#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2010-10-17

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Defence White Paper and Policing–Part Six. Police take control of internal security

Editors Note: As debate on the role of the Fiji military in the affairs of our nation intensifies, we have decided to reproduce excerpts of the highly controversial and secretive Defence White Paper whose contents contributor Victor Lal had exposed shortly before the 2006 coup. Coupfourpointfive argues the Report was one of many factors which prompted the dictator to seize power.

We also assert that Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes (pictured) was thrown out of Fiji because the dictator had no intention to allow the Fiji Police to take control of internal security

The DWP and Fiji Police

The Defence White Paper strongly recommended that internal security should be the preserve of the police rather than the military. Likewise, domestic intelligence gathering should be the task of the police and not the military, as the latter was engaged in during the 2001 general election.

The Fiji Police Force (FPF) has statutory responsibility for law and order, including internal security and anti and counter-terrorism. However, the DWP recommended that the military role in assisting the police maintain order in times of crisis be continued, when so authorised by the Minister for Home Affairs.

It also recommended that the police and the military agree on a list of possible assistance tasks and initiate or revise appropriate contingency plans and joint training. In its introduction to the DWP, the Committee noted that the FPF had a newly appointed Commissioner of Police, Andrew Hughes, who had begun instituting reforms that will take several years to reach fruition.

To succeed, however, police reform must be accompanied by reform of the whole justice sector as outlined in the SDP. As the FPF was preparing a 5 year strategic plan for endorsement by the National Security Council (NSC), the DWP on the FPF was restricted to those law and order issues that required external coordination and clarification of responsibilities.
They included (a) the requirement for military assistance in times of crisis or emergency; (b) counter-terrorist responsibilities; (c) the division of responsibility between the RFMF Naval Division, or its successors, and the FPF; and (d) specialist skills, particularly divers and explosive experts.

Although the FPF was responsible for maintaining order and internal security, the RFMF had also been involved from time to time. If the RFMF was disbanded, the DWP suggested the police would have to maintain law and order and internal security against all corners.

If the RFMF was to be retained, as recommended previously, a decision had to be made about what police functions, if any, they might be called upon to perform and, correspondingly, what functions the police need not develop.

The 2004 Budget authorised the FPF to employ 2170 regulars and 1220 special constables giving a police population ratio of 1:266 citizens (assuming a population of 900,000), more than adequate by world standards. However, the archipelagic nature of Fiji, the poor road systems, the relatively large and dispersed rural population, and the volatile politics of Fiji, warranted the authorised manpower base and probably more.

The Police Mobile Force (PMF) was being rejuvenated and will comprise about 200 men, the DWP observes. The PMF was being modelled on the South Australian Star Force and will have responsibility for armed hold-ups, counter-terrorist incidents, search and rescue, riot control, explosive ordinance disposal (EOD), and diving.

However, according to the DWP, given the deep seated political tensions in Fiji there might be times when these resources could be overwhelmed by mass political movements or dissent. In these military assistance will be sought.

The DWP noted that the FPF was rundown over the last 15 years and the RFMF usurped or was required to exercise some police functions on a routine basis. The Government had now given priority to rebuilding the FPF, including the PMF, but this will take several years. Nevertheless, the threshold at which military support is needed is rising as FPF resources and professionalism rebound.

Consequently, the DWP recommended, when police reform has produced the desired result, final decisions could be made on whether to retain a military backstop to assist the police maintain order. Meanwhile, the DWP strongly recommended, the FPF should discuss with the RFMF the sorts of tasks that they could be expected to undertake should they be called out to assist the police and develop or maintain the appropriate plans and joint training.

On counter-terrorism, the DWP stated that the Government should be aware that the FPF’s specialist assault capability, if required. Consequently, the FLP will need to develop understandings with potential suppliers of specialist assault units, particularly Australia and New Zealand, about how such operations will be conducted. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with Australia covering many of these issues but it will need to be complemented by procedures, and practice.

