Rumour-Mongers Got One Right, Tonga Okay, MSG Special Meeting, Sect Children Start School, Sugar Production Update, IMF Report, Price Anomalies

See new QUOTE FOR THE WEEK in the right sidebar, and scroll down to the Weekend Readings you may have missed.  Notice also the new blog description above and the new countdown to election facility in the lift sidebar. 

Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, 
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.

COMING BACK TO BITE THEM. Remember the Michael Field story a few weeks back? Unrest brewing in Fiji. Esala Teleni and Pita Driti "dumped" and "sent on indefinite leave." Tevita Mara "removed" as commander of the 3rd Fiji Infantry Regiment "amid wild rumours of further action." Well, Driti and Mara are back from leave and Teleni has been appointed Fiji's next amabassador to China. The latest is from Victor Lal on CoupFourPointFive. Reserve Bank Governor Sada Reddy has been stood down.

"According to highly reliable sources inside the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Reddy had allegedly transferred thousands of dollars to his private bank account in New Zealand last year, shortly before he devalued the valueless Fijian dollar ... More information as we get it." I don't know about the transfer allegation but he's presently on holiday in New Zealand where he has permanent residence and obligations to meet. So I'd expect him to be transferring money on a regular basis." Over to you Victor and Michael.  I hope you will confirm or correct the information as you get it. If you accept bets, I'd be happy to be paid in "valueless Fijian dollars."  Oh, and Teleni, don't do a Falun Gong in China.

Their reporting could be improving. In a recent posting their unsubstantiated rumours are no longer stated as facts from usually reliable sources.  Now they have "tips." They surprised themselves with the last one — "One of the tips given to Coupfourpointfive in the past two days has eventuated... " Teleni has been made Ambassador to China. But they sought "confirmation" before publishing it. "We were unable to run it then but its confirmation today, suggests other information given to us is also credible." And the other credible information? Lands Minister Netani Sukanaivalu is "gone"; Brigadier Mohammed Aziz is to be sent on leave, and Neumi Leweni will be put in charge of RFMF Nabua."  But still no correction of previous false tips, and no further mention of Sada Reddy's "absence from office."

 TONGA OKAY BUT NOT FIJI. Concern is apparently growing that Tonga could be headed towards violence as a fragile balance of power is threatened by the country's first democratic elections. Cited are the "emergency powers ..still in place ...after riots in 2006; the King's control and build up of his defence service to use if the 17 candidates elected fail to form a government."

Tongan MP and former police minister Clive Edwards says the new MPs needed to exercise caution. If they [the politicians] don't go along as expected, the army may be used.  Election candidate and Hawaii-based Pacific Islands Development Programme director Dr Sitiveni Halapua said the country was still technically under military rule. Groups had to get permission for any political gathering and a group of church leaders was not allowed to march to pray for the election, which showed, Halapua said, "the power play and the restrictions". -- Based on a Stuff article.

While one may be surprised that Australia and NZ did not impose travel bans years ago, it is to be hoped they will not repeat their Fiji mistake if the present situation does not unravel as they wish. 

. Solomon Islands PM Danny Philip will host a special Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting on December 15 which will see the transfer of the chairmanship from Vanuatu to Fiji in a traditional reconciliation ceremony.This is likely to involve traditional chiefs from both countries.Mr Philip  said his government is honoured to host the event upon request from the current MSG Chair, Vanuatu PM Edward Natapei.He said engagement with Fiji is one of his government’s policies and the MSG meeting is in line with his views on approaching the Fiji issue.

. Forty years ago a sect leader in Vatukacevaceva village to the north of the Nakauvadra mountains, the legendary habitat of ancient Fijian gods, founded the Kadrala Church which did not allow children to go to school. This must have been known to the education authorities. The village is only ten kilometres down the road from Rakiraki but it was not until a few weeks ago that government stepped in and banned the church from operating because members' children were not allowed to attend school.The village Turaga ni Koro said, "The church disbanded after talks with Government officials and it is now no longer in existence. All the children are now in school and the members are actively involved in village work." This also is part of the Roadmap.

