Apparently, the dictators of the world are free to do as they please, provided their nation is far enough away to avoid any unseemly publicity.

Fiji – Fun in the Sun with Guns!

  • November 22, 2012 6:38 am

By James Walker

In the rough and tumble world of International Relations, it is sometimes easy to focus too much on the major players, and allow the smaller (but no less interesting) states to disappear from view. With that in mind, and with the caveat that a brief article can only hope to scratch the surface of even the smallest of players on the world stage, this exploration of the current situation in Fiji is intended to view the IR arena through the lens of a small island nation. From the absurdity of Westphalian notions of sovereign functional equality, to the demonstrations of Rosenau’s “Fragmegration” in action, the tiny, beautiful state of Fiji allows students of IR to view the swirling complexity of modern globalization in a microcosm.

To set the scene, Fiji has been an independent state since 1970, and in its short forty year history has suffered through four military coups. The last one took place in 2006, and while Commodore Josaia Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama (the reigning Prime Minister), swears that nation-wide elections will take place in 2014, the fact that he is the same man who overthrew the last regime suggests to most outside observers that they should not hold their breath. The revelation that Fiji is now regarded as a  “Parliamentary Republic”, run by a “Military Appointed Government” also suggests that even military dictatorships have a sense of humor, in addition to a good PR department.

So good, in fact, that the G-77 (+ China) recently announced that Fiji would take over as chairman of the UN’s largest geo-political voting block in 2013. As the “voice of the developing world”, the G-77 represents the vast majority of the “Global South”, encompassing 132 players in the great game of international relations. This is Westphalianism at its most interesting, given that Fiji (an island nation with a population of just over 850,000) will be the point-person for developmental agendas in a group that encompasses states such as Brazil, India and China. It takes a great sense of faith in the precepts of sovereign equality to see how this is supposed to work. Either that, or a healthy dose of skepticism about the realities of power relationships in our anarchic system.

What is truly fascinating about Fiji is the nature of its domestic troubles, and the way in which they represent the turmoil that has become such a topic of academic debate in globalization theory. The population of Fiji has been split along both racial and economic lines, with institutionalized racism as an explicit aspect of the national political discourse. Within the Fijian constitution (currently abrogated) 37 of the 70 Parliamentary seats were reserved for “native Fijians”, meaning that a nativist political infrastructure was mandated as a majority. This issue of racial politics is just one of the things that the current regime promises to reform in the new constitution, due by 2013 but still the subject of some debate.

However, the vast majority of the Island’s commercial wealth is generated within the Indo-Fijian population – a diaspora that was brought to Fiji during the British colonial era to work the sugar plantations, and has since shown the same entrepreneurial spirit that has marked their presence in so many other Commonwealth countries. Unfortunately, this has also led to many of the same discriminatory tactics faced by Indian diasporas elsewhere. In fact, there was a substantial, violent backlash against Indo-Fijians after the third coup d’état in 2000, exacerbating an already troubling trend towards an exodus from paradise for the Indian community.

If the situation were not complex enough, Fiji recently made international headlines when the winner of the Ms. World – Fiji contest (2012) provoked outrage over the fact that she did not look “native” enough. Ms. Torika Watters, of mixed Fijian and European heritage, was subsequently disqualified for being too young to enter the competition, thereby neatly side-stepping the inherent racism involved, and avoiding the need to address this political hot-potato on a global (if somewhat superficial) stage.  However, while the incident may have been swept under the carpet, the notions of ethnic identification that were behind the outrage have not been displaced so easily.

These issues concerning nationality, ethnicity, and fundamental notions of identity in the modern state are indicative of what James Rosenau describes as “Fragmegration.” While the processes of globalization continue to draw this tiny state into the global flows of commerce, governance, and communication, they are also serving to pull the fabric of society apart. The changing nature of Fijian demographics, fluctuating as they do with the flow of new ethnicities into and out of the country (including many new immigrants from the Philippines) mean that the “imagined community” of the state is under ever increasing pressure. The response of the military to retreat into authoritarianism in order to shore up the walls of nationalism can only be a stop-gap measure at best.