Regarding maritime and waterway security, the DWP recommended that the current division of responsibility for maritime patrol between the FPF and RFMF Naval Division, or its successor, be retained due to the need for close coordination between inshore and shore based security needs. However, provision will have to be made for establishing and maintaining the water police units (or private security units) in the major ports and waterways.

The DWP, like its recommendation on the RFMF, recommended that the FPF should be encouraged to maintain the racial balance and accommodate female representation to the maximum degree possible. Moreover, although the CEO Ministry for Home Affairs and Immigration had no responsibility under the 1997 Constitution for the administration for the administration or operation of the FPF but he should retain the capacity to advise the Minister for Home Affairs on major policy and resource issues.

The FPF had played a substantial role in peacekeeping and continues to do. This experience, the DWP noted, will be useful in the future regional peacekeeping missions. Nevertheless, the DWP recommended that the Government and the FPF agree to a cap on UN peacekeeping commitments.

The DWP examined Fiji’s strategic interests globally, regionally, and domestically and has identified and assessed the threats and challenges to Fiji’s security. It concluded that (a) there is no external military threat to the sovereignty of Fiji; (b) trans-national crime and unsustainable resource exploitation is a growing threat to Fiji: and (c) that the greatest threats to Fiji’s security are internal.

At the broadest level, the DWP concluded, the threat to internal security derives from the fundamental division of Fiji population into two large ethnic communities, and from the problems experienced in any cultural transition from traditional social and political life to modernity. The ‘wild cards’ most likely to challenge Fiji’s national interests, ignoring global phenomena such as pandemics, major global economic collapses, and terrorist attacks elsewhere are:
(a) governments that ignore the relentless drumbeats of progress and fail to implement the development plans effectively;
(b) systemic decay from failing to tackle domestic and international crime and institutionalised corruption; or
(c) the convergence of events that might be managed individually but in concert can overwhelm the community, for example, the convergence of economic stagnation or decline with political instability, systemic decay and natural or man-made disasters.

Rayawa fired by Sayed Khaiyum

No explanations have been given but the illegal attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has appointed Ayesha Jinasena the new director of prosecutions.

Jinasena replaces Aca Rayawa who has obviously been given the boot.

Jinasena comes from Sri Lanka and is said to have 20 years experience.

Rayawa was the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions and according to reports is no longer with the DPP's office with Sayed-Khaiyum being quoted as saying the contract has been terminated.

Editor's Note: The announcement of Rayawa's departure is one of the shortest ever statements on the regime's website. Under the title 'New DPP appointed' were these two sentences: Mr Aca Rayawa is no longer the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions or with the DPP’s office. The new DPP in a substantive decision is Ms Ayesha Jinasena.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fiji regime's Poverty Eradication Song hits a sour note

Sing your way out of poverty!
That appears to be the answer according to the illegal regime to one of the biggest challenges facing it and the nation.

The regime has released a "Poverty Eradication" theme song called “Working Together out of Poverty”, which it describes as "a musical encouragement emphasising the need to be proactive about one of the country’s biggest socio-economic challenges – poverty."

In a statement, the Director Poverty Eradication Unit, Dr Tokasa Leweni, says the song "imparts the powerful message that the utilisation of resources, hard work, self reliance and togetherness are solutions to reducing poverty."

She says: “It hopes to encourage everyone to participate in getting the solutions to fighting poverty for instance utilising our resources and working hard."

The Poverty Song has rightly struck a sour note with freedom advocates like Suli Daunitutu who says: "Can Fiji get any more ridiculous? I guess not! Or are we in kindergarten with a song for every task? Right, a song will really inspire the poor.

"Walk out of poverty, out of jail, out of the coup culture etc etc. It's absolutely ridiculous and just shows the shallowness in policy-development. They cannot formulate and implement an effective policy, so thus we have a song."
Daunitutu says there is an icky penchant for orchestrating songs for national occassions or days but as with this latest one, they usually only provide a Fijian translation!

