Thursday, June 25, 2009


Posted by Suliasi Daunitutu on March 29, 2009 at 8:48pm in World Issues
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You are invited to share and pen your ideas, views or opinions that will facilitate/assist our country back to democracy. All positive and/or negative ideas and comments to steer us back to the road of democracy are welcome.

Whichever way one looks at our current situation back home, democracy has been completely raped. The rape of democracy in Fiji is a virtual degradation of the populus of Fiji. Their human rights are being deprived:

1. the right to decide their government;

2. who they want to represent them;

3. their right to free assembly;

4. free protest;

5. free to organise into groups so that they can talk about what is pertinent to their daily lives;

6. protest on issues they do not agree with....with no fear of intimidation from anybody.

With this military regime in place, the concept of freedom per the Constitution is a total myth!

And, we, the people of Fiji need to come together and be vehement about our total disagreement with the military regime. So give us liberty or death! The reality of the issue is that democracy in Fiji has been raped...from top to bottom...left to right....inside and out and vice versa!

Here we have a military regime that talks about freedom to the people and yet the very same military regime randomly arrest people, torture them, inflict unnecessary harrassment and emotional stress to those that seem a threat to them. The military regime talks about racial unity.......the communal concept of togetherness and yet Fiji is far more racially divided today than it ever was.

The so-called advisors, viz-a-viz, John Samy, these are rejects from their adopted countries and yet they are being rewarded with exuberant amount(s) of money by these rogue military regime who have no idea what they are doing. Lying to the international community does not augur well with this interim government and yet the interim Prime Minister continuously talks with a forked tongue when addressing international issues. The ministers talk about internal securities as if Fiji is going to be invaded.

All around it is clearly seen that the economy is in tatters and the Constitution is just a useless piece of paper. The rule of law is as what the military regime wants it to be.

The above are just some of my views (from a pro-democracy viewpoint). But, do not let that deter you from penning your comments if you share otherwise.

So, let us come together and voice our views/comments, whether they be for or against the military regime and have a very healthy discussion here so that in the end we can factually understand what our role is, what we need to do and how we can come up with ideas to help restore democracy back in our beloved Fiji!

Please feel free to write what you like or dislike about the military regime. Be sincere and honest about your thoughts, without getting personal or spiteful.

Kindly note, this "topic" will expire as soon as we have an election.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Revisting what was written by 'Mneesha Gellman and Josh Dankoff '

In essence, these people are on ‘country arrest’ but with no explanation of why or for how long. Incredibly, if you are a Fijian who is planning to travel, for F$12 (roughly US$8), you can check to see if your name is on the no-fly list. Some activists check this list each time they travel, but others do not want to even identify themselves for fear of self-incrimination.

Fiji’s Perilous Economy Post-2006 Coup
The usually crowded hallway of our ocean-view hotel was empty; listless waiters waited for customers that never come. People ask us, ‘do you feel safe here in Fiji?" We reply truthfully, "of course." Everywhere we go we are greeted with the enthusiastic Fijian welcome: Bula! Strangers introduced themselves on each of the four islands that we had time to visit (out of more than 300 which compose the Fiji Islands).

People ask about our safety because since Fiji’s coup in December, both the Australian and New Zealand governments have discouraged their citizens from traveling to Fiji. In reality, it is perfectly safe for travelers to move around Fiji’s many tourist locations, but these government announcements are meant to put international political pressure on Fiji’s ‘interim’ military government to restore democratic institutions. While Commodore Bainimarama has not backed down, tourism numbers have declined significantly, and Fiji’s largest money-making industry (surpassing sugar exports as of 2004) is struggling to bring in the foreign currency.

But it is not only tourist money that Fiji has lost because of the coup. Several international donors have pulled bi-lateral support to the government (including Australia and New Zealand), and Fiji has been temporarily suspended from the Commonwealth, entailing a damaging blow to preferential trade relations. New Zealand will now only channel their funds through non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and they have cut off public sector training initiatives (8).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Tuilaepa calls VB "Puppet Master'

Tapu Misa: Fiji's hope lies in peaceful resistance

Tuilaepa called Bainimarama a "puppet-master" and urged Fijians to "pound the streets in protest marches". "Peaceful, passive resistance," he said, was the only way to "rid yourself of cheap, idiotic dictator. c_id=280&objectid=10570111&ref=rss

Tumeke has this to say & interesting to note VB has added "Ratu" to his name - when did this happen?:

Fiji coup "new legal order" retirement decrees purge civil service
So, the Commodore is aged 54 (55 when the decree takes effect) and as of the end of the month all the civil servants older than him (that aren't his cronies) will be forced to retire... and Audrey Young at the NZ Herald buys the dictatorship's line that it is for economic purposes. That's not the half of it.

It is a mechanism to purge the neutral public service and replace them with his cronies - a process started when his first coup in 2006 began with the police commissioner being replaced by a military officer. Now that accelerates with his second coup, using sweeping decrees without having to bother with a constitution.

It is no coincidence that Bainimarama turns 55 on 27 April and that he can force any state employee to retire that is 55 just three days later. It may be utter hypocrisy, but it is also a classic Alpha Male move to eliminate the senior ranking rival males - the MO of the bully/thug military man.

The retirement exemptions are the means the military will use to sack the good sorts of government officials that resist - in any way - the "new legal order." The sorts of people that refused to obey the Commodore the first time around in 2006 and who continued to operate their departments without reference to what they knew was an illegal authority.

Image ref: Tuemeke's blog.