While trendy hipsters and society dilettantes sip their Fiji Water in bars on Rodeo Drive (shipped across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, in bottles manufactured from Chinese plastic) they are partially funding a military dictatorship hidden behind the image of a tropical paradise. What is astounding is the fact that, even in this day and age, the image of Fiji as an Island paradise is so pervasive that folks happily go there on their dream honeymoons, without ever actually coming into contact with the political reality of visiting a dictatorship.  This is not to suggest that people should stop going, simply that they should be aware of where they are going, and what is happening there. Given that tourism is the lion’s share of the national economy, this is a significant potential lever for change.

While the situation is still tense, and the prospect of reform is rather aspirational at present, it is both heartening and disappointing to see the reaction of the world at large. On the positive side, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Pacific Islands Forum, and the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations have all suspended Fiji from membership. However, while the UN Security Council has called for “fair elections” to be held as soon as possible, it has still not seen fit to recall the 1000 Fijian Peacekeepers that are stationed around the world, representing the international community in their famous blue helmets. And then, of course, there is the chairmanship of the G-77. It seems that even in the modern era of global governance and institutionalized legalism, the Waltzian ideal lives on, no matter how crazy it might be. Apparently, the dictators of the world are free to do as they please, provided their nation is far enough away to avoid any unseemly publicity. As they say in the corridors of power, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (The more things change, the more they stay the same” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr).

James Walker is a fourth-year Global Studies student and a research intern at the Burkle Center

More Police and Military abuse of prisoners……Aseri Vakaloloma says he believes his client has been denied a medical examination because the police are the subject of the complaint.

Fiji lawyer says client kicked and scalded by police

Posted at 05:32 on 13 November, 2012 UTC

The lawyer representing a man who is alleged to have been part of a bank robbery in Fiji says his client was assaulted by police during his arrest in September but still hasn’t been granted a medical examination.

The man is accused of being involved with five prison escapees who police believe committed the robbery.

At least four of the five escapees were hospitalised, including one who had to have his leg amputated after being captured in a joint operation by police and soldiers.

The lawyer, Aseri Vakaloloma, says his client was kicked by police when he was arrested at his home and has complained that he has been scalded with hot water.

“I think it’s only proper if he is in pain that he should be taken to the hospital because he needs medical treatment but unfortunately the court has granted him that but he is in custody at the moment and then he’s not been taken to the hospital.”

Aseri Vakaloloma says he believes his client has been denied a medical examination because the police are the subject of the complaint.

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

Another breach of Human Rights in Fiji …….52 Prisoners beaten by 7 prison officers.

Sodomised inmate admitted in hospital

07:02 Today

 

Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Mika Loga

A 25-year-old inmate is recovering at the Intensive Care Unit of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital after he was allegedly attacked by two other inmates.

The alleged incident occurred at the Korovou Corrections Centre last Saturday.

The inmates mother Hazra Bibi was unaware that her son was in hospital until she received a call from a nurse on Tuesday.

FBC News was reliably told that two inmates allegedly sodomized Bibi’s son who suffered severe injuries to his body.

Bibi has been trying to get answers about what exactly happened to her son.

She says her son underwent an operation and claims officials at the Corrections Centre did not tell her anything about her son.

The attack allegedly took place in the Yasi Dormitory at the Korovou Corrections Centre last weekend.

Seven prison officers allegedly physically disciplined 52 inmates in the dorm when they refused to disclose details of the attack.

Two inmates suspected of the alleged attack have been transferred to the Maximum Security Corrections Centre in Naboro.

Bibi says, she will lodge an official complaint to the Corrections Commissioner’s Office.

Last Saturday’s incident at the Korovou Corrections Centre brings to light yet again issues related to the human rights of prisoners.

Fiji Corrections Service spokesperson Ana Tamani-Tudrau says they’re conducting their own investigations and have also referred the matter to the police.

The officers were in fact commended for their gallant action.

Red Ribbon

A few years ago the current Commissioner of Police launched the infamous yellow ribbon project for the rehabilitation of prisoners. So much so that about a dozen correction officers lost their jobs for minor assaults on prisoners during his term.

This time around five prisoners suffered extensive injuries, with one losing a leg, at the hands of his officers using reasonable force. The officers were in fact commended for their gallant action.

Under normal circumstances such injuries suffered at the hands of arresting officers warrants an investigation. The onus is on the Commissioner to satisfy himself that the action of his men was reasonable if not illegal. He needs to allay the suspicion and the fears of the public on the integrity of our justice system.

