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.

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

The expected appeal will be heard this Wednesday.

Qarase expected to appeal conviction

Fijivillage.com

Publish date/time: 17/09/2012 [13:04]
Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, who is currently serving a one year sentence in prison, is expected to appeal his conviction in relation to the Fijian Holdings Limited case this Wednesday.

The case will be called at 9.30am before Fiji Court of Appeal judge Justice Suresh Chandra.

Qarase’s lawyer Tupou Draunidalo confirmed that the appeal is against conviction.

Qarase was sentenced for 12 months by High Court judge Justice Priyantha Fernando in July after he was found guilty of six counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharging his duty with respect to property in which he had a private interest.

Story by: Tokasa Rainima

Clear lines emerging between the old guard and the new ideas.

FLP seeks coalition

08:01 Today

 

 

Taken from/By:
Report by: Devendra Narayan

The Fiji Labour Party says there is nothing wrong in engaging with their once bitter rivals, the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Levanivanua – SDL, National Federation Party and the United Peoples Party.

Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says he sees no reason why we cannot be united.

“What’s wrong with that – I’m asking you – you tell me? Why can’t three parties sit down and talk together. You know we were together in government one time and it’s not a question of whether we are friends or not – we have a problem on our hands and the whole nations wants to go back to democracy and if parties are cooperating to take us to that goal – I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

Chaudhry claims they can be a better government if given another chance.

Meanwhile Lavenia Padarath has been appointed the new President, Mahendra Chaudhry has been re-elected as General Secretary while David Eyre, Monika Raghwan and Surel Lal will act as VPs.

FLP held its annual conference in Nadi yesterday.

The incarceration of Mr Qarase, has sort of made the party more stronger,

Fiji political parties facing tests

Posted at 06:39 on 15 August, 2012 UTC

The SDL party of the deposed Fiji Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, says it is more determined than ever to carry on with his legacy.

That’s despite what it describes as efforts to paint the party as evil and intent on fomenting racial discord.

The party is one of the groups under attack by the regime, whose leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama, wants to create a multi racial Fiji, with a new constitution based on prescribed principles.

Sally Round reports.

Its leader is now in prison on corruption-related charges and the Commodore has given it a closure warning, but the SDL party says it will battle on.

“The incarceration of the party leader, Mr Qarase, has sort of made the party more stronger, more determined to carry on with the legacy he has left behind.”

The SDL’s Mesake Koroi says, fingers crossed, the SDL will be allowed to continue.

But like all Fiji’s political parties it must wait for the regime’s new criteria for political party registration still to be announced by authorities.

“We don’t even know whether we will be allowed to contest or not. There is still a feeling of uncertainty among our people and among the party officials as well but we will carry on regardless.”

The party has hit back at reports it is the author of a submission to the Constitution Commission calling for a Christian state, and a level of ethnic-based voting, concepts which go against the regime’s stipulated plans for Fiji.

“The truth of the matter is the party is still collating all the facts before its final submission is made probably before the end of September or early October.”

Mr Koroi says the party is watching to see how free the consultation process is before making its submission.

The General Secretary of the National Federation Party, Pramod Rae, says his party also won’t be put off by the restrictive environment and the regime’s insistence that submissions have to adhere to its rules.

“You have a certain political philosophy, a certain ideology, certain aspirations and suddenly you say these things don’t feature in your own aspirations anymore. That is somehow incompatible with developing a constitutional framework in a free and fair democratic way.”

The regime has also criticised the views of some NGOs during the constitutional debate saying those that don’t contribute positively are not important.

It has even banned prominent activist Shamima Ali from a role in the Constituent Assembly, which will debate the draft constitution.

Pramod Rae says sooner or later things will come unstuck.

“I think eventually it will probably sink in, the government jumping in almost every second day, rubbishing certain organisations, the government jumping in saying you can’t say this, you can’t say that. In the end the submissions will not contain the quality desirable for this kind of process.”

But the head of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific, Professor Vijay Naidu, says political parties which have survived the coup and NGOs are standing up well to the challenges they are facing.

He says the constitution debate is an important testing ground for political parties’ very survival and they can come up with strategies to deal with the so-called non-negotiables.

“The current government is actively discrediting the older politicians and political leaders, urging them to face up to the fact that this is a new Fiji. There is a tension but it doesn’t mean at all that the political parties themselves have been undermined in terms of their capability and mobilising their supporters.”

Professor Naidu says he’s encouraged by fresh faces coming forward.

“One of the sad things about our politics in Fiji is that it has been dominated by men and mostly with perhaps one foot in the grave. Young people and women have generally been denied positions in decision making and I’m quite impressed by a group of young people who have emerged and are speaking on issues.”

