News and Comments Thursday 26 April 2012

QUOTE OF THE WEEK. Unforgiveness and Vengeance Cold, Desolate Places. 
“ The past still weighs heavily on us and many may find it difficult or impossible to forgive and forbear.  And it is true that it cannot be forced, imposed or usurped.  It is the prerogative of the victim and those who have been wronged.  But the state of unforgiveness and vengeance is a cold, desolate place in which no one should linger too long.  I have no mandate to speak for anyone but myself and I do so from compassion for both sides in our schism.”  -- Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi at the January book launch of Notebook on Constitution Making and Reforms by Constitution Commission Chairman Yash Ghai and others.

Bob Carr
CARR TO VISIT. Australian Foreign Minister will be part of the Forum Ministerial Contact Group that will arrive in Fiji next week. He will speak with a wide range of Government and other people in order to test whether they are "authentic in their desire to see a proper constitutional arrangement and robustly free elections." Fiji has previously extended several invitations to Australia and NZ officials to "come, see for yourselves"— and at last it's happening. Let's hope it's the beginning of the thaw.

CORRUPTION: Extortion and Abuse of Office by FNPF Official. Assessors in the Suva High Court were unanimous in recommending the conviction of former Fiji National Provident Fund CEO Olota Rokovunisei of extortion and abuse of office. While employed as the FNPF general manager and chief executive officer in 2006 Rokovunisei had accepted $22,773.18 for performance of his duties, a reward beyond his proper pay and emoluments. On the second count of abuse of office, he had without authority authorised a $20,000 per annum payment as responsibility allowance to the then FNPF deputy general manager Foana Nemani.

CORRUPTION: Fraud by Post Fiji Officials. Two former staff of Post Fiji Limited Matarino Madogo and Kautanagauna Seaqaqa  had earlier been convicted on  two counts of conspiracy to defraud last year. They were each sentenced by Magistrate Usaia Ratuvilito to 18 months imprisonment, in which one month was to be spend in custody with the balance of 17 months suspended. Yesterday the FICAC (Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption)  appealed to the Court that the sentence was inadequate and too lenient. The case will be recalled on May 31.

CORRUPTION:  Abuse of Office by Fiji Ports Officials. The case against former Fiji Ports Corporations Limited chairman Sialeni Vuetaki and his deputy Alipate Naiorosui will be heard on July 26.The two face charges of abuse of office for allegedly approving a $177,000 pre-retirement allowance for former Ports chief executive Herbert Hazelman. Vuetaki and Naiorosui have pleaded not guilty to one count each of abuse of office brought against them by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

RELATIONS WITH 63 UN COUNTRIES. Fiji can now formalise diplomatic relations with all UN member states after Cabinet approval. Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said regardless of differences on specific issues or approaches, Fiji’s approach has always been and will remain that of engagement. He said formalising diplomatic relations with all UN countries is in line with Fiji’s foreign policy philosophy and strategy of engaging in dialogue with all partners in the international community. Cabinet has endorsed diplomatic relations with 63 countries so far this year.

  The PM's current visit to India for a meeting of the International Sugar Organisation (ISO) is expected to bring benefits for agriculture and flood relief measures. The PM has  also visited ten Fijian women who are currently training to become solar engineers.

Over 60 cases of communicable diseases  have been confirmed since the floods in the West, including 7 cases of leptospirosis, 12 of dengue fever and 12 of typhoid, and from January there have been 160 confirmed cases of dengue fever, 117 of typhoid and 236 of leptospirosis. The cases are too dispersed to be defined as epidemics. 

GREATER SUVA HELP FOR SQUATTERS Squatters and informal settlements will benefit from development work planned for areas within the Lami to Suva boundaries. Greater Suva Area Committee Chairman Chandu Umaria says the pro-poor project nincludes plans to dredge rivers  adjacent to squatter and informal settlements to protect them against flood-prone rivers. He says settlements like Wailea, Koronivono, Kalekana, Qauia, River Road, Salim St and Bangladesh are some of the few areas already earmarked for the project. They have been chosen because they urgently need assistance which they themselves can’t afford. [Bangladesh is actually in Nasinu close to the urban area boundary with Nausori. It was until recently included in the Suva Urban Area for census purposes.  I assume the GSAC's authority includes the "new" Nasinu. The geographically unified approach to the Greater City's infrastructure is long overdue and most welcome- Croz]

A NOTE TO "DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR". I do not publish generalised hate attacks on women who have chosen to work alongside the Government.  Try Coup4.5.


Keep chasing corruption said…
Great work by this government in pursuing corruption. It has taken a long time but they appear to be finally making prgress.

They only let themselves down by having aloud the PM to receive his massive payout (if FICAC where truely independant they would pursue this) and also by the continuing shadow that hangs over what the PM and his team pay themselves. In the FNPF case it seems he may have been entitled to the extra cash but did not seek approval and follow process. We don't even the process or amount.

