Five Readings for the Weekend

STOPPRESS. INTERVIEW WITH BAINIMARAMA. The transcript will be published tomorow Sunday at 2:15pm NZ time, 1:15pm Fiji time, 4:15 pm EST).

There will be no normal Weekend  Readings this week.  I've temporarily run out of articles from
Allen, and time has not permitted me to write an analytical review of the CCF Survey report.  See below for  • The PM's Statement on Constitutional Consulations • Thc CCF media release on UN Assistance for elections   • Australia's new Foreignh Minister • Victor Lal and Russell Hunters' on Bainimarama's 2003 intended coup • Radio Australia back in Fiji  --- AND if this is not enough, check out the 16 or so comments to my Friday post on the RFMF route march.  Remember, I was writing to discredit the anti-blogs that are often used as reliable sources of information by the mainstream media, and also to show how vulnerable an announced route would make the PM to extremists who wish him ill.  But this is not what most readers took from the article.

Bainimarama's Statement on Constitution Consultations 
Source: MOI

Next week, Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama will announce the procedures for public consultations for the formulation of the new Fijian constitution.

Universal participation by Fijians is unprecedented. We are all Fijians. Race, religion and ethnicity do not divide us. The new constitution will affirm that there will be no discrimination, no ethnic voting one, and establish the democratic principle of person, one vote, one value.

The constitutional process is moving ahead on schedule. Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama’s intention was to publicly outline the process before the end of February.

As is widely know, Fiji suffered a serious national disaster in February. Recovery from the damage caused by the floods was an urgent problem that could not wait. Prime Minister Bainimarama has toured the affected areas again and again make sure Fijians are getting the help they need.

“Momentum in the drive to write our new constitution has not slowed. We have ideas to share, and expect every interested Fijian to share their ideas with us”, the Prime Minister said.



UN Assistance is Timely
CCF Media Release

Accepting the offer from the United Nations to send a Needs Assessment Mission is a timely decision by the Bainimarama Government and should be used to undertake further steps in ensuring there is transparency and full participation in the Constitution Development Process.
Citizens’ Constitutional Forum CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki says the lending hand from the UN should be welcomed in recognizing the need for assistance in preparations for elections in 2014 from the International community as the citizens of Fiji are eager to make an attempt to finding solutions which would ensure sustainable democracy.
 “CCF is hopeful that the NA Mission would prompt the international community and partners to reconsider their current stance and engage in areas where assistance can be rendered to allow free and fair elections and transparency and accountability in the constitution making process,” says Reverend Yabaki.
CCF believes that the Bainimarama government should also consider allowing an Independent observer mission to monitor the process and appoint an independent constitution commission to oversee the constitution drafting and making processes, including the national consultations.
“In efforts to ensure that the processes from here on towards elections in 2014 are participatory and there is acceptance of the envisaged changes, it is vital that there is independent scrutiny of the mechanisms and methodology of the constitutional consultation process, as well as the composition of a Constitution Commission as it would pave the way towards legitimacy and public ownership of the new Constitution.”

New Australian foreign minister to make Asia-Pacific priority      
   
The man appointed as Australia new foreign affairs minister, Bob Carr has already said he'll make the Asia Pacific region his immediate priority.

The former New South Wales Premier was appointed to the role following the resignation of Kevin Rudd, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge against the prime minister.

The Director of the Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, Jenny Haywood-Jones, has told Radio Australia Mr Carr's commitment is good news for the region

"I think the fact that Bob Carr has recognised this very early is a very positive thing, and I think he is very serious about the importance of the Asia Pacific to Australia and he will be making that his absolute first order," he said.

An expert on regional relations says he hopes Australia's commitment to double its aid budget for the Pacific by 2015 will go ahead.

Professor Stephen Howes from the Australian National University was a member of the Independent Panel which reviewed Australia's Aid program last year.