Teejay for Free Fiji says:

It's Time: Non violent, Non Cooperation Must Begin

It is time for some clear messages to be delivered to the the illegal regime of Dictator Bainimarama and his croneys, from within Fiji.

I know that it is easy for me to sit in the comfort of Australia and make that statement, however there are some very powerful non-violent activities that can take place which can hurt the dictatorship. More on that later.

I have personally been involved in non violent campaigns in the past. As a mature age blogger, I recall my university days in Melbourne that included a role in non violent campaigns against the Vietnam War. One particular day a non-violent march went pear shaped when confrontation between anti - Vietnam war marchers and the police (who came from nowhere) resulted in my own backside being kicked by a chubby policeman's boot, along with foul verbal insults and threats of arrest. Ultimately we had our victory - a change of government in Australia and the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam.

Non violent, Non Cooperation

We know that civil disobedience has been around for a long time. The core philosophy underpinning civil disobedience can be found in Thoreau's On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849) where he stated that it is the individual who grants the state its power in the first place, and therefore must follow the dictates of conscience in opposing unjust laws.

Monday, June 15, 2009

FREE FIJI :A Worldwide Plea to All Fiji Children! Read Teejay's posting below for more details.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's Time: Non violent, Non Cooperation Must Begin
It is time for some clear messages to be delivered to the the illegal regime of Dictator Bainimarama and his croneys, from within Fiji.

I know that it is easy for me to sit in the comfort of Australia and make that statement, however there are some very powerful non-violent activities that can take place which can hurt the dictatorship. More on that later.
I have personally been involved in non violent campaigns in the past. As a mature age blogger, I recall my university days in Melbourne that included a role in non violent campaigns against the Vietnam War. One particular day a non-violent march went pear shaped when confrontation between anti - Vietnam war marchers and the police (who came from nowhere) resulted in my own backside being kicked by a chubby policeman's boot, along with foul verbal insults and threats of arrest. Ultimately we had our victory - a change of government in Australia and the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam.

Non violent, Non Cooperation

We know that civil disobedience has been around for a long time. The core philosophy underpinning civil disobedience can be found in Thoreau's On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849) where he stated that it is the individual who grants the state its power in the first place, and therefore must follow the dictates of conscience in opposing unjust laws.

Obviously, Fiji's military dictatorship in completely illegal and unjust in everything it has done, especially since Good Friday, 2009.

The Fijian people have had their own power ripped from under them, and as such, have every right to re-claim it. They have the moral upper hand; not Dictator Bainimarama.
The secret in getting started is getting organised and no matter how small it might be to begin with, it will gain momentum over time.If the planning has to be clandestine, and in the current climate it probably will be, then so be it.

So, What Can Be Done?From the outset, non violent, non cooperation activities can be contagious across a comunity....and this is where the current (and ongoing) emergency regulations can be completely defeated.

Media censorship will also be completely undermined by non violent, non cooperation activities.

A handful of people can work wonders, it just has to begin and the rest will evolve.

Here's How: Some Suggestions
1. conduct covert public meetings - fast food outlets can be very good for this - establish networking cells of four to six people to relay messages to each other, ensuring that the messages get to the participants across the country. This is excellent for co-ordinating non violent non cooperation activities, and if done in this way, the military have no hope of keeping this under control. They can try, but will be kept very very busy

2. an anonymous mass, non stop letter writing campaign to the illegal Dictator and his croneys
3. a mass sending of sympathy cards to the same illegal members of the regime - to their home address if you know it.
4. a mass letter writing campaign to international embassies in Suva
5. dropping pro-democracy leaflets in targeted locations, specifically in Suva, Nadi and Lautoka, on a continual rotational basis
6. wearing symbols - wristbands, armbands
7. use paint as a protest in major cities/towns - on roads, streets
8. a symbolic sound campaign across major cities/towns - a rotating roster for this, ongoing over time. It can be as simple as a constant car horn campaign - four long bursts. (this one is huge, it really has an impact on people and raises awareness very quickly)
9. Ostracising those who are linked to the Military dictatorhsip - turning your back on them, no communication with them, not sitting anywhere near them, complete silence, walking out on them
10. boycotting social events
11. non attendance to sporting events
12. organise a 'stay at home' day of workers on a continual rotating roster in the major cities
13. organise a mass 'sickie' day - workers call in ill on a particular day
14. launch a consumer boycott campaign - don't go to supermarkets, fuel outlets on a particular day
15. boycott banks for a day
16. Public transport boycott
17. Resignations from social organisations linked to members of the dictatorship
18. Create new social patterns - change times, locations of social interaction on a regular ongoing basis
19. Overload services - jam government departments phone lines with inquiries. This can be a sustained, ongoing strategy
20. Overload pro- dictatorship media with phone calls, letters, emails (make up an email address specifically for this, using gmail, hotmail and the like, creating a new email address each time)

How To Get Motivated for Action?
Having read Graham Leung's speech, posted on Intelligentsiya's blog on 9 June 2009, I suggest that this brilliant account of Fiji's situation is motivation enough.

Is it true that indifference, lax political leadership in the broader community, and fear, are all playing into the hands of the Military Dictatorship?

The time to change that is now, and through non violent non cooperation, a way forward can be found.