For the police Operations Officer to blatantly declare that “having one of his leg amputated does not mean an investigation should be carried out to those who were involved in his recapture” is abrasive evasive and discourteous to the relatives of the victims.

The yellow ribbon in correction terminology appears to have metamorphosed into red ribbon in police discourse.

 

Ratu Vore

Fiji is basically now a Chinese client state

From Trevor Loudon:

Right now at the bottom of the South Pacific, a lot of  people email me and they say, look, if Obama gets back in again, can we  come and live in New Zealand? And I say, look, it’s a wonderful country,  you’ll enjoy it, but really there is no where to run now. Just 1500  miles to the north of my country lie the beautiful Fijian Islands –  great tourist destination, but they now have a Marxist government. The  Chinese are training the Fijian military, building big hydro-electric  dams on the islands. Fiji is basically now a Chinese client state.  Just a few months ago the Australian Minister Defense was up in China  and a

He said these young people should later serve the military for a year……..Just what we don’t need ……. more military “character” in our young people.

Push for military training

Ropate Valemei Tuesday, October 23, 2012

THERE should be compulsory military training for men and women between the ages of 18 and 21.

This was a submission by Fiji’s Peacekeeping Veterans Group (PVG) to the Constitution Commission last week.

PVG co-ordinator Taniela Senikuta said military recruitment should be conducted in Fiji’s 14 provinces and Rotuma and from among all races.

“This will help youths build their character, become disciplined and help curb crime,” said Mr Senikuta.

He said these young people should later serve the military for a year.

The PVG was formed to safeguard the interests and welfare of former peacekeeping and war veterans and their families.

Since, the establishment of the welfare group it has come a long way to ensure servicemen who have lost their lives or have been injured as peacekeepers in conflict or war-torn areas are compensated for.

“All these years, their entitlements to better basic pay, welfare and better conditions of service have been compromised,” he said.

Therefore, he said, this was an opportune time for members to have their voices heard.

“We feel as a group that the State is not doing enough for its servicemen,” he said.

For instance, he said the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in which Fiji participated for a quarter of a century ended with 37 peacekeepers losing their lives. “… their families are still crying for better compensation,” he said.

RFMF and its roll in Government and why the Commodore sees himself as filling the seat a high chief.

Former Fiji military commander reveals research into military thinking

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 03:28

RNZI: A former land force commander in Fiji, Jone Baledrokadroka, says the Fiji military’s role as a peacekeeper in overseas conflicts has helped transform its mindset and influenced its role in recent Fiji politics.

Mr Baledrokadroka has been conducting PhD research at the Australian National University and he presented some of his findings to a gathering of Pacific leaders, experts and academics in New Zealand last week.

He argues there have been unintended consequences of peacekeeping that are pervasive in Fiji’s present day military.

He says politicisation of the military also dates from an earlier overseas campaign against communist insurgents, the Emergency of the 1950s.

“It was very much ingrained I say within the military institution from the days of the Malaya campaign where our troops first came into contact with this idea of security, development … this working together of the state, the government, the people and the security forces.”

Mr Baledrokadroka says there needs to be a Commission of Inquiry into the ethos of the military followed by reform of the institution.

He also presented research showing more than 60 members of the military are playing a role in the present day Fiji government.

Mr Baledrokadroka was imprisoned following alleged involvement in a plot to kill the regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

His studies also include the demise of the chiefly order in Fiji and he argues the Commodore sees himself as filling the seat of high chief.

– RNZI

Fiji Prisoner has leg amputated by after “resisting arrest”…..

Fiji escapee had leg amputated because of injuries inflicted by soldiers The shameful truth at last – one of the Naboro prisoners has had his leg amputated as touted by bloggers on this forum weeks ago because of injuries inflicted by soldiers during his recapture.

Bloggers said the prisoner was being kept away from public eyes because he’d lost his leg during the messy recapture.

It was also suggested the last prisoner to be caught, Isoa Waqa, had died after being beaten – a report Fiji police rejected as rumours with the threat they would charge those spreading them.

But today the Magistrates Court was told Epeli Qaraniqio has indeed had his right leg amputated for injuries ‘allegedly’ sustained during the recapture and cannot appear in court for another fortnight.