CANE PRODUCTION DOWN. In the first four months of the crushing season (June — September) cane production fell 9.1% and sugar production 13.9% compared with the same period last year. Crushing for the 2010 season ends at Penang (Rakiraki) Mull on the 19th and the Lautoka Mill on the 25th of this month. The date for Labasa has not yet been determined.

IMF SHOWS CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT REFORM PLANS.The International Monetary Fund has shown confidence in Fiji’s ability to meet most of its reform programs without the Stand By Arrangement Loan.The IMF team led by Jonathan Dunn  applauded the initiative of the government to implement certain changes but urged Government to remove price controls, saying that while the idea "is notable, it is not an effective means of reaching those that really need the assistance." He also thought they would drive investors away.

Minimum interference by government in the economy is part of the IMF ideology, and if the controls were universally applied they could deter investors. But the controls are limited to basic needs items and they are arrived at after extensive discussions with importers, wholesalers and retailers. I would see this as healthy government-private sector interaction. Mr Dunn would have been more helpful had he pointed to more effective strategies to assist the poor and low paid working people.

PRICE CONTROL ANOMALIES which handicap some local manufacturers will be addressed  soon. Flour Mills of Fiji representative Ram Bajeet told a recent forum that the price controls resulted in the manufacturer getting a negative margin whereas the retail trade get a positive margin. "There are those who import and sell here, and they would get a high margin whereas those that bring unprocessed products, process them here and sell them here would receive a negative margin.” Commerce Minister Sayed-Khaiyum agreed and said the matter would be referred to the Commerce Commission.


Sum Ting Wong said…
Teleni as diplomat... are they serious...
Jobs for the boys said…
Jobs for the boys continues. In fact it has never been stronger than right now. If you are in the military and stoop behind Frank you will always have a job. Teleni did a horrible job as head of the police and after 3.5 long years of lies, discrimination and wasting tax payer money on Christian crusades he finally moves on. Everyone cheered and thought perhaps the PM's men are not untouchable. Well it seems they remain untouchable. There is nothing fair or transparent about his appointment. And if he fails at this role he can always step back into the military. And how about the revelation he had was still on the payroll assigned to a government department after stepping down as Police commissioner. For all the PM's rants and raving about a new Fiji nothing has changed. He is only looking after those who have looked after him standing by him in his coup.

And I read you have actually come out and said this COUP IS A GOOD COUP Croz.
Is this a joke ? said…
Lets see if Teleni insists all of China join up to his brothers cult (oops sorry, new methodist Church).
Circus comes to town said…
This circus is deteriorating. Teleni as a diplomat? Even more absurd than Leweni. It is going to take Fiji a long time to recover from this mess it is in. At least one generation of children will be well behind the eight ball - very sad indeed.
Reddy set go said…
They can't sack Sada for transferring money before the devaluation even if he did do it. Why ? Well everyone in Fiji knows that Sir James did the same thing all those years ago buying computer the day before he devalued the Fiji dollar and he has been the PM's man in China for a while. All though most suspect he is working for Sir James as usual rather than government.
trying to be positive but had enough said…
Um...did someone forget that diplomatic posts require "dimplocay".

I suspect this is a "gift" from the PM for loyal service to the military and his coup.

I suspect there are thousands of people like me who are critical of government but willing to support good initiatives, give them the benefit of doubt to use their repeated words...Move Forward.

Unfortunately it often feels like the PM is spitting in my face when he should be seeking to gain my support...and the thousands like me.
what the ? said…
@ circus

Send a clown to China and see if they laugh ? Much of this governments good work could come undone very quickly. Intersting the press release said he was the right person because of his military bakground and working to form military ties with China. Hang on a momement, I though the look north and China route was all about economic growth and infrastructure ?
M.B.N said…
Lets get serious and make Leweni Governor of the Reserve Bank.