Read Graham Leung's speech and you will hopefully be inspired.
-nothing changes if nothing changes-

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Sneak Preview of Republic of Fiji Military Forces Make-up & Budget: Do you think Bainimarama & Rabuka have brought shame to its reputation?

a. Vision. We want to be ‘A smart military force that enhances its capabilities beyond its size through professionalism, resourcefulness, knowledge and skills, leadership, discipline and adherence to its ethos and values’.

b. Mission. The RFMF mission is to enhance the security of the Fiji islands and protect its people and interest in peace, in crisis and in conflict.

c. Ethos. Our enduring ethos is based on fairness translated to “Na dina, dodonu kei na savasava.

d. Values. The RFMF is a value based institution. It is through our values that we know who we are and through which we are bonded together to achieve our vision and serve the nation. Our values are:

(1) The will to win;
(2) Dedication to duty;
(3) Integrity;
(4) Teamwork;
(5) Courage; and
(6) Family.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces

Service branches - Land Force Command (includes a Naval Unit)
Headquarters - Suva

Commander Republic of Fiji Military Forces
Commodore Frank Bainimarama


Available formilitary service -215,104 males, age 18-49 (2005 est),212,739 females, age 18-49 (2005 est)
Fit formilitary service -163,960 males, age 18-49 (2005 est),178,714 females, age 18-49 (2005 est)
Reaching militaryage annually - 9,266 males (2005 est),8,916 females (2005 est)

Active personnel - 3,500 (ranked 146)

Reserve personnel - Approx 6,000


Budget $US74m (2006)

Republic of Fiji Military Forces
Cap badge of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces
Service branches
Land Force Command (includes a Naval Unit)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Re-Blog: "MUST READ" - Graham Leung's Speech as widely published.

June 09, 2009

Graham Leung's speaks to the Accountants ANYWAY
9 June 2009Remarks by Graham Leung

Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress, Sheraton, Denarau

Friday 12 June 2009

An Experiment In Nation Building

*Mr President, Your excellencies, members of council, members of the FIA, ladies and gentlemen. It is an honor and privilege to speak to you this morning.

We have had five coups in twenty-two years. Dictatorship and arbitrariness has replaced the rule of law, democracy and human rights. We have a regime whose authority is based on force rather than the consent of the people. That is our reality. Who can say with certainty that this scenario will not continue beyond September 2014? The prospect is depressing. How do we climb out of this quicksand into which we are fast sinking?

Fiji is not just in a political, but a deep financial crisis. The root of that crisis stems from the underlying political instability and coups which have ravaged the country over the last two decades. This crisis cannot be solved merely by getting the economic fundamentals right, because its origins lie in systemic political and governance issues. This crisis will not solve itself if we just ignore it. No matter how attractive the fiscal and policy incentives cobbled together by the regime, there will be few takers given the present political instability and uncertainty. And the confidence needed to restore the economy will only come if we make the right decisions going forward.
The world has changed since 1987. Human rights concerns do matter. And in the world of real politick, we are vulnerable and small enough to be held accountable. Call it double standards, call it what you will. That is how international relations work. The regime may well think it can defy external pressures. But it will come at the expense of further decline in social services, our standard of living, decay in infrastructure, increased poverty, crime and other social ills.

Why should we despair?The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) has forecast a contraction of the economy by 0.3 per cent in 2009. This follows very low growth of just 0.2 per cent in 2008 and a contraction of 6.6 per cent in 2007. Exports are projected to decline by 12.2 per cent in 2009. Investment in 2009 is estimated to fall to about 13 per cent of GDP, down from an estimated 15 per cent of GDP in 2008.

In early March 2009 official foreign reserves stood at FJ$674 million, equivalent to around 2.7 months of goods imports. The abrogation of the Constitution is likely to worsen the liquidity situation. The RBF’s introduction of measures to tighten exchange controls on 14 April in order to protect foreign reserves underscores the fragility of our economy.

In April 2009, Standard and Poor’s Rating Services announced that it had revised its outlook on the long-term sovereign credit rating on Fiji to negative from stable. Standard and Poor’s affirmed its ‘B/B’ foreign currency credit ratings on Fiji. The outlook revision reflects Fiji’s declining international reserves and weak growth prospects. It also reflects a likely rise in external borrowings this year and into the future at a time when the government’s fiscal flexibility and economic options are diminishing.

The RBF reports that reserves have fallen to US$431 million (7.2% of GDP) in December 2008 from US$618 million at the end of 2007 (or 10.3% of GDP). They have come under pressure from recent floods that have damaged Fiji’s key earners of foreign exchange: tourism and sugar. Recessionary conditions in key export markets have also weighed on merchandise exports and remittance flows. These factors may also impair short-term. Growth will also be depressed by an uncertain business environment with lower levels of investment.

Recent figures by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that Fiji’s GDP ranking is in the same league as Eritrea, Bhutan and the Central African Republic. We were ranked 150 of the 192 countries listed by the IMF. Zimbabwe was ranked 159, nine places behind Fiji. Not exactly comforting statistics. You don’t have to be a genius to work out that we are in the bottom 20% of the class - the dunce in the class.

Savenaca Narube until recently the Governor of the Reserve Bank, was appointed by the Constitutional Offices Commission. But he was sacked by the army backed regime. There is no evidence that the Board of the RBF protested against his summary removal. For that matter, there is no evidence that anyone did. What does it say about us as a nation when senior constitutional office holders can be swept away without not so much as a murmur from the business and financial community? Did anyone stand up and say "No you can’t do this. This man has done nothing wrong? What is his crime?" Sadly, courage and truth have become rare commodities in this country.

In a report published in April, the Sydney based Lowy Institute for International Policy said "the removal of the respected Reserve Bank Governor will destroy what is left of business confidence and deter potential foreign investors. Fiji faced a serious liquidity crisis even before 10 April; the negative outlook for the economy will be dramatically worse as a result of the actions of President Iloilo and Commodore Bainimarama.

