#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2010-08-22

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fiji Times has one month ... PWC looking at interested buyers

AAP is reporting that News Ltd has one month to sell or close its local paper in Fiji, according to the interim government.

The deadline for parties interested in purchasing the Fiji Times closed on Thursday, three months after self-appointed Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama decreed that the newspaper - owned by Rupert Murdoch's Australian arm - must be 90 per cent locally owned.

"I know that there are several local companies that have expressed an interest in the purchase," Fiji's permanent secretary for information, Sharon Smith-Johns, said today.

"It should be local investment in newspapers and it should be local ownership," the Australian-born spokeswoman for the government said.

"Having local-owned media is better for the country because the publishers tend to have a much greater understanding of the issues in Fiji."

News Ltd recruited PriceWaterhouseCoopers to handle the sale.

"Whilst I cannot give any details I can say that the sale process is proceeding with interested parties," PWC senior partner Jenny Seeto told the Fiji Times.

"PricewaterhouseCoopers will now evaluate the offers and any additional information about the business that is required will be provided to interested parties."

Ms Seeto said progress was being made, but she wasn't sure how long it would take to seal the deal.

"News Ltd is committed to quickly concluding a sale with one of the interested parties," she said.

The paper's publisher, Anne Fussell, was not making any comment about the sale and attempts to contact News Ltd were unsuccessful.
Bainimarama, who is also the nation's military leader, has been tightening controls on the media since he overthrew the elected government in a bloodless coup in 2006.

Last year, he sent censors into newsrooms to prevent "negative" stories being reported after sacking the judiciary and voiding the constitution.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith condemned the decree as an assault on freedom of speech and said it would deter investment in Fiji.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FLP calls on regime to come clean on BDO and ministerial payrolls

Accountability for Ministerial payrolls 

Fiji Labour Party website August 23

Fiji Labour Party calls on the interim government to comment on the authenticity of reports that salaries of Cabinet Ministers and a legal consultant hired by the government are paid through the accounting firm of BDO (Aliz). 

There have been reports recently that ministers were not paid through the Treasury since March/April this year. Instead, their payroll was contracted out to BDO (Aliz) which is managed by Dr. Nur Bano Ali who is related (aunt) to the interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. 

Our inquiries revealed that tenders or expressions of interest for the work were not advertised. 

According to information published on the internet interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama receives an annual salary of $267,000 while the interim Attorney General receives $336,000. 

These are super salaries: no former Prime Minister or Attorney General has been paid anywhere near these figures. Salaries and allowances of PMs and Ministers were governed by determinations made by the Parliamentary Salaries Commission and ranged from $115,000 plus State housing for the PM to $96,000 including housing allowance, for the Attorney General/Ministers. 

It will be recalled that Commodore Bainimarama had made it explicitly clear in 2007 that he, as well as all Ministers (including the AG), would receive only ONE salary irrespective of the number of portfolios they held. We believe that such is the case with all other Ministers who receive much, much less compared to the interim PM and the AG. 

Interestingly, the Executive Authority of Fiji Decree No.2, 2009 states at Section 9 that:
A Minister is entitled to remuneration and allowances that were applicable before the 10th day of April 2009, provided that the President may by Decree amend, vary or replace the remuneration or allowance payable to a Minister.” 

We have not seen any Decree which has altered, amended or varied the above provision. 

The tax payer and the people of Fiji are entitled to know the truth. All public officials, including the Prime Minister and Ministers, must be paid through the Treasury, at rates approved by law and in a transparent manner. 

After all, there has been much rhetoric on transparency and accountability by the High Command of the interim government.
The administration must now clarify whether the reports are true.

McCully in Suva last night to talk with Kubuabola

The Fiji Sun is reporting that the interim Foreign Affairs Minister Inoke Kubuabola held a one-on-one meeting with his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully in Suva last night.

The paper says Mr McCully is attending a Pacific Forum Line Meeting in Nadi and that he  flew to Suva yesterday afternoon to hold talks with Kubuabola as part of New Zealand’s efforts to re-engage with Fiji.

It quotes Kubuabola as saying: “This was the first ministerial meeting to be held between Fiji and any of the Pacific Island Forum Foreign Ministers since the Pacific Island Forum Leaders Summit in Port Vila early this month.

The Sun says Kubuabola revealed he re-visited some of the matters earlier discussed with McCully including the easing of travel sanctions and re-engagement with Fiji.

