#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2009-06-14

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sanatan Dharam quiet

There has been no word from Fiji's largest Hindu Organisation about non-Christian police officers being forced to follow the New Methodist Church.

The Church is being run by the brother of Police Commissioner Esala Teleni.

Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha has also remained quiet on the banning of kava from police barracks and quarters.

Sources say the President of the Sanatan Dharam, Suva businessman Dewan Maharaj, actively supports the interim regime, so will not denounce anything the regime does.

Maharaj was also a member of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji, the group that drew up the People’s Charter.

Coupfourpointfive has been told Suva City Council's administrator, Vijendra Prakash, has allowed the Police Force to use Sukuna Park for its Crusade, free of charge.

Police officers told to support new church

Members of Fiji’s Police Force have been told they must support the New Methodist Church Crusade,led by the brother of Police Commissioner, Esala Teleni.

The directive was aired on radio on Wednesday, before the start of a four-day Crusade at Suva’s Sukuna Park yesterday.

Teleni says all officers must support the Crusade, saying it is the new technique to combating crime.

Police Public Relations spokesperson, Ema Mua, told a local radio station they are aware officers are disgruntled but said officers who do not support the new edict can resign.

Using language similar to that of her boss Teleni, Mua said the resignations would not be a loss because many others want to join the Force.

But Mua fails to say how new recruits will replace experienced officers who've served the Force for more than 20 years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Felix Anthony betrays members

The general secretary of the Fiji Sugar and General Workers Union, Felix Anthony, has betrayed his members by denying them their right to earn overtime pay.

Coupfourpointfive has been told workers at the Penang mill did not get paid for working extra hours during the mill maintenance program at the start of crushing last month.

The members were entitled to time and a half, double-time and triple time pay.

The FSC's management directed that workers be given days off after an agreement with Anthony.

Anthony has been general secretary of FSGWU for more than 19 years.

He has also been the general secretary of Fiji Trades Union Congress for nine years and an active supporter of the 2006 coup.

Following the coup, Anthony accepted appointments on statutory boards.

By virtue of his membership on the Fiji National Provident Fund Board, Anthony is Chairman of Telecom Fiji Limited Board (which has decided to lay off 177 workers), member of ATH Board(Amalgamated Telecom Holdings – parent company of Telecom, Vodafone & FINTEL) and Chairman of Natadola Bay Resorts Ltd (NBRL)– which was responsible for Natadola Resort project.

Francis Narayan loses top salary

The Chairman of Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau, New Zealand citizen, Francis Narayan, has lost the $160,000 salary he was receiving as a consultant for Fiji National Provident Fund.

Our sources say Narayan was working three days a week as FNPF Consultant but his input was negligible and that he did not spend a full working day at FNPF.

Sources also say Narayan’s professional relationship with FTIB chief executive, Annie Rodgers, is extremely strained because of his dictatorial attitude.

As a result, Narayan is now operating as FTIB Chairman from an office in Marela House and not Civic Towers, the headquarters of FTIB.

But sources say Narayan may soon find himself back in the driver’s seat and reclaim his FNPF consultancy because of his friendship with the regime’s interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama.

Regime won't look for funding for sugar industry

Fiji’s military ruler, Frank Bainimarama, has told cane farmers to bite the bullet as the regime will not look for overseas funding to revive the sugar industry.

Radio Fiji has reported that Bainimarama's regime will work with whatever it has and go ahead with industry reforms.

He says the regime cannot do anything if the European Union does not release the $350 million grant to cane farmers.

The farmers have lost from the EU a total of $172 million in direct assistance after the 5th December 2006 coup. This money was supposed to help farmers boost sugar cane production and increase their efficiency.

Last month the EU cancelled its 2009 allocation of $70 million dollars because the regime failed to comply with the 12 commitments it made in April 2007.

When Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry was the regime’s interim finance and sugar minister, his public statements gave clear indication that the regime would renege on the EU commitments.

Ironically, Chaudhry, the then interim Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum went to Brussels in April 2007 and agreed to the commitments.

