Tea Party? Or Tea Party, Sarah Palin Style?

POLICE SHUTDOWN FIJI WOMEN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT MEETING. The FWRM is an NGO, largely funded like most Fiji NGOs by overseas aid money. It was formed in the 1980s to help remove discrimination against women.
The police shutdown last week of their three-day meeting at the Pearl Resort at Pacific Harbour, an hour's drive west from Suva, may —or may not— have been a double misunderstanding that could have been avoided.

The FWRM story, published on Facebook, is that the  meeting "was part of FWRM’s annual internal planning [for] which a permit was not required ... 25 representatives of the FWRM staff, management board and partners were spending three days reflecting on their achievements over 25 years." And so it might have been. But someone at the hotel complained, some unknown people were also at the meeting, and the hotel events manger was unable to tell the police whether they had a permit for the meeting.

The police request to see the agenda for the meeting —which would have settled the matter one way or another— was denied, and FWRM Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo, and lawyer Roshika Deo were taken to the local police station for further questioning. The FWRM statement said: "Whilst waiting at the station, a police officer told Deo “it’s because you are an activist that is why they have brought you in ... to check!” To check they were not in breach of the regulations.

Events like this do little for the reputations of either party, and always leave unanswered questions. There is no suggestion the police were rude or offensive.They were merely doing their job, but the FWRM had a perfect right to hold its meeting if it was not in breach of PER. It could have checked on this before leaving Suva, or it could have shown police the agenda.

The real "culprit", of course, is the PER regulations that seem to have passed their use-by date.They continue to provide anti-Government people like Virisila with opportunities to discredit the Government, and the international media love it.

There has been an increase of such activity in recent weeks — the Mara press releases, the FDFM meetings in Australia, the Felix Anthony allegations, the pronouncements of ousted MP Rajesh Singh. They are probably uncoordinated, but  their organisers will see Virisilia's latest act as well worth the money spent at the Pearl Resort, especially if the  $8,000 plus cost for 25 people was picked up by aid donors.


John Adams said…
$8000 for what appears to be a legitimate AGM or the alleged $40,000+ for a jolly to Singapore by the Great Leader - in terms of value for money, take your pick Croz.
Anonymous said…
and who is investigating the $300 or so million dollars of citizens pensions money from their FNPF written off as bad debts and out of which the draconian policies regarding future pensions are being about to be implemented. NGOs are often pointed at these issues without acknowledging the work that they do and their contribution in the society.
Croz Walsh said…
@ John ... I think your use of the words "appears" and "alleged" are most appropriate. We can't always see under the blanket.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous... What's this got to do with the "price of fish" at Pacific Harbour. We all know NGOs do good things but we allshould know some of them spend others' money rather too freely on administration. The main topic of the post, however, was what happened at Pacific Harbour and why. You chose to ignore these questions, and diverted attention to the FNPF issue which is the subject of a major posting. See Peter Ponders and its comments. And please use a pseudonym, not Anonymous.
John Adams said…
Well fudged Croz...though I suspect the Singapore jolly will be costing a wee bit more than the Pacific Harbour meeting.
Seizure said…
@ Anonymous & John Adams

$300 million from Natadola was a book entry write down, not a write off. Is the claim of the $40,000+ trip to Singapore by the Great Leader based on hard evidence or wild speculation? Believe it or not the Great Leader has more integrity than you wish to think. It could be a privately funded trip to accompany his wife who is President of Netball Fiji. The integrity of some NGOs on the other hand requires investigation.While some receive loads of funding from powerful sources the impact assesment of the work they do is not usually publicised.Some NGOs just do not bother to account for the use of grants they receive and some NGOs enjoy challenging the authorities just for the hell of it. In the current depressed economic climate when many families are struggling to make ends meet, why would an NGO choose to have a meeting/workshop/consultation in an expensive location? For that decision alone their integrity is questionable.
John Adams said…

Re Great Leader and Integrity - you are right, I don't believe it.
Never in the Office said…

If it is privately funded where does he get the money to fly 15 of his family to Singapore some of them first class at $8,000 a ticket.

He claims to be only receiving the pay of the commander RFMF. That is about $97,000.

Can you afford to spend nearly half of your salary on a holiday?tua
Splattering Money all over the place said…
@ NGOs and Great Leaders

At the end of the day they ALL spend other people's money: Public Money and Public Funds. The NGOs in Fiji spend mostly Australain/NZ and EU/UN money - certainly NOT their own. Many NGOs splatter money around with gay (sic) abandon. The taxpayers from overseas who permit this are 'nuts'.

Within Fiji, the Great Leaders and their kith and kin also use Public Money: OURS. So, to whom do they believe they should account? And are they doing it??
@ John Adams

Time for accountability to kick in on the use of public funds. More than time, Gentlemen please.
Anonymous said…

Would it be too much for you to just admit government continues to overreact. We are supposed to have a....

1. Free and fare election by September 2014.
2. A consitution in place by September 2013.
3. Extensive and inclusive dialogue before 2013....in other words next year 2012.

How on earth does Fiji move on this time frame if today it contiues to overreact. The fear in the PM, his military and cabinet is strong but they must find the will NOW to accept people meeting, people dicussing and people having different views to theirs. They have promised to let go and given a time frame. They have to start right now.
Seizure said…
@ Never in the Office

I presume you have hard evidence for your claim or is it another wild and wooly one.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous 2 (Why don't people use pseudonyms!) ...