"Fiji has been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum. The Commonwealth is likely to take a similar decision later in the year. EU aid funds have dried up. Even the normally conservative Japanese Government declined to invite the current regime and its leader to an annual summit with Pacific Island Leaders that was held in Hokkaido last month. Our international standing has never been any lower.
The situation has been made worse by the dismissal of the judges and a judiciary which is now even more dysfunctional. More recently, the regime took over the licensing of lawyers, removing the power to grant licenses to practice from the law society to the Registrar of the High Court, an army appointed major. Mr Frank Yourn executive director of the Australia Fiji Business Council said "Both existing business operating in Fiji and prospective investors would be very concerned by this radical development.
Reacting to the unilateral changes to the Legal Practitioners Act, the President of the Law Council of Australia John Corcoran expressed concern that the changes could be the first step to the "government’s" attempts to control the country’s legal profession by not allowing lawyers who oppose the regime to practice law. He said that "An independent judiciary and legal profession are vital to the stability of a nation. Without an independent legal profession, a crucial ingredient in upholding the rule of law in Fiji would be missing.
"Investors will get no relief from doing business in Fiji without the safeguards of an independent and competent judiciary to adjudicate over commercial disputes, including where government is a party. The level of distrust within and between communities is unprecedented in our history. The rivers of political enmity and suspicion between our leaders run deeper than ever before.
The news is not good. In fact it is positively depressing. And it will get worse. The spin doctors cannot fool us. The facts and figures do not lie. Fiji is falling apart. If we do not stem the tide, Fiji will be a failed state.
The Problem
As we look back over the last 39 years, one thing has become clear. Constitution bashing and finding fault in the supreme law has become something of a national past time. Whenever there is a crisis, there is a tendency in some circles to blame the Constitution for the country’s woes and to think that by changing it, we would thereby fix our problems.
May I remind you that the 1970 Constitution produced a Labor Prime Minister with substantial support from the Indo Fijian community. Similarly the now vilified 1997 Constitution produced a second Labor Prime Minister. And following the last general elections in 2006, it produced a multi-party cabinet with a significant number of Labor ministers in an SDL government. So it is misleading and simplistic to suggest that the Constitution is the cause of our problems. The comment of those who dismiss the Constitution as racist is shallow and simplistic. Context is everything.
The Constitution was not perfect. Reform of some of its parts was work in progress. But what we should remember is that every time we criticize and demonize the Constitution, we are contributing to its erosion and the erosion of democracy. Because it lends the uninformed detractors of the Constitution an excuse to tear it up and to dump it. This is a lesson we must all remember moving into the future. We must stop treating the Constitution as if it were an expendable document that can be chopped and trashed at will.
We must give the Constitution the respect that must be accorded to the supreme law. The lack of respect for the Constitution and a recurring failure to honour the rule of law has been one of the biggest sources of political instability in Fiji.
Time and again our fragile democracy has been hijacked by people who prefer the language of force instead of persuasion. The notion that you can secure real lasting democracy and security through force is misconceived. It is a wicked lie. The twin evils of racism and corruption will not be eradicated overnight. Neither will they be rooted out by the force of arms. The best Constitution in the world will not fix our problems. And how have we responded as a people to the rape of democracy?
For whatever reason, the great majority of us have chosen to remain passive, even acquiescent in the face of illegality, hoping that the excesses of the usurpers will soon end, trusting in their vision. Since the first coup staged by Rabuka, we have rewarded and left the usurpers unpunished. We are paying a heavy price for so doing.
So who is responsible for the situation that Fiji is in today?
We all are. Not just the politicians and political leaders, both successful and failed. Not just the corrupt businessmen who support them. Not just the extremists at both ends of the political spectrum. Not only the lawyers and judges who have succumbed to the easier path of acquiescence and revenge. Not just the chiefs who have chosen expediency over what is right. Some religious leaders, members of civil society and the trade union movement must also share some of the blame.
Leaders who have failed us and a culture of selfishness, greed and revenge have also partly led us to where we are today. All of these different elements have worked over the last three decades to weaken and undermine democracy in Fiji.
One day the educated elites in all the professions will have to answer for their silence in the face of despotism and authoritarianism. All of us who have looked the other way and did nothing are as much to blame for our political predicament and economic woes. For not raising our individual and collective voices to condemn the rape of the constitution, the weakening of democratic institutions, of the judiciary, of parliament, the muzzling of the press and the erosion of fundamental freedoms.
Instead of adding voices of reason to the debate on issues of national importance most of us have chosen the easier path of silence and complacency. It is too inconvenient, perhaps even embarrassing to get involved or to take a stand. There is a possible fear of recrimination in some quarters. Some of the reservations about speaking out are understandable. But it is not excuseable.
What should we do?
We must tell our rulers that we have had enough of leaders who choose the path of force over dialogue, who would govern us by fear instead of persuasion. Who tell us that they know what is good and better for us only because they say so. We need to stand up against the evil of dictatorship. Because make no mistake it is an evil. If we continue to remain silent in the face of what is taking place we become complicit in the wrongs that are happening. I appreciate there is a fear of retribution and of being singled out. But if we all speak out that will lessen the chances of some being targeted for unfair treatment.
Indifference is the friend of the oppressor. Indifference is not a response in the present crisis which has befallen Fiji. Indifference in the face of the human suffering which affects so many is a denial of the humanity of those that suffer. And we betray our own humanity in the process.
Fiji needs to return to constitutional legitimacy. This will generate hope and confidence. It will restore a framework that will allow for respectful debate and conversations about the way forward. It will bring about political stability and accountability, the necessary preconditions for economic recovery and sustainable long term growth. It will allow the voices of the people, all the people of this country, to be heard.