Qaraniqio was to have fronted more than a week ago with the other escapees but did not. Police again today failed to bring him to court with the  Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer, Lisiate Fotofili, telling Magistrate Janaka Bandara it will be two weeks before Qaraniqio can take the stand.

While presenting a medical report, Fotofili told the court the dressing on Qaraniqio’s leg was only removed on Friday.

There has been no official report until now about the prisoner being forced to have his leg  amputated. Fiji media at the time ignored reports of an amputation, following instead the official line the escapees were still ‘under medical treatment.’

Qaraniqio is said to be recovering at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital where he and the other escapees were taken after being beaten by soldiers.

All of the prisoners were kept away from general medical staff and were seen and tended only by RFMF medics.

Fiji has been divided on the violence meted out by RFMF soldiers and police in the recapture of the escapees, after they managed to elude them for some time after their break out.

Many have insisted the escapees deserved being assaulted by soldiers because they’re criminals.

We say today’s official confirmation a prisoner had to have his leg amputated because of injuries sustained at the hands of soldiers is proof the regime and those carrying out its orders cannot be trusted to uphold the law and to protect citizens.

Ratu Vore
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Naivalurua mum on injured prisoners

07:03 Today

Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Mika Loga

Police Commissioner Brigadier Iowane Naivalurua is mum on the details of investigations in relation to the alleged assault of the five inmates who escaped from the Naboro Medium Corrections Centre last month.

They were admitted at the CWM hospital for injuries they suffered from their recapture.

They were hospitalized for about a week.

Some had their limbs plastered and needed help walking while one was on crutches they appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court.

They also had bruises to the face and limbs.

The fifth inmate is still in hospital.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Police quiet on leg amputation of recaptured prisoner
Publish date/time: 23/10/2012 [13:03]

Police said they will not comment on the leg amputation of a recaptured prisoner, Epeli Qaraniqio until they see the medical report.
When asked by Fijivillage, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said nothing will be said for now as Qaraniqio is still in hospital.
He said investigations into the recapture of the five prisoners late last month is still underway but he cannot say anything further.     DPP lawyer Lisiate Fotofili has confirmed in the Suva Magistrates Court that Epeli Qaraniqio cannot attend court as his right leg has been amputated from an open wound.
Fotofili has asked for a two week adjournment.
The case will be called again before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili on the 5th of next month.
Qaraniqio is co-charged with Isoa Waqa and Solomoni Qurai in relation to the BSP and Wishbone robberies after the prison breakout.
Story by: Vijay Narayan & Tokasa Rainima

Only in Fiji ..”Thank you for breaching the human rights of our escaped prisoners”

Officers thanked for recapture mission

13:01 Today

 

Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Apisalome Coka

Police Commissioner, Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua has commended officers for the recapture of five escapees from Naboro Prison.

Brigadier Naivalurua addressed the officers at his 3rd quarter parade at Suva’s foreshore this morning.

“I would also like to pay a special mention to those of us who worked hard especially the recapture mission, I acknowledge your hard work this morning and thank you. You did a great job in the recapture of the unscrupulous people that terrorised Suva in the period of 7 days, so well done and keep up the good work.”

Four of the inmates have been charged while the 5th is still admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.

FLP Submission

GCC should be retained-FLP

Publish date/time: 12/10/2012 [17:14]