"Kevin Rudd first as prime minister then as foreign minister was a real believer in this doubling of the aid program and with him gone it's not clear that there'll be as much political support for it," he said.

Kevin Rudd had also faced criticism for his focus on Europe at the expense of Australia's nearest neighbours.

But Jenny Haywood-Jones says Kevin Rudd also promised to focus on the region as foreign minister.

"Very clearly, Australia's interests lie in the Asia Pacific in continuing to improve our relations with China, with Japan, with South East Asian Countries and and importantly with the Pacific Islands region," she said.

"I think all these issues would occur naturally to a foreign minister...whether it distinguishes from Kevin Rudd, I'm not sure." 

To view this story on our website, visit: 
http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201203/3443897.htm?desktop

Dear Professor Walsh,
In the interest of informed debate, we attach this for your perusal. Feel free to publish or not as you deem fit.
Regards
Victor Lal and Russell Hunter
Top five army officers had refused to commit treason in 2003 for Bainimarama could keep his job as Fiji’s military chief
By Victor Lal and Russell Hunter

In a recent interview with Grubsheet blogger Graham Davis Fiji’s military commander and self-appointed Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, responding to our articles in the New Zealand Herald, denied calling on his army colonels to carry out coups in 2003 and 2004, and went on to accuse us of having a vendetta against him for making those allegations.
His Grubsheet interview was reproduced in the Fiji Sun and on this site with Crosbie Walsh commenting that we had not any documents available for inspection.
Now, the renegade former army colonel Ratu Ului Mara has published the documents on his own website (http://www.truthforfiji.com/). We can confirm that the documents in our possession, obtained shortly after the 5 December 2006 coup, and long before Mara’s escape to Tonga, is the same set of documents, except our sources are not the same persons or institutions.
The Background 
In February 2004 the Fiji media reported that army commander Bainimarama wanted five top senior military officers recently sent on leave to resign because he was not happy with the lack of support for his leadership from the officers.
“Since we disagreed on a matter of principle, I think the honourable thing they should do is to resign from the military because the military does not want these kind of people in its midst. If we do not have any allegiance from these officers during peace time, then I wonder what kind of a military would this be?” asked Bainimarama.
“What kind of a person changes his stance on any issue within 24 hours? Their stance was really a matter of principle and since they stand by their principle, then I don’t think there’s a place in the military for them. They should look at themselves and if I were in their position I would be ashamed because we do not have a place for these kind of people in the military.”
 When contacted by the local media none of the officers availed themselves for comments and neither did the Laisenia Qarase government, which had come to power following the 2001 elections, and against the wishes of Bainimarama who had installed Qarase in 2000 as interim prime minister following the failed Speight coup.
The “matter of principle” was the commodore’s plan to remove the elected government via a military takeover.
The five officers were Colonel Alfred Tuatoko, Colonel George Kadavulevu, Lt Colonel Samuela Raduva, Lt Colonel Akuila Buadromo, and naval commander Timoci Koroi.
What Bainimarama had not disclosed to the local media, and by extension to the outside world, was that the five officers had refused to stage a coup aimed at preserving Bainimarama’s employment when the elected Qarase government was reluctant to renew his term as commander, due to expire in April the following year.
In December 2003 Bainimarama ordered his senior officers to commence the plan for a coup – not out of any sense of outrage over where the nation was heading. There was no mention of corruption or any other coup trigger. Bainimarama was determined to keep his job. He reckoned, however, without his officer corps, which counseled strongly against such action and finally flatly refused to implement his orders.
We stand by our New Zealand Herald claims and vouch that Ratu Ului Mara’s documents are genuine copies.