He also reiterated to McCully that Fiji is determined to carry out its reforms agenda under the Roadmap and holds true to its commitment for the 2014 Elections.

McCully was heading back to Wellington this morning.

Voreqe Bainimarama is quoted as saying he knew McCully was in the country but would not be meeting with him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Continuing the debate over i taukei: Fijian Mana

By Jone Baledrokadroka

Are there deep traditional implications of the name change for indigenous Fijians to i taukei as decreed by the interim regime in Fiji? With many traditional societies, a given name has mana similar to the belief in baptized Christian names.

As in other Polynesian languages 'mana refers to power or efficacy inherent in persons or things'. (Turner, 1987:215) The name, Fiji, derived from Viti, has come to embody the mana of the indigenous Fijian or Kai Viti race and his land Viti.

Fijian Ministry now I Taukei Ministry
The word i taukei (owner) on its own does not encapsulate the mana of the indigenous race or the land. It has to be used in conjunction with, or to another word, to form a whole meaning. For in traditional Fijian i taukei is a word that amplifies an owner of some chiefly title, land or thing.

For instance: Taukei ni Waluvu, Taukei Vidilo, Taukei ni Qele, Taukei ni Koro. In the  Fijian language, the word i taukei  in itself is not a whole name. The word in an English language sense is an adjective and not a noun. The word i taukei in the baun Fijian sense amplifies the noun ie Waluvu, Vidilo, Qele, Koro. In fact, the prefix i often used with taukei  proves the word is an adjective that amplifies a noun i.e.  i taukei ni qele. (the owner of the land)

More study as to the word i taukei should have been done before decreeing kai Viti’s after an adjective with no mana.

Jone Baledrokadroka is a PhD in politics candidate at ANU Canberra and former member of the Great Council of Chiefs.

....And the Roger Maynard story that prompted Smith-Johns' tirade

Pirate radio tries to beat repression in paradise

Fiji's democratic opposition hopes to evade military leader's draconian censorship 

By Roger Maynard

Sunday, 22 August 2010

This is a story about repression in what many people would think of as some kind of paradise.

In a move inspired by pirate radio stations of the 1960s, political activists in the South Pacific are planning to position a Dutch-registered merchant vessel in international waters off the coast of Fiji to defy censors in the military dictatorship.

Opponents of the coup leader and self-appointed Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, hope to have the station broadcasting news and interviews by the end of next month in an effort to circumvent draconian media laws imposed on the island state's press, radio and television.

Since taking power in a military coup in December 2006, Fiji's strongman has slowly eaten away at the country's democratic freedoms, installing newsroom censors and cracking down on foreign media ownership. Newspapers and radio stations now have to be 90 per cent locally owned, a stipulation that will almost certainly see the closure of the 140-year-old Fiji Times.

The popular title, which has been owned by News Limited since 1987, has been emasculated since the censors moved in to demand the removal of any anti-government stories.

With most of the population too poor to access the internet or satellite television, the majority of Fijians rely on the press and transistor radios for their news.

That is why Usaia Waqatairewa of the Fiji Democracy Movement has opted for pirate broadcasting. Now exiled in Australia, he plans to stream live programming to the ship from a Sydney newsroom and rebroadcast the material from an on-board transmitter on the AM waveband. "The basic purpose is to inform the public of what's really happening in Fiji so that they can make an informed decision about whether to support Bainimarama or not," he said.

Fiji has suffered four coups in the past two decades and is now facing an economic crisis that threatens to bring further instability to the 800,000 people who inhabit this sprawling archipelago.

To make matters worse, there are increasing concerns about human rights as Commodore Bainimarama continues to crack down on those who oppose his dictatorship. In a rare interview aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last month, the military leader said, "we'll need to shut some people up" before the country can return to democracy. "I don't trust the people," declared the Prime Minister, adding that he was none too happy about politicians or the judiciary, either.

After silencing the powerful Methodist church and the chiefs who are the traditional rulers of this fiercely patriotic nation, Mr Bainimarama sacked many judges.

Suspended from the Commonwealth and excluded from the recent South Pacific Forum annual meeting, Fiji risks becoming a pariah in the region at a time when it desperately needs friends. The Prime Minister also recently expelled Australia's acting high commissioner to Fiji and held his own mini-regional conference to prove he can do without the support of those who disagree with him.