But during his term as interim minister, Chaudhry encouraged the regime not to abide by the commitments with statements like “EU commitments were not cast in stone” and that the regime would look for “alternative sources of funding for farmers in the absence of EU funding”.

But Bainimarama’s latest announcement shoots down Chaudhry’s earlier claim of looking for alternative sources of funding.

Meanwhile, farmers continue to suffer with the rising cost of cane production made higher by the 20 percent devaluation.

The future of the sugar industry, which was once the backbone of Fiji's eonomy for more than 100 years, is looking grim.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Teleni bans kava at police quarters

Fiji’s Police Commissioner, Esala Teleni, has banned the drinking of kava in police quarters and barracks, under the rules of the New Methodist Church.

The Fiji Broadcasting Commission today reported that Teleni issued an order under Cap 85 of the Police Act, that there would be no kava drinking at any of the Police Force premises and living quarters.

According to Radio Fiji, Teleni made the statement during a police crusade in Labasa. Police public relations officer and former radio reporter, Ema Mua, says the directive will be put into "black and white".

During his term, the former police commissioner, Andew Hughes, banned kava consumption at all police stations and police posts, as part of moves to instil greater discipline and professionalism.

However, unlike Teleni, Hughes allowed officers residing in police barracks and quarters to drink kava freely.

Maenwhile a four-day police crusade will start tomorrow at Sukuna Park and all officers have been told they must attend.

Monday, June 15, 2009

NZ's Santa Maharaj exposed

The chairman of the Auckland based Fiji Indian Human Rights group is a close ally of interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

He is also the brother of the re-instated chief executive of the Fiji Investment Corporation.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that Santa Maharaj is in daily contact with Bainimarama via emails and telephone.

Sources say he also converses daily with Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and the permanent secretary for Public Service Commission Parmesh Chand.

Maharaj was influential in setting up fundraising activities in NZ and India for Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

Sources say Santa Maharaj knows that Chaudhry, who has $2 million stashed in Australia, raised the money in Haryana in the name of the poor evicted farmers and underprivileged Indians of Fiji after the 2000 coup.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that Santa Maharaj wrote to the interim regime last year seeking funds for his Human Rights Group as well as for farmers of Muaniweni, Naitasiri. These farmers were fooled into taking refugee status at the Girmit Centre in Lautoka following the 2000 coup.

Sources say the camp was established with the help of the then Fiji Human Rights Commission boss Shaista Shameem.

In his letters to the regime last year, Maharaj stated that the regime had to compensate the farmers of Muaniweni for the losses they suffered following the 2000 coup. He said his organisation needed to be compensated too for expenses it incurred while looking after the farmers and their families at the Girmit Centre.

Santa Maharaj was seeking a sum of $1.5 million that was not allocated in the 2009 budget by Bainimarama.

Sources say after falling out of favour with Mahendra Chaudhry, he courted Frank Bainimarama and has been successful in overcoming the first hurdle by getting his brother re-instated that was terminated by Bainimarama two and half years ago.

Sacked CEO back on job

A well-known sports administrator who was sacked as chief executive of the Fiji Investment Corporation by Frank Bainimarama in 2007, has been given his job back.

The re-appointment of Atma Maharaj, as CEO of the Corporation, was made quietly by Fiji's interim regime.

Maharaj’s appearance at the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress in Nadi last weekend - as CEO shocked - many in Fiji.

Yesterday's Sunday Times reported that Maharaj told accountants at the Congress that the creation of 50,000 jobs in 10 years through business process outsourcing, was achievable.

Bainimarama terminated Maharaj and Corporation Chairman, Joe Mar, claiming they were enjoying exorbitant salaries.

Maharaj, who has an Australian permanent residency, then left for Brisbane to be with his family.

The Fiji Investment Corporation was created by the government of Laisenia Qarase to attract and facilitate investment.

When announcing the terminations and disbanding the Corporation, Bainimarama described it as a waste of public funds bordering on corruption on the part of Qarase.

Coupfourpointfive has been reliably told that Atma Maharaj is the younger brother of Santa Maharaj of Auckland, New Zealand, a close friend of Frank Bainimarama.

Santa Maharaj is the chairman of the NZ based Fiji Human Rights Group.