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has said that the Constitution should provide the circumstances under which the military forces may be deployed either in Fiji or abroad must receive the approval of parliament.
Chaudhry has said that the Constitution should also explicitly provide for both the ministerial control of the military forces as well as its command.
He said the Constitution should state that a military force may only be raised or maintained in Fiji under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
He said the Great Council of Chiefs should be retained.
Chaudhry said they propose that the GCC be retained in its role as an advisory body to the government on issues relating to the well being of the indigenous Fijians.
The Council may act on matters referred to it by the Minister responsible or it may take up such issues on its own initiative.
He has proposed to the Constitution Commission that there is no need to write a new constitution.
He said problem is not constitution but lack of respect for the constitution and the rule of law in Fiji.
He adds the 1997 constitution should be retained as the base document.
Chaudhry has proposed that the full term of the House of Representatives should be reduced from five years to four years from the date of its first meeting after a general election.
He said polling must commence no later than 21 days after the last day of the receipt of nominations.
He said the timeline for by election on should be amended to read three years and six months.
Chaudhry said they are proposing that the 71 members remain in the House of Representatives including 26 seats reserved for various communities that make up Fiji to be shared as twelve seats for Indigenous Fijians, ten for Indo Fijians, one for Rotumans and three seats for General Electors.
He said there should be 45 open seats to be filled by voting in 15 three member heterogeneous constituencies is by members of the various ethnic communities residing in Fiji.
They are proposing that the Upper House of the Senate should be constituted of 35 members of which 30 would be nominated by the leaders of political parties based on the proportion of primary votes obtained by their parties.
The remaining five of whom atleast one should be a Rotuman, to be appointed by the President to represent minority communities or groups which would otherwise be under represented or not represented in parliament.
He proposes that Senate should not have any veto powers or powers that override the authority of the House of Representatives.
The Constitution should require that the House of Representatives and the Senate should sit together as an Electrol College for the purposes of electing as President and Vice President one of the pairs of candidates nominated for those offices.
The election should be by secret ballot under the preferential system. A candidate to be successful must obtain at least 50% plus one of the valid votes cast.
He further proposes that the President’s term of office should be limited to one term of five years and he or she should not be eligible for reappointment.
The Vice President’s term should be similarly limited except that he or she could be nominated for the office of the President on expiry of his or her term as VP.
He said the Constitution should clarify that the President does not have any reserve powers or authority other than that prescribed in the Constitution and that the President must act only on the advice of the Cabinet except where he or she is empowered by law to act on the advice of any other authority or Minister.
The constitution should require that the Prime Minister must establish a multi ethnic Cabinet from among members of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
FLP has suggested that the number of cabinet ministers should not exceed 18 and that Deputy Minister should be limited to six mainly for larger ministries.
Chaudhry said the preferential system of voting known as alternative vote is to be retained. A candidate must secure 50% plus 1 of the total valid votes cast to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives.
Chaudhry said a person’s right to vote and to be registered as a voter should clearly prescribe in the Constitution.
He has proposed that voting age should be lowered to 18.
He stress that residential qualification of two year must be maintained.
In order to enable and encourage the participation of women in politics they propose that should the number of successful women candidates be less than 15, then additional woman be nominated to parliament so that the total number of women members is not than 15.
FLP proposes that ALTA to remain an entrenched legislation, leases under ALTA to be given out for a minimum of 50 years to provide security of tenure and encourage investment in the agricultural sector, rent should be put at 10% of the Unimproved Capital Value but the State should continue to meet the additional 4% as subsidy to growers.
He proposes for a special Constitutional Court be established to expeditiously determine matter arising under the Constitution or involving its interpretation.
He said the current practice of such matters being dealt with through the High Court has its disadvantages, is time consuming and expensive.
Chaudhry said additional women to be nominated to parliament and women should not have less than fifteen seats in the House Of Representatives.
He has recommended that the person to be appointed Attorney General must be a qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court.
The establishment and functions of the Human Rights Commission should be maintained as provided for in the 1997 Constitution.
However its membership should be enlarged to five members drawn from a good cross section of the society of whom atleast two should be women.
The Constitution should require the establishment of a national minimum wage mechanism to determine minimum wage levels in the various sectors of the economy.
He said to counter the adverse effects the escalating levels of poverty and social hardships the FLP has recommended that the Constitution should protect the poor by requiring the State to follow the principles of natural justice in such circumstances.
Chaudhry said the party has recommended the introduction of a State Pension Scheme to cater for all senior citizens above the age of 65 who are not in receipt of any other pension or other benefits and who are without adequate means of support to provide for their basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
Special parliamentary majorities, he recommended sections 191 to 192 in the 1997 constitution be appropriately amended to reflect the changed composition of both houses and requiring the support of 75% of members of both houses to alter act of the constitution.
He has urged the Commission to include a provision of the transnational arrangement to the draft constitution requiring the President to appoint an independent caretaker administration to assume charge of the government until such time as the government elected under the new constitution takes office.
Story by: Ronal Deo

What to do with the military………..