One fresh face is that of Nayagodamu Korovou, whose National Youth Party is keen to see Fiji’s military continuing to play an important role post elections.

He says the party aims for a multi-racial Fiji, focusing on improving education, reducing unemployment and the cost of living but with the commander of Fiji’s military as the country’s Vice-President.

“We want them to be involved in everything (to do with) the development of this country. They play a very important role in the security of this nation, since we want to move into getting people to be (as) one. That is a very hard thing to do so we need security to be there.”

Meanwhile as political parties await criteria for their registration, Professor Naidu says they should also be consulted about the registration process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish to politely disagree with the interim prime minister if that is allowed.

Editor,
We read in the Fiji Sun ((11/8) that the “[Interim] Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama did not mince his words when he called on the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party yesterday to ‘wind up now'”.
I wish to politely disagree with the interim prime minister if that is allowed.
The SDL should not soqo (close) its shop. It should continue to ply its political platform . This way the people of Fiji have a choice of contrasting political ideologies and contrasting political leadership. The differing political parties and leaders must convince the people of the merit of their party and leadership to govern.
And ultimately, it is for the people of Fiji to decide who should get their consent to govern them.
If the SDL party’s political agenda is not in the interest of the country and its multiracial population as the interim prime minister points out (and I agree) then the people should reject the party at the polls.
That in my view is the democratic way of conducting the political/national affairs of the country.
And, to borrow a popular aphorism from the nation’s first coup maker there is “No other Way”.
That is if we are serious about a return to democracy.
Are we?
sincerely,
Rajend Naidu

Official SDL submission yet to be presented………..Mataiasi Ragigia said to the Fiji Sun that the submissions made to the Commission last Friday and Saturday were by individuals who were party supporters.

Senior party member: They were supporters

August 9, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by:

Senior Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua executive and former Cabinet minister Mataiasi Ragigia

By TALEBULA KATE

A senior executive of the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party has disputed reports in the media that the party has presented their submission to the Constitution Commision.
Mataiasi Ragigia said to the Fiji Sun that the submissions made to the Commission last Friday and Saturday were by individuals who were party supporters. Mr Ragigia was a former minister in the Laisenia Qarase-led government.
Mr Ragigia said the official submission of the party will be towards the second week of September or early November when the Commission has rounded up their consultations around the country.
“The official submission will be presented by the party president or one of the senior executive party members,” he said.
Meanwhile, SDL party president, Solomoni Naivalu confirmed last Sunday that he was at the first public consultations in which Mosese Vosarogo and Ratu Kamarusi appeared to be presenters on behalf of the SDL party.
However, efforts to obtain further comments from Mr Naivalu were not successful.

Papers confirm SDL submission

# SDL SUBMISSION – THE PROOF

August 8, 2012Posted in: All

The evidence : SDL calls for Christian state

Radio Australia and the historian Brij Lal didn’t believe it. Their doubts set off a firestorm in anti-regime circles, accusing Grubsheet and others of being wrong and even fabrication when we reported that the former governing party in Fiji, the SDL, had called for the introduction of a Christian state in a submission to the country’s Constitutional Commission. Well here’s the proof – a direct copy of the document presented to the Commission on Monday by a delegation headed by the SDL’s President, Solomoni Naivalu.

SDL President Solomon Naivalu with jailed former leader Laisenia Qarase (Photo:Fiji Times)

It clearly states that “Fiji is to be a Christian State” and that “Christianity is to be the state religion”. It also states that “Fijian is to be the national language of the state”. The document also confirms the other provisions reported by Grubsheet yesterday; that the term Fijian only apply to indigenous people and the rest be known as Fiji Islanders, that dual citizenship be abolished, that the rights of gays and lesbians no longer be constitutionally protected and that the Great Council of Chiefs be restored and have the sole power to appoint the president and vice president.

Quite why the story was thrown into doubt is a lesson for a credulous media, notably Radio Australia and its Pacific Beat reporter, Bruce Hill. He reported that when he telephoned the SDL offices in Suva, he was told by an unnamed person that the SDL had yet to present its submission and the stories that it had were wrong. Bruce Hill then sought comment from the exiled Indo-Fijian historian, Brij Lal, who opined on air that he very much doubted that the SDL would ever call for a Christian state in Fiji because it had accepted the principle of one man, one vote. He maintained that the original reports must have been based on the comments to the Commission from one or two individuals, who might have said what was claimed, but that it was unlikely to have been an official SDL submission. The entire tenor of the Radio Australia report was that the original story was wrong.

