fiji UNCENSORED

June 8, 2009

Former Commonwealth SG disappointed with Bainimarama abandoning democracy

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 10:29
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NEWS

FORMER Commonwealth secretary-general Sir Don McKinnon says he is disappointed that Voreqe Bainimarama is moving away from democracy in Fiji.

Sir Don, who described Bainimarama as a complex workaholic who came out of the navy to command Fiji’s military forces, said Fiji’s regime leader had felt let down by the Qarase Government.

“Bainimarama believes there is no other way out of the current situation than to delay elections but it is critical to take people with you,” he told TVNZ.

Sir Don said Bainimarama had to be more positive about taking the rest of Fiji with him because if the public did not get a say in Fiji’s future, they could “get quite agitated”.

“Democracy comes in many forms [but] the most important thing is for the people to have a say.” – fiji uncensored

June 1, 2009

Australia’s Uniting Church stands by Fiji brethren

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 19:50
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PRESS RELEASE

THE Uniting Church in Australia has today expressed grave concern for its partner church, the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma.

Uniting Church president, Rev Gregor Henderson, said he is distressed that the Fijian military and police have been intimidating Methodist Church ministers, and have announced the Government will prohibit the church from holding its annual conference in August.

“The Uniting Church in Australia stands in solidarity with the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma and finds the Government banning of a church conference entirely unacceptable,” Rev Henderson said.

“The ban represents a major interference of the state in the operations of the church and seriously compromises the principle of freedom of religion, which was enshrined in the 1997 Constitution of Fiji.”

The Uniting Church has today written to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and to its 11 Pacific church partners inviting them to make representation to the Fijian Government to lift the ban on the Methodist annual conference.

Rev. Dr Kerry Enright, national director UnitingWorld, said the Methodist Church was concerned for the economic hardship, increasing poverty and loss of freedoms currently being experienced by Fijians, and was trying to make a positive contribution to the future of the nation.

“We are in regular communication with the Methodist Church leadership who are committed to a peaceful solution and have been unrelenting in their attempts to dialogue with the Government.

The attitude and actions by the Fijian gGvernment towards the Methodist Church are being experienced by many other institutions including the media, non-government organisations, the Judiciary and lawyers.

“We plead with the Fiji Government to immediately restore basic human rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of the press,” Rev Enright said.

“In the interests of peace and justice, the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma must be allowed to hold its annual meeting without government interference.”

The Methodist Church is the largest Fijian denomination with 36 per cent  of the Fijian population and 62 per cent of the total Christian community. – fiji uncensored

May 27, 2009

Key says NZ ready to help Fiji

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 16:07
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NEWS

NEW Zealand Prime Minister John Key says his government is prepared to help Fiji with people, resources and finances if the country makes a genuine effort to return to democracy.

He made the comments in a speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, based at Victoria University of Wellington.

Key also said New Zealand’s foreign policy in the region had been shaped by a need for a secure, stable and prosperous Pacific.

“We have devoted considerable time and energy to growing our relations with the Pacific.

“Fiji is clearly a focus, concentrating on how to help that country break out of its ‘coup cycle’ and find its way to restoring democracy.”

Key said in the clear absence of any forward movement from the Fiji regime, the Pacific Islands Forum had little alternative but to suspend Fiji.

“Recent months have in fact seen a further deterioration in the conditions in Fiji, with the abrogation of the Constitution, the muzzling and intimidation of the press, suspension of the judiciary, with a handful of judges only just appointed in recent days, and a clampdown on the legal professions.”

He said Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s recent comment that there could be no elections before 2014, a full eight years after the coup, was unacceptable.

“We and other forum members have said as much. But the Fiji regime only listens to those telling it what it wants to hear – whether inside Fiji, although this is an ever decreasing pool – or outside.

“I have spoken before about Bainimarama handing the Fiji people a passport to poverty, where through the regime’s actions and omissions it is patently failing to cope with the economic challenges buffeting the country.

“But we do stand ready to help, with people, resources, finance – when Fiji shows it is genuinely prepared to move in the right direction.”

