Political Round Up for the Week Ending Friday 21 May

Previously, the Native Land Trust Board, and Ratu Sukuna
This week the parties have given us a little more information on what they intend to do if they form the new government; Felix Anthony had unkind words to say about the Fiji media and I had a word about the ABC's supposedly impartiality in its recent interview with CCF head Rev. Akuila Yabaki; PDP spokeswoman Lydia Tabuya reveals something of her plans and the party's current difficulty in attracting candidates; the PM points to positive signals for the country's economy; FLP's Kini Marawai criticised the appointment of Nazhaat Shameem to Geneva, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola replies, and Rajendra Chaudhry makes an amazing promise from Sydney. 
You couldn't have any more exciting weekend reading!

BLESSINGS FOR RO TEIMUMU. The SODELPA leader has been visiting chiefly villages in the Western Division over the past few weeks to present her isevusevu, seeking the vanua's blessing through the traditional protocol before her campaign drive begins.

SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SODELPA has announced it will reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs if they bercome the next government. Ro Teimumu said the GCC was the pinnacle of Fiji Institutions and it had its special provisions in the 1997 constitution. “We recognise the importance of the GCC in the life of indigenous Fijians because it has Fijians traditional structure right down to urban or rural people.

Comment: Had the GCC kept to its “traditional” role of advising government on Taukei land and title issues, and avoided political involvment favouring only Taukei political parties, it could well have still been in business. The GCC was a body created and funded by government. After the elections would be a good time to reconsider the parameters under which it could be re-established to serve the best interests of all Fijians.

RENT FOR CHIEFS.“Navosavakadua” writing in the blog FijiToday wants to see the old system of rent distributions returned. He argues it wasn't Government's decision to make :even the colonial government consulted the GCC before making changes. And “all previous constitutions restricted the ability of elected governments to make such changes without broad-based support - a two thirds majority of an elected Parliament - and support from the Great Council of Chiefs.

He argued that many iTaukei support a share of land rents going to chiefs [who] can contribute to projects to help their village and their Vanua. If it goes only to individuals it is lost to the community.”

Comment: This is the way the system should have worked, but with the NLTB taking over one-quarter of the rents for administration, and a descending hierarchy of chiefs taking their share, little was left for the people who actually own the land. And many chiefs kept the money for themselves, and spent little on community and village development.

PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY leader Lynda Tabuya says if elected, her focus in parliament will be women’s health issues. She's considering an early childhood education programme in the communities, they can be run their church halls, and this can be done by young mothers. She says she will also work on improving maternal care. “Satellite towns which are no longer towns, but are really big enough to be cities, to de-centralize the maternity hospitals, so that there is better maternal health and better maternal services for women”.

She also acknowledged the PDP was facing problems in the selection of candidates. The party has done its second round of advertising but they have not received many applications. The problem is not a lack of possible candidates but some are “just a little wary moving forward to declare their interest. So we think that the best time to do this and an influx of candidates will really be more realistic closer to the elections.” Lynda said they were relying on membership dues and other donations to raise the $200-250,000 for a good campaign. .

ANTHONY ATTACKS MEDIA. PDP leader Felix Anthony has attacked two unnamed media outlets (but probably the Fiji Sun and the FBCL) who continue to harrass the party about its links with the trade union movement. They should instead ask government “why unions are being singled out and victimized., instead they act in concert in trying to bait FTUC into admitting political affiliation so that the officers can be prosecuted under the draconian decrees. That appears to be the primary goal of these media outlets.”

“The PDP was formed by FTUC in response to the denial of workers’ rights in Fiji and the denial of fundamental Human Rights by this Government. The PDP was formed to reclaim these rights.The Workers and people of Fiji have had enough of the dictatorial rule that we have experienced in the last seven years.”

THE ABC OF AUSSIE MEDIA IMPARTIALITY.The Australians have far more regular news on Fiji than our RNZI, and Fiji hardly exists on NZ mainstream TV and radio. The ABC news, however, is far from impartial. It does serve a useful purpose in providing a platform for dissident Fiji voices, but sadly rarely presents both sides of a story and usually provides too little information to permit listeners to form their own opinions.