In 2000 the solider came to the Reserve bank and asked where the Foreign Reserves where kept so they could guard them. I doubt the military have learnt much since then.
What the...? said…
Croz, even welded on regime supporters are shaking their heads at this one. Teleni was a disaster as police chief,a buffoon with no concept whatsoever of the need to separate church and state in a multi-religious country. Much as I don't care for him either. why wasn't Sir james Ah Koy given another term in China? He's been highly effective, judging from the burgeoning relationship. Perhaps Teleni is Frank's idea of a joke? Send a New Methodist to confront the Godless communists. I'm not normally an anti-regime critic but this is enough for anyone to lose faith. Stupid.
Pattern said…
Any one notice a pattern ?

A Finance minister who know nothing about finance...

A Suagr minister who knows nothing about sugar...

A diplomat who knows nothing of diplomacy...
and the PM wants us to take him ersiously ? said…
Our PM said "Teleni’s extensive security background as former Police Commissioner and former Deputy Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, he is well placed to represent to the Chinese Government Fiji’s security needs in the Roadmap for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development."

I guess thats the roadmap that has replaced the "Roadmap to democracy" because China are not exactly going to support democracy are they ?

And the bit about his background fitting with telling China Fiji's security needs. Thats called making the job fit the person. Even Frank couldn't lie and say he was diplomatic !
sara'ssista said…
so i can presume the claim is that sanctions are preventing worthy non-miltary types from taking up such and important post. At a time when this regime needs to be disentangling itself from the cushy jobs for the boys mentality it embarks on yet another bizarre appointment with someone who has no obvious dimplomatic skills and is a known proselytizer. Maybe the chinese accepted him as better the fool you know...
Really really silly said…

Even with your rose coloured glasses for this military government you have to be able to see the madness in this latest appointment. As another blogger said this is nothing other than jobs for the boys. The PM's double standards never cease to amaze me. How he can lie straight in bed is beyond me.
Global Citizen said…
So, there goes China
Telemi when the nightmare ends said…
Never thought I'd be in agreement with Sarra'ssista about anything but a time when this regime...another bizarre appointment... right on got it, babe.
ProudFijian said…
Why hasn't anyone commented on the Interview by Graham Davis with Navakasuasua, Duvuloco etc?

There was total silent from the anti-military camp.
SOE said…
@ ProudFijian......

Their compadre Watisoni Nata was in the Lautoka High Court last Friday. Somehow, he got left behind?
Moving on regardless said…
ProudFijian, Graham Davis nailed it four years ago as to why the SDL had to be stopped but does anyone take any notice? Not the anti-military camp and certainly not the rest of the media.

It's great to be reminded of the facts. But It's a bit like the elephant in the room. Acknowledge it and it's a problem. Ignore it and maybe it will go away. Doesn't help when the regime itself provides the diversion. All the fuss today is about Teleni. What elephant?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Proud Fijian ... It's interesting isn't it? Most people commenting on what they want to see, ignoring all else. They missed the Davis interviews as you say, and they completely missed the main point in my posting which was the number of times CoupFourPointFive presents rumours as facts that turn out to be false — and then never corrects the errors.

The Teleni appointment is a separate issue. I agree it's surprising but I have no way of knowing what Bainimarama was looking for in the appointment. Teleni was put up for the Wellington position a year ago and a reason given then was that Bainimarama could rely on him. Trust is an important diplomatic quality. But the cynics, of course, turned this into "jobs for the boys." For such people Bainimarama is wrong if he does and wrong if he doesn't.

