NZ-Fiji Need Drug Co-operation, Travel Bans, the Media, Natapei Decision Unpopular

See new Quote for the Week in the right side bar.

DRUG CONTROL REQUIRES UNIMPEDED NZ-FIJI CO-OPERATION. The seizure  in Suva last week of a huge supply of the precursor drug needed to make methamphetamine (also known as 'ice' and 'p') had an estimated processed street value of F$28m. The consignment of powder arrived from China, via Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, and was finally intercepted at Suva Wharf. 

In an earlier seizure in 2000 drugs were thought to have originated in Myanmar, for stockpiling in Fiji before shipment to the US, Canada, Australia and NZ.

In 2004, overseas and local police arrested half a dozen Asian nationals and found the biggest methamphetamine manufacturing plant in the Southern Hemisphere. Over one billion dollars worth of methamphetamine was seized.

Last year Asian drug smugglers were caught using kava from Fiji to smuggle methamphetamine ingredients into New Zealand. These operations were uncovered by a 14-month joint operation by the New Zealand and Fiji police and a specialised team from New Zealand was called in clean up the factory as volatile chemicals littered the site.

A US diplomat, Richard Pruett, thinks the series of drug busts and immigration arrests in Fiji over the past decade indicate that a network of people from organised crime syndicates are operating in the country.

A NZ reader wrote: "Croz – this is a worry. Fiji needs expert help now about how to deal with this crystal methamphetamine/P drug problem, before it is too late. Politics shouldn’t come into the methamphetamine equation. Look what has happened here in NZ because a few years ago the powers that be and the government of the day ignored the problem – until it was too late. Now the streets here in NZ are awash with methamphetamine.  Check out this link to find out about the facts about crystal methamphetamine and how dangerous and addictive this drug is."

THE TRAVEL BANS. A reader 'Alter Ego' commenting on an earlier post wrote : "The only people to whom Australia and New Zealand are not open for general travel are a select group of junta members and appointees ... and both Australia and NZ say they will consider humanitarian cases. For everyone else, travel to AU and NZ is as normal, including medical evacuations."

I am afraid this is not true. The ban applies to anyone, including career public servants in senior positions, and their families.  See my interview with Pramesh Chand #6). To my knowledge, at least three civilians who would have applied for senior governnment positions, did not do so because of the travel ban that would have prevented visits to their transnational family.

The ban is depriving Fiji of capable civil administrators who have adopted no political position. Many people seeking visas are interrogated and kept in suspense for several days, even those seeking medical care. I reported the case of Judge Anjala Wati who was eventually allowed to accompany her child who needed an urgent operation, but was not allowed to "go shopping," for G-d's sake. I have not reported the case of someone known to me whose only "crime" was being part of the People's Charter process. After one such interrogation she was eventually allowed to visit her seriously ill father. Humanitarian cases need to be treated humanely, and this has not always been the case.

And this comment from 'Cornileus': "Alter Ego, Have you seen the 5 (7?) page supplement to the NZ visa application that only Fiji-born citizens are expected to fill? It's an insult and and as a Kiwi, I'm disgusted by it, and disgusted that the uninformed and misinformed ordinary Kiwi bloke has allowed it to continue.

If the ordinary Kiwi bloke had access to a few facts, and acted on them, there would be a radical change in NZ's policy towards Fiji. However, while you have a lying, manipulative media ruling the roost, it will never happen and the same old tired response to Fiji's woes will doddle on."

AUSTRALIA'S MEDIA DUOPOLY. Media ownership in Australia is distributed between commercial, national public broadcasters and not-for-profit community broadcasters. Australian media ownership has been described as one of the most concentrated in the world.  For example, 11 of the 12 capital city daily papers are owned by either Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation or by John Fairfax Holdings. -- Wikipedia.

FIJI TIMES ORDERED TO PAY $50,000. The Fiji Court of Appeal has ordered the Fiji Times newspaper to pay $50,000 in damages to former Fiji Labour Party Minister Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi for defaming him in 2001.The Appeals Court ruled that the Fiji Times defamed Vayeshnoi by publishing a letter to the editor titled "The mouth returns" where he was described as a coward and other insensitive comments were made about his personality.

NATAPEI'S DECISION ON MSG UNPOPULAR. Vanuatu freelance journalist Godwin Ligo
 has told Radio New Zealand that Prime Minister Edward Natapei’s decision to defer the MSG meeting has not gone down well with the public there. Ligo says Natapei’s move caused an outcry among opposition politicians and the public, with the Opposition saying Natapei has tarnished Vanuatu’s previously solid relationship with Fiji. FBC News also understands that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has written to Natapei informing him that Fiji’s chairmanship is not an issue to him. [a similar Letter from Moses Stevens which draws parallels between Vanuatu and Fiji will be published at the wekend.]

SUGAR EXPORT ASSURED. The new owner of Tate & Lyle's European Union Sugars division, American Sugar Refining, will not just honour existing T&L contracts to buy 300,000 tonnes annually from Fiji until 2015, but wants to buy more.

 The NZ Law Society made very serious allegations against the Fiji judiciary over the weekend. With enquiries now complete, I expect to be able to report my findings later today or tomorrow.

Comments

Horse has bolted said…
Ratu Inoke and others are trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted. The MSG plus has been abandoned and won't resurface, certainly not under the chairmanship of an unelected leader. Time to stop dreaming.
As for comments about Natapei from within opposition in Vanuatu. This is called freedom of speech and democracy. Do you not see the irony Croz that such alternative views against the regime are not allowed in a heavily censored Fiji?
FijiToday said…
You were chasing the MSG constitution. They have an Establishing Agreement.
http://www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj/library/Paclaw/Agreement%20Establishing%20the%20Melanesian%20Spearhead%20Group.pdf
Anonymous said…
Friends of FIJI his week.

