#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2010-02-21

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bainimarama: elections before 2014 'impossible'

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says it is not possible to return the country to democracy before 2014.

He made the comments in response to a petition - containing 600,000 signatures - calling for elections to be held before the end of this year.

Bainimarama says changes have to be implemented first before Government is going to start thinking about holding elections.

“What I’m going to re-iterate is that it is not practical and realistic to hold elections before 2014. The implementation of the fundamental changes and reforms captured in the people’s charter and which are now being implemented under the framework of the Roadmap – this is the only plan – or priority for Fiji. It is a plan that is objective of a better Fiji - where all benefit and not just the elite few – as has been the case previously.”

He adds they will receive any help offered.

“We welcome any partnership and engagement that will progress these reforms changes. What we will not entertain however - are the irresponsible demands and proposals of selfish individuals and groups that run counter to the charter and the road-map and everybody in Fiji understands that.”- Fiji Broadcasting Corporation

Bainimarama: SDL, NFP and FLP won't return to power

Fiji's interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says he will make sure that politicians from the SDL, Fiji Labour and NFP who are behind a claimed 600,000 signature petition do not return to power after the 2014 elections.

Bainimarama has labelled their plans as rubbish and says he knows that some secret meetings have taken place at the SDL and NFP offices.

Sources have told Coupfourpointfive that a promiment member of the National Federation Party was last week hauled into the Queen Elizabeth Barracks and warned not to speak against the regime or have meetings at the NFP office.

Bainimarama says he will also ban these leaders from attending the upcoming National Dialogue Forum.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interview and new threats cause confusion

It's easy to see why there was confusion today over the recent announcement that diplomatic missions were re-opening in New Zealand and Fiji.

It was caused by an interview the interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, gave the Auckland based radio station, Tarana, this week where he said he would not allow the re-appointment of New Zealand and Australian high commissioners for two years unless the travel bans were lifted.

The comment caused some people to think Fiji was backing out of the agreement with New Zealand to reopen respective diplomatic missions in Suva and Wellington.

Those plans were announced by Bainimarama's own Foreign Affairs minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, and the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, last weekend after their meeting in Suva.

Kubuabola and McCully (that's them above) both said the meeting was aimed at strengthening staffing in the respective missions and that both missions would reopen next month with First Secretaries and Acting Heads of Missions in place.

As foreign ministers, their statements carried some muscle but thanks to Bainimarama's interview (where he said talks about the diplomatic missions were a minor part of the discussions) and renewed threats to pull Fiji out of the Commonwealth yesterday, many were left thinking there had been a U-turn or dramatic developments as we say in news circles.

McCully has today said the plans to re-open the missions continue and shouldn't be under threat. Let's hope that's the case.

Bainimarama has also said that Kubuabola is doing the talking for Fiji at the moment with New Zealand. Let's hope he lets him do that.

No surprise over Fiji statement - NZ

The New Zealand Government says Fiji's reluctance to re-appoint Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners is not a surprise.
Commodore Frank Bainimarama has told Radio Tarana, which is based in Auckland, that there will be no re-appointment of high commissioners for at least two years unless New Zealand and Australia remove sanctions.

A spokeperson at the foreign affair minister's office says this should not affect recent progress to reopen the respective diplomatic missions in Suva and Wellington next month.

He says Commodore Bainimarama's statement is a clarification of Fiji's position following a recent statement by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully that sanctions against Fiji are to remain in place.- Radio NZ

Bainimarama says no High Commissioners until sanctions gone

Fiji's interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama says he will not allow the re-appointment of New Zealand and Australia High Commissioners for at least two years unless sanctions are removed.

Commodore Bainimarama has told Auckland based Radio Tarana this position of stalemate is clearly understood from all sides and that the issue is unlikely to be resolved for some time.

Just days ago Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said in a statement Commodre Bainimarama was 'delighted' with the outcome of a meeting with New Zealand's Forein Minister, Murray McCully in Suva on the weekend where both countries had agreed to resume diplomatic relations, albeit with acting heads of missions.

Mr McCully issued a statement after the meeting saying the respective diplomatic missions would re-open in March and that Fiji's representative Mere Tora was already in Wellington to take up the position of first secretary and acting head of mission at the Fiji High Commission.