The front page of the SDL submission

The account had been broken first by one of Fiji’s most senior journalists – Vijay Narayan, the news director of the radio stations of Communications Fiji Limited, and carried on CFL’s widely read website, Fiji Village. It first went on the site soon after 5.00pm on Monday evening local time. The first outlet to give it wider publicity was the New Zealand website of the academic blogger, Crosbie Walsh. Later in the evening, Grubsheet also published its own pungent commentary on the submission. The stories set off a firestorm of criticism of the SDL and the controversy raged for 24 hours without any denial from the SDL that the contents were true. That only came in the evidently informal denial given to Bruce Hill when he rang the Party’s Suva headquarters to follow up the story. Hill hasn’t said whether he sought comment from elsewhere, either from Vijay Narayan – who broke the story – or any other source. Once he obtained the “it can’t possibly be” remarks from Brij Lal, it was evidently enough to run with. Journalist and historian have been dealt a very harsh lesson about the veracity of SDL denials.

Brij Lal (centre) with former SDL minister and 2000 coup maker Simione Kaitani (right) On the left, Lal’s fellow regime critic, Dr Jon Fraenkel

When contacted this morning, Vijay Narayan said he “stood by his story 100 per cent” and gave the precise details of what happened at the Commission hearings, including the presence of the SDL President, Solomoni Nailavu. A number of questions now arise. Why – on the evidence – didn’t Bruce Hill talk to the journalist in Suva who broke the original story? Why would he have sought comment from an exiled academic, in the form of Brij Lal, who lives in Canberra, thousands of kilometers from the action? Lal wasn’t issuing a denial because he had no idea what had happened in Suva. He was merely opining that in his judgment, the original story must have been wrong. How on earth would be know? And why would Bruce Hill use such an opinion to broadcast a story casting doubt on the report, especially when it appears that he made no real effort to discover the facts from those closest to what happened? Judge for yourself but we think Bruce Hill and Radio Australia appear to have some explaining to do. And Brij Lal might finally start thinking a bit more critically about the circles he moves in.

Fiji SDL party deny calling for a Christian state
Fiji’s opposition SDL party has denied making a submission to the country’s constitution commission calling for Fiji to be declared an officially Christian state.

It’s been reported in Fiji that the largely indigenous Fijian party has called for Fijian to be the official language of the country, for only indigenous i-Taukei to be known as Fijian, and for references to sexual orientation to be removed from human rights laws. But a senior party official says they have made no such submission, and they are still working on what they will say to the commission, which will probably come in late September. The official said some individual SDL members have have said things on their own, but they do not represent the party as a whole. Dr Brij Lal is an academic and a commentator on Fiji affairs, and he tells Bruce Hill that the SDL almost certainly doesn’t hold the extreme positions that are being attributed to it.

 

(Photo:Radio Australia)

Presenter:Bruce Hill

Speaker:Fiji academic Dr Brij Lal, from the Australian National University in Canberra

LAL: My sense is that the SDL as a responsible party, as a major party in Fiji, I just don’t believe that they will be making those kinds of statements now. I mean they have publicly embraced the idea of one person one vote, for example. So I’d be very, very surprised. My own sense is that it’s probably some individual member of SDL who shares those nationalistic views who has made a submission and maybe his remarks have been misrepresented and attributed to SDL. So my own sense is that a major political party would make official submission later on and not so early in the piece. So I would take this “claim” with a huge grain of salt.

HILL: Why would it be reported in the Fiji media that this is the SDL party submission when we called the SDL, they point blank denied it and said they’re still working on their constitutional commission submission, which won’t be ready until the 10th of September? Why would the Fiji media be reporting that it is their position when they’re saying that it’s not?

LAL: Well this is an important and intriguing point. Maybe it is in the interests of some groups in Fiji, maybe even some individuals of political parties to portray SDL as a racist party without really checking with the leaders of that party. I mean Mr Qarase was just jailed recently so I think the party has other things on its mind rather than preparing a detailed submission to the commission. So maybe there’s an element of mischief making in this, I can’t tell. But it is beyond me that any responsible party would make those kinds of claims now, especially now that the demography has changed in business Fiji inside and outside majority, and I think most sensible people in Fiji would say that it is far more important to live a Christian life than to have a Christian state. So I think that these claims have to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

HILL: There has been a stream within some indigenous Fijian iTaukei thought about these ideas for some time. I remember a politician called Sakiasi Butadroka who was toying with a lot of these ideas, the idea that only Fijians were really Fijian and that Fijian should be the language, Christianity should be the official religion of the state. How widespread do you think this still is within the iTaukei community in Fiji?

