Showing posts from July 5, 2009

Bainimarama wins over Melanesian countries - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Bainimarama wins over Melanesian countriesBy Sean Dorney in Port Vila The leaders of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have given their f.ull backing to an attempt to have Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum lifted. Fiji's military leader Frank Bainimarama secured their support at a meeting in Port Vila. At a news conference the chairman of the group, Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei, said the leaders praised Commodore Bainimarama's strategic framework for change for Fiji as reflecting a clear vision to achieve sustainable democracy.That strategic framework would see Commodore Bainimarama stay in power for at least another five years without elections. Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, said he had been convinced that some of Commodore Bainimarama's plans were good for Fiji.The Melanesian countries say they will take Fiji's case for withdrawing its suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum to next month&#…

(o) Pacific Merry-Go-Round* and Snippets

UPDATE. See previous post. Bainimarama Wins Over M elanesian Countries.

While Qarase and Chaudhry were making hay while the sun shines (see previous post)
Bainimarama had "gone west" to meet with Melanesian Spearhead Group Prime and Foreign Ministers in Pt Vila, Vanuatu, to reassure them of the Fiji situation and hopefully gain their support against exclusion from PACER and PI Forum meetings.

With the next Forum due to meet in Cairns in early August -- and PACER high on the agenda -- Australia and New Zealand are also engaged in a little discreet lobbying. Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific, Duncan Kerr, has just finished a whistle-stop tour of Micronesian Forum member countries, Palau, Marshall Islands, Fed. States of Micronesia, where he "discussed the Forum agenda," and is on his way south to Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu for similar discussions.

Not to be outdone, NZ PM John Key took on Polynesia with a visit to Tonga, Samoa and Niue (where the Premier an…

(o-) Qarase and Chaudhry Meet: Something's Brewing

Coupfourpointfive reports a second meeting between Qarase and Chaudhry (photos R & L), both former prime ministers deposed by coups. Given past animosity between the pair, their meeting suggests something is happening that could have wider consequences. If this is a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend, Bainimarama should watch his back. Chaudhry in particular is no mean adversary. Click here to read the full post.

Of overseas blogs, Coupfourpointfive seems to have the most insider information of what it happening in Fiji although, of course, much they publish cannot be verified, and the blog leans heavily towards anti-Government rumour and "disclosures."

(oG) More on Namosi House: The Plot Thickens

STOP PRESS. For the ramifications of Winproject ownerships and corruption concerns, read this July 9 official release.

FijiLive investigations have now revealed that "Thousands of dollars which have been made as rent payment by the government for Namosi House have ended up in the bank account of Winproject Limited, not the Namosi Development Company. "

The NDC has four shareholders: Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Ratu Kiniviliame Taukeinikoro, Samisoni Tuilawaki and Leone Tuvutokona. In October last year a government cheque for $695,265 was paid the company for rental arrears which was then transferred to Winproject, a company owned by a group of local businessmen.The monthly rental for the House, rented by the Health Department, is $63,766. Earlier Ratu Kiniviliame had said Namosi House is owned by the people of Namosi. He later admitted it did not belong to the people "at this stage."Ratu is a chiefly title.[See earlier post.]

(o) Invitation to Sign Petition to Pacific Leaders on Fiji Media Freedom

Readers who wish to "sign" the Pacific Freedom Forum* petition addressed to Pacific leaders are invited to visit their blogsite.

The petition's preamble reads: "Information is power. Gagging, censorship and detention of the Fiji news media by the interim regime in Fiji robs all citizens of feedback surrounding debate on national futures; and leaves the leadership itself uninformed about how to best achieve its goals of ending racist laws and corruption." [my emphasis]

Petition: "We, undersigned, support free speech for a prosperous and free Fiji. We come from all walks of life and all regions of the world to call on Pacific leaders at all levels to stand up for the front-line role of news media when warning of threats to human rights, suggesting options, and negotiating outcomes with peoples of Fiji."
My own view is that this a well-worded, reasonable and fair petition that deserves support, whatever your political alignment. New initiatives from the Fi…

(+-) PERS and Some Very Sad Persons

If you think there's no good reason for the continuation of PERS (the public emergency regulations) -- with its restrictions on the media and public meetings -- probably until the end of the year, have a look at some of the anti-government blogs, Solivakasamablog for starters -- and then think again.

