Showing posts from January 8, 2012

Namosi Mine Questions

The PM has responded to villagers concerns about the proposed Namosi mine project with the following press release.  I do not know whether or not political agitators took advantage of local concerns as the PM infers, but I do know that when the mining of copper in Namosi was first mooted in the 1970s, very serious environmental concerns were raised by environmental experts. As the project was then planned, discharges into the Namosi river would have had serious environmental consequences, not just for inland Namosi, but for the whole of the coral reef ecosytem at the mouth of the river.  The PM needs independent professional advice on this. He is not a geologist.

Prime Minister Bainimarama announced today that he will be taking over responsibility for overseeing talks and negotiations related to the Namosi Joint Venture mining project in Waisoi area. As a result of some people seeking to politicize the project for their…

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.

No More Sick Sheet Scams Please

How many sick sheets will have been issued on the second day of 2012? No problem, life is good and people are entitled to the sick sheet, just don’t over do it like some did last year.

I trust the sick sheet scandal will be a thing of the past with people getting sick sheets for sickness and not a day off. Remember the consequences are just too high for the “patient” and for the doctor, just too high. 

I remember a very long time ago a friend and his friend going to the doctors in Valelevu to get a sick sheet. They decided to change names. Our friend told the doctor he had a severe head ache and got some APC tablets and two days sick sheet. The friend of mine sai…

Interview with Ambassador Winston Thompson (thanks to Coup 4.5)

Coup Four And A Half This blog is a result of the heavy censoring of the media by Fiji's military regime. Thursday, January 12, 2012
Fiji's ambassador to US Winston Thomson defends regime yet again Source: Al Jazeera Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, famously condemned Fiji's first military coup, saying: "Today's events are particularly deplorable as the first military coup against an elected government in the South Pacific."

In the wake of the 1987 coup d'etats, democracy has remained elusive for a post-colonial society deeply divided along racial lines. With further military coups in 2000 and 2006, Suva, Fiji's capital, has become the coup capital of the South Pacific.

The question is whether Fiji can chart a new course and re-establish a stable and enduring democracy. The choice rests with Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the leader of the 2006 coup and current head of government. Without his acquiescence, democracy will not retur…

More on the Public Order Ammendment Decree, and the A-G's Response to the ACTU

New Fiji Rules Put Lid on Freedom is the heading used in a teletext item on Friday. The item continued: "The Fiji military regime is tightneing its grip on power despite lifting emergency regulations only days ago.  The military dictatorship has given itself huge powers under a public order decree which cannot be legally challenged. Under the new rules, anyone who takes part in what is considered a meeting with no permit — even if it is in a private home — faces up to five years in prison."

Whoever wrote this has either not read the new public order decree or is so disposed to criticize Fiji that they have allowed their prior opinions to colour their opinions, and their opinions to intrude on what purports to be a factual report. Although, I confess, the part of the new decree that appears to deny appeals to the court, is a source of concern.

What the overseas media ignores is that most provisions in the recent decree are not new.  Almost all the powers exercisable under the…

A Rebuff to the Critics

There's an old saying: sometimes I sit and think; other times I just sit. And so I may well do in the aftermath of publishing Nazhat Shameem's analysis of the Public Order Decree. For what is the point of thinking when some of those you write for stubbornly refuse to use their own thinking facilities.

No. Naz did not write the decree, as some claimed.  No. She did not express her opinions on the decree or indicate that she agreed with its provisions.   She wrote a completely objective explanation of the decree, and how it compares with earlier legislation,  for the benefit of readers of this blog.  Why?  Because that is what I asked her to do.

The decree was issued last Friday, one day before lifting of the PER. I was reluctant to comment until I had read the decree and obtained a lawyer's interpretation of its provisions. (Such reluctance, I am sorry to say, was not shared by others who rushed in to make their views known, without even having read the decree.) Naz replied…

Peter Williams QC on Fiji

Peter Wiliams QC is a highly respected NZ lawyer who has on several previous occasions defended members of he ousted Qarase government.  He was in Fiji recently on Mere Samisoni's behalf.  
In this interview with Radio ZB he comments on the recently passed Public Order Amendment Decree. Listen to  what he has to say.
My only comments concern his description of the decree as draconian and worse than PER.  If fact,  the provisions he criticises were in PER so the situation may be as bad, but certainly no worse. And as a reader commented on an earlier post, many such provisions exist in other countries (and most were in Fiji's 1969 Public Oder Act). It is not what is in the decree (which caters for worst case terrorist scenarios) but how it is interpreted and applied. And for that, we have to wait and see.  He mislead listeners by saying more than three church members cannot meet without…

Amended Act 'big Leap' from PER, Says Union

Frederica Elbourne in the Fiji Times
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THE amended Public Order Act, although amended and perceived as more restrictive than it was, is still a big leap from the Public Emergency Regulations in the positive direction, the Fiji Teachers Union said yesterday following a meeting between the police and union heads. Union representative Agni Deo Singh said he was hopeful freedom of expression and freedom of association would be fully restored in the face of progress.
Chief operations officer ACP Police Henry Brown confirmed the meeting with members of some 20 unions in Suva. He said the gathering was to discuss processes and procedures of conducting union meetings as governed under the Public Order Act.
He said part of the meeting involved discussions on the shift in authority wherein the Police Commissioner and his divisional commanders have full powers to issue permits and stop union meetings.
Those who attended the meeting which Mr Brown led, include…

An Analysis of the Public Order Act ...and the Lifting of PER

Former Justice Nazhat Shameem provides an objective analysis of legal provisions that are now in place following the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations. It is a lengthy article. Impatient readers may care to scroll down to the last few pages for a summary before reading the article in full. But do read it in full!
An Analysis of the Public Order Act, the Public Order (Amendment) Decree, the Criminal Procedure Decree, the Crimes Decree and the Media Industry Development Decree in relation to media rights, assembly and meeting rights and offences.
Nazhat Shameem

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away?....

From a reader: A brief comment on the lifting of PER and the Amendment to the Public Order Act.
I was hoping that the lifting of the PER would mean that universities in Fiji could carry out their proper functions without further restrictions.  However, my understanding is that if we hold lectures that are advertised to the public, under the new regulations we shall still have to obtain a police permit, but this time only from the local community police post. 

Does any reader know whether this is the case?

News and Comments Monday 9 January 2012

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE AN"EXPERT"?. Former Brigadier Andrew Nikolic, Liberal candidate for Bass, Launceston, Tasmania, an expert on Iraq and Afghanistan, who to my knowledge has no special knowledge on Fiji and has never visited the Republic, says the lifting of PER is "a meaningless gesture, as is the promise of meaningful constitutional consultations."  He states that the "return to democracy will "require a coalescence of opposition voices in Fiji - the church and people like Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudry. In the meantime, Australia should stop giving Bainimarama's illegal regime any recognition or praise for these small steps." Good gracious! Advance, please. Australia fair

says it’s crucial that women be able to participate in the consultation process. “Our concern is that you can have a process at the national level but unless communities at the grassroots level, and we’re talking about rura…