Withdraw RFMF officers from all current governance structures-FWCC

Publish date/time: 12/10/2012 [17:32]

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has called for the total withdrawal of the Fiji Military Forces from all current governance structures and the reduction in the size of the RFMF.
While making their submission to the Constitution Commission today, Crisis Centre officials, Shamima Ali and Edwina Kotoisuva said this is necessary to ensure a free and non threatening process in the return to democracy.
The Women’s Crisis Centre has also recommended for the resignation of all serving military officers in the public service and those intending to enter the political arena for the 2014 elections.
They said a mechanism has to be established for dialogue between the elected government and the military to facilitate the process of re-establishing civilian control and resolving any disputes or misunderstanding.
The centre said this mechanism must adhere to the accepted principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Ali said the Crisis Centre proposes that there should be a gradual reduction in the size of the military bearing in mind there are no external threats.
The centre claims in its constitution submission that there are misconceived fears about challenges to the government’s authority and it’s obsession with stopping dissenting voices which has resulted in the invocation of the Public Emergency Regulation.
The centre also calls for the strengthening of human rights protections in the 1997 constitution.
Story by: Vijay Narayan

The condemning public might think more about the message and not shoot the messenger

Letter to the Editor (Fiji Times and Fiji Sun)

Professor Wadan Narsey

Violence against escaped prisoners

Many letters have been written to the Editor, attacking Shamima Ali’s call for the protection of the human rights of prisoners, while the police have also responded defending their actions.

It is understandable for decent law-abiding citizens to not care how prisoners are treated.    We all know of innocent people who have been robbed, physically and mentally traumatized, by criminal elements, without any compensation, or contrition from criminals.

Neither is there much compensation or thought for officers who are injured in the call of duty, while trying to apprehend escaped criminals.

Even though it is hard to define what constitutes “reasonable force” the police (and the army) also need to ensure that apprehending officers do not take the law into their own hands, by becoming prosecutors, judge and jury.

We sympathise with the Police Force who come under huge pressure whenever prisoners escape, when we all know that it is society which ultimately creates the criminals and the crimes, which we then demand the Police Force deal with.

But a just society has to ensure that escaped prisoners, however badly they may have treated society, are also given a fair trial by our judiciary, and suitably punished if they are found guilty,  but according to law.

Prisoners also have human rights and they also have loved ones, who are often filled with despair and shame at the crimes that their family members commit.

The Police Commissioner and the Commander of the Military Forces would be protecting  the integrity and humanity of their own forces if they conveyed a strong message to their apprehending officers: please do not lose control of your emotions, do not take the law into your own hands, when apprehending escaped prisoners.  Leave that to the courts.

The condemning public might think more about the message and not shoot the messenger, Shamima Ali, who has been a brave Commissioner for Human Rights of all people in Fiji, prisoners or otherwise.

However much pain escaped prisoners may cause us (and they surely do), for us deny their human rights to justice according to the Fiji laws, is to become inhuman ourselves.

http://narseyonfiji.wordpress.com/

Fiji to learn first-hand about progress that has been achieved by North Korea?……who also has a crashing economy,lives on foreign aid and cannot feed its people…

Fiji foreign minister on first North Korea visit

Posted at 01:39 on 05 October, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola is in Pyongyang on the first visit by a Fiji minister to North Korea.

Ratu Inoke has met North Korea’s foreign minister, Pak Ui Chun, during his two-day visit.

Fiji’s information ministry says Ratu Inoke has thanked North Korea for its support towards Fiji’s successful bid to chair the G77.

He says he is privileged to learn first-hand about progress that has been achieved by North Korea which Fiji could learn from.

Mr Chun says the visit demonstrates the mutual trust, understanding and the spirit of cooperation that exist between the two countries as independent sovereign states.

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

Two injured prison escapees appear in court but the other three are still, after two weeks, unable to leave hospital. One, it is rumored, is in a coma from a severe beating.