The reforms the commodore talks about strike at the very heart of Fiji's racially divided society. For many years, about half the population was of Indian origin, descendants of indentured labourers who were brought to Fiji by the British in the 19th century to help in the sugar industry.

In recent years, faced with eviction from their Fijian-owned farms after their leases expired, thousands of Indians have sought refuge overseas while many of those unable to leave have ended up in squatter camps.

When Mr Bainimarama seized power he promised a fairer society, with legislation designed to protect the interests of the Indian community. But while he may have been well intentioned, his policies are in danger of turning Fiji into an economic basket case. Unemployment, poverty and fear have created a society whose people are often too scared to talk.

Even the phones no longer guarantee confidentiality since the government ordered mobile and landline users to register all their personal details. One local carrier, Vodafone, is also demanding customers provide a left-hand thumb print and PIN, which the user would normally keep secret.

The head of the Justice Ministry, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, claims the compulsory registration of all phones is the result of a spate of bomb threats and bogus calls. Critics suggest it is more to do with the interim government wanting to create a database of callers whose views do not correspond with the regime's.

Telephone paranoia even extends to some tourists. A German businessman who used his satellite phone in a restaurant recently was reported to the police, who promptly raided his hotel room. He left the country in disgust shortly afterwards. So far, such stories have not damaged tourism, which is one of the few Fijian industries still booming.

A devalued local currency and a strong Australian dollar have made Fiji a bargain destination for overseas holidaymakers. In June alone, more than 45,000 Australians ignored the political considerations and headed to the country's upmarket resorts.

Cocooned in luxury, they are unlikely to see any military presence or the squalor in which so many thousands of Fijians are forced to live in the squatter camps around the capital, Suva. But while the tourists are still heading to Fiji, businesses are pulling out. Australia's Commonwealth Bank has sold its Fijian arm, and Qantas is trying to sell its 46 per cent stake in Fiji's national airline, Air Pacific.

Despite these economic warning signals, Mr Bainimarama remains determined to do things his way. The Prime Minister has promised to go to the country in 2014, but, since he has repeatedly postponed his general election plans over the past three and a half years, few believe he will keep his word. And, if an application for a loan of F$1bn (£328m) from the IMF fails, "the country's economic outlook will be shocking", according to Anthony Bergin of the Australian Strategic Policy Unit.

Such a situation will make Usaia Waqatairewa's plans for a pirate radio station all the more crucial in informing Fijians about what is happening. "We are not intending to broadcast propaganda. We just want to report the facts," he says.-The Independent

The Rory Gibson story that so annoyed the military junta

IT should be a source of profound shame to our country that Australians are going on holidays to Fiji in record numbers. 
The Fiji Bureau of Statistics recently released its May tourism figures, claiming more than 45,000 people turned up at Nadi airport to make it the busiest May in the island nation's tourism history.

Nearly half of them were Aussies, lured there by the cheap package deals. It seems we can't get there fast enough to slip into "Fiji time" and bula our way to the cocktail bar.

While thoroughly understanding the desire of travellers and holidaymakers to get the best bang for their buck, it is appalling that we are directing our dollars to the coffers of a nation that is run by a military dictatorship little better than any apartheid regime operating in South Africa's dark ages.

We can all laugh that our Melanesian neighbours are ruled by a bloke with a name that sounds like an '80s girl band, and assuage our consciences by believing Commodore Bainimarama's claptrap about restoring fairness to Fiji's racist electoral system.

Most of the noise emanating from Fiji – and Australia's response to the trashing of democracy there – has focused on the big-ticket items, like the purge of the judiciary and the persecution and censorship of the independent media.
They are issues hardly likely to ping on the radar of a hard-working Aussie looking for a place to sit by a pool in the sun for a couple of weeks to forget about winter and the mortgage.

But this Pacific tragedy isn't about whether The Fiji Times is being edited under the baleful glare of one of Bainimarama's gun-toting thugs, or that an expat gets his marching orders.
It's about people like Imrana Jalal and her husband Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia.

This is a couple who represents the best of Fiji. She is a prominent human rights lawyer of Indian descent, he is an indigenous Fijian chief.

They are educated, involved in their community, passionate about their country and staunch believers in the democratic process.

They are high-profile people whose marriage in 2003 stunned a country riven with ethnic tension – imagine a Mandela marrying a Botha in South Africa during apartheid.