Key said the tragedy of the situation in Fiji was also that it had diverted attention away from the other huge challenges confronting the region, particularly for economic development.

“Most Pacific Island countries are not well-positioned to weather the economic down-turn. Australia and New Zealand share a special responsibility to assist our regional neighbours through these troubled times.

“In particular, we are undertaking a joint study into the effects of the global economic crisis on the Pacific region which will be completed prior to the Cairns Pacific Islands Forum in August.” – fiji uncensored

Democracy movement open letter to forum paints bleak picture for regime

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 13:30
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LETTER

Hon. Toke Talagi MP
Chair Pacific Islands Forum
Forum Secretariat
Private Mail Bag
SUVA

Dear Honourable Talagi,

Uniform Travel Ban on Members and Supporters of Bainimarama’s Illegal Government

I refer to you statement as contained in the Forum Secretariat press release of the 2nd of May 2009 and also express my sorrow and disappointment at the suspension of my beloved country from the Pacific Islands Forum.

We refute claims by the illegal and totalitarian Bainimarama regime, that the rest of the forum island states were bullied by Australia and New Zealand into unanimously approving this stand. This outrageous claim patronises and insults the intellectual capability of Pacific Forum leaders, calling into question their ability to make their own decision and their countries sovereignty as independent states.

The blame lies squarely with Bainimarama and his non-performing advisers for their total rejection of, as you mentioned, (sic) fundamental forum obligations and core principles, as outlined in the Biketawa Declaration and other key guiding documents of the forum.

Commodore Bainimarama was given ample opportunity and time to adhere to the 1st of May deadline, yet failed to put in place a set timetable/roadmap to general election. Instead he thumped his nose at the forum and the global community as judged by the events that unfolded on Good Friday, April 10 2009.

Therefore, on behalf of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, I call upon the Pacific Islands Forum and the leaders of its member states not to ease up but to increase pressure and actions on the Bainimarama dictatorship government illegally running Fiji today.

In particular, the Movement calls upon Pacific Islands Forum leaders to adopt the smart travel ban currently enforced by Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. The ban is based on a list of names of people and their family that have been blacklisted for participating, aiding and abetting the illegal overthrow of the democratically elected SDL Party-led Coalition Government, on the 5th of December 2006, and for their continued support of Commodore Bainimarama’s leadership till today.

We have observed that the travel ban is one of the most effective smart sanction ever imposed on the Bainimarama regime. It has effectively curbed the regime’s ability to appoint talented professional people who would have propped up their administration and do their illegal bidding for them.

The level of hurt the travel ban has had on the Bainimarama regime could be gauged by their drastic action of expelling two New Zealand high Commissioners to Fiji since the 2006 Coup.

We also call upon the Pacific islands Forum to join the chorus of those calling for the United Nations to return all members of the Fiji military and police forces serving as UN peacekeepers in trouble spots around the world.

I wish to draw your attention to the fact that on the eve of the military coup in 2006, then UN Secretary General Kofi Anand had warned Commodore Bainimarama that he would return all Fijian peacekeepers serving in the UN if Bainimarama went ahead with his planned military putsch.

The Movement is of the view that the continued deployment of Fijian soldiers as UN Peacekeepers is one of the worse case of hypocrisy by the United Nations. The UN’s non action continuous to place some form of legitimacy to the actions of Commodore Bainimarama since December 2006.

While the Fiji military has maimed, tortured and even killed the very people they were supposed to be protecting, the United Nations have then taken the very same soldiers and deploy them to trouble spots across the world as highly paid peacekeepers.

The movement believe that returning Fijian soldiers home from UN deployment will result in soldiers having second thoughts about their allegiance and loyalty to Bainimarama and his core ring of treasonous officer corp. When the hip pocket is hit hard, the soldiers will start to wonder whether loyalty to Bainimarama is all worth it in the long run.