LAL: Well these ideas have been around for a long time. In 1974 Mr Butadroka asked for the deportation of all Indo-Fijians back to India. I mean these positions were circulated before the Reeves Commission in 1995/96 by the SVT, Mr Rabuka’s party. The idea of being a Christian state was also advocated by a number of other Fijian parties. So there is a history to this. But that was a time when Fijians felt threatened, they were in a minority and they took these extremist views. And there are a number of church leaders and political leaders who actively propagated these ideas. But my sense is that since 2000 and later on the political climate in Fiji has changed and the demographic transformation that has taken place in Fiji has taken some of the heat out of these very, very sensitive and contentious issues.

THE PROOF:

Not so, Professor. To follow is the actual document submitted to the Constitutional Commission by Solomoni Naivalu’s team. He evidently didn’t speak but was present as other party representatives addressed the proposals. It ought to lay to rest this journalistic and historical canard once and for all

Page Five is the “smoking gun” that has now gone off in the trusting Brij Lal’s face. How on earth will he to explain to Hindus ( 32 per cent of Fiji’s population) and Muslims ( six per cent) why they should bow before a Christian system of government in Fiji, as the party he keeps defending wants them to do? Where is the defence of their religion, language and customs? Yes, from the hated dictatorship that woke up to the SDL’s secret agenda long ago. Brij Lal’s position – along with that of other non-indigenous SDL apologists like his brother-in-law Wadan Narsey – is untenable. And now that the truth has been exposed, he’ll doubtless be realising the implications with mounting horror.

(Click each document to enlarge)

SDL Submission Page One

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Why would it be reported in the Fiji media that this is the SDL party submission when we called the SDL, they point blank denied it and said they’re still working on their constitutional commission submission.

Fiji SDL party deny calling for a Christian state

Updated 7 August 2012, 17:11 AEST

Fiji’s opposition SDL party has denied making a submission to the country’s constitution commission calling for Fiji to be declared an officially Christian state.

It’s been reported in Fiji that the largely indigenous Fijian party has called for Fijian to be the official language of the country, for only indigenous i-Taukei to be known as Fijian, and for references to sexual orientation to be removed from human rights laws.

But a senior party official says they have made no such submission, and they are still working on what they will say to the commission, which will probably come in late September.

The official said some individual SDL members have have said things on their own, but they do not represent the party as a whole.

Dr Brij Lal is an academic and a commentator on Fiji affairs, and he tells Bruce Hill that the SDL almost certainly doesn’t hold the extreme positions that are being attributed to it.

Presenter:Bruce Hill

Speaker:Fiji academic Dr Brij Lal, from the Australian National University in Canberra

 

LAL: My sense is that the SDL as a responsible party, as a major party in Fiji, I just don’t believe that they will be making those kinds of statements now. I mean they have publicly embraced the idea of one person one vote, for example. So I’d be very, very surprised. My own sense is that it’s probably some individual member of SDL who shares those nationalistic views who has made a submission and maybe his remarks have been misrepresented and attributed to SDL. So my own sense is that a major political party would make official submission later on and not so early in the piece. So I would take this “claim” with a huge grain of salt.
HILL: Why would it be reported in the Fiji media that this is the SDL party submission when we called the SDL, they point blank denied it and said they’re still working on their constitutional commission submission, which won’t be ready until the 10th of September? Why would the Fiji media be reporting that it is their position when they’re saying that it’s not?
LAL: Well this is an important and intriguing point. Maybe it is in the interests of some groups in Fiji, maybe even some individuals of political parties to portray SDL as a racist party without really checking with the leaders of that party. I mean Mr Qarase was just jailed recently so I think the party has other things on its mind rather than preparing a detailed submission to the commission. So maybe there’s an element of mischief making in this, I can’t tell. But it is beyond me that any responsible party would make those kinds of claims now, especially now that the demography has changed in business Fiji inside and outside majority, and I think most sensible people in Fiji would say that it is far more important to live a Christian life than to have a Christian state. So I think that these claims have to be taken with a huge grain of salt.
HILL: There has been a stream within some indigenous Fijian iTaukei thought about these ideas for some time. I remember a politician called Sakiasi Butadroka who was toying with a lot of these ideas, the idea that only Fijians were really Fijian and that Fijian should be the language, Christianity should be the official religion of the state. How widespread do you think this still is within the iTaukei community in Fiji?
LAL: Well these ideas have been around for a long time. In 1974 Mr Butadroka asked for the deportation of all Indo-Fijians back to India. I mean these positions were circulated before the Reeves Commission in 1995/96 by the SVT, Mr Rabuka’s party. The idea of being a Christian state was also advocated by a number of other Fijian parties. So there is a history to this. But that was a time when Fijians felt threatened, they were in a minority and they took these extremist views. And there are a number of church leaders and political leaders who actively propagated these ideas. But my sense is that since 2000 and later on the political climate in Fiji has changed and the demographic transformation that has taken place in Fiji has taken some of the heat out of these very, very sensitive and contentious issues.