On Thursday, ABC's Richard Ewart interviewed CCF head Akuila Yabaki on their ability to engage in voter education. The interview was prefaced with a comment on the restriction on NGOs that receive funding. No mention was made of the inaccuracies in the CCF booklet on the 2013 Constitution that was prepared by foreign consultants and contributed to CCF's exclusion.

Ewing then led Akuila through a number of questions aimed, presumably, in making the restriction look oppressive. Akuila said he was not happy about section 115 of the decree but did not think it was a problem so long as NGOs were politically neutral. "We'll just have to manoeuvre our way through that legislation and see that we do not obviously openly side with any political party, because they could be deemed as campaigning."

Ewart then latched on to the term campaigning: “So again just to clarify so as long as non-government organisation is deemed to be shall we say politically neutral and campaigning on issues rather than for a political party then this funding issue is not necessarily a problem?

YABAKI: I think yes, I think we need to take that fine line and we're doing that, we're not campaigning for a political party, we won't be doing that. Our task is educating the people on ongoing constitutional matters and we will be joining the voter education,campaign. Helping people to know the rules, we'll be offering ourselves and we will be sending out a list of criteria, of what rules you to adhere to if you wish to participate."

I wonder whether Ewing achieved his purpose in this interview and whether anyone listening would be any wiser.

PROJECT BULA VOU AND THE ECONOMY. . Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for Paradise Beverage’s $44 million three-year plan to upgrade its brewing facilities at Walu Bay, the PM congratulated the company, and its majority shareholder Coca-Cola Amital Group on the initiative, before going on to cite improvements in the Fiji economy.

"As you know, we have been focused on fostering an environment that allows both existing companies and new entrepreneurs to benefit from the economic boom underway in Fiji across a whole range of sectors gratifying to see that our policies have started to receive endorsement from some of the biggest names in the financial world." These include: ANZ's growing optismist and its huge increase in lending; Moody's rating that record robust growth and growing business confidence and investment; Standard and Poor’s revisedoutlook from stable to positive; IMF's note of a pickup in economic growth through increased investment and business confidence, and more recently, the Reserve Bank's revised growth forecast for 2014 upwards to 3.8%.

NAZHAT SHAMEEM'S UN GENEVA POSTING. It's par for the course that almost any action taken by government will be criticised. They never get anything right, and if they do, we're told it's an illegal government that has no right to do anything. FLP's Kini Marawai criticised the appointment of Shameem as Fiji's permanent representative to UN in Geneva saying it was a waste of taxpayer's money (Fiji is already represented at the UN in New York) and the job had not been advertised.

Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola replied. On the first count, the Geneva mission will enable Fiji to work with the 32 international organisations and 250 non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, which includethe World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization.and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

On the second account, the post was advertised and from numerous applicants Government considered Nazhaat Shameem the best candidate. Her “wide experience in the civil service, her extensive legal background and expertise make her the most suitable candidate for the type of diplomacy work and advocacy required of Fiji's representative in Geneva," Ratu Inoke said.

BLESSINGS ON THE FLP. In our opening item SODELPA sought the blessings of the vanua. With only Taukeui benefiting from this courtesy, it seems proper to show how their old antagonist, the FLP, is seeking the blessings of its “vanua.” Rajendra Chaudhry, writing from Sydney, says, if elected, the FLP will give unemployed person $50 a week, and the money will come from $2 million donated by Australian supporters. He made no mention of his father contributing any of the undeclared $2 million that has led to his recent conviction. .


Comments

Bill wadely said…
With regard to SODELPA's plan to bring back the GCC. I guess they would have to change the current Constitution to do so. RTK also indicated their plan to challenge the current Constitution saying that it was imposed upon us by the PM and the AG. It seems that under SODELPA we will be engaged in re-inventing the wheel once again...more constitutional wrangling and more political flatulence etc ....Then there is the new Commander RFMF saying in a recent interview that if coup behaviour is to stop then the current Constitution provides the best assurance against such behaviour. Does that mean that by rejecting the current Constitution and bringing back colonially-constructed institutions like the GCC etc, then these a recipe for further coups? Indeed, we do have to vote wisely in September. We will have to choose between stability and security or a future offering more political turmoil.
USP Student said…



USP StudentThursday, May 22, 2014 at 8:28:00 PM GMT+12

Croz, I am a 26 year old university student who has never had the privilege of voting. You take your democratic freedom for granted. My family and many others have suffered under this illegal regime. You have no idea how this regime have affected me and my extended family.