And Mr Kubuabola said New Zealand's representative, Phillip Taula, would arrive in Suva next month to take up the same position of first secretary and acting head of mission at the New Zealand High Commission.

He added Commodre Bainimarama was delighted with the turn of events and that Fiji would next try to meet with the New Zealand Prime MInister, John Key, at the Hong Kong Sevens in May.

Fiji threatens to pull out of Commonwealth

Fiji coup leader Frank Bainimarama is threatening to pull out of the Commonwealth, which he says continues to meddle in attempts to move Fiji forward.

"The Commonwealth has not tried to understand or listen to Fiji's aspirations, but have been posing the same questions over and over again about the return to democracy," he told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation yesterday.

"I have clearly stated over and over again, what needs to be done, and when Fiji will return to democracy and this will be done with or without the support of Australia, New Zealand or the Commonwealth," he said.

The Commonwealth suspended Fiji's membership after it refused to hold elections by this year.

Commodore Bainimarama said removing sanctions against the Fiji Government was the main item on the agenda when Fiji's Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabola met NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully in Nadi last week.

Sanctions such as constraints on travel to New Zealand by people connected to the coup administration have been in place since December 2006.

Although talks were continuing at a ministerial level he did not expect the High Commissioner appointments any time soon. Mr McCully said this week favourable consideration was being given to Fiji establishing an honorary consul in Auckland, and that Wellington expected to be able to replace its trade commissioner in Suva.

Mr McCully is expected to meet Commodore Bainimarama during next month's Hong Kong rugby sevens tournament - NZPA

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Petition organisers: Bainimarama's response typical

The organisers of a petition calling for elections to be held in Fiji this year instead of 2014, say interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama's response to it shows his mental capacity and leadership capabilities.

Bainimarama has dismissed the petition, which claims to have over 600,000 signatures, as being good for "toilet paper".

One of the organisers of the petition from a democracy group in Australia, Suliasi Daunitutu, says because people are afraid of speaking up, signatures were collected through political party lists from the FLP, NFP, SDL and UGGP, whose leaders gave approval for it to be submitted.

Daunitutu says Bainimarama's comments are typical of him.

"Who could forget his reply to the Samoan Prime Minister, and how he eloquently dressed his speech with a question about coconut trees and counting Fijian stars? That ended with an invitation from Voreqe to the Samoan PM to come over to Fiji, so he could show him the country. That would have to be the part of the country that have underqualified soldiers enjoying exuberant amounts of money taxpayers pay them.

"What about the Methodist Church half hearted stance to have the conference last year? That did not sit well with him so he arrests Talatalas and now has cancelled the AGM till 2014 and has included the suspension of their quarterly meetings," Daunitutu said.

He said Bainimarama has shown the same attitude towards diplomats who were “doing their jobs” in reporting the situation as they saw them but were "met some very undiplomatic language directed at them and then shown the door".

"Now, he has been told that over 600,000 people are demanding elections. That message was a slap in his face, as he is touring the country trying to win their preferance, just to be told that they want an elected government to lead them."

"There is absolute and uncoditional anger in that response. I would also like to inform him that I stay in touch with people who inform us of his poorly run and uneducated mismanagement of the government machinery, which has seen Fiji fall behind from first to last in the Pacific Islands economic evaluation."

Daunitutu says organisations in Fiji have been in contact and have given their full support to a move that will be taking place in the next few weeks.

"Also, Amnesty International have responded with keeness to the petition and will be monitoring Voreqe's actions in the coming days."

Bainimarama: petition good for toilet paper

Fiji's interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama says a petition handed to his office calling for elections to be held this year instead of 2014, is good only for “toilet paper”.

Bainimarama says “nobody really gives a damn” about the petition and what it (the petition) was asking for was “a bit far fetched”.

He says his government’s priority at this time is getting Fiji’s infrastructure upgraded and improving the lives of ordinary citizens.

The petition was submitted to Bainimarama’s office in Suva, with organisers caliming they have more than 600,000 signatures, including those of the leaders of the Fiji Labour Party, SDL and the National Federation Party.

