#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2009-08-23

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Regime hopes to escape full suspension

The military dictatorship regime is hopeful the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group will not take action against Fiji on 1st September - which is three days away.

The regime's Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has told Fijilive the regime has written to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamlesh Sharma inviting a team from Commonwealth to visit Fiji next week.

On 31st July, CMAG in its extra-ordinary meeting had given Fiji until 1st September to give an unequivocal commitment to allow free and fair political dialogue to be facilitated by the Commonwealth and United Nations, otherwise it would be fully suspended from the Commonwealth. Currently Fiji is only suspended from the Commonwealth Council.

The Commonwealth has already appointed former New Zealand Governor-General and Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission Sir Paul Reeves to be the facilitator of political dialogue. The Reeves Commission report formed the basis of the 1997 Constitution that was abrogated by the regime on 10th April.

In mid last year the regime had expressed displeasure at Sir Paul's appointment as facilitator after he had already started work on facilitating political dialogue between the regime and political parties.

The regime has not made any public announcement how it views Sir Paul's re-appointment.

SDL, FLP write to Bainimarama

Deposed Prime Minister and SDL leader Laisenia Qarase and his one time political nemesis Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry have written to the dictatorship regime's prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

But the military commander has told Radio Fiji he has not received any letter from the two leaders.

The contents of the letter is being kept confidential but some media are reporting that both Qarase and Chaudhry have proposed to Bainimarama a plan on how they can work together.

Sources have told us they have sought a meeting with the Military Council and Bainimarama has told Colonel Mohammed Aziz to talk to both leaders and establish what they want.

While Qarase has not made any public statements after 10th April, Chaudhry has been posting anti-regime media releases on the Labour Party website.

Sources say if the submission is in the national interest, then both leaders should reveal the statement publicly - especially Chaudhry who bemoans the lack of transparency and accountability in the regime.

Holy Spirit "talks" to Police boss

Police Commissioner Esala Teleni claims the Holy Spirit speaks to him and he bases his decisions on what the Holy Spirit tells him.

Teleni has told Radio Legend FM news that recently he terminated police officers after the Holy Spirit told him they were transporting marijuana from Sigatoka and involved in major robberies.

Last December during the launch of the New Methodist Crusade for the Police Force, Teleni claimed the Holy Spirit had told him that he would be the new Police Commissioner.

At midday yesterday Teleni marched with his younger brother and New Methodist Church head Atu Vulaono on the streets of Suva as part of the Church's National Crusade.

Teleni has made it clear that the Souls to Jesus strategy will be part of the Police Force as he hopes it will eliminate crime by 2012.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Students hear of 'Jesus Crusade'

By John Austin

BRISBANE (BT Online/Pacific Media Watch): A "Jesus crusade" led by Fiji's police force has been compared to the rule of the Taliban.

Editor-in-chief of the Fiji Times Netani Rika addressed journalism and communications students at the University of Queensland yesterday, telling them of life under the illegal rule of interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Rika said police converts to the fundamentalist New Methodist Church had replaced military personnel as in-house censors in newsrooms.

He said the police and the Bainimarama regime were strong backers of the new church and aimed to draw popular support away from the more independent traditional churches such as the dominant Methodist Church.

Rika said police were interpreting and enforcing Fiji's laws from an extremely fundamentalist Christian perspective.

"It's just like having the Taliban," he said.

Police officers of all beliefs and ethnic backgrounds were being pressured to join the New Methodist Church to impose strict moral codes and behaviour on police officers and increasingly the general public.

"The strategy appears to be to convert all the police then they will make everyone else Christian creating what they think will be a peaceful society where we can all just follow our great leader," Rika told students.

"They are the Jesus cops. Even the police phone answering message says "Praise the Lord. Can we help?"

The Fiji media has been widely censored since Bainimarama seized power in a 2006 coup.

The head of the new Methodist Church is the brother of the Police Commissioner, a close friend of Bainimarama and former Fiji Navy Commander. The Police Commissioner is regarded as the second most powerful position in Fiji.

"This regime now believes it must control more than the media to break the hold that the traditional Fijian authorities like the church, have on people's minds.

"Now they are trying to control everything, beliefs and how people behave," Rika said.

"And even more worrying is the new clampdown on reporting any stories that involve the police or the justice system.

"They just want people to think all is good, and without a free media people believe the lies."