You come to Fiji and see what you want to see. Next time, I will show you around and you can hear from my family and friends.

We need outside help. You continue to support this regime no matter what they come out with.

26 years old and never voted. I have no confidence in the elections process. Fiji is a bitter and divided place now more than ever. There was no necessity. The coup was unlawful. The Court of Appeal had no vested interest. Gates certainly did.

I hope you never lose your freedom in a wonderful democracy such as NZ. Imagine if tomorrow you woke up to a totalitarian state with media suppression. Where the courts are run by an outsider who could not accept the decision of a higher court.

UFDF make no sense. FF do not deserve a mandate. Where is our hope? It certainly does not sit with the AG.
I am enjoying a short stay in Sydney, paid for by my generous relatives here. They are also paying for my Uni and providing food money for my family. I am one of the lucky ones. You are lucky too, Croz, but you take too much for granted. I wish you could stand in my shoes for 1 day.

I awaited you comment on your previous post but it was not forthcoming. I have been posting on a friends computer in Sydney, someone I met in Fiji. I cannot blog in Fiji. Please respond. I know you love Fiji. Do you love its citizens like me. I have two days left to share my thoughts. When I go home I lose that freedom. Please help us. Use your blogsite to assist the people not the PM and the AG.

I leave tomorrow. No more blogging after that.
Fiji Unite said…
I agree with your comments re: GCC and land rents. Good stuff, Croz

I despise Shameem for what she has done behind the scenes but she is an intelligent woman and this role is far more suited to her than dictator legal advisor.

She will do well in this role. She will do Fiji proud. Her role in the coup was in the back wings. There would never be sufficient evidence to prosecute. As I said she is smart.

In saying that, I think she will do Fiji proud. She is an exceptional lawyer and very articulate. I have no real problem with the posting. Her continuation in the role may be a matter for any new government. That is, if they choose to recall her.

As for Chaurdy, daddy dearest is trying to retain power within the FLP by having a relative in the inner circle that he can control. A stay in a criminal prosecution (on the basis of wanting to contest the election) was never going to succeed. The judiciary are corrupt but any uncorrupted judiciary would have made the same decision. I suppose now he can blame the judiciary. His application had no merit. His lawyer, if he had ethics, should never have run an application without merit. Madigan could have made a costs order against him for wasting court time.

Bill wadely said…
What do we need the 'outside help' for? To put back the corrupt and racist regime who had their snouts deep in the feeding trough prior to December 1986? Qarase sought Aussie outside military help to put down the RFMF but John Howard wisely rejected the idea. Just go back to Fiji, register as a voter and vote. Thats the sensible thing to do.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ USP student. It's difficult to see how I can help you. You seem to have your mind made up, saying I have a choice between VB and the A-G OR the people of Fiji. I do not see .see it that way. .The blog will continue to publish pro and critical items on the Bainimarama government, and news, views and comment on the other political parties.

I know some freedoms have been restricted and have mentioned them in the blog,.but this could be the price Fiji will temporarily have to pay if it is ever going to to turn its back on the old, racially divided and very unequal society it was.

Ethnic Fijians in particular have to be given the opportunity to fully participate as individuals in the modern economy. This is what Ratu Sukuna foresaw; what Oscar Spate and Rusiate Nayacakalou wrote about in the 1960s, and what Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi has been hinting at for many years.

The cultural changes needed for participation have been made more difficult by a lack of reciprocity and over-dependence and family, and self-interest by many chiefs; The sort of break with the past (while still holding on to essential values), that Bainimarama is promoting may well be what Fiji needs to allow Taukei, in villages and towns, to develop their own potential and make full use of their resources.