"The time is here Voreqe you are no use to us !.. Pass this to all freedom loving Fijians in all places, especially those in the villages and islands, in Fiji so Voreqe and his illegal regime can be brought to its knees once and for all. CURRENT LEADERSHIP YOUR TIME IS NOW UP. YOU HAVE 3 DAYS TO GIVE UP AND HAND OVER NOW TO THE CIVILIAN RULE OR YOU WILL BE BURN." -- SWM.

"You are going to burn in hell Voreqe" -- Jese.

"Bainimarama no longer commands the respect of his men and I think the same can be said of Teleni ... it is just a matter of time, before the floodgates open. Bainimarama [and co.]... should read carefully the writing on the wall because the Method…

Snippets: Melanesian Spearhead Group, Lovers Beware, Minimum Wages, Methodists , Pacific Journalism, Roadmap Poll


PM to Brief Melanesian Spearhead Group
The PM will meet with other the PM's of PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in Port Vila on Friday. He told Auckland’s Radio Tarana [an important source of Fiji news] he hopes the MSG leaders, who supported Fiji’s Forum suspension, will understand his Government’s position. “This special meeting is very critical to Fiji as I would like to personally share with my fellow MSG leaders Fiji’s road map and the mandate that guides my government to ensure true, democratic, non-communal, elections for parliamentary representation are held by September 2014.” The meeting comes four weeks before the PACER meeting in Cairns. The MSG leaders earlier had voted for Fiji's suspension from the PI Forum (and non-attendance at the Apia PACER meeting) --but with barely concealed reluctance, and obvious pressure from Australia.

♥♡/♡♥ Lovers Beware - Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Police are evangelising "yo…

(oB) Namosi House: What Goes Around Comes Around


Money raised from ordinary Fijians by the country's 14 provincial councils, together with loans obtained from the Development Bank or another quasi-government entity, has often been invested in building multi-storey office blocks in Suva. Government sometimes guarantees these loans and the buildings once completed are often rented out to Government departments. What is left from the gross rentals goes towards provincial scholarships and similar "development" projects. For the most part it's been a "cosy" arrangement by which ethnic Fijian governments have fed money back to the Fijian "establishment."Those at the business-end of the arrangement benefit but few benefits trickle back to the villages where the initial money was raised. Only too often those entrusted with the money are accused of dishonest, corrupt, or at least questionable, behaviour. Whether this is the case with Namosi Hous…

(o) Fiji Holdings Ltd

Coupfourpointfive sees something sinister in the "dismissal" last week and today's "surprise reinstatement" of three FHL Board members. Government said they were asked to go on leave while an audit was conducted. For some solid background on the FHL -- and inherent dangers with quasi-government boards -- see my "Snippets" post on June 6th. News "events" usually need to be seen within broader settings to make anything more than superficial sense. Scroll down the left column to ARCHIVES and click on the week that included June 6th. Or use the powerful new "Search the Blog" feature. Just type FHL.

(o+) Why the Rush with PACER? Why Was Fiji Excluded From PACER? Why Was Roman Grynberg's Contract Not Renewed?


It may all seem like the ramblings of several conspiracy theorists -- or a bunch of anti-free trade lobbyists -- but there are too many unanswered questions not to be concerned about Australia's (and New Zealand's) apparent role in the questions raised in the title to this post. The questions raised are at least as much about the the perception of patronising, bullying and very unequal relations between sovereign states as they are about trade. About what even Sir Don McKinnon, New Zealander and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, once called neo-colonialism.

Serious students of the influence of Australia and New Zealand on Pacific Island countries cannot avoid but look closely at the the hows and whys of last month's PACER-Plus (Pacific Agreement on Closer Relations) in Apia, from which Fiji, probably illegally, was excluded on the basis of its suspension from the PI Forum, arguably a different organization. It has also been exc…

14 Reactions to the PM's 'Road Map' -- Take Your Pick

9 Newspaper or Radio Accounts, 4 "Inside Sources", 1 Comment

(-) Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, NGO, Sydney
Waiting until 2012 to debate a new constitution is "a charade to ensure the military regime prolongs its hold on power" said spokesperson Usaia Waqatairewa, who wouldn’t be surprised if the election date was put back further. (-) Prof. Brij Lal, ANU
"The new roadmap will prolong the suffering of the people unnecessarily ... it is an irony that on the day the Commodore has announced his road map, he has also extended the emergency regulations." (-) Coupfourpointfive, Auckland
"Bainimarama tried to fool Fiji and the world when he delivered his strategic framework for change national address today is basically to pull wool over people's eyes"[referring back to his failure to hold elections by March 2009, and then in 2010. Delaying work on the new Constitution until September 2012]"confirms that elections are the last thing on…