I now wish to draw your attention to what has transpired since the Fiji Appeal Court decision in the case of Qarase and Others v Bainimarama and Others on April 9, 2009. Our observation is that the situation have taken a turn for the worse with:

  1. The purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution;
  2. The wholesale sacking of over 1500 civil servants without prior warning; 
  3. The devaluation of the Fiji Dollar by 20 per cent;
  4. The non existence of the Judiciary since the 20th of April;
  5.  The set-up of a Magistrates Court stacked with coup sympathisers;
  6. The claimed destruction and shredding of records in the court registry by a newly appointed military lawyer as the Court Registrar;
  7. The deployment of military officers in all media newsrooms to censor any news item they perceive as harmful to the regime;
  8. The systematic arrest and detainment without charge of people deemed enemies of the state under a very draconian Emergency Security Decree; and
  9. The dangerous collision course the military and the Methodist Church are headed given the recent detainment and release of a senior church official and the plan to ban the annual church conference as well as require that religious groups apply for permit to host religious gatherings and church service.

The Fiji cconomy is on a freefall and there are very strong rumours of another devaluation. The cane farmers are not harvesting their sugarcane while the European Union have again cancelled their planned aid for the sugar industry this year.

The other major foreign exchange earner, tourism, continuously fail to hit optimum occupancy level, even after the devaluation of the dollar. Then last week, Air Pacific announced it is experiencing major liquidity problem while the other major airline, Air Fiji has closed its doors indefinitely.

These are all alarm bells, indicating that Fiji is headed for a chaotic future with untold social and economic suffering for her people, and the Bainimarama dictatorship is largely to be blamed because of all their ill-conceived and thought out decisions and policies.

I am sure that you will agree with me that the forum needs to continue to take the lead role and immediately increase the pressure applied on the regime to force it onto the negotiation table.

I wish to end by reiterating the movement’s call for the Bainimarama regime to accept that the people of Fiji and their representatives must be part of the process of governing Fiji, that reforms proposed by Bainimarama cannot be achieved through threats and force, that criminal actions such as coups and treasonous actions cannot strengthen the rule of law, that accountability cannot be strengthened by arbitrary rule and that the longer they delay a general election, the worse Fiji’s problem will get.

I have the honour to be yours sincerely,

Usaia P. Waqatairewa,
President

May 24, 2009

Conman Foster says Bainimarama ‘honest’

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 20:17
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NEWS

CONVICTED conman Peter Foster has told an Australian national radio program that Voreqe Bainimarama is misunderstood, has terrible PR and is a very honest man.

He also made a prejudiced comment, likening alleged rigging of the 2006 elections to Fijians “stealing coconuts”.

Foster was released from an Australian jail on May 1 after serving part of a four-and-a-half year sentence for money laundering. He was found guilty in 2007 of fraudulently obtaining almost $500,000 from the Bank of the Federated States of Micronesia.

He had claimed the money was for a resort he was building in Fiji but instead used the money to repay his credit card debt and pay rent on his girlfriend’s home.

Foster said he was “a person who goes from one adventure to another” and told ABC radio’s Sunday Profile program that he became involved with Fiji’s political process between 2001 and 2007 because he alleged the former Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party government was corrupt.

He provided the Fiji Labour Party with over $1 million and secretly filmed government officials on behalf of Fiji military intelligence.

“I worked for Fiji military intelligence and I wore listening devices and I had these tiny little video cameras on me and I videotaped three top people who said the [2006] elections were rigged,” Foster said.

“I was very concerned about the previous [Qarase] government, I was concerned about the Howard government, how they facilitated the rigging of the 2006 elections, and with police assistance the ballot boxes were rigged and the elections were rigged.”

He said Bainimarama then came along and “I believe for all the right reasons has removed a very corrupt, very dangerous government”.

“[Bainimarama] is a very honest man and that’s the thing that people are failing to realise. At the height of the George Speight coup in 2000, he was offered the prime ministership and he knocked it back.

“He was nearly killed, you’ve got to understand that the people that were there previously were the most horrific, unattractive, dishonest bunch of politicians you could ever come across.”

Foster said he found it insidious that John Howard’s government turned a blind eye to alleged corruption in Laisenia Qarase’s government and rigging of the elections, and then tried to help Qarase by placing three warships inside Fiji waters.