Check out my postings over a period of time and you'll see I have quite often mentioned over-reaction, or poor PER, or military clumsiness, and so on. But having said that, I still suspect there was more to the Pearl Resort incident than FWRM has told us. I've commented on what I have been told from both sides.

@ "John Adams" ... Well fudged. How sweet of you!
Never in the Office said…
Please tell me which bit of my claim you are unsure of.

15 People travelled in the Bainimarama Party, i don't have their check in stubs. It was made up of husband, wife, 3 daughters assorted son in laws and grand children + Security.

Go online to see Air Korea's cost for 1st Class travel.

The last time there was an Auditor General's report the Commander RFMF was paid $97,200 approx.

No one I know in Fiji can afford to spend half their salary on a family jaunt
Seizure said…
@ Never in the Office

Why do you assume that Bainimarama would have paid for all the costs? His children are working aren't they ? They could have been saving for the event or borrowed money from the bank. They could have friends and relatives both here and working abroad who helped them out as they do among the itaukei all the time. You need to do some research and verify your claim before spreading malicious gossip.
SOS! said…
Oh come on Seizure!

Pull the other one! In the place you find yourself in just now you need a powerful imagination. Why? You need to see yourself and those around you as others see you.

Do you ADD VALUE to FIJI Inc?

At what price?

Now that is the quintessential question. It is the critical question bar none.

If you find yourself in two minds about the answer, then it is 'Time to Peel Off'. Literally and metaphorically. Save the Ship of State before it founders with ..........All Hands On Deck.
Never in the Office said…
@ Seizure

Frank should allow the Auditor General to do his work and verify ministerial salaries etc.

Then we would know and not have to resort to conjecture about how he paid for his tripsabobo
Jon said…
@Never in the office

Even if this is a private trip for Bainimarama the cost of his security should be paid by the state. Unfortunately in this modern world almost every leader of every country requires security at all times and it is paid by the state in Aust, US, NZ etc, whether during private or work. So you should not include the security costs in your calculations.
Get a grip said…
The argument about the PM trip is rather childish. Lets look at it this way (as some of the more sensible bloggers have suggested) this trip has been planned for a long time, everyone is entitled to spend their money the way they see fit, like saving up for a special holiday with the family. I see nothing suspicious in this, the family are all working, they have paid for their own trip there is such a thing as working ya ass off and saving for such occasions, which is what the PM has done. Give it a rest and worry about more important things. And by the way are you telling me that Qarase and other have not done the same in the past to sporting events or taken vacations abroad?? come on you guys…
Seizure said…
@ Never in the Office & SOS

You are assuming that Bainimarama does not have his own savings,or investments in Unit Trust or Fijian Holdings to fund his private trips. His daughter is CEO of the Fiji Sports Council and if she is on the trip she is capable of funding her own expenses. What exactly do you know about the Bainimarama family ? What I know about them is they would fund their own expenses for such a trip. Bainimarama may be there officially as well - attending a meeting - we have not been informed. We now know that he has visited former Prime Minister of PNG, Michael Somare in hospital in Singapore which may count as an official visit. On his salary, with his children working and his modest lifestyle compared to people like Gaddafi and others in Africa, he should be able to have a healthy savings account to use as he pleases.Your imagination is running wild on this one and if you believe Rawfijinews, you are very raw indeed.
Never in the Office said…
@Get a Grip & Seizure

I agree this is a pointless debate. To end all this speculation we need to have a report of Government salaries.

Every other Government publishes the salaries of its ministers and all their perks.

Why does not the Bainimarama regime which preaches Good Governance and Transparency not do the same.

That way if all is normal people like me will keep quiet. If all is not normal then perhaps you 2 will stop defending him so vigorously.

@Get a Grip

Why do you think using an example of Qarase abusing his office excuses Bainimarama?
Wordguy said…
The most telling quote of this article is when Cros wrote about the ongoing PER and associated challenges. "...they continue to provide anti-Government people like Virisila with opportunities to discredit the Government."

Virisila is anti-government???
Uh, no. I don't think so. She is anti-regime, possibly, but I've never heard her complain about "government".

Be careful with your word choice, Crosbie, since it shows the bias that exists in this blog a bit too clearly at times.
Seizure said…
@ Never in the Office

The debate is not on Government salaries but on " where does he get the money to fly 15 of his family to Singapore some of them first class at $8,000 a ticket" and your assumption that Bainimarama himself has paid for all the expenses.

@ Word Guy

Are you being facetious ?
Word Guy said…

I'm not being facetious at all. I disagree with labeling FWRM as "anti-govt". They may be anti-regime but they are not anti-govt.

This is hardly a government.
Never in the Office said…

We are both making assumptions on who paid for the trip. I assume it was our Great leader paying for everyone. You assume everyone paid their own way and so the great leader did not have to dig too deep into his own pocket.

Both are assumptions.

what it really boils down to our views on the Great Leader.

You believe "Believe it or not the Great Leader has more integrity than you wish to think."

I don't.

The only real way for people like me to see he has his integrity is through transparency. His government hides so many things from the public of Fiji we "assume" they are hidden because they show him and the regime in a bad light.

If he stops hiding things like his salary and his perks as PM and Commander of the military then if there is nothing untoward we will believe he is a man with integrity.

Until then I will "assume" not!

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