#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pio Tikoduadua joins NFP

A senior member of the Fiji First Party has jumped ship to join the National Federation Party.

Pio Tikoduadua, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Fiji army, has announced he will be applying to be a NFP candidate in the 2018 General Elections.

He resigned from the Fiji First Party in 2015 - at the time he said it was because he had an advanced form of cancer but now says it was because of Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

"Fiji's biggest problem at the moment is not that my opinion does not matter. It is that nobody's opinion matters, except those of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General," he said.

"No-one else's views are sought. No concession is made to any person with a different opinion. Nobody else can ever be right and they can never be wrong."

"This approach is deeply destructive of democracy and national unity. It divides Fiji. It means that we lack a common vision and we operate in a climate of fear and restrictiveness.

"This is no way to run a country. This is no way to solve Fiji's problems."

Tikoduadua praised NFP leader professor Biman Prasad saying Prasad 'has many positive ideas about our country but it fell on deaf ears'.

He said he chose to join NFP because he believes that the NFP was formed to defend people who were vulnerable.

Tikoduadua also revealed today that there were other reasons for his departure from the FijiFirst government.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shameem: Racism institutionalised in Fiji

There's uproar over words used in a speech by Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador, Nazhat Shameem.

In her speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Shameem told the council that racism was institutionalised in Fiji to such an extent that it instilled a 'privileged caste'.

"Mr President, on the issue of racism, it must be noted that racism was institutionalised in Fiji to such an extent that it instilled in a privileged class, a sense of entitlement based on ethnicity and class, and that racist attitudes were ingrained in all communities, which have resulted in mistrust, resentment and suspicion."

"Racism in Fiji is often disguised by assertions that a community’s own cultural identity is being submerged under the blanket of national unity. These assertions are often made by relying on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People."

"In Fiji, the indigenous people are in the majority. They constitute to over 60% of the population and their rights to land, minerals, fishing and cultural succession are protected under the Fijian Constitution."

"Thus, when we talk about the rights of the indigenous in Fiji’s context, we are not speaking of a marginalised minority. We are talking about a majority community with a proud and active culture and a history of strong representation in Parliament," Shameem said.

Shameem also put in a bid for a seat for Fiji on the UN Human Rights Council. The UN will elect 14 countries in October to serve a three-year term on the 47 member council.

Shameem outlined the regime's voluntary pledge, Fiji’s priorities in the Human Rights Council and the reasons as to why other member countries should vote for Fiji’s membership of the Human Rights Council.

One of the pledges is a commitment “protection of all the rights and freedoms” guaranteed in the Constitution of Fiji, including both civil and political rights, and social and economic rights".

Another pledge is: "Fiji is committed to the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary, and will work steadfastly in its efforts to continuously improve the independent functioning of its judiciary. Fiji recognises the crucial role of the judiciary in interpreting the Constitutional Bill of Rights in accordance with democratic values and consistently with internal law and jurisprudence."

Has anyone, including the UN, been following all the human rights abuses, biased judiciary and all the reasons since 2006 of why Fiji shouldn't be allowed on the UN Human Rights Council?

If Fiji gets a seat, the UN Human Rights Council, will be joke!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New Electoral Commission but Khaiyum and Saneem still in control

An Electoral Commission has been appointed but its independence will be questionable with the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem and Minister of Elections Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum still at the helm.

The Commission will be chaired by Suresh Chandra with the other six members being Simione Ratabacaca Naiduki, Margot Marie Jenkins, Graham Bruce Southwick, Jawahar Lal, Kavita Raniga and Ratu Paula Halaiwalu. The criteria used to appoint them, is unknown.

Under Fiji's 2013 constitution and the 2014 elections decree, the Electoral Commission is an independent body tasked with supervising the elections office, which is responsible for preparing the vote.

But we all know that being democratic, independent or transparent in Fiji is only lip service and in reality doesn't translate into practice.

We all saw the last elections which elected the military regime into power, giving them the 'democratic' mandate to continue governing the way they have been since taking over in a coup in 2006. Intimidation and beating up aside, stories of vote rigging and ballot boxes going missing were rife. But no answers were given.

The same two people in charge of that 2014 elections, Mohammed Saneem and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, still hold those positions while another so-called independent elections body has been appointed.

The leaders of five political parties have now called for the removal of Saneem saying he didn't even meet the minimum requirements for the job when first appointed.

They are also calling for: the removal of the elections portfolio from Khaiyum.

The parties also object to the recent amendment to the Electoral Act which was passed in Parliament, appointing the Supervisor of Elections as secretary to the Electoral Commission.

The leaders of the political parties say the amendment compromises the Electoral Commission which is the appeals body from the decisions of the Supervisor and is a subversion of the independence of both the Supervisor and the Commission.