Jalal has worked tirelessly for women's rights throughout the Pacific. She is a member of the International Commission of Jurists. Her husband was CEO of the Fiji Airports Corporation but was sacked after the military took over.

Jalal's parents, sisters and children from a previous marriage all live in Brisbane, typical of the Fiji-Indian diaspora that has drained their country of two generations of talent and human capital.

They have urged her to join them, fearful that her opposition to the dictatorship's attack on human rights would put her in jeopardy, but she has refused to abandon her country.

Unable to find a job after being blacklisted by the military, Ratu Sakiusa opened a cafe in Suva called Hook and Chook. His wife was listed as a director but was not involved in the running of the restaurant. It was through Hook and Chook that Bainimarama attacked Jalal.

In December, Fiji's laughably named Independent Commission Against Corruption brought charges against the couple relating to licensing issues involving the restaurant, matters normally dealt with by the Suva City Council and attracting a fine of $20.

When the charges were first brought before the Magistrates Court, Magistrate Mary Muir questioned why FICAC was prosecuting minor local authority misdemeanours. She was sacked two days later, and FICAC then successfully applied to have the charges moved to the High Court.

Thankfully, the charges against her were thrown out of the High Court by Justice Priyantha Fernando two weeks ago. One remains against her husband, but it too should be scuppered . . . unless Justice Fernando is sacked for being so gallingly impartial.

Although Jalal and Ratu Sakiusa have escaped prison so far, the toll on their finances and emotional health have been enormous.

Their treatment is by no means isolated. Good people all over Fiji are being persecuted.

Going on holiday there while this sort of abuse is happening would be like sitting in a cafe sipping a coffee while a mugger attacked a pregnant woman on the footpath next to you, and you ignored it.-Courier Mail


MInistry of Information: News Ltd wages hostile war on Fiji

Fiji's MInistry of Information has published on the government website a tirade at what it says is bias reporting by News Ltd, which owns the Fiji TImes.

The Permanent Secretary for Information, Ms Sharon Smith-Johns, accuses New Ltd of continuing to wage a hostlie media campaign against Fiji, saysing this time it directly targets the nation's tourism industry and economy."

The statement is as follows:

“In recent weeks, News Ltd newspapers have published numerous articles on Fiji, all of which perpetrate negativity about Fiji.” 

Ms Smith-Johns said, “It begs the question that most in Fiji are asking. Is the Australian Government using News Limited as a tool to punish Fiji and cripple our economy? These stories are so unbalanced it boils down to nothing but propaganda”.  

“They have embarked on a campaign to manipulate the facts and news to hurt the people of Fiji but we are also taking action through the proper channels and using whatever means is at our disposal.”  

In response to these, the Ministry has written formal letters of complaint about these inaccurate reports, which have been copied to the relevant bodies for their necessary action.

In one article titled ‘Australian tourists turn a blind eye as Fiji’s best people are persecuted’, the Courier Mail which is a News Ltd paper reported “It should be a source of profound shame to our country that Australians are going on holidays to Fiji in record numbers”. 

The article was penned by Rory Gibson, a former editor-in-chief of the Fiji Times. 

In an article published in The Independent Newspaper titled ‘Pirate radio tries to beat repression in paradise’, the writer Roger Maynard reports that “In recent years, faced with eviction from their Fijian-owned farms after their leases expired, thousands of Indians have sought refuge overseas while many of those unable to leave have ended up in squatter camps and that many thousands of Fijians are forced to live in the squatter camps around the capital, Suva”.

Says Ms Smith-Johns, “I have little doubt Roger Maynard has never been to Suva or Fiji as his perception of events is divorced from the realities on the ground.

“News Ltd is advising Australians not to come to Fiji. Well here is a message for Australians - don’t read News Ltd newspapers!

I certainly wouldn’t want to subscribe to a paper that openly supports and encourages the practice of racial discrimination and one which is trying to cripple the people of Fiji financially”. 

Rory Gibson’s article goes on to say “It is appalling, that we are directing our dollars to the coffers of a nation that is run by a military dictatorship little better than any apartheid regime operating in South Africa’s dark ages.”

The Permanent Secretary for Information, who is an Australian, challenged the media company to provide evidence that what is currently happening in Fiji is comparable to “South Africa’s dark ages”.

More than 45,000 Australians visited Fiji in May alone and over the last 12 months an average 10,000 Australians have been visiting Fiji.