“Now while the silly old United Nations inspectors are being led around like only Fijians can lead the white man around, whilst they’re over looking in one constituency at the ballot boxes, you know, the Fijians, like stealing coconuts, are changing it at the other end,” he said of the alleged rigging process.

Foster said he understood that you could not remove a democratically elected government through a military coup. “However, there isn’t a thinking man, woman or child in the world today who wouldn’t understand if the military regime in Zimbabwe had stood up and got rid of Mugabe.”

Foster is best remembered internationally for masterminding a slimming tea scam in the 1980s and for Cheriegate, when he helped former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife to buy two cut-price flats in 2002. – fiji uncensored

May 21, 2009

Regime still open to talks with Aust, NZ

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 15:58
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NEWS

INTERIM Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama is still willing to hold talks with Kevin Rudd and John Key about Fiji’s way forward.

Ministry of Information’s permanent secretary and army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni yesterday said that Commodore Bainimarama’s was still open to meetings with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts. But Leweni said it was up to the two countries to move quickly if they wanted to meet as Fiji was moving on and Commodore Bainimarama would not be waiting for them.

“As the PM said in his earlier interview with Graham Davis and again today, he maintains he is ready to meet Kevin Rudd and John Key for talks,” he told the Fiji SUN.

Lt-Col Leweni reiterated the stand after Tongan Prime Minister Dr Feleti Seveti called on Pacific countries to support Fiji.

In a joint press conference with Mr Key in Wellington on Tuesday, Dr Seveti called for support as the country finds a pathway to democracy. “We do not know why the change of heart but our PM wants to have talks with Rudd and Key.”

He said decision by the Pacific Forum to suspend Fiji and now the call made by Dr Seveti is not going to change anything.

“It must be clear that with or without the Pacific Forum, Fiji is going to forge ahead with its road map set out by the charter.”

Lt-Col Leweni said despite the suspension and the stand Australia and New Zealand have taken, the country was able to find new friends who understood Fiji’s situation.

“We’ve been able to have friends from Asian countries who understand our situation and have come in to help.” – fiji uncensored

May 20, 2009

Bainimarama hopeful of international support

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 13:56
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NEWS

COMMODORE Voreqe Bainimarama has told a meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific ministers he remains hopeful that Fiji’s trading and development partners will appreciate his Government’s efforts to bring genuine democracy to the country.

In a statement  to the 11th Special ACP Ministerial Conference on Sugar in Georgetown, Guyana, Bainimarama said his regime was committed to taking Fiji towards sustainable peace, stability and prosperity and that Fiji had made considerable progress on this in 2007 and 2008.

“The National Council for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) finalised the People’s Charter on the basis of feedback received from the people. In mid-December ’08, the People’s Charter was formally submitted to the President.

“His Excellency has subsequently endorsed the People’s Charter and directed the Government to implement it.”

Bainimarama said like many other ACP sugar supplying countries, Fiji’s geographical constraints and size severely affected its ability to enjoy a prolonged and stable level of economic development, without being affected by natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, droughts and earthquakes.

Nevertheless, he said Fiji had been also able to consolidate public finances by taking drastic action.

“Like everyone else, Fiji now has to contend with the unprecedented global financial crisis.

“We sincerely hope that our longstanding trading and development partners will appreciate my Government’s efforts to bring about genuine change to ensure sustainable peace, stability and democracy in our country.” – fiji uncensored

May 18, 2009

His way or the highway

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 22:01
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READER’S VIEW

by viti boy

PEOPLE who are still advocating dialogue with Frank Bainimarama and his regime betray an acute lack of understanding of the man and his modus operandi.

They simply cannot comprehend that the coup leader has no time and interest in debating, let alone discussing the merits and demerits of his vision for the island nation.

Unless you come prepared to listen and then accept Bainimarama’s vision for Fiji, then you are just wasting his time, and yours.

For what Bainimarama wants to achieve is revolutionary in nature and scope. He wants to take race out of politics.

No country in the world has ever succeeded in doing it, but Bainimarama can’t be
persuaded otherwise.  So unless you have something to add or contribute into achieving this ultimate aim of his, you are of no use to the man.