An associate director of `Uniting World', a Uniting Church body operating in the Pacific, said he was investigating reports that preachers from Australian pentacostal churches were funding the New Methodist Church in Fiji and were sending people to preach there.

Rika said journalists in Fiji were attempting to counter the censors by continuing to report on all stories regardless of whether they were positive or negative.

"Journalists have been subjected to intimidation, threats and fire-bombing. We continue to cover all the stories we believe are important to the people, even thought they may not get published," he said.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reveal names, Mr Chaudhry

The Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry must put his money where his mouth is and name the bloggers he accuses of defaming him on Coupfourpointfive.

In a statement posted on its website, the FLP has accused this blogsite of gutter politicking. We regard this as a case of the pot calling the kettle black - something that Chaudhry is all to familiar with given his record of gutter level politics and mudslinging. We are thoroughly familiar with his political record as his lies are in the public domain.

The FLP statement, obviously authorised by Chaudhry, does not quote anyone except the party. Our stories are based on information provided by sources, an avenue that has been used in the past to great effect by Chaudhry.

In its statement, the FPL claims that Coupfourpointfive has become blatantly dishonest and biased. In the five months we've been operating (we came to life a few days after the abrogation of the Constitution on April the 10th), we have never received a press release or comment from either Chaudhry, the FLP or the National Farmers Union.

The e-mail address to this blogsite is readily available and has been used by countless others to tip us off or to vent, either about our stories or the state of affairs in Fiji.

People have even put their names to information as authentication and for the sake of credibility. We have decided not to reveal our sources, just as the latest FLP statement on its website fails to source its author/s.

We invite Chaudhry and the FLP to make use of our email address as others do, and make a direct comment on the critical issues facing the people of Fiji. Meanwhile, he would've seen that we analyse most statements and decrees of the dictatorship regime that he served for 18 months.

Likewise, we reserve the right to analyse his statements in view of his policies, practices and principles of the past, just as we analyse other statements, Decrees and actions of the interim regime and key players in Fiji's crisis. This has been our policy from day one.

But since the FLP claims to be quite aware of the authorship of a few "defamatory articles" of Chaudhry, we invite both him and the Labour Party to reveal the authorship as its website has threatened. We will publish the information if it is made officially and sent to us legitimately.

But we also assure Chaudhry, FLP and our readers that we will reveal evidence of Chaudhry's anti-Ratu Epeli Nailatikau comments, as well as those made against former Prime Minister and President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

The ball is now in the court of Mahendra Chaudhry and the Labour Party.

Bainimarama unmoved by 'allies' lobbying

The interim regime's leader, Frank Bainimarama, has brushed aside the joint submisson of former political enemies Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry, saying the leaders should accept the demise of both SDL and the Constitution.

The military commander and the regime's prime minister has told Radio Legend FM he is aware both leaders sent a joint submission to the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Conference in Australia.

Bainimarama warns that any opposition would delay the goals of his regime, hinting again that the September 2014 general election timetable is a mere somokescreen.

Meanwhile, the regime has five moredays to respond to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group's resolution for Fiji to agree to a free and fair political dialogue forum or risk full suspension.

SDL, FLP want electoral reforms

The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and its Multi-Party Cabinet partner in the deposed government, the Fiji Labour Party, want electoral reforms by October.

It's one of the recommendations of the joint submission to the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Conference in Cairns, Australia. It was signed by once bitter political enemies, Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry. The full submission has been posted in 7 parts on Raw Fiji News.

Essentially both parties:

a) Do not accept the three-year delay in commencement of political dialogue starting with work to formulate a new Constitution in September 2012. Chaudhry had called for electoral reforms before elections during his tenure as interim Finance and Sugar Minister for 18 months until August last year.
b) Regard the dictatorship regime as the sole arbiter of what is good for Fiji, saying it even violates the Peoples Charter that Chaudhry and the FLP were an integral part of.
c) Do not agree with curtailment of fundamental freedoms like censorship of the media. Chaudhry had called for media regulations during his honeymoon with military dictator Frank Bainimarama.
d) Lament the lack of complete transparency and accountability involving millions of dollars of taxpayers' money. Chaudhry had brushed aside criticism of the military's $45.5 million budget blowout for 2007 and $184,000 leave payout for Frank Bainimarama saying he had approved both expenditures because they were necessary.
e) Describe the interim regime as being accountable to no-one and immune from questioning. Chaudhry was cleared by the regime after the media revealed his $2 million stash in Australia. At that time he said the regime and he were accountable and transparent.