Morbid jokes aside, this is a shocking document for Fijians of all races!

# THE RACIST BIGOTS OF THE SDL

August 6, 2012Posted in: All

SDL patron and high chief Ro Teimumu Kepa

The constitutional submission by the former governing party in Fiji – the SDL – calling for the country to be declared a Christian state is surely one of the longest political suicide notes in history. Coming as it does less than a week after the party’s leader, Laisenia Qarase, was jailed for corruption, it’s a fair bet that this document seals the SDL’s fate. It cannot win a multiracial election if these are the policies it takes to the 2014 poll, even in the event that it is permitted to stand. That must now also be in doubt because it’s already abundantly clear that the SDL cannot possibly meet the test of being a multiracial party. What non-indigenous person would be moronic enough to join it, let alone vote for it?

All over Fiji people are shaking their heads. Because it truly beggars belief that any party with pretensions to lead the country can have come up with the crazed and provocative document that the SDL submitted to the Constitutional Commission this week. It reeks of racial supremacy and arrogance, appalling religious intolerance and a crude mindset more attuned to the nineteenth century than the 21st. It is as bad as anything proposed by the indigenous supremacists and their chiefly and Methodist patrons after the coups of 1987. And if anything, it’s worse, because the passage of time has done nothing to modify the earnest belief of these people that only the i’Taukei truly have a legitimate place in Fiji. The rest of us are vulagi (visitors) and we’ll bloody well put up with what they have planned for us whether we like it or not. And if we don’t like it, we can leave.

Never mind if you’re a Hindu, Sikh or Muslim, the state religion will be Christianity and Fiji will be governed by Christians and Christian principles. And this in a country where close to 40 per cent of the population isn’t Christian at all. You will speak Fijian because that will be the only official language. And yes, Fijian not i’Taukei, because only the i’Taukei will be allowed to call themselves Fijian. The rest of us go back to being designated Fiji Islanders. There will be no dual citizenship, no formal recognition of gay rights and the chiefs will be restored to their dominant place in national life, with the sole right to choose the president and vice president.

Welcome to the world an SDL Government has in store for all Fiji citizens, where the minorities are second class citizens again no matter what Frank Bainimarama pretended. Incredibly, this is what this political grouping – which recently changed its constitution to admit members of other races – plans to take to the non-negotiable multiracial election of 2014. A return to the tyranny of the majority. Gee fellas. Thanks a million. Where do we sign up, all we Hindus and Muslims, Sikhs and Buddists, Kai Idia, Kailoma and Kai Valagi, gays and lesbians? It’s the new old Fiji and we can hardly wait.

Morbid jokes aside, this is a shocking document for Fijians of all races, not just for its actual content but for what it says about the leadership of the SDL. These were the people who tried to railroad through legislation to free the odious George Speight and his gang, review existing land title in favour of the i’Taukei and introduce the Qoliqoli Bill to make other citizens pay for the use of coastal resources. Whatever the critics say, all this would have passed into law had not Frank Bainimarama abandoned the role of spectator and stormed onto the political playing field in 2006 to crash tackle the SDL Government before it scored these miserable tries against the rest of us.

Yet incredibly, we know now that even these highly contentious plans – enough to trigger yet another coup but this time to assert the rights of all citizens – were just the start. What this submission confirms is that there was much more to come had these racist goons got their way – truly a new dark age that, thank God, Frank Bainimarama prevented. For five and a half years, the regime’s critics have blabbered on about why the 2006 coup wasn’t justified. Yet in one fell swoop, the SDL leadership has given the lie to any notion that the military takeover was unnecessary or premature, that they genuinely intended to share power with the other parties and that the bills Bainimarama objected to were only proposals that might have been eventually modified or abandoned.

No, they were going into law alright. And we now know that after that would have come the Christian state, Fijian as the official language and the rest of us back to square one and the dark days of 1987. Was the restoration of the Sunday observance laws next? What a merry path we’ve been led along by the likes of Brij Lal, Jon Fraenkel, Wadan Narsey, Graham Leung and Imrana Jalal. “Power sharing could have worked but it wasn’t given a chance!” Well now the naked truth is exposed. And whether they were conned or were conning themselves, they certainly tried to con the rest of us that Laisenia Qarase was a cuddly democrat and Frank Bainimarama the evil dictator. These people habitually describe Grubsheet as an apologist for the Bainimarama regime. Yet they are the ones who have been hoodwinked – apologists for indigenous supremacists masquerading as democrats. Don’t take my word for it, dear reader. Judge for yourself your own place in the Fiji envisaged by the SDL.