We need to restore trust at all levels. We need to reject extremism and violence in all its forms. Because violence begets violence. A coup is not just an act of violence. It is a crime and it can never be justified, whatever the cause. By accepting dictatorship we perpetuate it. The road ahead will be long. We will trip. But we must stand up again and continue the journey of rebuilding a Fiji of which we can all be proud. The task to be accomplished will not be achieved in our lifetime. But we must start that work today. We cannot delay the job of reconciling ourselves to each other. Within and between races. Within and between religions. Within and between families. We have no choice. The alternative to peace, reconciliation and democracy is too horrible to imagine. Further conflict, tension and arbitrary rule will bring untold hardship. Historians will remember this dark chapter in the nation’s development as the generation of lost opportunities. Future generations will ask: what did you do to halt the decline? And what will your answer be?
It is sometimes said that we get the leaders we deserve. There is a grain of truth in this. When we reminisce about the past, I think it is fair to say that by and large many of our elected parliamentarians have been fairly uninspiring and unimpressive. This is partly the result of political party selections typically based on patronage and connections. It has resulted in successive parliaments being dominated by poor leaders, lacking vision and wisdom. Leaders who have not led but divided. Leaders whose ideology has contributed to the destruction, instead of the growth of the nation. Leaders who have sown the seeds of discord and rancour. And let me say this. They are not confined to any one community or political grouping. And we are reaping a bitter harvest.
The well being of all who live in these beautiful islands is inextricably linked to the ability and willingness of all our leaders to come to terms and deal with one another on the basis of tolerance, dialogue and mutual respect. There is no escaping this simple truth. They must abandon past hatreds. We need to insist that this process commence forthwith. If it is delayed, we will be doomed to become another failed, sad state like Zimbabwe.
Possible way forward
The immediate need is to restore legitimacy and confidence. As a start, the 1997 Constitution must be restored. Commodore Bainimarama, let our people go. Put down your guns and let us talk. A nation that lives under the cruel tyranny of dictatorship loses its vitality and zest for life.
Legitimacy in the sense of a government broadly acceptable to the people of this country. One that is also able to attract international recognition as well. This might be a caretaker government comprising the political parties, civil society and the military. I know any suggestion of military involvement is anathema to many. I have my own reservations. But for as long as we have a standing army of significance, they will not disappear overnight. The task of such a government would be to take the country to elections under a new electoral system within agreed time frames. September 2014 is unacceptable. It is too far off. By then the damage to the country would be beyond repair.
What incentives would there be for the military to accept this arrangement. First, they would require assurances of immunity. This would have to be negotiated according to broad principles, with exceptions. Already, we have allowed a culture of impunity to take root and it must be ended. How it is to be achieved must be left for another day.
Second, financial incentives could be provided with support from abroad to reduce the size of the military. Third, peacekeeping assignments might be widened as part of our return to good standing in the global community. Fourth, a refocusing of the military’s role from security to national and community development.
Given the commitment and resources that went into the making of the 1997 Constitution, it would make sense to restore it. Let us remember it was the product of widespread consultation with the people and that it was adopted unanimously by both Houses of Parliament. The only aspect that appears to attract some criticism is the electoral system. So let the political parties and civil society discuss what system would best suit Fiji. My own thinking is that some form of proportional representation would be best for the country. Because it protects minor parties and ensures that the larger parties do not secure exaggerated majorities.
The military has said it favours a non racial electoral system. That is possibly not the challenge it once was. Demographics have softened the stance of Fijian political parties in this regard which is why proportional representation makes sense for ethnic minorities in this country.
In the period before elections, there would need to be agreement on the basic issues: the electoral system and government of national unity after the elections. This government would have the responsibility of implementing the reforms agreed to as well as the introduction of a new electoral system. A political dialogue could determine whether the military might have a role to play in this process. Which brings me to the contentious part : the elections would have to be held under the present electoral system. Otherwise they would not be legal.
It is important to remember that changing the electoral system will not necessarily change ethnic politics. Cultural identity is a strong motivating factor and communities and individuals will still seek ways to express these sentiments. I raise this merely to address the belief that somehow altering our electoral system will remove ethnic issues from people’s consciousness. It won’t.
As part of this comprehensive political system, consideration might be given to the military being allocated seats in the government of national unity by appointment to the Senate. This would be one way of ensuring that the electoral and other reforms agreed to are effected. But I recognize that the suggestion is fraught with dangers. Ignoring the military, or seeking to emasculate them overnight is unrealistic. It is unlikely to happen. It will be a slow, gradual process. A portion of those in public service positions may be redeployed to the military. For the rest, demobilization from the military and complete integration in the public service might be the only possible alternative.
Whatever the solutions, the militarization of the public service has to stop. It blurs the distinction between the military and civil aspects of government. It undermines the ethos of the public service because the chain of command mentality of the military is ill-suited to civilian decision making. It compromises the criteria for the public service when military officers are appointed ahead of career public servants. The end result is a demoralised and dysfunctional public service.
We proceed to elections on the basis of the electoral system under the 1997 Constitution. If we are to move away from the destructive cycles of the past, we must build on what we have. So let us work within the Constitution to change it with the support of all concerned parties. But let us do so properly and legally following the right procedures. Just as there are no short cuts in life to success, there are no short cuts to making the perfect society.
Going forward, there is a need for genuine tripartite dialogue and co-operation between the government, the private sector, the unions and for the foreseeable future, the military. National objectives, profit and the welfare of workers can be matched. There will always be tensions - that is the nature of the dynamic and the relationship. But the rebuilding process must begin with some common values of what is right and wrong. What has happened in the past has occurred precisely because sufficient of us have looked the other way and given aid and support to those who would overthrow the established legal order on one pretext or the other. Our political upheavals have come at great cost in terms of social economic, political and psychological loss. We have had five coups. We recover each time. But each time the recovery is longer and the human spirit weakened further.