Both leaders want Public Emergency Regulations and media censorship lifted before the start of any political dialogue saying among other things, such dialogue can include discussion and an exit strategy for the military and a caretaker government to take Fiji to general elections by October 2010.

Teleni hopeful Crusade will make Fiji crime-free by 2012

Police Commissioner Esala Teleni says three more years of the New Methodist Church led Crusade would make Fiji a crime-free nation by 2012.

Teleni has preached to police officers to adopt the strategy of Lord Jesus Christ to help them change their character, so they become good crime fighters.

He has accused police officers of lying, saying many are involved in the transportation of marijuana, sharing a loot and of even influencing judges inn who they send to prison. The former deputy military commander failed to elaborate on his incredible claims and give specific examples.

His preaching has drawn praise from his younger brother and head of the New Methodist Chgurch, Atu Vulaono, who says Teleni is on the right track.

Meanwhile a six-day New Methodist National Crusade started at the TFL National Stadium in Suva on Tuesday. It will end on Sunday. It is being promoted as "The New Generation or "Na Kawa Tamata Vou" and glossy leaflets are being sent to homes. Some programmes are also being held at Sukuna Park in Suva City.

The New Methodist Church, which is pro-regime, was given a permit to hold its Crusade, while Fiji's largest religious and Christian denomination, the Methodist Church, was denied permission to hold its annual conference or solevu.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Militarisation a sign of permanent rule

The unprecedented militarisation of the civil service is yet another signal of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces gearing itsef for a permanent stay in power, similar to the Burmese military junta.

Last week we highlighted names of prominent military officers that have taken up top jobs in the civil service.

This includes the four Divisional Commissioners - Commissioner Central, Commissioner Easter, Commissioner Northern and Commissioner Western.

Previously, these Divisional Commissioners used to report matters relating to decision making to the respective ministries, most notably being the Ministries of Provinical and Regional Development.

But sources have told us that within the next three months, the military officers will shortly be elevated to the position of divisional commissioners with full authority to make decisions on the distribution of funds and allocation of resources.

They will only be responsible to the regime's ministers or the permanent secretaries of the decisions.

Sources say this move is designed to appease the rural population, particularly Fijians, and pamper them with funds and assistance with the target being winning their support for the dictatorship regime.

The constrcution and opening of the new Naqali bridge for the people of Naitasiri and distribution of horses to a remote Tailevu village this year are two examples of the regime's attempts to win the hearts of rural Fijians.

The militarisation of the civil service is a signal of the regime's intention to rule Fiji through the barrel of the gun and suppress pro-democracy activists by silencing them through the media censorship promulgation.

FTUC support for regime continues

The Fiji Trades Union Congress is maintaining its support for the dictatorship regime despite the axing of its top brass from boards of statutory organisations.

FTUC President and former Fiji Labour Party Member of Parliament Daniel Urai has told FBC that Fiji is capable of handling its own political issues and international pressure must not be allowed to dictate when general elections will be held in the country.

Urai says he supports any form of political dialogue that is being envisaged by regime's dictator Prime Minister Frank Banimarama.

He has also predicted the new Constitution will not be a totally new document and is confident that assistance will be forthcoming towards formulating a new Constitution.

Urai is also supportive of the five year election timetable that as it stands will mean elections will be held in September 2014.

Both Urai and FTUC general secretary Felix Anthony supported the regime by becoming members of the Fiji National Provident Board after the December 2006 military coup.

They also served on Boards of FNPF subsidiary organisations with Anthony serving as Chairman of Telecom Fiji and Natadola Bay Resorts Limited.

Two months ago five out of six FNPF Board members including Urai and Anthony were terminated.

The FNPF 2007 Annual Report states the 6 Boad members were paid $941,000 in allowances with each member receing more than $156,000.

The 2008 Annual Report has not been made public but sources have confirmed one of the excessive expenses was Urai's whose mobile bill came to $3800 in a month.

The source said Urai demanded that the bill be paid and threatened senior management of dismissal if it wasn't settled.

The FTUC founded the Fiji Labour Party in 1985 to fight for the rights of workers.

