Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trinidad & Tobaggo Express News: 'No Fiji in T &T' as blogged by Fiji Truth Commission Movement.

Message to Voreqe Bainimarama & his military led government.
Sir Ronald Sanders,a Consultant & former Carribean Diplomat have articulated precisely what most Voiceless Fiji people in Fiji & Fiji bloggers would have wanted to say in a nutshell.
We thank Sir Sanders, for such a well written article. The Real & Authentic FIJI TRUTH surfaces ultimately. This well written article has just reaffirmed what we had been suspecting all along but were not too sure how the International Community & the Commonwealth would have viewed our stories.
Shame on Voreqe Bainimarama & his military regime as another opportunity for 'Fiji Bites the Dust'. Hopes of being heard at the CMAG is history for Fiji.
It will be now left to the people to link in with the Commonwealth Society to air their thoughts, views & aspirations for returning Fiji to a Democratically Elected Political Party to run its affairs in lieu of military led government.
Luvei Viti Think Tank Group @ vuw
Read more:
Trinidad News:’No Fiji in T & T’ Sanders says. [Trinidad & Tobaggo will Host Commowealth Heads in Novemeber, 2009]

August 22, 2009 by Fiji Truth

Author: Sir Ronald Sanders,

Trinidad & Tobaggo Express, Thursday, August 20th 2009
When the Commonwealth leaders meet in Trinidad in November, they might have expected to welcome back to their councils a government of Fiji that had been elected in March. As it turns out, there will be no Fiji in Trinidad.

If a contest was held to choose a country with a culture of coup d’├ętats, the Pacific island state would be a front-runner. There were two coups in 1987, a third in 2000 and a fourth in December 2006.
Now, come September 1, the 53-nation Commonwealth is expected to suspend Fiji from its membership.

The suspension will come after almost three years of trying every diplomatic and negotiating device to convince the military government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama to restore the country to democratic rule.

A consistent figure in the last two coups, Bainimarama has shown a remarkable failure to honour commitments he gives to the international community.
Fiji is made up of a group of islands in the Pacific and has a population of 872,000 people consisting of indigenous Fijians, indigenous Rotumans and Banabans, Indo-Fijians, Chinese, Europeans (mostly Australians and New Zealanders) and people of mixed race.

The 1987 coup and the abrogation of the 1970 Constitution led to a new Constitution in 1997 which, containing a social compact among all the political parties, provided for affirmative action for indigenous Fijians, gave indigenous Fijians the majority of communal seats in the elected House of Assembly and a near two-thirds majority in the appointed Senate. It also provided for shared governance and settled tensions between the indigenous Fijians and the Indo-Fijians.

Bainimarama’s 2006 coup had nothing to do with racial differences in Fiji and much more to do with controversies between him and the then prime minister, Laisinea Qarase, who was threatening to arrest Bainimarama and others for their part in the coup of 2000.

The Commonwealth has patiently engaged Fiji since the 2006 coup. The previous and current Commonwealth secretaries general, Don McKinnon and Kamalesh Sharma, as well as the organisation’s watchdog body-the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)-have engaged the military regime and other groups in Fiji to try to restore democracy.

While the Commonwealth did suspend Fiji from the councils of the Commonwealth after the 2006 coup, it did not suspend it from membership of the grouping.

Along with the Pacific Islands Forum (Fiji and its closest neighbours), the United Nations and other bodies, the Commonwealth had been working to persuade Bainimarama to hold elections by March this year – an undertaking that he had given. But March came and went, and in April the government abrogated the Constitution, further entrenched authoritarian rule, cracked down on freedom of speech and assembly, and undermined the judiciary and legal system.

Bainimarama also scrapped the paramount Fijian institution, the prestigious Great Council of Chiefs which selects the president and vice-president. It is widely believed that he did so because the chiefs did not rally to him. He also prevented the dominant Methodist Church from holding its annual convention demanding that it must first be cleansed of political clergymen.

Making matters worse, Bainimarama issued a “Strategic Framework for Change” which he described as “the only path to ensuring sustainable and true democracy, the removal of communal representation and the implementation of equal suffrage based on common and equal citizenry”. Under this plan, work will begin on a new Constitution in 2011 and elections would not he held until 2014.