We also don't know what choices he had other than renewing Jim Ah Koy's appointment. Perhaps someone who actually knows something about diplomatic appointments would make a suggestion. Others may care to comment on why CoupFourPointFive continues to publish unsubstantiated rumours as fact, and never corrects its errors.
Another brilliant decision said…
There must be brilliant minds behind this coup? If the appointment of Teleni as a diplomat as part of the 'roadmap', Fiji is on a one way roller coaster. would the last one to leave turn the light out?
M.B.N said…
I've read the interview and what disturbs me the most is Bainimarama considered himself above the law then and now. On the one hand he is worried about further 'coups' yet he goes on and carries one out himself. For a long time he seems to believe he has a role beyond defending the country and democracy itself.

As to all the noise about Teleni. Come on Croz, he was a complete failure as a police commissioner. How can this be seen as anything other than a job for one of his boys. Trusting someone is not a good enough reason.
Look forward said…
@ Croz

You often ask your reader to look forward not backward. Your new quote does the same. But now you are looking back (Davis) interview to justify a coup from a man who previously had been against coups (he nearly lost his life putting a stop to the previous one). What many find disgusting is the defender of democracy against coups staged his own coup when democracy didn't suit him.

Anyway he is now PM and firmly in control. I think what many of your readers are trying to do is keep him honest and too his word. He promised no more nepotism and to be fair and transparent on appointments. He pomised the best qualified and experienced people for roles yet he has again and again "rewarded" his military supporters with roles. Even when they have failed at several they get another chance or slip back into the military.

He is not being honest to his promises, to himself or Fiji.
in love with Frank said…
@ Mr Walsh

If I look back at this site even you where critical of the former Police head and thought it a good move when he was removed (sorry resigned) but now you are prepared to give this your full support.

Seriously is there no end to your worship of every decision our self elceted military strongman makes ?
good men said…
@ croz

Actually Peter Thompsons appointment has been supported by just about everyone. It's a example of where he got it right. Unfortunately there are lots of appointments where he has got it wrong and all the appointments are personal appointments of the PM. There is no formal process or screening and agaian and again we have seen the military men take these roles.
Forward please said…
Why do you continue to worry about c4.5 so much Croz. It is trash, move on. Stop reading it.

Lets get back to a few things where we might just be able to make some progress. Lets keep the pressure up to remove the PER (so everyone will have less reason to read blogs). Lets continue to ask to see a roadmap with clear milestones and actions (so the international community can have something other than hope/promises).

Croz - have you tried to get a interview with the man himself ?
Can't face the truth? said…
The thing is if you accept any of what Davis said , it weakens the case against Frank and none of the critics want that. They want all the focus to be on their enemy number one.

I want the Freedom and Democracy Movement to tell us why they are using Simione Kaitani. They can't deny that he was one of the gang behind 2000. It's all there on the Davis tape. But they just want the whole thing to go away.

Raica, they go quiet for a while and not say anything but then there will be another big rally in Sydney where this guy is the star. All the Bruce whatsits of the media will be there and still not ask the hard question. Same with Baledrokadroka.

He should be asked about this but there is nothing from him and his gang at ANU. How come they haven't said anything about all this? Must be true, eh?
What do you expect? said…
M.B.N, you say Frank considered himself above the law then and now. In May 2006. he was saying he wanted the law respected. But then the corrupt racists won again and tried to bring in laws to disadvantage the rest of us. It was only then that Frank said "no, this isn't going to happen" and moved against Qarase. Not ideal, I grant you, but hardly the actions of a power hungry dictator. If you believe what Andrew Hughes said to Davis about the military seeing itself as being on the side of the people, Frank did the right thing. He saved the people of Fiji from the greedy agenda of some of our biggest crooks. The law shouldn't be used to suppress anyone. And if it does, then that law must be changed. Which is what Frank did. He didn't have the luxury of a vote. He just did it and thank God for that when you read what Davis says happened. These were big time thugs taking over the country. It was the military's job to stop them. They had no choice. After the clean-up that's happening now, we can bring back the politicians. But not these guys. They don't believe in the law, just making themselves rich at the expense of everyone else in Fiji. Vinaka Frank, you did the right thing.
Shocking (Davis interviews) said…
What the ****? I just read this stuff for the first time. This is more than four years ago. How come the Fiji Times never reported this? How come I've never heard what some of these guys did? How come nobody talks about it now?