“In fact, visitor arrivals from throughout the world continue to increase and the Tourism Industry is expecting to hit 600,000 visitors by the end of the year – a figure which is set to rewrite the record books” Ms Smith-Johns said. 

“Fiji has also been ranked alongside Bali and Malaysia as among the most popular destinations for Australians looking to buy international properties as investments and vacation getaways,” she added.

“It’s a pity as many people in Australia depend on news media for a balanced view of what's going on. They certainly don’t get that from these inaccurate stories on Fiji published by News Ltd and others,” she said.

Gates harps on about Australia and and New Zealand being to blame for weak judiciary

The interim government's chief justice, Anthony Gates, is whingeing again about New Zealand and Australia hampering the junta's efforts to restore Fiji's judiciary to full strength.

Gates told those gathered at the launch of the Consumer Council report on the Small Claims Tribunal, in Suva yesterday, that the interference is unparalleled.

He said: "In the world, this assault on, and interference with, a neighbouring state's judiciary is unprecedented."

Gates was referring to vacancies within the judiciary after a report from the Consumer Council's The Small Claims Tribunal: An Effectiveness Study, criticised the vacancies of referees for the tribunal.

He says the same criticism could have been applied to the High Court and to the staffing of the High Court in Lautoka, in particular. 

Gates said despite the vacancies, Fiji had done well to restore staffing levels and would continue its efforts.

The judiciary was sacked in April last year by the regime when it abrogated the Constitution.  The abrogation followed the appeal court ruling that the military-led government of Voreqe Bainimarama was illegal.

Choosing to ignore the fact the decision to get rid of the  constitution was in itself illegal and unpopular with the people of Fiji, Gates yesterday said the process of restoring the Fiji Judiciary to full strength continues, despite Australia and New Zealand's interference in Fiji's internal affairs.
He said it will take time, but they will not let outside interference hinder the process.
Gate also acknowledged the support from AusAid and NZaid in various sectors of society but again played the victim by saying the aid should not have conditions attached to it if they are to be genuine in their efforts to assist Fiji.

Gates' has a warped sense of reality if he can't see why Fiji's neighbours refuse to endorse the military regime. He expects the rest of the world to turn a blind eye to the wrongs of the Bainimarama government, including the way it came to power and the way it cheated the people to maintain its control.

And, so like the rest of this self-appointed regime, Gates is miffed the rest of the world treats them as the thieves they are. He needs a new pair of glasses; the one's he's got now don't show him the world as it really is.-Original source for quotes The Fiji Times and Fiji Village.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Khaiyum's thesis rubbishes military yet manages to win over junta dictator

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum: Bainimarama’s impotent military prolonged plight of George Speight’s hostages in the 2000 coup for 56 days

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is the golden boy of Frank Bainimarama, the robotic, punch drunk and possibly deranged self-styled military strongman ... a coward whose bodyguards claim he not only hid from Speight’s rebel soldiers in a cassava patch but seized with fear, had wet himself from the live bullets whizzing around him at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Wrapped in a women’s sarong and a wig, Bainimarama was smuggled out of the barracks and rushed to the Suva hospital with a 'pulsating heart beat'. He later claimed he'd gone to visit his ‘loyal soldiers’.

On the other side of the world, a barely unknown and insignificant Indo-Fijian of any repute, overfed on Chinese noodles, was trying to make ‘chop suey’ of the Fiji military, and indirectly, its commander, Voreqe Bainimarama, in his Master of Art thesis at the University of Hong Kong.

In the thesis that would later impress Bainimarama, Khaiyum wrote as follows: “Mahendra Chaudhry’s reign as Prime Minister lasted only a year. He and members of his Cabinet were taken hostage by a George Speight and seven armed ‘gunmen’ on 19 May 2000. One would have thought given the few number of kidnappers, a rescue of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in particular by the Fiji Military Forces, which prides itself in its military prowess, was relatively easy task.

"However, this was not to be. The ineptitude, inertia and reluctance displayed by the military and other law enforcement in the first weeks of the crisis allowed the kidnappers a free hand in mustering support at the parliamentary grounds, for their ‘cause’, holding the Prime Minister in captivity for 56 days. The cause apparently was the re-assertion of indigenous Fijian paramountcy vis a vis indigenous rights.”