Accused plotters acquitted on one charge

A High Court judge in Suva has acquitted the eight men accused of conspiring to kill the interim attorney general of Fiji, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and the former finance minister, Mahendra Chaudry, but not of the charge conspiracy to kill the interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama.

Today's decision by Justice Paul Madigan came with the announcement that he was unable to find any evidence the men had conspired to kill Sayed-Khaiyum and Chaudry.

Justice Madigan cited evidence from a state witness, who said the names of the men were not mentioned during the initial meeting where the assassination plot was discussed.

The state witness, Lance Coporal Peniasi Kuli, said the men were only mentioned once in a subsequent meeting.

The eight accused inlcude the provincial chief Inoke Takiveikata, known as the Qaranivalu of Naitasiri which is north of Suva, and the former head of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Metuisila Mua who was part of the 2000 George Speight coup which was mounted by members of Fiji’s special forces, Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) unit.

Former CRW soldiers Feoko Gadekibua, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Eparama Waqatirewa and Kaminilei Vosavere are also before Justice Madigan.

The men were arrested in November 2007, along with a Fiji born New Zealand businessman, Ballu Khan who was severely beaten while in police custody.

The High Court eventually struck out the charges against Khan who now lives in Auckland.

It's alleged the plot to kill Bainimarama was to have taken place in March 2007 but it was foiled after the operation was infiltrated by Major Isireli Narawa and Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli of Fiji Military Intelligence.

Narawa said he was told by Ratu Takiveikata that money was sent to New Zealand to purchase the arms and weapons and that he had the backing of the Vanua or indigenous people.

Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli of Fiji Military Intelligence said they heard rumours of the plot and decided to join in it to see what was happening.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thaw in Fiji-NZ relations

First the deplomatic missions, now the rugby sevens.

There is a definite thaw in the previously strained relations between New Zealand and Fiji, and a backing down by both countries.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully met with his Fiji counterpart, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, in Suva over the weekend and the end result was confirmation the respective diplomatic missions were being re-opened.

It's now emerged that Fiji suggested at that same meeting that Mr McCully meet interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens in May.

The informal meeting was suggested by Mr Kubuabola, who said the Hong Kong meeting would explore the possibility of a meeting between Commodore Bainimarama and the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, to discuss in depth the diplomatic missions and the travel sanctions.

Mr Kubuabola acknowleged New Zealand for "responding positively to Fiji's request for the re-establishment and continuation of engagement as opposed to the isolationist approach taken previously."

He said it had been agreed that the structure of dialogue between the two countries from now on would be on a ministerial level and that officials would only get involved to clariy issues where necessary and to pursue follow-up actions.

Commodore Bainimarama has been quoted as saying he was delighted with the turn of events.

Monday, February 22, 2010

600,000-strong petition to military govt

Fiji's military led government has been sent a letter saying 600,000 people have signed a petition for elections this year.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has said the earliest the elections will be held is 2014.

Many of the people who have signed the petition are linked to the democracy movements in New Zealand and Australia, like Suliasi Daunitutu.

A member of the Fiji Democracy Movement in Australia, Mr Daunitutu says people in Fiji have endured a lot in the past four years and elections should not be delayed any longer.

He says Fiji citizens are afraid to speak openly so they're doing it through the political parties, hence the strong support for the petition.

Mr Daunitutu says the leaders of the Fiji Labour, SDL and National Federation parties all submitted a list of their members to be included in the document.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fiji and NZ diplomatic missions to reopen

The New Zealand and Fiji governments are to reopen their respective diplomatic missions in Suva and Wellington.

The decision follows a meeting yesterday in Suva between New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully and Fiji's Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Mr McCully released a stament following the meeting, saying the discussions had been fruitful and respectful.

Mr Kubuabola was quoted as saying "This meeting continued our efforts to strenthgen staffing at our missions in Wellington and Suva."

It was confirmed Fiji's representative, Mere Tora, had already arrived in Wellington to take up the position of First Secretary and Acting Head of Mission at the Fiji High Commission.

The statement said Mr Kubuabola had advised Phillip Taula would arrive next month in Suva to take up the position of First Secretary and Acting Head of Mission at the New Zealand High Commission.

Yesterday's statement said both ministers remain committed to maintaining dialogue and to ensuring both countries have effective diplomatic representation in each country.