Escapees in court

October 2, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by:

Josaia Usumaki and Tevita Sugu assisted by Police officers on their way to the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday. Photo: JONA KONATACI

By TALEBULA KATE

Two out of the five escapees that fled from the Naboro Medium facility two weeks ago appeared yesterday before Magistrate Janaka Bandara charged with resisting arrest and criminal intimidation.
Tevita Sugu and Josaia Usumaki appeared before Magistrate Bandara along with Rajeshwar Kishore Dutt, who is charged with aggravated robbery. The latter charge relates to the daylight robbery of the Bank South Pacific’s Samabula branch last month.
BSP have declined to disclose the amount of money stolen.
The three other escapees failed to appear yesterday as they are still medically unfit and further remanded into police custody.
State prosecutor Lisiate Fotofili informed Magistrate Bandara that Solomoni Qurai, Epeli Qaraniqio and Isoa Waqa were still unfit to attend court and needed more time to recover before appearing.
Sugu, with visible injuries, was taken to court with the support of police officers and Usumaki needed crutches to help with his walking.
Mr Fotofili requested if the accused could be remanded in custody and the matter transferred to the High Court because of its seriousness.
According to Mr Fotofili, charges against the accused had just been filed and no disclosures had been provided to the accused persons.

Corruption in the prison service run by a military officer……..

Contrabands find investigated

07:20 Today

 

 

Taken from/By:  Report by: Mika Loga

Investigations are underway at the Naboro and Korovou Correction Centres to establish how mobiles phones and other items bypassed the watchful eyes of corrections officers.

The investigations come after about a hundred mobile phones were found in the possession of inmates.

Other items found include mobile phone chargers, cigarette lighters, tobacco, sim cards, CD’s and packets of cigarettes.

FBC News has gathered from impeccable sources that the mobile phones and the items were carefully wrapped in plastic and hidden in the anal passage of inmates. The items were discovered after inmates were instructed to squat.

Corrections spokesperson Ana Tudrau says they are baffled as to how these items have landed in the hands of inmates given the tight security provided.

The sad thing about this is these contrabnds are brought in by visitors themselves. What people must understand is this does not help the situation at all becuase when we find contrabands on inmates – privileges are taken away from them.

This is not the first time security at the Correction Centers has been breached.

The CCF emphasised it was the role and responsibility of the Fiji Police Force to maintain law and order.

Remove coup immunity clause, says CCF

September 29, 2012 12:33:54

Fiji’s Citizens Constitutional Forum today asked the Constitution Commission to remove any immunity clause for coup perpetrators.
The CCF’s chief executive, Akuila Yabaki, made the submission to the Commission in Levuka today.
“Laws that give these bodies arbitrary powers should be revoked,” said Yabaki
He said the military should be bound by the sovereignty of Fiji’s constitution and accountable to civilian institutions such as the legislature.
“The size of the military should be of a scale appropriate to Fiji’s national security requirements and the recruitment and appointment of military personnel must be based on merit,” Yabaki said.
The CCF emphasised it was the role and responsibility of the Fiji Police Force to maintain law and order.
“There must be a clear separation of duties and responsibilities of the Police and the Military,” Yabaki said.
He said national security is the responsibility of the Police and the Military must only become involved through a defined constitutional process.
By Indrani Krishna

He warned that those responsible for spreading rumours or lies, when identified would be investigated and could be charged under the new Crimes Decree.

Escapees alive

September 29, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by:

By Maika Bolatiki

The Fiji Police Force has warned people spreading lies that a recaptured prison escapee had died at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rusiate Tudravu said: “I want to assure the public that all the recaptured escapees are alive.” He urged members of the public not to spread lies and rumours about the recaptured escapees. “If you want to know the truth, you have to contact the Police.” ACP Tudravu said, as of yesterday, three of the recaptured escapees, Isoa Waqa, Solomoni Qurai and Epeli Qaraniqio were still in the hospital. He said the other two, Tevita Sugu and Josaia Usumate, were in Police custody,  He warned that those responsible for spreading rumours or lies, when identified would be investigated and could be charged under the new Crimes Decree.  ACP Tudravu said the Police had a timeline to work with and that is to present the escapees in court on Monday. “We’re working on this timeline and we’ll honour it.” Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili has set October 1 for the escapees to appear in court. ACP Tudravu confirmed that they had started their interviews with the two in police custody. For the three in hospital, he said, they would be interviewed before they appeared in court on Monday. A lot has been claimed about the alleged brutal force used by the security forces during the capture of the escapees. Police have disputed any brutality and said force had to be used because the escapees resisted recapturing. Members of the joint security forces operation had also been injured.

