Showing posts from June 5, 2011

Unholy Alliance on Fij

Read what Graham Davis has to say about the Canberra FDFM meeting, Ratu Tevita's speech, the role of Dr Jon Fraenkel and Prof Brij Lal, and the  interesting participation of Simione Kaitani, former minister in the Qarase SDL government and more than just an active participant in the Speight Coup of 2000.

Ratu Tevita's New Friends: the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement

It's always hard to know whether to acknowledge or ignore an event. To acknowledge the overseas-based Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement meeting in Canberra at 2pm today where the special guest was Ratu Tevita Mara may be giving it publicity it does not deserve. 

Their march in Sydney last December attracted 60 people, including many children (and one Indo-Fijian!), somewhat less than the 300 they expected, and their support for a planned Suva protest march earlier this year that was billed to attract 10,000 to 20,000 protesters attracted not a single one. They have a tendency to hyperventilate. 

But if one of their supporters is to be believed about Ratu Tevita (“This special friend is God sent at this hour to break this deadlock of evil holding our country from having our freedom”), I would be unwise to ignore it.

Plots from Within and Support from Outside: The Gathering of the Anti-Bainimarama Coalition outside Fiji

By Sanjay Ramesh
In February 2011, a new Commanding Officer of the Fiji Third Infantry Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Jone Kalouniwai, was appointed by the military. The appointment came following speculation that the former Commanding Officer, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara was under investigation together with another senior military officer, Land Forces Commander Brigadier General Pita Driti, for plotting the removal of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama in 2010 (The Fiji Village News, 4 February, 2011).

Nadarivadu Hydro Dam

At a time when global oil prices are scorching high and reserves decreasing experts say a country like Fiji which depend on its diesel generators for power must turn to renewable energy as the best solution.Fiji’s fuel importation bill is the highest component within the nation’s import bill.

A Chinese expert says Fiji has the capacity to tap into renewable energy, which is the best solution given our rich resources which could contribute not only towards a greener and cleaner environment but also help reduce our reliance on fossil fuel.

Tales of Tonga and Minerva Reef

Near confrontation.

The ownership of Minerva Reef has been an unresolved issue between Fiji and Tonga for quite a while but recently heightened sensitivities about where — exactly— the marine boundary lies between the two countries have allowed the issue to resurface —an apt term because the reef is submerged at high tide— at an unfortunate time and in an unfortunate way.

I have no special knowledge on the issue and have no intention of taking sides, except to say the reef seems closer to 'Ata in Tonga than Ono-i-Lau and Tovata-i-Ra in Fiji. (see map.)  I have lived and worked in both countries, and have warm feelings towards them.   But I'll make one observation and point to an historic precedent for Tonga's propensity for staking its territorial claims. 

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji.  I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Don’t Fear the LTA
Thank you to LTA officers who were in Waiyavi Jinnu Road checking on vehicles recently. Monday being a public holiday many people were going to the beaches, visiting friends or driving around on joy rides and with the festive mood, alcohol can also be on board. 

But it was amusing to see the many illegal carriers do a u-turn when they saw the law up ahead. One mini van, the match box kind, came down Sukanaivalu road towards Jinnu Road and  just as he came over the hill he spotted the road block. The LTA officers waved for him to stop but to our amazement he turned up Jinnu road at top speed. I laughed when I saw the look on the driver’s face. Such is life on the road in Fiji. 


Bits on Ratu Tevita Mara and My Take on the Situation

ONE PICURE IS SAID TO BE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS. Australian readers, Do your TV channels, like ours, show old 2006 film footage of soldiers, Bainimarama in uniform and barbed wire roadblocks with almost every item on Fiji? This is what we have seen on TV1 and TV7, government channels. and the "independent" TV3 when covering the Ratu Tevita affair. I'm sure that any survey of popular opinion would show 95% of New Zealanders think this is what Fiji is like today.
tonight asked Nik Naidu, Rajesh Singh and Peter Williams QC debate whether Ratu Mara should be allowed in NZ. The answers, in order, were no, yes, yes. The story as usual was accompanied by old film footage but this time the broadcasters obviously did not know that the woman they showed with a brace on her neck had been beaten up by Ratu Tevita! As for the story there were "thousands like her", what utter poppycock. No one previously has made such an outrageous claim.