The five political parties say Saneem's rulings in relation to the eligibility of political party candidates nominated for the 2014 election showed his bias towards the Fiji First Party.

They say the amendments also prescribe powers to the Supervisor to overturn the results of the count of a ballot box by a Presiding Officer and to do a recount.

The leaders of the five political parties say that it is wrong for the General Secretary of the ruling party to hold the elections portfolio at the same time as being Attorney General drafting laws and changing the rules for elections in which he will participate.

This they say, allows the FijiFirst General Secretary to actually control the process and make the rules as Fiji moves towards the next general elections.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Iranian refugee bashed and deported

A distressed Sawari is unable to stop authorities deporting him

Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari has been deported but not
without a bashing from authorities.

The 21 year old was on his way to court yesterday to make his case when he was snatched, taken to the airport and put on a plane reportedly back to Papua New Guinea.

International outcry on his behalf fails to stop deportation
Sawari was in a car with lawyer Ravinda Singh when their vehicle was stopped, and he was pulled out and shoved into another, and whisked away.

International media say Sawari rung a friend and told him: "I'm in a plane and they are sending me back. They arrested me and beat me."

He is also said to have told a trauma worker at the airport: "There is no humanity in the world." 

Sawari had no chance to fight the officers who grabbed him.

By the time his lawyer got to the airport, security forces already had him in Departures.
Bundled through to Departures

"The way they did things, it was almost like special forces jumping out of nowhere, making the whole atmosphere so aggressive," said Singh.

"It was totally uncalled for," he said.

"Serious criminals walk free in this country whereas asylum seekers, genuine refugees, are treated like criminals."

Sawari had been in Fiji 10 days after using false papers to get in, and was being supported by a local family.

Refugee groups have criticised the decision to deport him saying Fiji has failed to honour its role as a signatory to the United Nations convention on refugees.

Fiji says Sawari was deported because he failed to make an application.

Ravinda Singh rejects this insisting an arrangement had been made with Director of Immigration, Nemani Vuniwaqa, for Sawari to lodge yesterday instead of earlier.

Aswhin Raj, the director of the Human Rights and anti-Discriminiation Commission, was helping Singh with his application. 

Raj says Fiji should review its immigration and border control and blamed Australia for failing in its responsibilities towards refugees.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How did Iranian refugee come to pick Fiji?

Too easy: Sawari got from Manus to Fiji with help.
He's not the first try his luck but he is the first from Manus
Sawari says he wants to settle on a 'small country' not a big one
Island, which muddies what would normally be a straight forward extradition.

Australia has muck on its hands with the refugee crisis in Manus and Nauru and it would be just like Frank Bainimarama to try and stick it to the Aussies.

Allowing Loghman Sawari to stay is not in Fiji's interest, satisfying though the perverse decision would be for Bainimarama.

Settling refugees in Papua New Guinea and Nauru has taken its toll on the local population there, despite the millions of
dollars in sweeteners from Australia.

PNG officials have gone to lengths to extricate itself from the arrangement and the refugee crisis is likely to worsen with Donald Trump's ban on travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and now talk of adding Pakistan being added to the list.

It's not unreasonable that refugees would set their hopes on countries in the Pacific, such as Fiji and others, as a way out of their misery.

The Sawari bid is a test case and Fiji can't get it wrong.

Fiji must also get to the bottom of how Sawari obtained the papers that got him in and which now see him being represented by lawyer Aman Singh and put up by a local family.

A rather gleeful Sawari is due to talk to Immigration and has reportedly sought the help of the Human Rights and anti- Discrimination Commission.

There has been no hint from Bainimarama on what Sawari's fate will but Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has stated the obvious: Sawari should be arrested and extradited. 

Despite sympathy for his detainment on Manus, some Fiji locals agree Sawari should be moved off, questioning if he was even beaten as he looks healthy and happy in his Facebook pictures.

Sawari has told media he's looking for sanctuary in a small country, not a big one like the United States.

He makes an interesting comment: "I like Fiji people because they smile and they respect." How does he know?

It sounds like someone tipped off him to Fiji's lax security and how easy it would be for him to blend in with the local population.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Roko Tupou Draunidalo resigns

NFP President and Parliamentarian Roko Tupou Draunidalo has resigned from her position after being unfairly suspended in June last year. 

The NFP have endorsed Pramod Chand to be its next MP and Rakiraki lawyer and NFP Ra branch president Semi Titoko to be acting President.

Here is her resignation speech:

Dear fellow Fijians,

With a heavy heart, I have sent on my resignation from Parliament to the Speaker and resignation from the position of President of the National Federation Party on Friday 20 January 2017.

