KHAIYUM ORDERS BURNING OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION – Australian and New Zealand must withdraw their support for this dictatorship

First, some history. The Fiji Constitution Commission was set up as a body independent of the current Fiji regime and funded by overseas aid – largely Australia and New Zealand – and its membership was approved by the regime.Ask

Professor Yash Ghai, Chairman of the Constitution Commission, has revealed that the Fiji Police (acting on orders of the Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum) seized copies of the draft constitution and burned them in his presence.This astonishing act of barbarism was apparently carried out to prevent circulation of the document. As is now usual in such cases the law of unintended consequences has resulted in a much wider distribution of the document over the internet (see it here: http://www.fijileaks.com) as the people most affected by the new constitution – the people of Fiji – read it to find out why the regime hates it so much.

The chilling interview of Professor Ghai with Radio Australia and ABC news over his experiences at the hands of the regime is a reminder of just how far Fiji has evolved into a ‘rogue state’.

These events have demonstrated that the Yash Ghai Commission, as we have reported before, was simply a screen behind which the regime creates its own ‘Constitution’ – one which will no doubt be far less palatable to the people of Fiji than the Yash Ghai version – and one which can have no credibility either locally or internationally.

The regime is shortly expected to appoint their favourite legal advisor Nazhat Shameem as Constituent Assembly’s chair leading a group of handpicked members to create their version of the Fiji Constitution. It will be interesting to compare this document, when it appears, with the one which was so symbolically destroyed.

We suggest that the final result will be a document which has been specifically drafted to control the outcome of the elections in 2014 and provide immunity from prosecution for the perpetrators of the 2006 coup and their assistants. From this latest atrocity we can see that it will ignore the input from the more than 7,000 citizens who made submissions to Yash Ghai.

The paradox here, of course, is that, if the regime and its decrees were as popular with the people of Fiji as they continually claim then they would have no need to worry about immunity. As it is, however. they are not popular, are evidently becoming less so and a rigged election will only worsen the situation for them. We strongly suggest, therefore that the sensible thing for the regime is to stop digging their hole and throw themselves upon the mercy of the population and repent their multifarious sins of the past 7 years through the medium of free and fair elections.

It is clear that the various sanctions and measures by international and regional communities to pressure the regime towards democracy have been at least partially successful and we therefore ask the New Zealand and Australian governments and their various partners to step up this pressure in the light of this latest outrage. We suggest that the following measures would increase the pressure upon the regime and therefore hasten progress towards a democratic Fiji:

Without honor, loyalty or sensible leadership, the men and women of RFMF and Police are being used by Frank and Aiyaz as a private army for their own personal interests.

Without honor, loyalty or sensible leadership, the men and women of RFMF and Police are being used by Frank and Aiyaz as a private army for their own personal interests.

  1. Review the appointment of High Commissioners to Fiji from Australia and New Zealand.
  2. Review the level of and conditions for financial support for the roadmap to democracy.
  3. Reverse the recent lifting of travel bans on regime ministers and senior officials, civilians and businessmen who support the illegal regime and its actions.
  4. The US government proceeds with a Duty Free Access Ban for breach of labour rights.

We ask the international community to take serious note of the Yash Ghai commission’s explanatory document which highlights the severe economic distress the 2006 coup has caused.

The regime is not interested in relinquishing power and the International community must stand with the people of Fiji. This election gerrymandering to preserve the financial plundering and vested interests of a small group of military and civilian elites must stop.

In this respect the refusal to publish the Auditor General’s reports from 2007 and now the attempted suppression of the Draft Constitution is evidence of the real motives of the military regime leaders and their cohorts.

 

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

No recommendation yet to put Qarase in prison infirmary

Publish date/time: 07/12/2012 [16:15]

The Fiji Corrections Service said there is no recommendation as yet to put prison inmate, Laisenia Qarase in an infirmary.

When questioned by Fijivillage, Corrections Commissioner Lt Colonel Ifereimi Vasu said the recommendation for any ill inmate to be placed in an infirmary is done solely by the Visiting Medical Officer after his assessment.

He said the authority lies only with the authorised Visiting Medical Officer for the Fiji Corrections Service.

Lt Colonel Vasu also said an inmate will only be accommodated at an infirmary if he or she was hospitalised prior to admission into prison custody.

Meanwhile, one of the grounds for Qarase’s bail was that he is not being placed in the infirmary though recommended by the Government or Prison Medical Board in view of his age and health issues.