What emerges from this document is a frightening insight into the psyche of some of our fellow citizens – racist bigots who don’t accept non-indigenous people no matter how many generations their families have been in Fiji. They represent the country at its most backward and inward looking, presenting a blueprint for a nation that looks to its primitive past rather than seeking an honoured role in the modern world. And if these are the views that the SDL leadership are prepared to commit to paper, what other treats do they have in store for Fiji’s minorities that can’t be uttered in mixed racial company, that are spoken only in whispers around the village grog bowl late at night?

The SDL’s patron is one of the three most senior chiefs in Fiji – the Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa. She recently raised the spectre of racial calamity in Fiji. What did she really mean? What fresh hell awaits us if the SDL ever gets into government again? It’s high time for some public explanations. They want the term “sexual orientation” to be removed from the Bill of Rights of the 1997 constitution – the passage that says a person mustn’t be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Is the racial, cultural and religious orientation of their opponents next?

Even more ominously, they want an end to any multiparty government in future and the adoption of a winner takes all system in Fiji. Yes, of course they do. And God help us if it ever comes to pass and the SDL assumes the reins of power again. The only silver lining in this dark cloud is that the “freedom and democracy” cape that these people have used to mask their true agenda has been ripped away to expose the ugly face of racism, fanaticism and intolerance. Their remaining non-indigenous supporters in the diaspora will be aghast, as will the credulous regional media and policy makers in Australia and New Zealand. By going public, the SDL has sounded its death knell.

POSTSCRIPT: Strangely, no word on this thus far on several of the most prominent pro-SDL, anti-government websites, including Coup 4.5. Are they too embarrassed to report it?

This is targeted at her. There’s a political slant towards this?

Fiji poltician’s family claim regime intimidation

Updated 6 August 2012, 11:20 AEST

Another prominent Fiji politician also facing charges was detained on Friday.

Fiji poltician’s family claim regime intimidation (Credit: ABC)

Last last year 74 year old Dr Mere Samisoni was charged with attempting to overthrow the interim government of Commodore Bainimarama. Dr Samisoni’s due to go on trial on those charges later this month, but on Friday, she was detained by police for what her family and supporters believe is a politically motivated reason.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney spoke

Vanessa Charters, Daughter of Dr Samisoni

CHARTERS: There was eight police officers and three police dogs that accosted my mother and took her in. They arrested her and took her in for questioning. This was on the side of the road in Suva, and they had her in for hours and she was released without charge. As far we can tell is that she was accused of having driven dangerously around a couple of FICAC vehicles and FICAC is Fijian Independent Commission Against Corruption. I know for a fact my mother is a typical grandmother behind the wheel. She does not drive in any kind of dangerous way. If anything, she’s boring, risk adverse and over cautious, so I find it just suspends disbelief that to hear that my mother had been driving dangerously anywhere.

COONEY: Of course, your mum is up for trial I think on the 15th. a bit later this month. I understand there’s concerns about her health at the moment as well?

CHARTERS: Yes, absolutely. My mother and her co-accused have applied for bail variation conditions. They were originally arrested back in January of this year on charges and it’s now August and they still haven’t had complete disclosures from the prosecution for their case against my mother and her co-accused, so they’ve asked for bail variation and conditions. The magistrate gave what in my humble opinion is a very balanced and well reasoned verdict, to grant them the bail variation conditions for my mother, we’re just awaiting a further variation. She needs urgent dental treatment for a condition which is now beginning to affect her overall health. Gum disease can led to heart conditions which is affecting my mother’s health very badly and we’re very concerned that she can get to Australia for the treatment that she needs which is a treatment which is not available in Fiji and this is also this is treatment which would not be financial burden on the state because my mother is in the fortunate position to be able to afford this kind of bill herself. So we’re very concerned, the immediate family is very concerned that she’s constantly being targeted by the regime and obviously we’re very concerned that for a 74 year-old woman that she’s able to get the best healthcare that she can afford.

COONEY: The family is fairly confident about this. This is targeted at her. There’s a political slant towards this?

CHARTERS: Yeah, my mother is very keen to stand in the next election and she’s very beloved in her constituency and I think that there are a lot of people who are very concerned that they did not want her to stand in th next elections, and I think a lot of what’s going on is an attempt to prevent her from be able to. She knows that Fiji deserves to have the best leadership and the best elected government that we can have, so she doesn’t take these kind of things to heart, but obviously as a family, we’re very concerned for her physical wellbeing.

