News and Comments Monday 26 March 2012

EXTRACT FROM RATU TEVITA'S LETTER to Prof Yash Ghai appealing to him NOT to chair the Constitution Commission.
The Council, as its name implies, is dedicated to the restoration of democracy in Fiji. It is a very widely based organisation having amongst its stakeholders the two major political parties who garnered the overwhelming majority of votes cast in the last democratic election held in Fiji, the Methodist Church of Fiji, the Fiji trade union movement, and the Fiji Democracy Movements worldwide.        Are the SDL, FLP and Methodist Church really stakeholders  in his Council for a Democratic Fiji or is he simply assuming their support?  And if he is speaking for them, did they consult their members?

NAITASIRI,  IO SAKA, SEQA SAKA. . Naitasiri has joined other provinces in accepting the Constitution process but their chiefs have asked Bainimara to return to the old unequal method in the distribution of land rent moneys.

TIKOITONGA ACCUSES RATU NAIQAMA.  Military Land Force Commander Col.Mosese Tikoitoga has accused the Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu of irresponsible behaviour and an abuse of chiefly power in taking no steps to end the mutiny at the Vaturekuka military camp in Labasa in 2000 which resulted in the death of some soldiers and the imprisonment of others. Most of the rebels were from Cakaudrove.

METHODIST CHURCH STANDS BY CHIEFS. The Methodist Church stands by the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), saying national consultation should have been held before it was abolished. Church general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said it was a sad day for those of iTaukei heritage to see a national institution abolished in such a manner. While admitting the GCC had had problems, he said the GCC had performed its duties admirably during its tenure and all "presidents chosen by the GCC all stood the test of time and proved themselves when they held that office."

. Fiji's Labour Party will be electing its new president in July. Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said this was decided at their meeting today. Currently the party has three vice presidents - Tom Ricketts, Sachida Sharma and Lavenia Padarath. Chaudhry said they had a good discussion about the constitution consultation process at the meeting. The FLP has called for the  constitutional roadmap "to be replaced by one that is truly independent and inclusive", noting that Government did not consult with any political party or civil society organizations in announcing its plan.  He also said "all decrees and policies that impede freedom of assembly, association, expression and movement must be removed."

MSG SUMMIT LEADERS will meet in Suva  this week to discuss issues of common interest that have been discussed by the different sub-committees. MSG Secretariat media officer Lora Napuati confirmed Leaders attending will include Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, spokesperson of the FLNKS Victor Tutugoro, PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Ano Pala,  Prime Minister of Vanuatu Sato Kilman and Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Darcy Lilo.

Plans to have a Joint Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) capitals airline connection was discussed at the Senior Officials Meeting on Friday. Foreign Ministers will discuss this and other issues on Monday.

BAINIMARAMA ON MSG. The PM waxed eloquently about the MSG last week. “We are, after all, family and it is important for us to gather and rejuvenate our ties. There are no other countries in the world like ours.” The PM noted that under Fiji’s chairmanship of the MSG, significant decisions taken at the Leaders Summit held last year included the establishment of the Regional Police Academy (RPA) and the establishment of the MSG Formed Police Unit (FPU). Other decisions include the endorsement of the Report of 1st MSG Mission to New Caledonia that took place from June 8-11, 2010 with the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation (C24) and formally recognising the work of the MSG in the decolonisation process in New Caledonia.

COURT WILL HEAR CASE. High Court Judge, Justice Angela Wati has ruled that the Court will hear the case of the 63 sacked Public Works Department workers claiming that they were unfairly dismissed. The ruling comes after issues were raised in court earlier in the month whether she could hear the case as some decrees clearly state that some matters cannot be challenged in any court or tribunal.



yea yea said…
I would have thought Prof Ghai would have been exactly the person you want in the job if you truely want democracy returned to Fiji. Read his interview with C4.5.

I can't say the same for Col Tikoitoga. His almost daily comments are a real worry.

“If we are to champion democracy then we cannot have a non-democratic (not elected) body commenting on government policies,” is his latest offering. If you follow this logic then the military should today stop commenting on these issues. Last time I checked they are a non-democratic body. Better still they could start removing themelves from the running of government and the public service.

The Col earlier said the military would have no special role in the constitution process yet every day he dictates another military position on it.
Correcting Croz's Assumptions said…
Interesting you should try and belittle the support of CFDF and make no comment on the broken promises and failed targets that litter Bainimarama’s time as a dictator highlighted in the letter to Yash Ghai from the CFDF.