Concluding remarks
I look back and I see a repetition of mistakes, of unexploited potential together with misguided and misconceived opportunism that has returned to haunt us. Our commitment to our narrow partisan interests rather than principle is a failing we need to reflect on deeply. It is only invoked when convenient to camouflage another agenda. An entire generation has grown up with the example of the last two decades. It is right to take what is not yours. To use force. To break the law when it suits you. That right is might; that bad behaviour will be rewarded and good behaviour will go unrecognized. No one should be surprised or shocked at the kind of society we have become. We have allowed it to happen.
We must act together now to put Fiji back on track. Because as the country drifts we become more isolated and the economy collapses. The lack of accountability nationally promotes arbitrariness and mediocrity in all spheres of life. There is a widespread loss of hope and hopelessness. The level of frustration and resentment grows by the day. The spirit of Fiji is broken. It is a time of extraordinary pain. The human impulse to create, to enjoy and to live has been dampened.
Double standards are practiced resulting in further loss of morale and confidence. That leads to abuse whether of office, of rights, of the public trust. We see it already before our eyes. The exceptions to retirement ages for the Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the RFMF, the release of the killers of Sakiusa Rabaka on CSO, the censorship of the media that prompts the government spokesperson to say the quality of reportage has improved, the use of FICAC to target certain people and not others.
The list is endless. It will grow longer if this situation is allowed to continue.
So the rebuilding that needs to be done is quite clear. Restoration of the Constitution, agreement on elections and the surrounding issues, possible involvement by the Military in the process, agreement on the broad changes including the electoral system, and a government of national unity to implement reform. It will require goodwill and commitment to doing what is right for Fiji and all its people. We have no choice. Time is running out for Fiji and for all of us who call this place home.
More broadly we the people have to face up to our own responsibilities. We cannot shirk them. We must tell our leaders to stop the bickering and the rancour. We are weary of division and polemic. Our spirit is wounded and our souls yearn for real leaders of humility and integrity who will take us to the promised land. We must be careful of false prophets in our midst. Leaders who divide and conquer must be rejected. We do not need them. They pretend to pray at the alter of high principle but instead feed from the trough of self interest and hypocrisy. If we accept and acquiesce in what is happening around us, how then can we complain about the path the country is following? So I am suggesting that those of us who say that they truly love this nation, must be prepared to put their money where their mouth is. To stand up and be counted.
If I have succeeded in leaving you in a somber and reflective mood, my time here today would not have been wasted.
Hope in Fiji is all but dead. Hope does not happen by chance. It must be created. All of you, by virtue of your training and education, are well placed to play a big part in restoring hope to this country. You can choose to create hope or you can continue to stifle it.
When you leave this salubrious and indulgent gathering, the problems and challenges that you left behind will once again confront you. Poverty, high unemployment, political uncertainty and an economy in freefall. They will not disappear. Will you say that it is for others to fix and pretend they are not yours to address as well? Will you remain an idle bystander while others destroy all that our respected leaders who led us to independence have put together? Will you avoid confronting the challenges facing Fiji today and upon which our very survival as a nation depends? Or will you answer the call to national service?
So I end where I began. Fiji is falling apart. This is not an exaggeration. The choices you make and the decisions you take when this conference ends may determine whether Fiji continues its journey of ruin and misery or whether we will wake up to a new dawn of hope and opportunity.
The time for burying our heads in the sand is over. It is a time for action. We cannot carry on and pretend that all is well in our beleaguered country. We all know what the problems are. If we are allowed to engage in unconditional and open dialogue over these issues I am hopeful that there are many men and women of goodwill out there who have the wisdom and the resolve to solve Fiji’s problems.
My fellow citizens. Today I challenge you to search deeply into your conscience. Each and every one of you can make a difference. It is not an answer to say that those who are taking us on this course of madness and disaster bear the force of arms. No force however strong can ever be a substitute for reason, logic and consensual governance. History has taught us that regimes which rule through fear and the blunt instrument of coercion will fail.
Franklin Roosevelt the only United States President to win four consecutive terms said "Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort" and I might add, in the service of one’s neighbour and one’s country.
We should act now. Without further delay. For the Fiji we all love lays wounded and bleeding. The words of the national anthem that speak of "a land of freedom hope and glory" ring hollow. Where is the freedom when the press is muzzled? What hope is there to anticipate when all the signs are of economic stagnation and ruin? What glory is there when we are being led by rulers who revel in duplicity, the politics of division and double speak? The time for action has surely arrived.
There is no room for timidity and ambivalence in the face of confronting evil. It is time to break out of the cycle of coups and violence as a way of solving our problems. It is time to reach a new and enduring understanding through respectful dialogue. It is time for the real leaders and the people of this country to put their hands up and say enough is enough. And that includes all of you in the audience today.
Together we can help redefine the destiny of these islands. Together we must work to restoring hope to our hearts and to our families. It is only with political stability, a common vision and respect for the rule of law that we can build a prosperous Fiji which is home to all of us. A Fiji based on respect, equality and dignity for all its people.
My dear countrymen. No other generation of citizens has been bestowed the sacred responsibility of preserving the future of our beloved country. That responsibility has been placed on your shoulders. That rare opportunity and privilege is yours. There will be no second chance.
Thank you and God bless Fiji.
* This was the paper I was to have delivered at the annual Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress convention to be held at the Sheraton Fiji this Friday. As a result of instruction by the police on Monday 8th June 2009 that the permit to hold the convention would be revoked unless Professor Brij Lal, Richard Naidu and myself were dropped from the speakers’ list, this paper will now not be delivered as intended. It is being circulated to stimulate discussions on the "way forward"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bainimarama getting Rattled it seems & Military Regime tightens its hold on Fiji by extending Emergency Regulations:

09 June 2009

Fiji Extends Emergency Regulations

By Angela Marie Watkins Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania

SUVA, Fiji - Fiji’s interim government has extended public emergency regulations -- including censorship of the country’s media -- for a third month after April’s abrogation of the constitution.

Fiji’s military has extended its martial law rule for another 30 days, claiming it has made the country more peaceful. It is the second extension since the decree was introduced and implemented by interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, following the abrogation of the constitution and the sacking of the judiciary.

Under the regulations, the military and police have the right to use lethal force without being subject to judicial review, and the country's media is prohibited from reporting on political issues. In addition, public meetings are only allowed with formal police approval.

Interim government spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, says Fiji's interim defense minister made the decision to prolong the emergency regulations following an assessment of the security situation.

“The absence of politics from the national agenda, for instance, is contributing positively to the peace and stability of the nation,” Leweni said. He added, “People are now more focused on their lives, families and work without being distracted by the divisive and fragmentary views that were prominent in the period before the emergency regulations were implemented.”

Leweni also claimed tourism was benefiting from the “more positive reports about tangible developments throughout the country and about people going about their usual friendly and accommodating way of life which Fiji is renowned for.”

For more information, please see:Radio New Zealand International - Fiji’s interim government extends public emergency regulations - 09 June 2009

Australia Network News - Fiji gets another month of emergency law - 09 June 2009

Asia One News - Fiji's military regime extends emergency regulations - 09 June 2009

Fiji: Bloggers debate media censorship (@Global Voices Online )
Fiji: EU cancels 2009 sugar subsidy (@Global Voices Online )

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Fiji Extends Emergency Regulations:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hon. Minister Pansy Wong rewards participants of Kiwi Global-Enterprise Project: Adi Samanunu (Fijian) shares her story.

Hon Minster Pansy Wong, Honoured guest last week at a special event held @ Banquet Hall, Beehive in Wellington. Hon Minister Wong, Minister for Ethnic Affairs & Minister for
Women's Affairs as well a few other portfolios, gaveout awards to these Victoria University students, various Faculties, who participated in a Global Enterprise Project last month. The evening was just a buzz as names and groups were called up to receive their awards. It is awesome to see such Kiwi ingenuity going in to such projects that will be useful for developing countries.

A quick brief to give you a gimpse of what the project was all about. As part of the Victoria Plus Program & in conjunction with the Leadership team of Global Enterprise & the School of Public Management, these participants each had to lead a team of others from universities around the world. They were only given 03 weeks to come up with a prototype model geared towards Capacity Building & Sustainable Development targetted for Developing countries or 3rd World Nations.

The hard efforts did pay off as the winning team took home a total of NZD$1000 each. Others won consolation prizes etc. All up we are told it had been a very rewarding experience. When asked, Adi Samanunu, says, quote, " Great experience for the younger generations!" (From Ana desk).

Read more:

Adi Samanunu's Journal:

"This Global Enterprise Experience has been a challenge from the word ‘go’. By signing up to it, I had no inclinations that it was going to be a touch and go for our Team. We were not only plagued with computer gliches, moving houses, family commitment, due assignments but also with illness, death of close family member of one of our San Diego team mates and just the sheer unpredictable patterns of what made each of us tick.

Nevertheless, our team was blessed with a great team spirit and at times there were only two us and lo and behold more decided to tune in and as a result we all just hung in there every step of the way. We were determined to pull our strengths and work towards a common vision and goal which was to get to know one another and submit our project. We had to go outside the square and created our very own Team 47 Global village forum on Google as Gees Base Camp just did not allow us to effectively communicate with each other.

Personally, I had to get a grip that this was a global challenge where each member though we were all miles and oceans apart had to either agree or disagree amicably on proposals given by our members. The tricky part was how do we as team reach a consensus? Besides these challenges, as a team we had to consider factors; such as different time zones, diverse cultural background, different cities/countries, geographical locations and other dynamics that are too many to write.

No doubt, this was an opportunity that may not come my way again and crossing paths with Generation Xs & Ys on a global scale just seems to capture my curiosity more than anything else. It has been a learning experience on a bigger scope and as a participating Kiwi member I just felt we were thrown into the deep end to lead our individual assigned group. Besides the technocratic failures and its short comings we managed to pull through. This was all due to the utter determination by a few dedicated members from our team. As I reflect on the journey our group took, it was a time of getting to know each other, a time of dialogue and one that enabled us just to make that virtual connections on an academic platform.

Last but not the least, at the most lowest point of our team’s effort to submit our project it was indeed encouraging to know that there were those in the team that just believed in our effort and persevered right to the end. This journal entry will only be complete if I personally show my appreciation and thanks to Sarita or Sarah, Libero or Ber, Brian and Marga & Ian & Saras ( fellow team mates & from other overseas University that had participated).
Hon Pansy Wong's Profile:
BiographyPansy Wong is:
· Minister for Ethnic Affairs · Minister of Women's Affairs
· Associate Minister for ACC · Associate Minister of Energy and Resources

Pansy Yu Fong Wong was born in Shanghai, China, and grew up in Hong Kong. She moved to Christchurch in 1974, where she lived for 28 years, and attended Canterbury University, where she gained her Master of Commerce (Honours).