Fiji Responds to Australian NZ Involvement in the Ratu Tevita Affair

The impending arrival of Fijian fugitive Tevita Mara into Australia and the presence of the Tongan Navy boats within Fiji’s EEZ at Minerva Reef demonstrates a concerted effort by the Australian Government in the form of Kevin Rudd/Stephen Smith followed by McCully on their coattails to subvert the path towards the holding of truly democratic elections in Fiji.
It is evident that hitherto Australia and New Zealand foreign policy towards Fiji has been a failure.
The failure of their policy was recently highlighted in a report by the Australian think tank of Lowy Institute. A number of other Australian and New Zealand political commentators, academics and ordinary citizens of these two countries have also attested to this failure.
They all seek and propose engagements, just as the Fijian Government has always wanted.
The recent fleeing from Fiji of Mara as a fugitive without a Fijian passport, t…

Where is there a Hospice for the Terminally Ill? Two Readers Comment

Beggars Belief! has left a new comment on your post "News Regularly Updated":

While proposed developments in the area of Health Service Delivery in Ba, Tamavua and elsewhere are welcome it is very obvious that urgency must be shown with A dedicated Hospice for the Treatment of Terminally Ill patients.

The Tongan Mara and his Aussie Visa

RATU TEVITA SAYS HE'S A TONGAN. Tonga Chronicle: Do you consider yourself under the “protection of the King”? Mara: No, I consider myself Tongan. If I’m traveling from Fiji to here, it’s just like traveling within the Fiji group ... Where I come from ...we are very closely related to Tonga. Not only us, the whole part of the province is related to Tonga in many ways.  [This won't please some of his new admirers who previously said President  Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was not a true Fijian because of his Tongan blood.  That's the way racists think.] 
TONGAN PASSPORT. And now we  have the NBR story he's travelling to Australia on a Tongan passport and NZ won't be fast tracking his application to visit NZ. There's also speculation he may be applying for political asylum in NZ.
KUBUABOLA QUESTIONS AUSTRALIAN INTERVENTION. Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has expressed disappointment that Australia has so quickly issued a visa to Ratu Tevita Mara on Tongan travel d…

Ratu Tevita and the Great Council of Chiefs: Damned by their own words

Ratu Tevita wants the Great Council of Chiefs ( Bose Levu Vakaturaga,BLV) to take over from the Bainimarama government pending a new election. He also seems to want elections conducted under  the racial provisions of the 1997 Constitution, which in turn protected chiefly political and fiscal interests, giving them the authority to appoint the President, and much more. We need to take a closer look at the BLV.

Brij on the River Why

When prompted by a phone call from Radio NZ International, Prof Brij Lal said  it’s a sad development when institutions whose role and responsibility is to investigate human rights abuses, fail to do so.

Mara Beat the Women and ...

... DRITI WAS WORSE. I've enquired further about Ratu Tevita Mara's claim that Bainimarama and his son beat three women (and Pita Waqavonovono)  at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in late 2006.  The enquiries confirm my earlier report that it was Mara and Driti who beat the women, and not Bainimarama.

The women never lodged an official complaint but they told both Human Rights Watch and CEDAW (the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Discrimination Against Women) that they were punched by Mara, and forced to lick boots and to run around a field.  They also said that Pita told them his leg was broken and that he was raped by Driti.   All of the women said Bainimarama was not there!

My efforts to contact the women have not been successful but my understanding is that while they still stand by their story, they will not say so publicly because refuting Ratu Tevita's story would assist the Bainimarama Government that they do not support. I understand their predicament but by n…

Unchiefly Attack on Sharon Smith-Johns

I'd promised myself not to pay much more attention to the Ratu Tevita saga but this time he's well and truly revealed himself by crossing the boundary of good taste and common decency.

Sharon Smith-Johns is the Permanent Secretary of  Information.  This is what he said about her:

CCF Release: Concern about Growing Racism

Racism rears its ugly Head!
Click here to download. It should only take a second or so.

Thumbs Up. What a Good Idea

Ratu Tevita continues to use slick marketing practices to promote his views, but still fails to produce the documentary evidence he promised to support them. What he is giving us is a daily trickle of information, appeals to the emotional and many repeats. He now says he'll release his own Roadmap in a few weeks. Why the wait?  Keeping an audience waiting in anticipation is another marketing technique.

But he is heeding these famous words of Joseph Goebbels: “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.

Phrases like "return to democracy," "my beloved Fiji," "illegal regime,"   "sick Bainimarama,"  "scheming Sayed-Khaiyum."  One can only wonder who  is directing these up market flows.  He was never so erudite before. I wonder also who's paying for all this, and the costs of his …