Don’t you think the 2 most senior politicians would not distance themselves from the CFDF if they felt they were being incorrectly portrayed. We have seen statements in the past few days from both Chaudhry and Qarase correcting misleading statements from others, notably Bainimarama, Tikoitoga, Khaiyum and Davis. They would be just as capable of correcting the CFDF.

As for the main parties consulting their members. How do you suggest they do that? They have only been allowed to conduct 1 small meeting each. I am sure the leaders would love to consult their members on many issues but it has been a little difficult trying to operate a political party in a dictatorship.

Chaudhry, Qarase and the Methodist Church have kept silent so I assume Tevita Mara is correct and CFDF has their support. If we take the 2006 voting figures that is between 70-80% of the adult population of Fiji.
Ode to Fiji Labour Party leader said…
Yippeee! Fiji Labour Party will elect president. Of the three vice-presidents, two are 'yes-people' and one Sachida Sharma is Mahen's dear in-law, who mahen gave a senate seat after removing the bonafide holder of the seat, a Labout Party Member.

Looks like Mahen "Champion of the poor" Chaudhry will be returned as president. Or maybe we need young blood, so his pyara beta (beloved son) can take Presidency. As was after all pm's mahen's secretary.

Mahen takes the cake when it comes to keeping it the family. what a principled man. Build a career on anti-corruption/nepotism. bravely took on previous governments. Shouted from the rooftops about abuse of office. Then, as PM uses tax payer money to renovate private home. wow!

accused governments of being fat cats. Does having $2m in secret bank account raised in the name of poor constitute being a fat cat? Not in mahen's case, only others are fat cats.

Jai Ho Mahen!
on the sidelines of viti levu said…
More concerning comments from the PM today as he dismissed calls for the Fiji constitution to address the role of the country’s military.
The interim government says all Fiji people will have a voice in consultations on the new constitution which are due to get underway in July and there have been calls for the military’s constitutional role to be discussed.
Commodore Bainimarama was asked by Auckland-based Radio Tarana what he thought of such calls.
“The call that’s coming from people to define the military’s role are people that do not like what the military has done over the last ten years in trying to bring about some respectability and the democracy that we have. The call of Fiji’s military is to first and foremost protect and serve the people of Fiji.”
Commodore Frank Bainimarama says that since 1987 the military has had to change the way it does business and its role is no longer specifically reserved for peacekeeping duties.
Actually I would argue peace keeping is exactly what the military should do !

The PM must accept

1. The military are not perfect and have played both positive and negative roles in Fiji’s history.

2. There will always be people who disagreed with his actions in 2006.

3. Disagreement with the PM does not make an argument or view invalid.

4. Now (constitutional talks) is exactly the time to be discussing the military’s future role.

5. If the new constitution is to stop future coups (as promised by the PM) then in fact it must address the role of the military (given their direct and indirect roles in all coups).

6. Attempts to keep the military somehow as a ultimate power, above the law and government (as they see themselves now) are likely to be viewed as not allowing a free and fair election.
Anonymous said…
“I would like to assure Mr Chaudhry there is no restriction on assembly, there is a public order act that was in existence well before 2006 and it continues to be in existence the PER came in for a while and was a very restrictive document and that was taken out and now everybody has freedom of assembly but freedom with responsibility and the responsibility has to be monitored and the monitoring is done by agencies for law and order.” - Colonel Tikoitoga

What utter and complete rubbish and he knows it.

I have not heard a word of truth or sense from Colonel Tikoitoga since he started his media career about two weeks back. No we understand why government had to hire a expat like Sharon.
Anonymous said…
How have the MSG gone at getting Fiji back into the Pacific Islands Forum ?

Also interested to know the new PNG leaders view on coups given he obviously doesn't like them when they are removing him but is ok with them when they are removing someone else.
right, wrong side said…
Of course before he "left Fiji" Mara was a trusted member of the military. As part of Franks team he was untouchable. it was only when he fell out with Frank that suddenly he found himself in trouble. Look at Mahen. He too was protected and all wrong overlooked until he fell out. Franks message is "with me or against me" and all with him are considerd above the law. Simple as that.
Anonymous said…

I know you are not a fan of Narsey but he has published another thought provoking piece.

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