Radio Australia back in Fiji

Radio Australia will soon be able to turn their FM transmitters back on in Fiji after two years.
Radio Australia CEO Dr Mike McCluskey has managed to reach an agreement with the government.
He says they will continue to provide independent editorial content.
It is good news and I believe for the people of Fiji this is particularly good news because what we are able to do through Radio Australia is offer quiet diverse content. We focus on the Pacific in our content so there is Pan Pacific content and what we can do by operating the FM transmitters in Suva and Nadi is give really good complementary content about the Pacific and about issues into the local domestic media environment and that is really good news for the people on Fiji.
McCluskey who is currently in Suva met with the government earlier this week.
He says they are also having discussions with Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and there is an opportunity to air Australian Network Television on FBC TV.


Comments

Jealous Chaudhry said…
Croz, is it possible for you to put following story on your blog and allow people to respond?

Jealous Chaudhry should stay out: PM
http://www.fijilive.com/news/2012/03/02/40617.Fijilive

March 02, 2012 11:21:46 PMA+ A-|||
Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says a jealous Fji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry should not interfere in his government's work as he did not think about bringing about a better Fiji during his political career.

Bainimarama made the comment to FijiLive after Chaudhry told Radio New Zealand that the Bainimarama government continues to bluff over its promises to start discussions over a new constitution

"Where was Chaudhry in the last 30 years or so when Fiji had a racist constitution?" he asked.

“Did he raise any concerns then? Now that we are going to put together an equal suffrage constitution, a constitution which is going to bring about some respectability to the Indo-Fijian community he wants to voice his concerns on some issues that is most irrelevant to the final outcome.

“Is he jealous that he has no say and no part to play in the putting together of the most important document for us.

"He should listen to those who have been leading this nation in the past 5 years or so working on reforms and bringing about changes in the hope of bringing about a better Fiji for all races."

By Farzana Nisha
Yea yea said…
Umm...hang on a second Frank. Didn't you appoint Mahen to YOUR government ?

Oh and it is easy to make him go away. Just hold him accountable to the original rules set by YOU. Remember ? No one in the interim government will be able to stand for elections.

So goodbye Mahen. Oh hang on that means goodbye Frank and we know you have no intention of giving up POWER....election or no election.
Johnny-Come-Lately said…
We need Mahen Chaudhry back as PM as in the good old days in 1999. The fundraising for the poor portfolio, secret off-shore bank account detection and anti-tax evasion responsibilities should go to Mahen. He has a lot of experience in these areas and has excelled in them. He was very good at organising fundraising dinners on behalf of the poor and he will take ‘good care’ of the funds, if you know what I mean. The anti-corruption and good governance portfolios should also go to Mahen. He will ensure that members of his government do not use govt funds to renovate their private homes on laughable grounds. Anti-nepotism is another good portfolio for Mahen. He is totally against such activities and will not give his son a plum govt job, or his daughter’s father-in-law a senate seat.
Chaudhry is a beacon of truth, honesty, and selfless service. He will not go cap-in-hand asking other countries to give him a million-plus dollars to re-settle in Australia – not Chaudhry; he will never take advantage of his position in this manner. He is not in it for then money. For him the people always come first. I want the elections ASAP so that I can vote for this upstanding man to be our next PM! And off course, we must have his son Rajen back as his private secretary. The line-up won't be complete without Lekh Ram Vaishnoy as information minister. This is the A-team we have been waiting for!
Inserted 'Insiders' said…
Former Prime Minister Chaudhry does not fight his battles himself. He sets proxies to do the fighting for him. These people are obviously working to an agenda that is set for them.

Look into the boardrooms; look into the Councils and the Governing Bodies of many institutions. The inserted 'insiders' are On the March already.

Will it be A March of Folly? Who are they battling for? Those who deserve 'A Better Deal' - or for themselves, their pockets, their cronies and for more of the historical same?
Anonymous said…
Welcome to Bainimarama election campaign. Can we at least now, Croz, accept that this was his agenda from the beginning? There was no 'persuasion from my colleagues', 'no soundings from family and friends', he was going to stand all along and he decided early on he would fit an agend a around protecting himself. This is the person you so stauchly defend.How cynical.

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