On this, Fiji Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Suresh Chandra said this relates to administrative issues and the prison authorities should seriously consider Qarase’s age and health condition in placing him in a suitable environment while he is serving his sentence.

Qarase’s appeal on conviction and 12 months sentence for the Fijian Holdings Limited case is expected to be heard in February.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

SDL Press Release

Posted 6th Dec 2012

——————————————————————————–

Replacement of the Queens Portrait with Fiji’s Flora and Fauna

The Nation has noted with deep regret another uninvited announcement of the unelected Regime to change and replace the portrait of the Queen with some flora and fauna of Fiji from our notes and coins as from January 2nd 2013.This we understand is part of the Military Regime’s plan to remove the symbol of our connection to the Queen and the Royal Family and Great Britain, which has been part of our proud tradition for over a hundred years.

It is important to understand the meaning of our relationship with Great Britain and the Queen as its Monarch, to fully appreciate its significance. This relationship was initiated by our Chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession in full concurrence with the then Native Council- the forerunner of the Great Council of Chiefs- whichhas also been deliberately put aside by the current Regime since 2007.

It is clear that the Regime is uncomfortable with properly established symbols of authority like that of the Queen and the Great Council of Chiefs, with all their proud history which arealso tied to our own. The Regime has obviously lost its direction: it has no history to write about; its future is as uncertain as its present. That is not a sufficient excuse to be discourteous to her Majesty Queen Elisabeth the Second who had served us loyally as Queen and TuiViti for over 60 years.

During those years we have been guilty as a Nation, of discourteous actions through the coups and the abrogation of our connection to the Crownbut after at each time, we return as an Independent Republic to the Commonwealth of free nations with the Queen as our symbolic Head. That has been part of our history and we are proud of it. We have however, maintained the spirit of trust of our forefathers and the Chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession, even as an independent nation.

The SDL dissociates itself from the action of the Regime in what it regards as a shameful action which is totally at odds with the sense of trust that our chiefs who signed the Deed of Cession wanted to promote. The Party maintains that no unelected Government let alone one without any real sense of history needs to deprive its citizens and future generations, the benefit of understanding their own past and learning from it.

In taking such action at a time it is trying to promote a return to democracy, the Regime displays its own cynicism in its own efforts. In doing so, it has obviously ‘shot itself in the foot’ in trying to win the attention of the international community for its efforts.

The SDL concludes that the flora and fauna of Fiji have already brought international attention to Fiji and they should not be used as an excuse to hide the intentions of the Regime in trying to feature itself into our notes and currencies which would be totally unacceptable and to the overwhelming majority of our people.

The SDL feels that the Regime should shelve its proposal, apologize to the Queen and TuiViti and leave this issue to be handled by the Incoming Elected Government in 2014.

Fiji: Abuses Jeopardize Constitution Process

Fiji: Abuses Jeopardize Constitution Process

December 5, 2012

While promises of constitutional consultations provide some hope for democratic progress in Fiji, the sixth anniversary of the coup reminds us how far there is to go. The bottom line is that so long as the government targets activists and muzzles the media, a truly rights-respecting and democratic transition won’t be possible.

                    Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director

(Bangkok) – The government of Fiji should end human rights abuses that threaten to undermine the legitimacy of the process begun to draft a new constitution, Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said today in a letter to Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama. Fiji’s interim government announced in March the beginning of long-promised consultations on a new constitution, an important first step toward 2014 elections.

The letter was sent on the sixth anniversary of the 2006 coup by Commodore Bainimarama.Human Rights Watch and the ITUC called on theinterim government to cease curtailing the rights of Fiji Islanders to freedom of speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and association. The military and police have arbitrarily arrested and detained human rights defenders, labor leaders, journalists, and others perceived to be critical of the government.
“While promises of constitutional consultations provide some hope for democratic progress in Fiji, the sixth anniversary of the coup reminds us how far there is to go,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The bottom line is that so long as the government targets activists and muzzles the media, a truly rights-respecting and democratic transition won’t be possible.

Human Rights Watch and the ITUC urged the government to significantly revise the Fiji Constitutional Process (Constituent Assembly and Adoption of Constitution) Decree 2012 to address concerns about the body’s independence. The decree grants full control over the composition of the Constituent Assembly to the interim government; the assembly has the authority to amend or delete provisions of the draft constitution with a two-thirds vote. Furthermore, the decree requires the inclusion of provisions in the constitution to grant immunity to government officials and security forces involved in toppling the democratically elected Qarase government in December 2006.

