Showing posts from May 17, 2009

NOTICE: A "Must" Read on the Cafe Pacific Blog

Readers are urged to visit David Robie's blog Cafe Pacific to read "A Case for Change, Peace and Progress," a report by someone who attended the meeting hosted by Victoria University at which Jone Dakuvula and John Samy shared and receive audience feedback on their views.

Also, click here to read Samy's full address. This is an extremely important paper, detailing work on the NCBBF, the People's Charter, "promises" to the PI Forum about elections, and NZ Australia, SDL, Methodist heirarchy, and mainstream media opposition to the Interim Government's moves. I have also placed it among "Background Material."

(o+) Justice Gates's Moral Dilemma

A moral or ethical dilemma is a situation that often involves an apparent conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another. Resolving moral dilemmas is seldom simple.

I think Anthony Gates faced such a dilemma before accepting his reappointment as Chief Justice. Having once stated that the 1997 Constitution was Fiji's supreme law and only Parliament had the power to amend laws, his reappointment now rests on a Presidential decree and the Abrogation of the Constitution. The blog Coupfourpointfive and some other commentators whose opinions I respect question his motives.

But what does CJ Gates himself say? Speaking on the afternoon of his reappointment the Fiji Sun reports him as saying “There is no doubt in my mind that the judiciary must continue. Academic commentators may expatiate on the indelicacies of our situation, the constitutional dislocation itself, the present impossibility of constitutional compliance over appointments and ma…

(o) Judiciary Begins to Return to "Normal"

New Zealander Anthony Gates (photo) has been reappointed as Chief Justice and Davendra Pathik and Daniel Gounder as puisne judges. Sosefo Inoke is a newly appointed puisne judge to the High Court. Lawyer Mary Muir has joined eight other magistrates sworn in earlier in the week. [For negative and possibly libellous-by-inference profiles of the appointees, obtained from unnamed "legal sources," see Coupfourpointfive.]

The country’s high courts have been out of session since April 10, when all judicial appointments were revoked as a result of the Abrogation of the 1997 Constitution. More judicial appointments are expected to be made soon. Nazhat Shameem, former Director of Public Prosecutions and Fiji's first female judge, has so far not been reappointed.Click here for full report.

Meanwhile,blog Coupfourpointfive reports in "Lawyers Put Pressure on Naidu" that some Western Division lawyers are urging Fiji Law Society President Dorsami Naidu to allow lawyers to be…

(o+) Corruption Charges and Pitiful Wastage

"According to a Fiji Sun article, additional corruption charges also have been filed against the former General Manager of Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB)Kalivati Bakani and former permanent secretary for the Infrastructure and Public Utilities Ministry, Anasa Vocea."

Corruption and gross Government inefficiency were among the reasons given by Bainimarama for the 2006 Coup, and many in Fiji were supporters of his "Clean Up" campaign.

The Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) was established soon after the coup but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint) no charges of major corruption (and certainly none involving major players) have yet been proved in the courts, much to the apparent delight of Government opponents who claimed the campaign was merely an excuse for the coup. They conveniently forgot that instances of corruption were common knowledge and even the Fiji Times had ac…

(o) Fiji Troops to Stay: UN

Fiji Sun reports that Fiji soldiers used by the UN in countries like Iraq will not have their contracts terminated as was hoped by former UN Sec.Gen. Kofi Annan, and numerous opponents of the Fiji Government who were concerned about UN moneys being paid to Fiji for the use of its soldiers. The announcement was made by UN Peacekeeping Chief Alain Le Roy who said, “Fijians are needed in Iraq.” The UN was working out ways to replace them but no other country wanted to take up the posting.

The announcement will be a relief to the many Fiji military families that rely on wages and remittances from their sons and husbands.

(o-) NGOs Concerned About Presidential Appeal Limitations on Abuses of Human Rights

Several Presidential decrees gazetted since the Abrogation of the 1997 Constitution are causing concern to human rights organizations in Fiji.

The decrees include the assumption of Executive Authority by the President in which he appointed himself Head of State until a Parliament is elected in accordance with a Constitution yet to be adopted (by the people of Fiji in such manner as the Government of Fiji may in the future determine); his powers to appoint a Prime Minister by decree, appoint other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister, make laws “for the peace, order and good government of Fiji by decree in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; the Emergency Regulations, and the revocation of all appointments to the country’s judiciary.