She is an Associated Chartered Accountant and has also been awarded as a Fellow. Pansy first entered politics as a Canterbury Regional Councillor in 1989, and first entered Parliament in 1996 as a National List MP and New Zealand's first Asian MP.

She moved to Auckland in 2002 and won the seat of Botany with a margin of over 10,000 in the 2008 General Election thus making her the first Asian to win an electorate as well as the first Minister of Cabinet of Asian ethnicity.

Her busy life and determination to serve the country would not be possible without the support of her husband, Malaysian born businessman, Sammy Teck Seng Wong. Her interests include reading (particularly thrillers), walking (door knocking), wine and sake appreciation, travel, and working.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fiji Daily Post Story. "Survival of the Fittest" Jagdish Kumar, has 'Special Needs' But Works Hard.

Kuini Waqasavou gives us a glimpse of Jagdish journey. The story is much needed more so now for Fiji people that have lost their jobs or have been axed from their jobs due to the current regime's early retirement scheme of when one reaches the age of '55'.

This is a far cry from what the neighboring countries are doing as on most occasion, retirement age is 65yrs or you can work your way through provided one gets the authentic Medical (ok) Clearance to continue.

Now thats what we call Maximizing 'Human Brains & Capacity' regardless of one's age. Well done to those countries outside Fiji that 'Value their Human Potentials' this way.

On another note, if we are to evaluate Fiji's current status be it, political, economical, social, cultural etc, one can only say hmmmm ........& justs have to siiiiiggghhhh!!

However on a lighter note, lets learn from Jagdish and be challenged by his inspiring stories and do something similar so that each of our family members are fed, clothed, kept warm, educated, receives health care and enjoy the security of their homes with their loved ones.
At the very least, these will keep our Fiji society going even though the 'Fiji Governance' is not the Ideal Model that we wish it would be.
Image: Photo: Sean Sprague

God Bless Fiji & its People.

read further....
No excuses for toiling the Aland 2-Jun-2009
DISABILITIES are something that people would rather ignore than talk about but it is something that exists within our society.Yet, we have loved ones in the family or friends that are living with disabilities, but are not sitting and moping about what has happened, but, are on the move in making better lives for themselves.Jagdish Kumar 49, of Varoko Settlement, Ba is living testimony of a courageous father, husband and sole breadwinner of the family who relies on farming for a living using only one hand.“An accident happened some years back during a fishing trip, and I lost my right hand, but it never stopped me from doing what I adore most and that is farming,” smiled Jagdish.A sugarcane farmer most of his life, Jagdish decided to try his hands on something totally new, hence the trip to the Agriculture Office in Ba where he has been working closely with the officials.“I sat down with the experts and asked them that I wanted to get into something totally new so that it could be harvested in a short span of time,” he said.After much deliberation on the matter, Jagdish knew that he had to start planting eggplant on a much larger scale so that more could be earned in a short period of time.Now already into his third year of vegetable farming, Jagdish has been toiling hard on his two acres of eggplant and is awaiting the harvest of his sugarcane so that the land can be replanted with eggplant. “I feel for those farmers that had to start from scratch during the floods in January, but we all know that farming has a lot of risks involved and it is a choice that we have to live with,” he smiled.Jagdish not only plants eggplants but has included a host of other fruit trees like hybrid mangoes, vegetables like cabbage, bean, cucumber and tomatoes.“I am supplying my eggplants and hybrid mangoes to Mahen’s Exports in Sigatoka and I make sure that I follow the correct procedures that have been laid out by the Fiji Quarantine Services.”This would mean spraying his mango orchards when it flowers because it is one of the many hosts of fruit flies. Other fruits and vegetables are supplied to the local markets in Ba and Lautoka.Through sheer hard work and determination, Jagdish managed to get help from the Ministry of Primary Industries through its Export Promotion Programme (EPP).Senior Agriculture Assistant (Ba) Sanjay Anand says Jagdish had surpassed all expectations in his farming programme and has been striving throughout the past few years despite his disability.“It’s very encouraging to see his determination see through all the obstacles in his farming venture and to continue to work hard on his farm,” Anand said.“We have been working closely with him and we saw the need for a bore-hole with which water can be pumped into his fields of eggplant and vegetables.”Anand adds that a project paper was drawn up, and it was given the green light late last year, but he received his materials in the first two months this year.“He received $1800 worth of bore-hole materials, pipes, fertiliser and chemicals and so far, he has been utilising all these well and producing more vegetables on the ground.”“His interest has grown from strength to strength and we have noticed that his whole family is very keen in assisting him in whatever little way they can so that their only source of income strives into the future.”The EPP is a development assistance programme of Government aimed at enhancing the living standards of people in the rural areas including the outer islands through improved market access opportunities and services.It is about the development of sustainable farming and agro-based enterprises that meet the market demand.An enterprise can take a range of structural forms that include individuals, partnerships, households, special interest groups like church, women or youth groups, a registered co-operative, registered company, or traditional groupings like mataqali, tokatoka or village.Jagdish is not abandoning sugarcane farming altogether. In fact he will continue with it but plans to purchase more land for vegetable farming.“There is no excuse for laziness in this world, and I never use my disability as an excuse either because I know that I have to be strong for my family and provide them with their needs.”“If I can do farming on a commercial basis, I am sure everyone else can do the same because there is simply no better opportunity of earning money than money earned from farming.”

Bula, No'oia, Kia Ora, Warm Greetings, Namaste

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji
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