Isoa Gavidi learnt this the hard way. Grabbed from his comfortable home in Colo-i-Suva where he was enjoying his retirement, the Bau chief thought he would be able to deliver what Ross Ligairi and Isikeli Mataitoga – his predecessors – were not able to; which was to get “number one” to listen to good and correct advice.

More recently, Taina Tagicakibau was the latest victim. Very soon Parmesh Chand too will join them.

Add to that names of fine soldiers who have been made to pay for their integrity and their honesty to state what needs to be stated, and not what the “boss” simply wants to hear.

Names like Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini, Colonel Alfred Tuatoko, Colonel George Kadavulevu,  Colonel Etueni Caucau, Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, and Colonel Meli Saubulinayau come to mind.

Out of the military and in addition to Gavidi, Tagicakibau and soon Chand, one can add others who once used to his satisfaction, were thrown on the wayside.

These include chiefs like Ratu Tu’akitau Cokanauto, Ratu Joe Nawalowalo  of Kadavu, Ratu Filimoni Ralogaivau of Bua and the Tui Macuata himself, Ratu Aisea Katonivere.

Unless your advice is in conformity with Bainimarama’s ultimate aim, that of producing a race-less, chief-less Fiji, then you are to him, as good as dead.

So people who keep harping on about the need for dialogue, to stay engage with Bainimarama and his regime are missing the point.

Fiji’s military commander is on a crusade to revolutionise the country. Anything which  stands in the way – even sitting down at a conference table for dialogue – is to him an obstacle that needs to be removed and/or neutralised.

Really for this man, it is his way, or the highway. – fiji uncensored

  • The views expressed in this article do not not necessarily represent the views of Fiji Uncensored. Opinion pieces are welcome, no matter which side of the fence you are on. Email fijiuncensored@hush.com

May 17, 2009

Maths and Methodists

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 11:28
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OPINION

TODAY we will attempt to demonstrate why statistics are important and why the military regime hopes people of Fiji do not realise this.

Before we get into our lesson, contrast the headline of two regime press releases: May 15, 2009: Comply with regulations – Leweni; and a day later: Government appeals to public to keep peace.

The former a directive “You must do as I say!”, the latter placatory “Hey, brother, have another cup of tea with strong milk. Don’t worry, I’m paying.”

Is this recognition of the Methodist Church’s power, (and here comes the first lesson in numbers) its ability to summon 290,000 people? And if the church calls 290,000 people, okay 145,000 if we conservatively estimate that half are above the age of 18, what is the regime going to do?

Arrest them all? Slaughter them?

If they are arrested, where will they be held and who will guard them? The sheer numbers will overwhelm the system.

Overall, there are more Methodists than there are people living in Ba, Fiji’s most populous province. Ba has a population of 232,000, 58,000 less than the number of Fiji’s Methodists.

And a worry for the regime is that Methodists aren’t concentrated in one region. There are Methodists in every province in Fiji and they are the dominant group in every one of those provinces.

Perhaps this is what keeps Voreqe Bainimarama awake at night, the knowledge that a church can overwhelm by mass of numbers alone his soldiers and their guns.

That the church can bring the country grinding to a stop by telling its followers not to go to work for a week – the perfect example of the power of passive resistance.  

Add into the equation the probability that most of Bainimarama’s soldiers, sailors and spies will be Methodist and therein lie the bits of information the regime hoped you did not know.

Seen through the eyes of a number cruncher, the real power is not the military with its guns, but the Methodist Church with its mass of numbers. – fiji uncensored

May 15, 2009

Democracy movement says army under orders to shoot civilians

Filed under: General — fijiuncensored @ 23:01
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VOREQE Bainimarama has given his top officers the go-ahead to shoot unarmed civilians, the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement website is reporting.

FDFM says a source in the Prime Minister’s Office revealed details of a Tuesday meeting involving members of the Military Council.

“A very agitated Voreqe did not mince his words with them: If the civilian population decides to take to the street, the order is now given to tell your soldiers to shoot them’.” FDFM said. – fiji uncensored

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