Mr Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry were to unite against the interim regime.

Conviction of Fiji’s Qarase described as victory for regime

Posted at 22:54 on 01 August, 2012 UTC

The prosecution of Fiji’s last democratically elected Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, is being described as a victory for the current regime.

Mr Qarase has been found guilty of nine counts of corruption-related charges, dating back to the 1990s, and will find out on Friday whether he is to be jailed.

The recently retired defence lawyer Peter Williams QC works in Fiji and says Mr Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry were to unite against the interim regime.

“Those two people are going to join forces, and of course it’s a great victory for the present government to be able to smear these people and possibly to be able to stop them from standing.”

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

Police make 2162 church halls unavailable for SDL meetings.

No SDL meeting can be held in Methodist Halls-Police

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=2706127553cc134f5f6fa2d5e7e6f1

Police have stressed that the SDL party will not be allowed to have any meetings at any property owned by the Methodist Church of Fiji.

Director of Operations, Rusiate Tudravu said that the decision has been made to ensure that the church and its members are protected.

Last Thursday, a SDL meeting which was scheduled to be held in a Methodist Church community hall had to be cancelled.

SDL Leader, Laisenia Qarase confirmed that they had made an arrangement for the church hall to be used however due to the condition set, they are now looking for another meeting venue.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

The permit issued by the police for the SDL political meeting has a maximum of 250 people allowed to attend. Why?

The permit issued by the police for the SDL political meeting has a maximum of 250 people allowed to attend.

Why?

The SDL  were unable to advertise the meeting as if more than 250 people turned up the meeting would be closed down. I was present at the meeting and found their attitude refreshing and not obstructive. Their stated intention is to work within the framework set up by the government to seek  changes through the constitution committee. There was a very upbeat feeling in the room.

There were at least three known police officers present.

BASA

SDL meeting not advertised and gathers an audience of 150 …… the feeling is that the support is very good, it’s very strong.

“We never publicised the meeting. We just sent the message by word of mouth to some friends. And we were very happy with the turn out. And from assessments by our own people around the country, the feeling is that the support is very good, it’s very strong.”…. Laisenia Qarase

http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=68609

SDL will make a submission, based on the 1997 constitution, to the constitution commission.

Fiji’s SDL holds first public meeting since 2006 coup

Posted at 04:54 on 01 June, 2012 UTC

Fiji’s SDL Party has held its first public meeting since the government it led was ousted by military forces in December 2006.

Up to 150 members attended the meeting in Suva on Thursday, after the party was granted a police permit.

The SDL leader, Laisenia Qarase, says there was one main purpose for the meeting.

“To enable the party executives to inform members and party supporters of the roadmap to election announced by the Prime Minister in March. In particular, we took the opportunity to explain the constitutional making process step by step.”

Laisenia Qarase says the party’s supporters have endorsed a suggestion that the party make a submission, based on the 1997 constitution, to the constitution commission.

He says the SDL is planning more meetings this month – in Nadi, Lautoka and Labasa.

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

Fiji’s Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua says it wants the process to be fair and independent.

SDL will not obstruct elections, says Qarase

May 30, 2012 10:13:11 AM
 http://www.fijilive.com/news/2012/05/sdl-will-not-obstruct-elections-says-qarase/43706.Fijilive
Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua party and former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. (File Photo)
Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua party and former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. (File Photo)

Fiji’s Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua says it has no intention of obstructing the 2014 elections or the constitution-making processes, but wants the process to be fair and independent.

SDL leader Laisenia Qarase said in a statement said it is his duty as party leader to point out flaws in the election and constitution-making processes being implemented.

“As a nation we must ensure that these processes are credible and fair to the people of Fiji and to the international community,” said Qarase.

Qarase said the SDL wants to be heard by the Constitution Commission but they want an independent commission.

He said it is important that the consultation processes are inclusive, participatory, free, fair and transparent.

He said they would like to see an independent body handle the voter registration and the entire election process.

That independent body should be the independent office of the Supervisor of Elections, he said.

However Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the 2006 elections which had an independent supervisor of election and an independent electoral commission still had a lot of flaws as reported by the European Union.

Sayed-Khaiyum said there were 20,000 mistakes in the electoral rolls and 9.7 per cent of the votes were invalid.

Constitution Commission chair Professor Yash Ghai said earlier the commission is very much independent and it hopes to carry out a transparent public consultations towards the drafting of a new Constitution.

By Mereani Gonedua and Keresi Nauwakarawa

Fiji Sun continues as the Pro Government propaganda sheet.