The names of the accused/ guilty are here in black and white. But the Australian DPP guy who was meant to bring them to justice didn't know? And he got kicked out by Qarase before he finished the job? Unbelievable! I've seen one of these guys walking around Suva. They should be behind bars. Why aren't they?

No wonder Frank is so wild about what happened. After what happened to him in 2000, the people named here are lucky they haven't all been shot. The job isn't finished, for sure.
and the next 4 years said…
@ what do you expect

And how do you explain his need to stay in power for another four years ?
No escaping the truth said…
Croz, there is next to zero knowledge about things like the plan to burn down Suva in 1999. Crooks like Duvuloco were even able to stand for election in 2006 when it's clear he should have been locked up with Speight. Something was very wrong with the Qarase Government when they were preventing Peter Ridgeway from completing his investigation. On this alone, Qarase deserved to be removed at gunpoint. The anti-regime critics keep going on about democracy. What democracy? We were being conned into voting for the bloody mafia in Fiji! Where was Netani Rika and those other self righteous idiots who gave the Chaudhry government such a hard time? They turned a blind eye to the worst criminals Fiji has ever seen. When you read this stuff, it really makes you think.We were heading for dictatorship anyway but of another kind. Not by the military but by a criminal gang manipulating ordinary people into hating their fellow citizens. It had to be stopped and we are very lucky Frank knew who he was dealing with. It was just as well he almost died in 2000. Maybe he wouldn't have been so determined otherwise and Fiji would be now like some lawless African hellhole where the strong routinely terrorize the weak. Think I'm exaggerating? Look at what's in this story!. For these guys, bombings and arson were nothing and if you look at the mutiny, they were also prepared to kill. Then in government they brought in laws to not only excuse this behaviour but entrench the very worst racism. As Davis says, Qarase plays the gentle good guy but he was the one doing it all or letting it all happen. Memo Australia and NZ: The nation needed to be saved and Frank saved it. End of story. Get over it.
Silence speaks volumes said…
Very strange that some of the usual people who rush into comment have gone silent on this one.

Jon, where are you? Sara'ssista, nothing from you on the Davis interviews either?

These guys sweat the small stuff but the big picture is too hard to handle.

There's only one explanation why this important piece of historical evidence is being ignored. It doesn't suit their agenda.
Victor in Lalaland said…
Isa. Victor Lal is now completely insane judging from the following piece today on Coup 4.5:
Dictator Frank Bainimarama medically evacuated to China
According to highly placed sources inside the bossom of the Prime Ministerial Office in Suva, the self-styled Prime Minister and military dictator Voreqe Bainimarama was medically evacuated to China last week after complaining of serious heart pains, a sympton he has contracted after cowardly fleeing through the cassava patch following the 2000 mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua.
Victor, dear, it's very important that you keep taking your medication. Incidentally , what is a "bossom"? I've been in the PM's office and there's nothing there but his desk, some chairs and a leather lounge. You used to be a fine academic, Victor. Now you're 100 per cent nuts.
Miracle breakthrough said…
Croz, I am the bearer of good tidings. I made a mildly critical comment on Coup 4.5 about Ro Temumu Kepa and to my astonishment, it was published! There's a trick to this. Rather than go straight to the point, you beat around the bush in the Fijian way, avoid inflammatory language and give everyone their proper titles ( Gone Marama Bale ). Everyone else there is so hysterically anti-regime that the idiot gatekeepers, get distracted, can't decide where you're coming from and you can slip one through. A small victory but an important one. I was rubbing shoulders with... sara'ssista!... Sooo exciting!!... just had to share it with you...
Cornelius said…
So, what's the go in NZ, Croz?