The Fiji government should promptly repeal the Public Order (Amendment) Decree 2012, Human Rights Watch and the ITUC said. The amendment, which the government announced in January just days after repealing the Public Emergency Regulations, broadly restricts the rights to freedom of speech and assembly. The government has used this decree against people whom officials perceive are critical of the government, particularly representatives of civil society groups, trade unions, and political parties.

The government has also sought to dismantle the labor movement. In September, the authorities stopped representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) from carrying out its mission to verify workers’ complaints about restrictions on freedom of association. The government has also used the Essential Industries Decree 2011 to undermine union activity in industries the government determines to be essential.
“Under Commodore Bainimarama’s rule, the governmenthas stripped workers of their fundamental rights,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary at the International Trade Union Confederation. “Work sites were militarized and trade union leaders beaten. Trade unionists are under constant police surveillance and police listen in on private union meetings. The trade unions stand firm to enforce international standards to protect workers and their union representatives despite the climate of fear and repression. The government must heed the growing call to respect these rights from the international community.”

The government should immediately cease media censorship, which it asserts through intimidation and the criminal law, Human Rights Watch and the ITUC said. The Media Industry Development Decree (Media Decree), which took effect June 2010, forbids publications that are “against public interest or order” and restricts foreign media ownership.

“Fiji’s abusive government has for too long benefited from the island nation’s remoteness,” Robertson said. “It should show it’s serious about constitutional consultations by taking prompt action to respect the basic rights of all its people.”

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

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.

Govt positive of remaining in US GSP Scheme

Government is positive that Fiji will not be suspended from the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme after having made oral and public submissions.

According to Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade Shaheen Ali, they also gave a post hearing brief to the US Trade Representative office.

Ali said in addition many submissions have been made by private sector companies and associations in support for the Fijian government’s Labour Reform policies.

Currently the US Trade Representative subcommittee is going through the submissions.

Earlier the Fiji Trades Union Congress(FTUC) and other unions wanted to stop Fiji from benefitting from the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme.

The scheme is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty free entry for up to 5,000 products imported by the US.

39 Fijian companies which export a range of products will lose their preferential access and benefits from the US GSP Scheme if Fiji is suspended.

This will mean agriculture, garments and the mineral water sector will lose their business, and these include small and medium enterprises that export niche products to the US.

Ali said ultimately, 15,000 Fijian jobs will be lost if Fiji is removed from the US GSP Scheme.

He said the impact will be felt at grass root level as more than 50% of the workers in these factories are women and are the sole bread winners in their family.

Story by: Ronal Deo

So much for policing………More crime, more arrests and more in jail.

Police to address issues

Felix Chaudhary Monday, November 19, 2012

THE Fiji Police Force is awaiting the outcome of an investigation into the breakout by three remand prisoners from the Nadi Police Station last Tuesday.

Fiji Police Force’s Chief of Operations Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said there were a number of concerns and issues that needed to be addressed including laxity by police officers, security at police stations and overcrowding of remand cells at corrections centres in the country.

ACP Tudravu described the incident as “embarrassing” and warned that if officers were found to be complacent in the execution of their duties, then they would be taken to task.

He also highlighted that police resources were being stretched with the increasing number of people being detained or taken into custody.

“There is an increase in the number of persons being taken into police custody and there has also been an increase in those being remanded by the courts.

“We hope that the completion of the new remand cell at Suva will assist us in addressing this issue.”

ACP Tudravu said while the increasing number of inmates and detainees was an issue, the onus was on officers on duty to ensure the safety and security of inmates at police stations.

Meanwhile police continue to hunt for the escapees continues.

…………………………………………………………………

Police face shortages

Fiji Times-1 hour ago
A SURGE in crime and the ensuing increase in the number of reports being filed has led to a shortage of stationery and administrative material at police stations

THE SCALES FALL FROM THE EYES OF YASH GHAI – The fraud of Fiji Constitutional Reform Exposed – CFDFiji.org

Students of the Bible will be familiar with the expression which refers to discovery of the real truth being likened to a falling off of scales from the eyes. Such an experience befell Saul on the road to Damascus on his way to persecute the Christians, and is also called a ‘Damascus experience’. Yash Ghai, Chairman of the Fiji Constitutional Commission, is surely familiar with this expression in view of his extensive erudition and learning.

A man of renowned integrity, led astray by false promises.

Yash Ghai has (very belatedly) undergone a Damascus experience in now acknowledging for the first time the real truth of the farce in which the Fiji regime has been engaging him – the process of preparing a new Constitution.