If I could find it in myself to remain, I would.

This has not been an easy decision to make and I've discussed various pertinent issues with the party leader for some time, but out of humility and gratitude- I owe it to the voters who put me in Parliament and to the NFP and its supporters everywhere to state my reasons.

To begin, I apologise most sincerely to you that from the time the Fiji First majority in Parliament saw fit to suspend me on 03 June 2016 on trumped up allegations, I have not been able to be in the House to do what I was elected to do which is to scrutinize bills, laws and present coherent issues to strengthen legislation and assist with government policy formulation and implementation.

The IPU has had its say on the matter but friends, we're not in a democracy. We haven't been for a while.

Dictators and other misfits will do what they do and we must respond as best we can.

The 2017 sittings of the House begin next month.

There are about two full sets of the parliamentary term to go and I would like your vote to be heard too in the House through a third and the next NFP Member to parliament.

I therefore wish the next Honourable Member from the party and the party itself very well for the remaining term of this parliament.

I have used my time outside of Parliament to reflect long and hard about the very many things that I care about Fiji and that has helped me to make this decision.

I have used the media and meetings and functions to talk about and promote the things that I care for and about in Fiji and that will continue outside of parliament.

I don't need a government job or a title or position to do that. Never have.

Selfless defence of the rule of law should be everyone's business if we are to progress as a nation to the benefits of citizenship like fair and just wage rates, great hospitals and schools that our neighbors in Australia and New Zealand enjoy as inherent human rights.

I will continue with that from outside of parliament up to the next general elections as I would like to see the defeat of the Fiji First government at the next poll.

In the meantime, I am using this short period of time to take some time out- return to legal practice, spend more time with family, friends and constituents as well as take care of my personal health.

I know the NFP through its leader, Hon Prof Biman Prasad— will continue the fight in Parliament for the issues that he and the party wish to promote, and I know that if you took your issues to him- you'll be ably represented in parliament.

I wish the party well as we all gear up towards the elections in 2018.

Vinaka vakalevu.

Tupou Draunidalo

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bainimarama boasts of 'mainstreaming Fijians' but school not ready for students

Shocking: the kitchen at Queen Victoria School where students will start the year late because officials have failed to ensure the renovations have been ready for 2017.

Shame on this so-called Fiji government.

Frank Bainimarama harks to visiting officials that Fiji has progressed and left the its past of 'institutional biases' but he and his cohorts have failed to have Queen Victoria School ready for the 2017 school year.

QVS staff and students were told their school would be ready for them, but they're not going to be in for another two weeks. This after being promised they would start the school year on time - with the help of two tents for each classroom!
The pro-government paper had touted in big headlines the school would be ready but it isn't.

The state of the school is so bad it is unlikely to withstand a Category 2 cyclone and is an occupational health hazard.

Why have the renovations not been done?

And why is the school in such a shabby state when the Education Minister was allocated $448.5 million in the 2016/2017 budget?

Bainimarama has meanwhile trotted out to officials attending the 25th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) tripe about the country's progress. 

He's told them Fiji was once riddled with institutional biases but "we have knocked down many long-standing barriers to equal opportunity and laid out a clear progressive path for our national development."

Bainimarama's also talks of 'mainstreaming Fijians'.

"We have committed ourselves to mainstreaming as many Fijians as possible by making sure our economic gains do not belong to the few or the elite, but rather to the many - to all hard working ordinary Fijians to whom we owe our economic development."

How bizarre then that he and Mahendra Reddy have failed at something very basic, like having a school ready for its students.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Fiji Airways elderly passenger crawls down stairs

This photo of the elderly woman crawling down the stairs has caused outrage
Photos of an elderly passenger crawling down the stairs of a Fiji Airways flight have gone viral causing outrage on social media. 

A passenger on board the Fiji Airways flight, Peter Tripp, took photos of the incident and posted it on Facebook.

“Getting off my flight from Fiji. I was shocked to see how this Fijian lady was treated.

“Ground staff just watched on as the crew tried to help her crawl and edge her way down each flight of stairs.

“Hello ....there is a duty of care here and it is not the crews duty to do this. Old school days... once the door is opened the passengers are handed to ground staff.

“There are legal consequences here and if she accidentally fell, the crew would have lost their jobs and the airline sued for damages.

The Captain watches in disgust?
“Passengers on transit bus was shocked and appalled. A disgusted passengers said 'OMG is this how they treat elderly passengers, ROLE THEM DOWN THE STAIRS'."

“Not hyping this up.I said 'no they bring them down on a lift truck if they are wheel chairs passengers'."

“I got up to say something to the ground staff and was quickly reminded by wifey I am OLD SCHOOL and I don't work for the airlines anymore.