Both FTUC and FLP accepted key positions within the regime and its interim cabinet until mid last year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

FDB gives Radio Fiji $17 million loan

The Fiji Development Bank has awarded a $17 million loan to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Ltd also known as Radio Fiji.

Radio Fiji has always been under the control of Governments and regimes with its freedom and independence severely compromised in the aftermath of the military coups in the last 22 years.

Sources say while both Radio Fiji and FDB have not made any public announcement, they have confirmed the release of the loan is not based on any commercial decision.

All media organisations based in Fiji do not qualify for a million dollar loan as they do not have assets nor commercial viability to repay the loan.

Sources say the re-branding of FBCL radio stations that included launch of new logos last month was made possible because of funds sourced from FDB.

Radio Fiji also plans to start a television service.

Sources say if the loan attracts an annual interest rate of 10 percent, then $17 million will attract an annual interest of $1.7 million.

Last year Radio Fiji made an unaudited profit of a little over $500,000. Radio Fiji also gets $1.3 million annually for public service broadcasting - a grant that was started by the Rabuka government 11 years ago.

Coupforupointfive has been told that Radio Fiji will not be able to meet loan repayments although it may be a long term loan.

The Chairman of FDB is New Zealand citizen John Prasad, a close friend of the regime's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum is also the regime's Public Enterprices Minister that put him in charge of State owned entities like Radio Fiji.

His younger brother Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is Radio Fiji's Chief Executive.

Odds shortening for Bainimarama presidency

The chances of Frank Bainimarama becoming the next -resident has increased with his comment over Radio Fiji that the regime's new Constitution will look at having the President as leader of the country.

Bainimarama told Radio Fiji on Sunday that apart from the parliamentary system and electoral reform, the people of Fiji will be asked whether they prefer the President or Prime Minister as the country's leader.

Coupfourpointfive has been told this is yet another indication that the coup leader has set his eyes on the presidency following the regime's decision to retire Tui Vuda Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

As President Bainimarama will become the nation's leader as well as the Commander in Chief of the military.

Growers Council dissolution case thrown out

Fiji Labour Party and National Famers Union leader Mahendra Chaudhry has suffered futher humiliation and rejection at the hands of the dictatorship regime which he helped establish on firm foundations.

Sources have confirmed that Chaudhry's son, Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry tried to file a case before the High Court of Fiji in Suva last week to challenge the regime's decision to scrap the Sugar Cane Growers Council.

However the court documents were rejected by the High Court registry under the provisions of the Administration of Justice Decree promulgated under the regime's New Legal Order.

The Decree prohibits any citizen or organisation from challenging a decision of the regime.

Coupfourpointfive has been told the action of the High Court Registry is as far as Chaudhry is concerned, a case of getting a taste of his own medicine.

Chaudhry supported the overthrow of the SDL/FLP Multiparty Government of Laisenia Qarase and become Frank Bainimarama's interim Finance and Sugar Minister - a post that he held for 18 months.

On Chaudhry's recommendation the regime deferred the Growers Council elections scheduled for 2008 to 2010.

Chaudhry's recommendation was political as the National Farmers union had gained control of the Council afer the 2006 coup.

The Growers Council has been given three months to wind up its operations.

It's scrapping will leave cane farmer voiceless and with no legitimate represention.

Regime selling off prime State assets?

There are rumours that the dictatorship regime is trying to sell off State assets in a bid to raise quick money for its survival.

The rumours say the regime is negotiating with Arabian Gulf States like United Arab Emirates and Brunei and elite billionaires of these two nations for the sale of Nadi International Airport and the sea ports like Kings Wharf of Suva and Queens Wharf at Lautoka.

Sources say the un-explained trip of the regime's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to Brunei is fuelling these reports. Sayed-Khaiyum traveled to Brunei last week from Barbados. He is the closest advisor to military dictator Frank Bainimarama.

Nearly three years after the December 2006 coup, the regime has achieved negligible results in terms of securing fnancial handouts from Asian nations like China, Malasia and India.

The sale of Nadi Airport and the sea ports is being seen as an initiative of Sayed-Khaiyum to prop the regime and prolong its stay in power as both sales will bring several millions of dollars for the cash-strapped regime.

Nadi Airport is the gateway to the Pacific and the adverse consequences of the possible privatisation of this prime asseet is being deliberately ignored.

Sources say given the regime's inconsistency, the sale of these ports of entry is possible.