He now sees that Fiji cannot have fair and free elections unless the latest Decrees slashing public consultation are ‘cleaned up’ (as many will recall, the phrase ‘clean up’ was used by the regime to justify its 2006 coup, although of course no actual clean up has occurred – rather the reverse).

Yash Ghai also rightly claims that the regime’s leader and so-called Prime Minister has been harassing him in his work.

Yash Ghai has stated that the entire alleged Constitutional consultation process was entered into on basis of deceit by the regime and that recent changes to the plan for a new Constitution are a very serious variation from the agreement for the process made with the regime.

Yash Ghai’s Damascus experience is, of course most welcome, although much delayed. The Council respectfully points out that long ago, in light of interference and intimidation by the regime and in light of the regime’s craven wish to obtain absolution from its crimes through amnesty, his position was untenable and he should reconsider his position.

In light of the continuance of harassment and intimidation, and of course bad faith, and now the united rejection by all major political parties of the entire process, coupled with the contrived political prosecution of Laisenia Qarase, Yash Ghai should reconsider his decision not to resign.

In response to Yash Ghai’s comments and protests the alleged Prime Minister, an intellectual pygmy and a person of no reputation, has done what he always does when confronted with the view of a truly respected figure who disagrees with him in any way. Bainimarama has become a mouthpiece for a set of noble sounding words designed to put Yash Ghai in his place. Those words are without doubt drafted by his henchman and coup planner Aiyaz Khaiyum, whose mastery of grammar and rhetoric, though far from perfect, easily excels that of Bainimarama.

After six years of violence and false promises, does anyone believe what this man says?

Bainimarama has reasserted his intention to hold free and fair elections. He has accused Yash Ghai of self gratification – though for what ‘gratification’, he does not attempt to describe. He further denies harassing Yash Ghai and states with great hypocrisy, that the Constitution is not for the Government but for the people.

What is to be made of Khaiyum’s words as uttered by Bainimarama?

Quite unlike Yash Ghai, both Bainimarama and Khaiyum have no credibility. The barest examinations of their history record this fact plainly. Their actions are a tissue of hypocritical self serving lies.

Would you buy what he is selling?

Bainimarama and Khaiyum have both been compared with Richard Nixon (a comparison which is admittedly flawed in terms of intellect). However both have an important trait in common with ‘Tricky Dick’. They are both persons of no credibility or integrity, as shown by a host of instances including recently, to name but a few, their dealings with the English Law Society and the International Labour Organisation, and as recently exposed by William Marshall QC.

It has been asked of Richard Nixon: “Would you buy a used car from this man?” The question was asked because of Nixon’s untrustworthy character.

The Council would not buy anything from Bainimarama or Khaiyum. It would not believe anything they say, based on their dubious records. It would prefer the word of an internationally respected figure such as Yash Ghai.

The Council believes that the condemnation by Yash Ghai of the behaviour of the regime in regard to the Constitutional process shows beyond doubt that it is fatally flawed and cannot lead to a democratic conclusion.

The Council repeats its respectful suggestion that Yash Ghai now resign to save himself further embarrassment at the hands of the regime.

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

It’s like the First Rule of Fight Club. YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Croz admits he’s also on the gravy train

