branch Heads consultations, before a final submission is made.
The SDL has said time and time again, and it is a matter of public record, that it wants the retention of the 1997 Constitution, which was the subject of nationwide consultations with all communities in Fiji. Furthermore , it was debated by an elected Parliament representing all the people of Fiji and was approved unanimously by members of both Houses of Parliament.
The 1997 Constitution, in Chapter Two, contains a Compact which provided inter alia that the “rights of all individuals, communities and groups are fully respected.” The SDL espouses a policy of PEACE national unity, multiracialism, national economic and social development and a better life for all the people of Fiji, regardless of race, colour or religion.
Solomone Naivalu, National President, SDL Party
………………………………………….

No wonder people fear giving submissions that are not Frank Friendly………Next step is to ban the Political Opposition that is still a threat to Frank……..

PM slams SDL’s constitution submission

Shut down the party and go home if you cannot come up with proposals that will bring a better Fiji for all the citizens of the country.

That is Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s message to the SDL party after the party made its constitution submission last week.

Commodore Bainimarama said it is evident that SDL does not want to change.

He said the Labour Party and United People’s Party were having discussions with the SDL on the constitution submission and he questions whether this is all they have to offer to the people.

Transcribed audio:
“I know that most of us are very disappointed with their submission. We hoped that SDL would have changed their stance; their views about what we should be doing in Fiji with regards to our constitution, but obviously not. But in the past 2 or 3 months they’ve(SDL) have been talking with Labour, they’ve been talking with Mick Beddoes about their constitution committee submission and it’s very disappointing what they’ve come up with. I wouldn’t be surprised if Labour’s submission is along the same lines or Mick Beddoes’ is along the same lines. I have no doubt about that. They’ve probably now changed them because we have highlighted our reservations about the submissions that have been put forward by SDL.”

Commodore Bainimarama stressed that there needs to be equality for all citizens irrespective of their race, religion and gender.

He said the ideas on the new constitution also needed to be above politics.

Transcribed audio:
“The party has not learn. The SDL has not learnt from the events of 1987; the events of 2000, to change the way they think about what we should put into our constitution to make it, to bring about, at the end of the day, a vision that seeks the progressive prosperity through equality of opportunity and peace. That’s the vision we have and that’s what we should be targeting. All the political parties that go put their submission; people that go and put in their views. I’ve been harping all along that a constitution is well above politics. Politics should not be brought into the constitution or the political agenda of political parties. Because if we have the political agendas of political parties brought into the constitution, it would be a very short show. Nothing good is going to come of them”

The Prime Minister said the main agenda for the new constitution is to put Fiji first.

Transcribed audio:
“When you go in you think of Fiji as a nation. That’s what we should be targeting. Not personal agendas or political agendas that will take you to the next election. On that note if the SDL has nothing to offer to the people of Fiji I think they should bind up and go home. It’s not doing their followers a lot of good. Those of us who are in a position of power should let our people exactly what we need to do to bring about a better Fiji. It seems that the SDL has not learned that lesson.”

In the SDL submission to the Constitution Commission, the party wants Fiji to be declared a Christian State, Christianity to be the state religion and Fijian to be the national language of the state.

SDL said they also want the name “Fijian” to be reserved for the indigenous Fijians and all citizens to be called “Fiji Islanders”. SDL also proposes that there should be no provisions for dual citizenship.

Speaking to the Professor Yash Ghai led commission, the SDL officials said that the party wants the term “sexual orientation” to be removed from the Bill of Rights of the 1997 constitution.

In that section it states that a person must not be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly, on the ground of his or her sexual orientation.

They propose that parliament and senate should be retained, some communal seats to be retained and the balance to be won under the one man one vote system.

On the appointment of the country’s President and Vice President, SDL has suggested that they should still be appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs. The party said the GCC should be established under the constitution and a GCC Act should clearly set out their roles and functions.

Commodore Bainimarama stresses that the Great Council of Chiefs will not be reinstated.

Transcribed audio:
“Those who are wanting the Great Council of Chiefs to come back are chiefs who are depending on that entity to help support them, to prop them up. The chiefs have a big responsibility, in that they go out to the vanua and they look after the people in the vanua. We’ve highlighted that it’s the most undemocratic entity in Fiji right now, then. And that was one of the reasons why we removed it in 2007. Because it has propped up a lot of people and brought about nothing but corruption.”

Story by: Vijay Narayan