Are we going to have a Qoli Qoli Bill down there? Will Frank have to go down and fix that up too?

I haven't been following it, but it has been drawn to my attention just today. If you read this it seems that it is a jolly good thing. But if you read this it is the NZ version of the Qoli Qoli Bill.

I'd be interested in your take on it - does it mirror the Fiji situation?

BTW I'm not familiar with NZCPR - first I've heard of it.

One thing is for sure, people better be awake to what's going on, lest they find themselves in the same situation Fiji found herself in.
Joe said…
Yeah right Croz, you are justifying Teleni's appointment by making reference to his would be Wellington posting. What happened to "NO MILITARY PERSON WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS TAKEOVER" statement? As soon as they got in, their hands were on the till in a flash. Why cant others be paid out instead of sending them on leave? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Corruption Fighter said…
As usual you're sceptical about any claims against a regime supporter.

Regarding the reports about Sada Reddy you say "I don't know about the transfer allegation but he's presently on holiday in New Zealand where he has permanent residence and obligations to meet."

The question is: is Sada Reddy still a Resident of Fiji for currency control purposes? If so, he is subject to the strict controls HE introduced just after the constitution was abrogated and his legitimate predecessor was ousted.

Non-residents have more generous but still onerous restrictions but residents can't have allowances for the purpose of maintaining residence requirements in another country.

If you know more about the rules of exchange controls, pls enlighten us Croz. I have an open mind, even though I am much more suspicious of statements by a regime installed by a coup and ruling by authoritarian laws uncontrolled by a constitution than you are.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Looking forward... I have never said we should not look back when I've urged moving forward. Not to learn from the past makes for an uninformed future. Are you saying we should ignore the lessons of the 2000 Coup?

@ Corruption figher ... You have a good point. I don't know. Do you? Do they?

@ Cornelius... the Maori situation cannot be simply compared with the Qoliqoli Bill. They have completely different histories.

@ Joe .. I was not "justifying" Teleni's appointment. I was putting forward someone else's possible explanation. I don't understand the rest of your comment.

@ Miracle breakthrough ... Congratulations. Why not now ask them about the PM's supposed heart condition that is supposedly his real reason for visiting China. You could also try out Matavuvaleand volunteer to take up Tui Savu's challenge to overthrown the govt by violence. Or Fiji Democracy Now that thinks I'm a racist because I published some of the gross anti-Obama photos used by Obama's opponents when it should have been clear I condemned the photos. There are genuine concerns out there but they are outweighed by the less than genuine and the not very bright.
Tamavua said…
The demise of the sugar indutry is a direct result of the racist SDL Govt which openly encouraged the non-renewal of leases. In addition to the direct impact this had on fertile and welll utilised land now being wasted the bigger impact was in the loss of confidence in sugar farming on leased land. Fiji is paying the price of the NLTB and SDL policies now
Delhi Heights said…
@ Tamavua
What about australia, NZ, US and the EU as well?
Mrs Dikshit said…
@ Tamavua

You are so right? We should be growing more sugar so that the sugar mills that don't work cannot process it? Can you remind us again who got a motza for 'repairing' the sugar mills that don't work?
Infinite tolerance of fools said…
Croz, it's a shame you feel you have to give blow- by- blow responses to the Eeyores who bring their doom and gloom to bear on everything the regime ever does, however inconsequential. It's like watching a bad game of tennis, all this lobbing back and forth for no real purpose. It's oh so civilised but don't you sometimes feel like telling them to eff off? I know. The patience of Job.
Tamavua said…

The sugar mills in Fiji have always had problems with breakdowns etc but have managed to process the amount of sugar cane produced. There have been queues at mills for days going back 15 years. The mills maybe in worse conditions but are still capable of milling more cane. A large part of the mill costs are fixed and as such greater quantitiy of cane results in lower unit costs

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