CMAG, which had shown considerable patience with the Fijian regime up to that point, finally decided enough was enough. Among its nine members is the foreign minister of St Lucia, Rufus Bousquet. Together, the ministers, meeting on July 31, gave the Fijian regime until September 1 to “reactivate the [resident’s Political Dialogue Forum process, facilitated by the Commonwealth and the United Nations”.

The group said it wanted the regime to “state its firm commitment” to reactivating the political dialogue “in writing” to the Commonwealth secretary general by September 1 or “Fiji will be fully suspended on that date”.

No one is holding their breath that such a written commitment will be forthcoming from Bainimarama.

His government has already condemned Fiji’s neighbours in the Pacific Islands Forum for expressing, in early August, “their deep concern for the people of Fiji in the face of Fiji’s deteriorating economy as a consequence of the military regime’s actions, including the undermining of the private sector and the negative effect on business confidence in the absence of the rule of law”.

Suspension of Fiji after almost three years of trying to reason with the military regime is necessary punishment now; but engagement is also necessary to give back to all the people of Fiji their right to democracy, constitutionality and the rule of law.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a consultant and former Caribbean diplomat.

Previous commentaries can be read at: -Courtesy Jamaica Observer
re-blogged @

1 comment:

  1. Think Tank,

    I thought I would post some of my thoughts to you after the full suspension of Fiji from the Commonwealth, for your consumption and analysis.

    I thought I'd bring to your attention (if you haven't noticed already) how Voreqe has a blatant diregard for figures, numbers, statistics, ratios or numerical gauges which allow him to place his performance in regard to progress, others, and also for his own government's graphical illustrations.

    A good example is the full suspension from the Commonwealth, at which the CMAG have been instrumental in tying to get him to adhere to or reflect on some numbers, figures which potray the failing economy and the southward spiral the country is in, since the takeover in 2006.

    Mr. Narube, one of if not, the best we have in the country with numbers, was apparently sacked for informing Bainimarama that the figures that represented the country's piggy bank was down to petty cash and needed urgent replenshiment, in the shape of getting to the dialogue table, or show urgency in getting the country back to democratic rule. Bainimarama brushed aside not only the governor of the Reserve Bank, but one of the most qualified people in the land, to give him that advise, he actually sacked Mr. Narube, placing him under house arrest before letting ADB get their hands on him (I think that's where he is now)

    What about figures that kicked the population in the guts last week, the upward hike of bus/taxifares and electricity rates ? He did not think anything of that, because he is chauffered to work, and businesses give his families present, the automobile versions. There was an uproar of disagreement from the general public, because those figure, are now matching the figures that they spend, on food and daily living.

    Then there was the confirmation of his lack of knowlege in numerical dipsticks, when he boastfully corrected a reporter about the National Foreign Reserves, halving it in front of the reporter boastfully, for the world to hear. What does that say about his knowlege of these statistics, in regard to his leadership, his government, his mentallity, even his conscience ?

    When the Commonwealth started talks with Bainimarama way back in 2006, that was three years ago. When they finally gave him the figures, 1:9:2009, it really did not mean anything to him, as all the other important ones before that he had an explanation for.

    We all remember the figures 55, yes, he thought that was a good time to retire, as he mentioned in his reasoning, but it backfired, so he came up with "you can be taken back if you have special skills" aren't nurses and teachers, people with special skills ? God only knows how those people, who have mortgages, children in high school and have made plans, up till retirement at sixty. Of course, their minds would have been racing, and as we have heard, some commited suicide, because of that.

    What about the MDG figures, I bet he doesn't know that Fiji is part of that excercise, it was set for 2020 or thereabouts. At last count, our level was sitting at 40% the total population, comfortably living at that very level we are trying to eradicate, that of poverty.

    Fiji is a vibrant well balanced Nation with a good mix in the agrarian and metropolitan divide, he needs to listen to sound advise, so he can harness all our resources and turn them into props for those failing stats.

    Put it this way, he cannot answer dichotomous questions, the chances that he will notice bigger figures, is practically zero.

    To conclude, the CMAG talks from three years ago with its deadline has come and gone, the only figures he has drummed into the heads of the military, his illegal ministers and his own is, 2014.



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