It won't be easy. Success is not guaranteed.The result will not be perfect but the alternative is a return to a very unequal and unstable past and the likelihood of more coups. For the basic cause of coups is structural, something is very wrong in society. Start to fix the wrongs and there will be no need or support for future coups.

I know my argument will not cause you to change your mind but I'd like you to ponder on it to see if you recognize any of the elements I've mentioned. Best wishes in your studies. Remember to repay your relatives when you can, a safe return to Fiji, a Fiji we hope, "The Way it ...Can Be". -- Croz,
Crosbie Walsh said…
@USP Student. Typo Correction. In the sentence "The cultural changes needed for participation have been made more difficult by a lack of reciprocity and over-dependence and family" the word "and" should be "on".
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ Fiji Unite. Let me summarise. You are saying Shameen did wrong but she's the right person for the job, and the judiciary is corrupt but it arrived at the right decision.

There are other possibilities: Shameen did right but is the wrong person for the job; and the judiciary is not corrupt but it made the wrong decision.

Or, the one I prefer, Shameem acted properly and is the right person for the job, and the judiciary is not corrupt and it made the right decision. But we're both in agreement some of the way. .Cheers, Croz .
No immunity for treason said…
Croz
Are you suggesting Shameem acted properly in supporting military coup against a legitimately elected government. And trying to suggested the regime stacked judiciary is not corrupt is absurd. What will you suggest next - the regime constitution is not a sham? The CRW patriots bashed themselves to death? The 'doctrine of necessity' is a fantasy?
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ Fiji Unite. Richard Naidu is on Youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv_cLZ9WchQ with a criticism of the 2013 Constitution as it relates to the independence of the judiciary. His main points concern (1) the methods of appointment for judges and the Chief Justice. He argues this is overly political. and (2) the "fact" that some decrees mentioned in the Bill of Rights cannot be questioned by judges. .Re. (1) Appointments are no more political than in Aust, NZ or the USA and the Judicial Services Commission will be restored after the Elections. Re (2) the decrees will be re-visited after the Elections. You may care also to read what Ms Shameem wrote on how the 1997 and 2013 constitutions compare and what measures are in place to protect the independence of the judiciary. Click on this link. http://crosbiew.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/the-ccf-critique-of-2013-constitution.html?q=2013+constitution

More generally, you can access earlier postings on a topic by entering a keyword in "Search" at the to[ right of the blog page .
Anonymous said…
Am assuming that old state funded pensioner Walsh will be voting again for the NZ right who keep him in money to tell dark fella Fijians what's good for them.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ No Immunity for Treason. . I was simply responding to a reasonable opponent of Government, and expressing my opinion. It could well be that the Coup will provide the "break" Fiji needs to break out of the old way of doing things (as I suggested in my reply to USP Student. Only time will tell). But on Shameem: Do you have any evidence that she supported or in some way was behind the Coup? I know rumours about the unlikely Muslim Mafia have been circulating on the anti-government blogs but rumour is not evidence, and in British —and Fiji—justice a person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.

There's also the notion the punishment should fit the crime and judgments should take circumstances into account. . It would seem from your pseudonym you'd convict George Washington of treason but if you did you'd be supporting British colonialism. .
They will be brought to justice said…
Mr Walsh
It is you (a known supporter of the illegal regime and those behind it) that has raised the concept of a 'Muslim Mafia'? Is there something you know that you should share with those who support democracy and freedom? If Shameem and the others behind the coup are innocent (as you allege) why then did they give themselves immunity in the sham regime constitution?
Bill wadely said…
"...the basic cause of coups is structural, something is very wrong in society. Start to fix the wrongs and there will be no need or support for future coups." (Your words above).

So true. We cannot have a half-baked concept of democracy...like the old days where we had parasitic chiefs feeding off the marginalized peasantry. I am astounded that some i'taukei would accept this idea at their own peril....but that it is all part of the 'tragedy of the commons'.