The spinmeisters at Qorvis Communications are likely holding their heads in their hands and moaning today. It must be so frustrating when your would-be foot soldiers break the first rule of propaganda. Maybe they think that transparency will purify them and make their blog postings more believable. Instead it will probably have the opposite effect and make them much more easy to dismiss. C’mon guys! It’s like the First Rule of Fight Club. YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!!!
First it was blowhard blogger Grubby Davis who outed himself in September as a consultant to Qorvis, the U.S. public relations firm with the dodgy record that specialises in whitewashing authoritarian regimes worldwide. Grubby now enjoys weekly excursions to Suva from his home in Australia, no doubt flying first class and staying at the Holiday Inn, for consultations with Qorvis and MINFO. All of which is paid for by Fiji taxpayers, of course.
Now it’s retired USP professor Crosbie Walsh, who blogs from New Zealand at Fiji: The Way it Is, Was and Can Be. Croz admitted yesterday that he took a free trip to Suva recently at Fiji government expense so he could take the pulse of the nation in the midst of consultations on a new (maybe) constitution.
The Ministry of Information paid my travel costs, five days accommodation at Holiday Inn, they provided a vehicle to take me around, and gave me the temporary use of a tape recorder and a “dongle” to avoid the hotel’s high charge for internet access. Vinaka, Sharon, Sharleen, Don and the three drivers, especially Freddie.
The founding head of Development Studies at USP promises a series of blog posts resulting from this visit, during which he interviewed all and sundry about the progress being made on the road to democracy in Fiji.
I talked with the PM for a long 40 minutes, the Attorney-General and two Cabinet ministers, four permanent secretaries, Prof Yash Ghai and two other members of the Constitution Commission, and people from business, Qorvis, the NZ High Commission, the universities, the trade unions, the military, two NGOs involved in constitution education, the media (Fiji Times and Fiji Sun), the judiciary, the religious community, and one chief, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.
Well, almost all and sundry. “I did not attempt to meet any of the leaders of the old political parties,” he admitted, “because their views are already well known and I thought I’d gain nothing from interviewing them.” This is where the problems begin with him accepting what’s called a “junket” in the journalism world. For whatever reason, Croz apparently did not even attempt to get the opposing view to those of his benefactors in government, which are also doubtless well known to him. And to believe that his reports would be untainted by his hosts’ largesse really stretches credulity.
Now, there are different opinions out there about Old Croz. Pacific Scoop has a page devoted to him that is practically a shrine. Fiji Democracy Now, not so much. It has hung him with an unflattering nickname and archives his greatest hits under More biased opinions from Crosbie Walsh. To be fair, Croz does not always come down on the side of Fiji’s interim government. He criticized the Essential Industries Decree, which has endangered Fiji’s duty free status in the U.S., from its introduction a year ago. He repeated just last month his opinion that the decree “undermined national trade unions [and] exposed workers to the whims of employers.”
He also, to his credit, urged the lifting of censorship more than a year ago while martial law was still being imposed under the Public Emergency Regulation. “If genuine dialogue is to take place on the constitutional and electoral reforms,” wrote Croz last June, “media censorship will have to be lifted.” In fact, he urged the government to lift the PER completely, which it finally did six months later. That wasn’t based on it being the right thing to do, however, but instead on the political capital the government would gain as a result. “These measures – and particularly the lifting of media restrictions – would win them immeasurable support and confound their opponents.”
There is no doubt that Croz wields considerable influence on foreign opinion concerning Fiji, and perhaps on domestic opinion as well. No wonder MINFO was eager to bring him up here and show him around. As long as he didn’t talk to the opposition, of course. Those who consider his opinions should now take into account whether he is independent or biased. Croz claims in his blog aims that his blog is balanced.
This blog is unusual in aiming to present a balanced and helpful presentation of events in Fiji as they relate to the post-2006 military coup or takeover, and ideas on how Fiji may move forward to the election of a truly representative government serving all the people of Fiji.
Sorry, Croz. That just doesn’t fit with what you’ve done. As any first-year journalism student knows (mine certainly do), you will not have any credibility if you do not maintain an independence from those you write about. From now on it will be hard not to believe that you, like Graham Davis, are  beholden to the Fiji government.

SDL confirms they will contest as the SDL

SDL will be fully represented: Dr Baba

November 02, 2012 10:57:56 AM
 FijiLive

One of Fiji’s largest political parties, the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party will contest the 2014 general elections in full force, says senior party member and veteran politician Dr Tupeni Baba.

Speaking to FijiLive, Dr Baba said they will be contesting  in greater numbers and are looking forward to the democratic elections.

He however did not confirm whether he will contest the elections.
“It is too early to determine at the moment if I would be contesting the elections because I want a good constitution first, a free and fair constitution for all,” Dr Baba said.
He added that the Constitution Commission did a fair job in hosting public seminars regarding the issue of religion and state as it gave everybody an opportunity to express their views.
“Even though SDL has proposed the idea of a Christian state, we are still putting emphasis on the idea of Freedom of Faith and we will see that the rights of the people of Fiji are never violated.”
He also said that having a secular state does not often mean that people have the freedom to do whatever they want.
“Many secular states in the world usually impose on people what to do as they often become dictatorial,” Dr Baba said.
SDL is currently working on its manifesto for the 2014 general elections and is keeping a close tab on the Constitution drafting process.

By Indrani Krishna

More directives over the constitution.

Constitution to safeguard land: PM

08:01 Today

 

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

The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has directed the Lands Department to make sure land is not taken away from landowners.

Bainimarama made the comment whilst opening the Adi Salusalu festival in Lautoka yesterday.

Bainimarama says safeguarding land for landowners will be included in the new Constitution – so there is no room for dirty politicians.