Khaiyum continued: “While the maneuverings and clientalism of the establishment clique is intriguing, invariably epitomizing machiavellanism and at best of times moral impairment – illustrating the nuances of the real politik, Fijian style – the fact remains the mantra of indigenous Fijian paramountcy and the necessity of maintaining the ‘sanctity’ of separate indigenous Fijian administration were, and to continue to be, very potent ideas demonstrating different notions of group and citizen loyalty and identity."

As we have seen previously, he suggested everything Fijian should be smashed with his so-called Sunset Clause, especially in regard to cultural autonomy, and that everyone should be called Fijian.

For years he also, privately, maintained that the present commander of the land forces, Pita Driti, should have been transported to Nukulau Island, along with George Speight, because he suspected Driti colluded with Speight’s gunmen.

In order to fulfil his long cherished dream of putting into practice the contents of his 20,000 word thesis, Khaiyum had to win over Bainimarama, who of course had his own agenda against the SDL government and the Fijian chiefs.

Now, both are making ‘chop suey’ of the i-taukei race by cutting private deals with the Chinese, with the Military Council looking again as it did in 2000, impotent bystanders.

Power, the Chinese leader Mao, once stated, flows from the barrel of a gun. Driti (Hallelujah!) still has the guns to redeem himself and save the i-taukei race from Bainimarama and Khaiyum, the self-appointed baron robbers of the nation.
The Mara-Ganilau dynasty, of course, have provided them with the shield to reduce and ruin Fiji and its original owners, the i-taukei Fijians.

Another who has steered Fiji to the road of ruin is Brigadier Mohammed Aziz, who is merely feeding on the back of Kaiyum and Bainimarama until a new election is called, and who will leave the military to run a private hospital with his wife. By then, the i-taukei would have been confined to their sick beds, with no one to turn to, with the Chinese long gone.

The sun would have finally sat on the i-taukei race, with the originator of the ‘Sunset Clause’, presumably heading back to Hong Kong to cook up another dodgy thesis. That's unless he is sent to prison, as widely expected, by Pita Driti.

But before that happens, we need to be told how many millions Khaiyum has signed off for his Hong Kong legislators and Kiwi lawyers to draft the military decrees, not to mention the anti-i-Taukei one. 

Like the Biblical Peter, Pita Driti must also not continue to surround himself with the enemies of the Fijian race. History will otherwise judge him harshly, not to mention the ancestral spirits and the Lord!

Restless natives and elephants: two doctoral thesis challenge Khaiyum's Final Solution

Some of the feedback from readers on the Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum thesis printed by Coupfourpointfive last week:

From Alivereti Jona on August 20:

Reading Kaiyum's thesis, I submit part of a paper I wrote regarding idigenous ights in New Zealand and Fiji as opposed to Kaiyum's view that colonial policy was to protect the Fijians. In fact, it was a tool to suppress the Fijians i.e the problems of today:

Controlling the Natives
With Gordon’s (Dr Arthur Gordon,Fiji's governor from 1875 to 1880) experience in other colonies, he would have quickly summed up that the number of white settlers was unlikely to grow to the point of turning the country into a settler colony. At the same time, the natives have to be either coerced or assimilated into the new economic and political system.

Gordon is held in high esteem regarding his perception that Indigenous Fijian interests should be protected from political expediency or the needs of settlers, to avoid the New Zealand precedent.[1]He established a system of indirect rule where in his words "native institutions are developed with the capability to manage their own affairs without exciting their suspicion or destroying their self respect".[2]Thus a Great Council of Chiefs was created to advise the governor on native affairs and assist in the formulation of native regulations. The Native Labour Ordinance 1876 restricted the recruitment and commercial employment of indigenous labour and a native taxation scheme to meet tax obligation in kind, meant communal existence without recourse to employment for wages.[3]

Gordon and Thurston have been credited and patronised by Fijian chiefs with the protection of native land, institutions and customs to an extent hardly seen in any other British colony. Be that as it may, it has been argued that the system was premised on misleading assumptions and erroneous ideas on traditional structures of Fijian society.[4] In effect the policy isolated Indigenous Fijians to communal existence and a life of servitude to chiefs.

Chiefs were used as a mechanism of control through dominant roles in native affairs, backed by the force of law and administrative machinery. Appointments of chiefs as colonial officials were strengthened through the codification of Fijian customs to be enforceable by law. The recommendation for these customs to be codified came from none other than the Great Council of Chiefs.[5]The situation was such that an oligarchy of chiefs emerged, whose children were assured education and employment in the colonial administration. The oligarchy of chiefs translated into chiefly elite who became prominent in both colonial and post colonial political history of Fiji.