If we want democracy...then this time around lets accept that democracy has to be "the only game in town"...not some half baked idea based on some elements in society having privileged access to the economy...ala the ideas being espoused by the 'So Help Me God' party.

If she wants a return to the GCC, will she accept a 'Yasayasa VakaRa' as a fourth confederacy?

Or will we i'taukei be continually subject to the whims and prejudices of chiefs from the eastern maritime provinces that British colonialism imposed upon people like me from the West, that the leader of the 'So Help Me God' party represents?
Anonymous said…
Dark fella Fijians do indeed need some education. Can you show me just one other country on this planet where a dictator takes away peoples dignity, their tradition, their culture and their land and they embrace him and vote for him in elections. Quite a unique place this country.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@They will be brought to justice. Thank you for your enquiry. No. I did not raise the idea of a Muslim Mafia. That was the anti-Bainimarama blogs. If you have any doubt, see the number of attacks (and cartoons) on Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. They are decidedly racist. But they did not get even this right. Khaiyum is a Sunni Muslim, and Sunni think Nazhaat Shameem's Ahmaddiya are heretics. I've little doubt both of them support the Bainimarama Govermnment. but that was in 2006-2007, after the coups took place. . Khaiyum and possible Shameem gave advice on the 2013 Constitution but I do not see anything criminal about this. It may need to be tweaked here and there but it is much fairer and more democratic than the 1987 constitution. Please take one step backward and review the stance you have taken.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Pathetic! No wonder you hide behind anonymity. Use your educated nouse,
Anonymous said…
Croz
Can you take a step backwards and tell us what the '1987' constitution is? Was this '1987' constitution also raped by heretics ?
Anonymous said…
Does it get much worse than the racist attacks by Walsh on Fijians, their Christian values and their wonderful culture. His attacks on their respected Chiefs is a disgrace. It is no wonder the illegal regime is distancing themselves from this cowardly fool. Is he that disturbed about the marriage of his daughter?
Anonymous said…
Pathetic! No wonder you hide behind anonymity. Use your educated nouse,.....Interesting reply, Croz. Have you had a nighttime visit from Frank's goons yet? Lost your job for telling the truth? Have you felt the truncheon up your backside? If so you would probably understand why people do not really want to tell their name.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ Narendra and the next two anonymouses ....Narendra, I have removed your comment. It is hearsay and libelous. But you are definitely wrong on two things: Nazhat had a most prestigious law degree from one of the UK's most respected universities, and she does not need anyone to write her speeches. She is one of the most eloquent people I know.
Aonymous 1. Me attackng chiefs, Christianity and Tauikei culture? I praise wise chiefs such as Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi; Fr Barr I would consider a personal friend, and I agree with Nayacalou, Bainimarama and other Taukei that Taukei culture must continue adapt and change. Fossilised culture only helps a few.,
Anonyous 2. Have you? .Try using a pseudonym.
The Roaring Silence said…
You can reply to postings such as the one above but what do you say to a 26 year old Fijian university student who has never exercised the privilege of voting in a democracy?

That's right, you say nothing. You appear to be a very defensive and bitter and twisted individual.

The student has gone back to Fiji now. At least they know where you stand on important issues, such as democratic processes. You stand firmly and squarely with a usurper and his legal cronies.

News travels fast among uni students. They will form an opinion on you. They don't blog in Fiji. They live in FEAR of the repercussions.

You support those who create and perpetuate the fear.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@Roaring silence.. He posted the same letter on three separate postings. I replied at length to one of them. Suggest you check more carefully before you make accusations.
@
Crosbie Walsh said…
Anonymous. Thanks for the correction. It should of course been 1997
No immunity for treason said…
Croz
How much longer are junta supporters like you going to turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses of this illegal regime you drool over. Having a rifle shoved up the back passage is not a nice thing. Jumping on women is not a nice thing. Bashing hog tied men and mauling them with a savage dog is not a nice thing. Is this what you would want for your family? Why are you supporting these treasonous and cowardly evil thugs? no amount of lies by people like you or Qorvis will change the truth of what has happened in Fiji. It is now time to turn the tide on treasonous criminals and their families - as they have done to innocent Fijians.

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