In his address –Bainimarama also praised the Ba province for their hard work and their commitment towards growing Fiji.

Speaking in the iTaukei language  – the Prime Minister pointed out the contribution made not only by the private sector, but also by individuals and various communities was contributing towards a nation for all Fijians.

He commended leaders of Ba for holding the festival in a bid to raise funds for educational purposes, especially those in tertiary education.

The Prime Minister also took time to highlight Ba’s contribution towards economic growth in the country.

The province of Ba is a money making province for the government as it has the sugar industry, forestry, electricity, gold, tourism, water and many more.

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

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

Can anyone believe what this man says?

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

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

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

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

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

Can anyone trust this man’s false promises?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rabuka pushes for traditional “forgivness”

Forgiveness is the way forward-Rabuka

Publish date/time: 14/10/2012 [13:07]

Forgiveness is the way forward and should be included in the new constitution.
While making his submission to the constitution commission Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said government should consider recalling the Great Council of Chiefs to deliberate on the question of forgiveness as a pillar character of Customary Law of the land and centuries old nature of “vakaturaga” of the iTaukei culture.
Rabuka told the commission that at the end of the meeting, the GCC should be able to resolve to forgive Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and all other’s involved in the 2006 coup.
He submitted that government should also consider giving the conference of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma an opportunity to consider the question of forgiveness for Commodore Bainimarama and all others involved in the events of 2006.
Rabuka said once the two pillars of the iTaukei society of Fiji can agree to forgive the government, then they should put in place a truth and reconciliation commission.
Rabuka told the commission that section 5 of the 1997 constitution clearly states that religion and state are separate and that the people of Fiji acknowledge that worship and reverence of God are the source of good governance and leadership.
He told the commission that both religion and the state have crossed the separation line and some Christian Denominations such as the Methodist Church have interfered in the function of the State and conversely the State has interfered in some functions of the Methodist Church.
Rabuka submitted to the commission that the good itaukei communal leadership is essential for national coherent growth and itaukei participation in national development.
He said that the communal leaders must have the confidence of the communities to lead, and if the traditional holders of the positions of the leadership, they must be replaced by those who have the confidence of the community and can lead by example.
He added that this will not be too difficult to introduce as many villages have Turaga-ni-koro’s who are not traditional leaders and many Tikina and Provincial Councils are chaired by meritorious persons who are not the Tikina, Yavusa, or Matanitu-Vanua chiefs.
Story by: Watisoni Butabua and Nemani Gavidi

UPP Submission…….All funds except salaries and pensions to be frozen in the event of an illegal takeover — only to be reinstated once the democratic government is either reinstated or re-elected.

Party calls for equal status for 3 languages

Tevita Vuibau Thursday, October 11, 2012

THE United Peoples Party has made a submission for the Hindi, Fijian and English languages to have equal status as the languages of the Fiji Islands.

It recommended the three main languages be taught in schools and thereby remove the remaining elements of mistrust because of a basic lack of understanding.

This was one of the many points made by the UPP in its written submission to the Constitution Commission.

In the submission the party also called for any members of the judiciary assisting illegal governments in future to be found guilty of treason.

The UPP also called for all funds except salaries and pensions to be frozen in the event of an illegal takeover — only to be reinstated once the democratic government is either reinstated or re-elected.

“All banks holding government funds will be prohibited from dispensing any monies other then salaries and wages so long as the elected members of parliament and government are denied their right to govern,” the UPP said.

The party also voiced its support for the use of the name ‘Fijian’ to be reserved for the iTaukei community and while all other citizens of Fiji be known as ‘Fiji Islanders’.

“We further submit that the issue of a common name is a matter that can only be properly discussed and debated in an all inclusive process to be conducted by our soon to be re-established democratically elected parliament,” the UPP said.

The party submitted its support for dual citizenship but said there needed to be regulations in place to ensure there was no abuse of the privilege.

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

Government to form political party………..no surprises here.

Party or no party

17:43 Wed Oct 03, 2012

 

 

Taken from/By:
Report by: Masimeke Latianara

Questions have been asked whether a political party will be formed to cater for those now in Government.

Kisoko Cagituivei of the Prime Minister’s Office told FBC News today that nothing has come out from the Prime Minister himself on the issue.

However, Cagituivei says he is is of the opinion that there should be a party to safeguard all the work that this Government has done and will do before elections in 2014.

Cagituivei says, it will be a pity if nothing is done on this line of thought, as other political parties will have their own manifestos and will abide by them.

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