The struggle of commoners

The natives complained of their inability to work for wages, and excessive taxation by government with the demand for large exactions by the chiefs as traditional due, became the focal point of resentment.[6]Protests against the Gordon/Thurston Policy on abuses and excesses of the rigidly defined communal way of life were being recognised by government with the view that ordinary Fijians were exploited by the chiefs and the system itself.[7]Governor Sir Henry Jackson recognised this problem upon his arrival in 1902 and noted “...widespread feeling of unrest amongst natives and the desire for greater liberty for individual action...”[8] Although he felt unable to intervene for lack of a viable alternative he made his point that “our plain duty is to ensure that it shall not be worked exclusively for the benefit of the ruling class...and to provide for the commoner readier redress for his grievances...”[9]

A similar stand was taken by Im Thurn who was Governor of the colony from 1904 to 1908. “I have always desired to find a safe way for the complete abolition of the communal system. But a little experience has shown me the danger of doing this at present”.

[1] Lal, above n 81 at 14

[2] Legge, J. D, Britain in Fiji 1858-1880, (Macmillian, London, 1958) 204

[3] Lal, above n 81 at 14

[4] Ibid at 15

[5] Scarr, above n 73 at 90

[6] Ibid at 15

[7] Ibid at 19

[8] Jackson to Colonial Office, 8 November. 1902, in CO 83/75

[9] Jackson to Colonial Office, 30 March 1903, in CO 83/75

And from Dr Mere Samisoni also on August the 20th.
I write further to the ‘Pacific In the Media” article that dismantled the thinking behind Aiyaz Kaiyum’s masters thesis, a document that has formed the basis of the Bainimarama Regime’s ineffectual Fijian Affairs reforms.

What ASK’s thesis proposes to address is the negative aspects of Fijian cultural practice. But does this mean that Fijian culture as a whole is a liability? That is a biased view and has not been quantitatively and statistically measured to level any significance in order to accept or reject his hypothesis.

In contrast, from the entrepreneurial point of view, race has value and is capital in terms of ethnicity. It is therefore a success factor, where markets are ethnically differentiated and segmented.

My own Doctoral thesis identified and demonstrated 186 success factors (along with their market indicators in Fiji). This kind of diversity therefore, is a broad source of innovation perspective and incubation that can add value in business planning. So, entrepreneurship is a framework and process that will enable a move away from the outdated, autocratic, Hitler-like, cruel, centralized model of the past industrial era.
In terms of system and style, the entrepreneurship model leverages empowerment of ability and talent from the “hearts and minds” of all peoples, using team-building leadership in a free and friendly environment. This brand of leadership is in complete contrast to the present dictatorial and decreed conditions of PER, controlled media and judiciary produced by ASK’s thesis.

The point I am trying to make here is best highlighted by the Buddha’s parable about the five blind men trying to understand an elephant. The perspective of each is limited by his own blindness, and so as a result, they all have a different experience of the Elephant as they are standing around different parts of it. This was the Buddha’s explanation of how man’s limited understanding can result in different perspectives and doctrines in religion or politics or ideology.

But, Dr Vishal Mangalwadi (2010) a philosopher and historian argued for a holistic view by asking the question, “What if there is someone else who CAN see and can tell us about the whole Elephant?” He answers his own question with a resounding “Yes” that God is that person who can see the whole Elephant, and He has spoken to mankind in history through the life and person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and through the Bible as His eternal Word.

The parallel in Fiji’s case is the association between ASK’s rather narrow and patronizing view of native development and cultural engineering in Fiji, being the kind of limited perspective referred to in the Buddha’s parable of five blind men.

By contrast, there is the holistic and empowering development model provided by the entrepreneurial framework. It looks at issues holistically with a multi-disciplinary perspective that values freedom, diversity and information as its foundation for innovation and progress.

I therefore agree with Pacific In the Media that by removing ethnicity from the picture, ASK’s methodology is flawed with tunnel vision bigotry and is based on a narrow legal interpretation. Furthermore, ASK ‘s “peace-meal” approach to development of a multicultural community, has not contextualized the value of people, where ethnicity and diversity are strengths, for the common good new age civilization. 

Dr. Mere Tuisalalo Samisoni legally elected SDL Member for Lami Open Constituency (deposed 2006).