The most recent decree is on the Fiji Human Rights Commission.Under this decree the commission is to educate the public about human rights, but is not to receive complaints to investigate or question the legality of the ab…

(o) Justice Needs to Be Seen to Be Done: Let Them Blog

Two partners in the law firm of Munro Leys, Richard Naidu and Jon Apted, have been taken in for questioning. Both have been associated with legal cases against the Government and Apted is a former Supervisor of Elections.They are alleged to have broken the Emergency Regulations by posted blogs on the anti-Government blog Raw Fiji News. Another anti-Government lawyer, Tevita Fa, has also been detained.

This news comes on the same day that Attorney-General Aiyaz Khaiyum announced a further delay in the appointment of new judges (they will appointed "in due course"); and deferment "until later in the year" of sittings of the Supreme and Appeals Courts. Only the lower, Magistrates Court, is functioning -- with one magistrate for each district!

It is over one month since April 10th when the Abrogation of the 1997 Constitution nullified judicial appointments -- far too long, in this writer's opinion, for the country to have in "incomplete" judiciary.


(o) Rudd and Key Should Call Bainimarama's Bluff & Visit Fiji

STOP PRESS NZ has removed its travel ban on Fiji sports teams.
All speakers on a Radio Australia programme agreed that Australia and New Zealand needed to change their approach to Fiji. Ati George Sokomanu, former Vanuatu President, thought PMs Rudd and Key needed to sit down with Bainimarama face-to-face over a bowl of kava. Bainimarama had earlier offered an open invitation to Rudd (photo R) and Key (L) to come to Fiji for talks. The offer should be take up. Others questioned were Bruce Haigh, former Australian diplomat (a "soft touch" is needed); Derek Brien, Deputy Executive Director of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy, and journalist Graham Davis. All agreed a more open and flexible approach is needed.

(o) Australian "Authority" on Lasaro Arrest

Dr Keith Suter of Macquarie University, billed as an authority on military governments, believes that the detention of Reverend Lasaro is a sign that the Fijian military regime is panicking.

He may well be correct but he seems ill-informed on the Methodist church and the Rev. Lasaro. Here are two extracts, followed by my comments, from his 15th May ABC interview:

Suter: "This [Lasaro's detention] is a very significant development because not only have they taken on a religious figure, but he is actually one of the most important religious figures in Fiji ... the Commodore is concerned that he's not enjoying the support of the [Methodist] religious leadership ..."

Walsh: It is important not to tar all the Methodist hierarchy with the same brush. Some, like Lasaro, supported the 1987 and 2000 coups, led by extreme Fijian and religious nationalists.These people opposed the 2006 military takeover that called for the equality of all races. Lasaro is an "important…

(o) How to Win Friends in Fiji: EU Cancelled Sugar Allocation Will Affect One-Third of the Population ... and Some

The European Union's 2009 Sugar Allocation for Fiji, worth €24 million (F$70m) has been cancelled. Commissioner Louis Michel said the cancellation was due to the "absence of any indications that a legitimate government will be in place in 2009."

The announcement came as PM Bainimarama, unaware of the announcement, left to attend a ACP (Asia-Caribbean-Pacific) ministerial conference on Sugar in Guyana, South America. Before leaving, the PM said he knows Australia and NZ are pushing hard to ensure Fiji is not assisted by the EU, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Asian Development Bank.

Australia, NZ and the US are reported to be talking about "targeted sanctions." Nearly one person in three in Fiji is involved in some way in the sugar industry. It is hoped the Australian, NZ and US aim will be more accurate than the Europeans -- or there will be no one left to aim at. I doubt any of them would try the same tactics on China.

(-) Anti-Government Bloggers Show Their True Colours

Readers unfamiliar with anti-government blogs could well make an exception and read three recent postings which say much about their thinking, and their concern for the ordinary people of Fiji.

Intelligentsiya seems delighted the EU has reaffirmed financial aid to Fiji is suspended. This is bad news for the tens of thousands of people dependent on the sugar industry.

Raw Fiji News welcomes the possible withdrawal of Forsters from the Fiji Stock Exchange. This will mainly affect the wealthy.

Most seriously, Fiji Uncensored, welcomes the prospect of a mass Methodist parade against the Government, and the horrific consequences this could bring. There are three posts "Maths and Methodists","March, at Any Cost?" and a report based on supposedly inside information, "Democracy Movement Says Army under Orders to Shoot Civilians," from the Australian-based Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement website.

POSTSCRIPT.19 May 2009. I am assured by the author of the Fiji Unce…