Here is the "Working Together Out of Poverty" anthem that can only be described as crass propaganda:

 Friends we can’t ignore there’s poverty around
 Shout for joy because solutions can be found
 Let us all join hands in our communities
 Rescue suffering people out of poverty
Let’s hold hands and walk away from poverty
We must all toil hard and do not rely on alms
There are still untapped resources can’t you see
Stand upright, work hard, straight out of poverty

2.Do not wait for aid sometimes can be too late
There are endless pains when we procrastinate
Let’s aspire for better things to own and share
Working out of poverty, our hope, our prayer
Vaka itaukei
Na veileqa wavokiti keda tu
Marau kaila kedra iwali bini tu
Da veitauriliga yabe ga ki liu
Vakasavuliga wele me sa biu
Below: Two other Fiji anthems that have been aimed at nationhood building.
Celebrate Fiji 
When looking back all we can see
God's wondrous mighty hands
How he sustained our lovely isles
In tough times of our plight
Some nations had abandoned us
We stood our ground with guts
Let love and trust empower us
With truth we shall advance
No one should ever dictate to us
Just how we should advance
Let's celebrate Fiji
Do so with pride and dignity
Let's all get reconciled with smiles
Our differences be set aside
Success respect is what we hope
Be our desire is what we hope
Be our desire and goals
Kind eyes and smiles kind words and deeds
The world demands to see
Some say "Fiji the ways the world should be"
Let's celebrate Fiji
Vaka itaukei
Ni raici lesu qoroi tu na liga ni Kalou
Sa maroroi Viti mai sa noda isasabai
Veibula dredre sa dau donui
Kalou sa dau inuinui
Qaravi dinata Kalou qo
Sa dau noda idrodro
Sa inuinui ga ni bula oqo, Jisu Karisito 

Smiling faces different races
Holding hands into the sun we roll
Look at us now just look at us now
Flying free
One Fiji for you and me
This is the time now for peace and unity
Fly your flags up high fly them
Through the skies
Fly Fiji free
Fly Fiji free
In unity, this is how we should always be (2x)
2. Fiji the way the world should be
Its not impossible
It depends on you and me
Blessing grant we sing o God of nations
All the isles of Fiji our plea for unity

Editor's Note: A recent report showed poverty in rural areas has increased from 61 percent in 2003 to 71 percent in 2009 but that urban poverty had declined from 28 percent to 19 percent during the same period.  The largest share of the poor - 42 percent - are in the western division with the research team saying the rural western division requires a full 33 percent of all poverty alleviation resources in Fiji. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fiji's woes show up on rugby field with officials struggling to find World Cup money

What has gone so wrong in Fiji that rugby officials can't stump up the funds for next year's world tournament in New Zealand? Somebody has dropped the ball, big time!

Fiji is having to turn to a national lottery to raise 700,000 Fiji dollars needed to particiatpe in next year's rugby World Cup, but thanks to lack of money, tickets are not selling.

The tickets are being marketed at 20 Fiji dollars but with an estimated 25 per cent of the population living beow the poverty line, World Cup tickets are out of their range.

Rugby officials have been trying to sell the tickets in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States, but it is now being reported that the Fiji Rugby Union has delayed closing the lottery because it hasn't reached its target.

Officials are now also trying to sell the tickets via a local drive, with the lottery director, Kenneth Zinck, admitting ticket hawkers are going from village to village to boost sales.

Reports say patriotic fans are also being urged to support the national team.

Coupfourpointfive says where is the funding that should've come from this illegal government for rugby? Why should Fiji citizens be forced to save the nation and its rugby players from this sorry situation? If the regime is doing as well as it says it does, let it sort out this money woe. 

The ordinary citizens of Fiji should not have to step up to bail rugby out. They have their families and children to worry about. If the regime is as flush as it makes out, thanks to its alliances with China and co, it should get busy and find the money to ensure Fiji's rugby team have a smooth path to next year's competitive event.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Defence White Paper – Part Five. The RFMF: A dysfunctional Institution

Editors Note: As debate on the role of the Fiji military in the affairs of our nation intensifies, we have decided to reproduce excerpts of the highly controversial and secretive Defence White Paper whose contents contributor Victor Lal had exposed shortly before the 2006 coup. Coupfourpointfive argues the Report was one of many factors which prompted the dictator to seize power and to plunder the nation.