Press release from UPP Leader Mick Beddoes

Statement No 22 September 28 2012

Subject: Beddoes says to Regime spokesperson Sharon-Jones Smith that attacking Shamima Ali does not absolve the authorities from its responsibility

STATEMENT

UPP Leader Mick Beddoes says it is Sharon Smith Johns is who is out of touch with reality, not Shamima Ali and attacking Shamima Ali for her statements on the issue of ‘excessive force’ does not absolve the authorities from its responsibilities in the matter.

Beddoes said in a statement today that ‘attacking Shamima Ali for her stated position on the excessive use of force on the escapees’ will not absolve the authorities of its responsibilities in the matter and it is Sharon Smith-Jones who is ‘out of touch’ with reality.

Beddoes said it is the Police and Prisons departments are responsible for keeping prisoners in jail, so it is the police and prisons who must take responsibility for the ‘escape’ and it the Police and Prisons department who are responsible for the recapturing the escapees.

If the Police had seen fit to abrogate its responsibility to the military, then they must explain to the people why they felt this was necessary?

What happened, how did they escape in the first place, which official authorized the level of force to be used in their recapture? Why was the military roped into what is essentially a police and prisons area of responsibility, these are the questions people are asking and these are the questions Sharon-Jones Smith needs to answer without distorting the ‘truth’ with deflective attacks on people like Shamima Ali.

Everyone citizen, despite his or her station in life, has a right to life, and must not be arbitrarily deprived of life, our 1997 constitution provides for this under the Bill of Rights and I do not expect the provisions in the planned new constitution to erode in any way the rights of our citizens.

Sec 25 (1) says, every citizen has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional, and from cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment’ this includes prisoners or escaped prisoners.

Beddoes said he did not condone their alleged actions since escaping, and sympathizes with those people who have been traumatized by their alleged actions, but their actions do not justify the brutality meted out by the authorities in their recapture.

Beddoes said that as angry as one might be against the escapees, and the alleged violent actions they conducted, we cannot and must not forfeit our sense of humanity because they are human beings too and they have the same rights as the rest of us.

For the authorities to have had to resort to such excessive force to recapture the handful of escapees, even when the authorities would have had a huge advantage in terms of manpower, weapons and other resources at their disposal, compared to the relatively lightly armed escapees, says more about the authorities inability to deal with such situations despite their advantage, then it does about threat that the escapees really posed at the time of recapture?

If there is anyone in authority who is able to show leadership, responsibility and transparency in this matter, now’s a good time to step up and start telling us the ‘truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

Authorized By Mick Beddoes

 

Ali maintains that the military should not be involved in such operations.

Ali is out of touch-Govt

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=270912485bfa040567dded3b3bc411

The government said NGO Coalition Chairperson, Shamima Ali is out of touch with the plight and welfare of women in the country.

The statement comes after Shamima Ali raised concern on why the military was involved in the operation to recapture the five prisoners as she said this is the role of the police in a democratic country and the military should not be part of it.

She said they are also concerned about the alleged brutality during the recapture of the prisoners.

However Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns said if Ali was in touch with the situation she would have been aware about the fear amongst the women after the prison breakout and the violent robberies and break-ins that occurred last week.

She said everyone including the girls and women of the country were very concerned about their safety last week as these prisoners are hardened criminals and were carrying out daylight raids.

The government said the military’s involvement was necessary to ensure that everyone is protected.

Smith-Johns said the soldiers were told to ensure that the women in the country also feel safe to move around.

She said Ali would not be speaking like this if she was one of the female bank tellers who was traumatized by the armed robbery last week.

Smith-Johns also said the break-ins and robberies were pre-planned in prison.

She stressed that the military’s involvement was to provide security and to protect the people of the nation.

Smith-Johns said all the women in Fiji, especially in Suva appreciated the assistance provided by the police except Ali and her politics.

She said if Shamima Ali was concerned about women’s safety and monitoring the news, she would have found out that these people were carrying cane knives, crowbars and bottles.

Smith-Johns said these things were also used on the officers when the prisoners were arrested off Uduya Point last Friday.

Meanwhile Shamima Ali said she stands by the NGO Coalition’s statement as she said that the women in the country do not feel safe all the time.

Ali maintains that the military should not be involved in such operations.

When asked on the government’s statement that Ali would not be speaking like this if she was one of the female bank tellers who was traumatized by the armed robbery, she said this is nothing new.

Story by: Vijay Narayan