It's not enough to chase down corruption. Government has to apply the same standards to itself. Sadly no evidence of that exists.
Anonymous said…
Good that corruption is being tackled. I'd like to see the former government prosecuted as it was this corruption which was the reason we are told the coup had to happen.
Anonymous said…
Lets wait and see Croz. Judge can ignore the assessors as was the case with Mac Patel. Not that I expect them too on this one. You may not have a job long if you did that....
Anonymous said…
the Fijian military government has extended invitations to all in the past to come and see, but always with conditions...this is a first.
Anonymous said…
could you clarify for me . The cases of corruption that appear in the media, are they cases where the offences have occured during this current interim government or prior when Qarase was in government? Who appointed them?
Anonymous said…
don't you think it's a little rich to be forgiving those who don't accept they have done anything wrong?? and expect amnesty in any case?
The Facts Matter said…
Unlike the Fiji Sun or the current junta Ministry of Information perhaps you should make an effort to get your facts right and not mislead. Mr Carr is coming to Fiji and will speak to a range of people (he and CMAG will decide who). Some of these people may include members of the junta to assess how serious they are in returning Fiji to democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Hope this helps your confusion?
Anonymous said…
I don't think it is compassion that forces people out of a position of hatred and vengeance, I think it is a knowledge that vengeance only destroys those who bear ill will towards others, even when those others have harmed them. Hatred is self destructive.
Croz Walsh said…
@ The facts matter...
Thank you for the correction but do you need to be so agressive?
A polite correction was all that was needed.
Anonymous #3 (why don't you use a pseudonym?) I don't think the invitation was by Government, and the only conditions on the earlier invitations was that they would consult widely and not arrive with their minds already made up.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous #4 (please use a pseudonym)... One of the offences was committed before the 2006 Coup, and I think the other two afterwards.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
@ Croz and need to be aggressive...

Sadly, there are now numerous persons who feel aggrieved be it post-1987, post-2000 or post-2006. To say nothing at all about April 2009? Many of us have lost a whole heap of investment in Fiji (both in money and precious time). Who is about to be recompensed for the lost years of their life? Or the lost years that might have been spent with their grand-children? In the meantime, the 'hysters and the shysters' who have stolen so much of our assets are only now being brought fully to account. Their sentence has yet to be pronounced. It had better be a long one! The wretched woman who has run off to New Zealand had better know that we are watching and waiting. She will never be free of our searching observation.

Was it worth it? Only time will tell. But, not unlike Charles Taylor (former President of Liberia) whose sentencing should come through shortly also from The Hague, the vindication we shall feel when these unsavoury and unwholesome people are led away for a very long time, will be almost overwhelming.

Welcome, Mr Carr! We are, at long last, Getting There! Lots more to come! Please give us a friendly hand: after seven long years, we could do with one.
Holed Up in an Island Hideout said…
Delusions of Grandeur deserves a sharp shove!Holed up in some island Hideout no doubt?
Anonymous said…

This man is the fall guy.

The big fish in the Chair got away.
SOE said…
Guilty of Aiding and Abetting War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity:

Sexual Slavery
The use of children under 15 years as soldiers
Mutiliation ... and more

Former President of Liberia Charles Taylor is found guilty of Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes at the International Criminal Court at The Hague

Sentencing Hearing 16 May 2012

The first time a former Head of State is found guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity since the Nuremburg Trials of 1946.

Do we recall the motley band of young boys drilled in the grounds of Parliament in July 2000, many of them shoeless? To what purpose? While hostages were held for 56 days.
Scott said…
Into the reasons for Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr's forthcoming visit to Fiji should be included his well-known ties with the USA's leading commercial and political figures. Carr recently visited Washington and met with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. It seems likely that the two discussed differences between US, Australian and New Zealand policies toward Fiji.
Don't forget too that the Australian Ambassador to the USA is Kim `Bomber' Beazley, a fellow member of the ALP right along with Carr. Beazley was Minister for Defence in 1987 and will be remembered for his willingness to invoke a military response to Rabuka's coup.
It seems likely that Carr's visit will be constructed so as to save face for Australia when a policy shift occurs. Don't rule out a Burmese solution: Australia will lift some sanctions but will remain vigilant for signs of backsliding etc etc. In other words, soft glove neo-imperialism to put Fijian and any broader Melanesian nationalism back in its minor place.
Anonymous said…
forgive? oh spare me. A regime that has sustained itself on fear, intimidation, coersion, brutality, threats, nepotism, cronyism, abuse and any lack of accountability at all? I will forgive after the sentencing.I am not inclined to be lectured by anyone who hasn't lived it.
Anonymous said…
@anonymous 1:23
Which regime in Fiji has NOT done all these things? Cronyism and corruption have been part of all governments in Fiji for more than 50 years. Add to that racism and dishonesty, and we have a summary of Fiji's history! These things certainly did not commence in 2006!
Cicero said…
"Aiding and abetting"? An AIDE MEMOIRE:

Fascinating term. Going back to 1460 Old French and meaning...."encouragement of an offence".

Now that is a legal term with a very wide application. So wide, in fact, that its reach should be all the way back to 1987, encompassing most things in-between.

"Legal and general definition. Now only in a bad sense".

Handy things, dictionaries? Especially when the definitions are so precise.
No need for a straw...! said…
@ Scott

Perhaps we should recall at this time, the US Ambassador appointed to Fiji by President Bill Clinton in 1995, Don Gevirtz. It was his task to steer Fiji towards acceptance of the 1997 Constitution. It might be seemly now that US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, bring her considerable diplomatic skills towards hastening a tentative climate of engagement (as in Burma) which will lessen the burden upon the Fijian people of seven years of ceaseless pressure and manipulation. We are all tired now; most especially those who have undergone three successive flood events in the Western Division of Fiji. Yet still we are daily burdened by demands for levies and cash from all manner of government agencies. There is no end to their gratuitous harassment.

Peel Off! And give us all a well-earned break! And we had better not hear of the imposition of more wage increases unilaterally. For the camel's back is well and truly broken: no need for a straw!
Why? said…
Croz, why would you run a piece on the weekend from 'Guy Threlfall", a gutless, faceless nobody? You won't allow anonymous postings in the comments section but will allow anonymous contributors in the main news section. Can't understand it.

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