Chaudhry, Qarase union = Mutually Assured Destruction

By GRAHAM DAVIS

(Fiji born and educated Mr Davis is an international award-winning Australian journalist. He blogs at grubsheet.com.au)

There have been few things more startling in recent weeks than the prospect of a political union between the party of indigenous supremacists in Fiji and the only Indo-Fijian ever to become the country’s prime minister.
That union would see Laisenia Qarase’s SDL Party in some form of association with Mahendra Chaudhry’s Labour Party to try to thwart any plan by Frank Bainimarama to morph into a democratically-elected prime minister at the promised elections in 2014.
Both men have spoken publicly about working together to find common ground to contest the elections. And while they haven’t yet defined the precise nature of any alliance, it’s clear from those comments that the proposal is being seriously considered.

CHAUDHRY GETS
BALL ROLLING

It was the wily Mr Chaudhry who got the ball rolling, saying that despite their deep differences in the past, he saw nothing strange in Labour uniting with a rival political party to “salvage the country from a despotic government”.
Mr Qarase stunned everyone by describing it as “a very good idea. I think it is important that we find some common grounds and fight the next election on those common grounds”, he said.
Quite where any discussion between the two has got isn’t clear. Yet even by the byzantine standards of Fiji politics, the prospect of these two old warhorses in passionate embrace is an extraordinary one.
It represents a triumph of the age-old truism that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Their mutual hatred of Voreqe Bainimarama evidently far eclipses their own dislike and distrust for each other. But why would the country turn to these two again? There’s evidence aplenty that both Mr Chaudhry and Mr Qarase treated the electorate with disdain during their respective periods in government. Both of them certainly overplayed their hands.
For all his undoubted political strengths, Chaudhry as prime minister was dogged by perceptions of arrogance. Certainly, any sensible Indo-Fijian assuming the country’s leadership for the first time would have made managing indigenous sensibilities their first priority.

SEWING SEEDS OF
OWN DESTRUCTION

But, alas, Chaudhry did nothing of the sort and arguably sowed many of the seeds of his own destruction in the disastrous George Speight coup of 2000.
For his part, Laisenia Qarase – having gained power in the wake of that coup – overplayed his hand by trying to free Speight and his gang and by pushing through legislation to promote the indigenous cause against the wishes of the man who’d installed him as prime minister – Voreqe Bainimarama. For months, the military commander demanded that Qarase back off. He didn’t and guaranteed his own downfall in the subsequent takeover of 2006.
The notion that Mr Qarase and Mr Chaudhry can now work together is both mad – as in deranged – and MAD – as in ensuring Mutually Assured Destruction. Does anyone else in Fiji seriously think that these two failed leaders can forge their vastly opposing political forces into some kind of tilt at government in 2014?
One – Mr Qarase – stands for the paramountcy of one race, the iTaukei, over all others and actively worked in government to disadvantage other races through the Qoliqoli or coastal resources bill and the proposed changes to land title. The other – Mr Chaudhry – heads an ostensibly multiracial party in Labour but with a high Indo-Fijian component who still see themselves as having been the targets of Mr Qarase’s programme. The idea of any form of union not only reeks of an ill-considered marriage of convenience for short-term political gain but makes no practical sense whatsoever.
How on earth could the SDL’s hardline indigenous supremacists work with the Indo-Fijians they habitually describe as vulagi-visitors to Fiji – rather than equal citizens? How on earth could members of the Labour Party – and especially Indo-Fijians – work with those they regard as the architects of their demise in 2000 and their political disadvantage since?

TOO HARD TO
STOMACH

For Mr Chaudhry and Mr Qarase, Mutually Assured Destruction would surely come at the polls as their traditional supporters find the whole crazy notion simply too hard to stomach.
All of which suggests that Voreqe Bainimarama must be rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of an alliance of his political enemies.
He knows they won’t be able to share the same bed for long and already has strong evidence from the Lowy Institute opinion poll that he would romp home at the head of a multiracial party and become elected prime minister in his own right.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed. As they say, a week is a long time in politics so the two years and four months to September 2014 is an eternity. But will these “blasts from the past” even be contesting the next election?
Laisenia Qarase is currently facing corruption charges that carry a jail sentence and – if convicted – a permanent ban from standing for public office.
And there’s serious doubt that the SDL will ever be able to meet the regime’s stipulation that only multiracial parties can contest the 2014 poll. For his part, Mr Chaudhry will also have to explain to voters where substantial sums of money from Indian donors ended up.
In the meantime, both Mr Qarase and Mr Chaudhry have regained their political voice – thanks to the lifting of censorship – and are actively positioning themselves for whatever happens after the Constitutional Commission completes its work.
Their idea to join forces is just plain dumb.