“Saying the least after the wheel chair passenger was wheeled onto the bus, wifey asked the Ground Controller if this passenger was a special requirement why was she not lowered down on a lift truck.

“The controller said that the wheel chair passenger should have stated that she could not walk down the stairs.

“I turned away in disgust. Did she think we were born yesterday. Wifey and I have 45  experience behind us in passenger travels and this is not the way we do things in Fiji Airways.

“Let's stop contracting Sydney Airport ground duties and put an island touch back into the "THE WAY THE WORLD SHOULD BE."

Fiji Airways managing director and CEO Andre Viljoen has responded saying “The comfort and safety of all our passengers is paramount”.

“We are aware of the unfortunate situation that occurred at Sydney Airport," Mr Viljoen said.

"We are unable to provide any further information surrounding this as we are unable to discuss individual customer matters."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Debate on Fiji land sale reeked of 'Lord of Flies mentality'

A look back at the parliamentary debate on the Land Sales Act shows the legislation was bulldozed through with what appears to have been just one voice of reason, that of Bill Gavoka. 

As Karen Seaton's open letter to C4.5 details, Fiji media have not given the LSA16 issue the coverage and examination it deserves.

Open letter to Editor Fiji Times, Editor Fiji Sun …. after two years of attempts, no coverage of these Human Rights violations ( Article 7,11,17 U.N Declaration of Human Rights), to date, by Fiji Sun, Fiji Times, under Khaiyum’s repressive 2010 Media Decree….no free press in Fiji.
Gavoka: freehold land 'sacred'

Open letter to Fiji Coupfourpointfive
Radio New Zealand, 16/12/16, quoted a statement, a variation of which has been put to Fiji’s government, in hundreds of letters, over a two year period. “Retrospective law is unfair and there are many other Countries where people can invest without the hassle.” “And these are law abiding Countries where the Authorities respect the laws, the Authorities respect the Human Rights of people, where people don’t get summarily deported in flimsy excuses, where Ministers are accountable to the investors of Fiji. Fiji is absolutely giving the wrong signal in all these fronts.” As a boycott of Fiji has begun to be enacted by Fiji Land Owners Assoc.

As Fiji is, globally being signaled as an unwise place to invest, how did that come to pass?

Thursday 11th of December 2014, the Parliamentary Record reflects…

Hon. V.R. Gavoka stood as very much a lone voice, stood up for respect of the value of debate, disclosure and transparency, as 15 bills were being put to vote without that consideration.

One of them being Land Sales Act 16 (LSA16). To the issue of LSA16 he stated…"Freehold in this Country is always sacred. All over the world, my life has been in the Global Community, traveling, tourism and all that. To change this, only 10 percent of the land in Fiji, to touch something that is so sacred is an indication of this Government, which I brand as the most fearless government in the history of Fiji, fearless and touching things that are sacred.”

But those statements where set adrift amongst the calling up subconscious prejudices against immigrants to Fiji.

Kubuabola: egged Sudhakar on
As Hon. Sudharkar was standing up in support of all 15 bills without further scrutiny, allowing five minutes of debate for all of them being respectful in his opinion…goes so far as to erroneously state the opposite of effect it has had in Koro island, “What this intends to do, Madam Speaker, is to have development all over the Country.”
Sudhakar: Pushed for $250,000 or more dwellings

As further xenophobia (fear of immigrants) was called to the surface by Hon. A. Sudhakar, with “As soon as I mention that foreigners will be restricted, there is a lot of interjections and noise from the other side. May I ask them again; did the Fijians vote for you or the foreigners?”

And while not even a mention of aberration, from the Global community, in utilizing an application of a retrospective law was mentioned, Hon. Sudhakar stated further, “There must be a building on the land of 250,000.00$ or more.”

Friday, December 16, 2016

Deported landowner: Khaiyum rationale flawed

Deported Canadian landowner Karen Seaton remains in Los Angeles but has not given up the fight to stop landowners being forced to build $250,000 dwellings.

Seaton told Coup4.5 she remains 'stuck' in LA but continues to raise awareness of the proposed Land Sales Act 2016.

"No word from Fijian officials: I hear from my loved ones there and very concerned and deeply distressed."

Seaton was deported to Los Angeles last week after voicing her concerns about the new land provisions, amid claims she swore at the President.  

She told Coup4.5 the issue is not over and that landowners are due to launch a major campaign.

"The boycott will be hard in the short term but shedding a light on this injuries, standing up for these Human Rights will be of benefit to Fiji in the long-term. 

"Fiji must not be allowed to go the way of Zimbabwe, Belize, and others which did these same short-termed covetous policies."