It seems if Frank had let someone else chair the MSG (Vanuautu or PNG) it would have gone ahead. Problem for Frank was he was insisting he chair it. I believe for two reasons 1) For legitimcy and 2) So he could control the agenda and outcome.

All this talk of MSG vs Friends of Fiji meetings are crazy. If Frank wanted a friends of Fiji meeting he could have had one anytime and most countries would attend. Problem was he wanted to hijack the MSG to stick it to the PIF. On PIF he can't decide if it is important or not - remember he failed to turn up. (Cyclone excuse...there is always a excuse with Frank).

The final outcome is good for Pacific countires other than Fiji. They are not foreced to be lectured by Frank and compromise the ethos of MSG (of which one is democracy) but they can still listen and offer support to Fiji.

Hopefully Frank's peers can have a heart to heart with Frank and get him moving on the things that need to done to return the country to democracy (a better one) and remove the coup culture.

To remove the coup culture he has to remove himself at some point and the over powerful role of military. I would like to see him re-commit to 2014 (no excuses) like many other people have commented. I would also like to see him commit to stepping away and the military stepping back.
Anonymous said…
Quote of the week...

"Any democracy not able to deliver social justice to ALL its people is not worth defending.' -- Liu Muri.

I thought I would have a go with a few alternatives...

"Any military that considers itself above the law is not worth funding"

"There is no room for personal grudges in nation building"

"The law is the law but government and the military are outside the law"
Anonymous said…
Hi Croz. I am your regular Kiwi bloke you refer to in your blog. I have a question for you: Do you believe that Frank will allow free and fair elections in 2014? If your answer is yes and it does not happen, will you promise to never blog a single word on Fiji?
Anonymous said…
Hi Croz. I am your regular Kiwi bloke you refer to in your blog. I have a question for you: Do you believe that Frank will allow free and fair elections in 2014? If your answer is yes and it does not happen, will you promise to never blog a single word on Fiji?
Anonymous said…
M.B.N

@ FijiTODAY

Thanks for that. It does not seem to mention anywhere about rallying to support Military lead governments or being a body for Fiji to try and use to split the PIF.
Anonymous said…
Elected PM of Vanuatu Natapei's decision may not be popular and it may be popular. It's hard to tell with only views of a few commentators.

Natapei has however come out today and declared Australia did not influence the outcome and that PNG and Solomons supported the decision.

So unelected PM Frank is really questioning Natapei's integrity and that of other MSG leaders. What do we know about Natapei - on his past record is this critism justified. How is he going as PM of Vanuatu ?

Is Frank going to have no one friends in the Pacific left soon ?
Anonymous said…
Crazy Vanuatu People

Natapei's decision unpopular - how quaint that Vanuatu allows opposition and the public to have a outcry over a issue. They should learn from Fiji and silence opposition and the public in general on such matters.

It's all so much easier being government that way. When is the rest of the Pacific going to move forward like Fiji ?
Anonymous said…
Edited.

Hi Croz,

Love you pro-coup, pro-military dictatorship work. Reading the papers here in NZ will be such a nice occaison when Fiji style media deveolpment law in introduced. Mr Keys I understand is very keen to have all negative press about his economic performance and past promises removed from the press. And he thinks it will be great to have the opposition parties comments removed. How nice. Can't wait.
Anonymous said…
So what's up with the New Zealand Law Society? Lost its sense of balance? No justice left in the scales? Or is it the scales that have blinded them to the intrinsic meaning of 'Justice' (scales on their eyes)? Is the Law meant to serve the ends of Justice: or is it the other way around? A long contentious debate, fraught with difficult. But the NZ Law Society, like the NSW Law Society and even the dissed Fiji Law Society,never got as far as confronting the real issues at stake. Instead they have pranced and postured on the periphery. A frivolous waste of time.
Rio Grande said…
ORGANISED CRIME......I have just watched the last throes of "Copland": Sylvester Stallone, Robert de Niro and....Harvey Keitel in darkest New Jersey. Well, have I got news for you...! Copland is alive and well in Nadi and in Fiji generally. Organised Crime has been here for over seven years in its most generally recognisable form. The thugs are out and about and the rotten cops too? Just two days ago, more threats to the lives of people known to some of us. Not a pretty sight, not a nice experience. No, No, No. Five prisoners on the run, all have violent pasts, WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? WHO IS HARBOURING THEM NOW? If we were smart and rational instead of being mean and foolish, we'd get serious about this - fast, wouldn't we?

So the Law Societies around the region had better perk up: just like the regional Police forces. Before we land ourselves in Ciudad Juarez, Oaxaca, Tijuana....Kingston, Jamaica. This is how it all began. Prison Officers and Police Officers bribed and cajoled to release druggies and those associated with violent crimes of terror. All too easy....really!
sara'ssista said…
NZ law socity serious allegation baout the interim fiji judiciary.
Chris Pryde typically responds by saying it happended last year so whats the big deal???!! Speaks for itself really doesn't it. He benefits so why complain? But the idea that this current bunch of srilankans is anything but a stop gap measure who could not have any idea of fiji and its culture etc that this regime continually bleats on about everyone else needing to appreciate, comes from an equally compromised judiciary in srilanka that doens't even pretend to scrutinise it's own masters.The judiciary has totally been compromised as this regime wished, please don't treat me like a fool and tell me it's business as usual.

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