In the Defence White Paper’s opinion, the RFMF was disoriented after years of policy neglect, the 2000 events and their aftermath, and withdrawal from Lebanon. Though the RFMF restored order in Fiji, it did not display cohesion throughout the events of 2000.

The Committee noted in its Report: ‘Fiji has a strategic interest in the cohesion and professionalism of the RFMF. The RFMF is widely credited with ‘saving the nation’ in 2000 but in doing so it exhibited internal strains based on provincial rather than national loyalties.’ Provincialism also undermined the unity of the RFMF in the 2000 crisis.

Several key personalities shared their time, knowledge, and experience to provide the background and information on which the review was based. The Committee also consulted the then Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes. The DWP concluded that the principal decision to be made was whether the police were to be given full responsibility for maintaining order. If so, judgements were needed as to when they would be ready to assume those responsibilities.

To recapitulate, the Government, the DWP recommended, needed to give the RFMF a clear and defined role, an external focus – peacekeeping and cut away anything not associated with the role which might provide an excuse for the RFMF to involve itself in domestic politics.

Editor’s Note: In his conclusion, Victor Lal had added the following to the above in his 2006 expose:
Commodore Frank Bainimarama, on the other hand, was still maintaining after the election that no one can remove him because he is not a civil servant but the military commander. And he refused to rule out martial law as commander of the RFMF. Let us hope that we do not provide him the opportunity to indulge in his flight of fantasy.

And if he continues to make unwarranted threats, the duly elected Government of the day must be prepared to charge him with insubordination or simply sack him from his dismissable post for terrorizing the nation in peace time.

The Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands 27th 1998 affirms the continued existence of the RFMF and provides for the military commander to be appointed by the President, on the advice of the Minister for Home Affairs, and for the commander to exercise executive military command subject to the control of the Government Minister.

It also provides for Parliament to make laws relating to the RFMF. These provisions are a firm base for civil control of the military. Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has, for too long, been a law unto himself. He must be held accountable by the legal and constitutional bootstrap. The people of Fiji have spoken at the ballot box, and presumably his taukei Fijian foot soldiers, with them.

The President, as his Commander-in-Chief, must read to him the riot act or alternatively, throw him and those who want to follow him, out of the military barracks. No democracy is safe from a raging and erratic ‘military bull’.

Editor’s Note: The dictator however went ahead to carry out the 2006 coup, and has emerged as the most corrupt leader in the 21st Century.  He refused to abide by the RFMF Act and the 1997 Constitution of Fiji, which he later abrogated to rule (with the help of the then ailing president Josefa Iloilo, seen at left and right) Fiji by various illegal decrees.

International watchdog group ranks Fiji one of the worst countries for media freedom

Fiji has been ranked the lowest in the Pacific region and 149th in the world for its stand on media freedom according to the latest figures from the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
The ninth annual World Press Freedom Index, released today, made particular note of Fiji, with the watchdog group saying the ranking reflects the junta's determined oppression of the media. 
The junta's hardline approach to media has been well documented in the past year - the FijiLive news website being shut down temporarily, journalists being detained and questioned over certain stories by the police, and the introduction of a new media decree that stipulated all media be 90 per cent locally owned. The Media Authority Decree led to Rupert Murdoch selling the country's oldest newspaper, the Fiji Times, to the Motibhai Group.

The sale of the Fiji Times also resulted in the editor-in-chief, Netani Rika, being forced out of his job with the paper's new owner and publisher deciding to court the junta rather than challenge its decision to censor stories and to have censors stationed in its newsroom in a bid to claw back advertising dollars that have been largely sucked up by the pro-military paper and rival, The Fiji Sun.

Reporters Without Borders says Fiji's ranking is deceptive, having risen three places despite the government's anti-freedom stance. "The year 2009 had been so tragic, with soldiers invading news staff offices, that the year 2010 could only seem to be somewhat more tranquil."

New Zealand ranked particularly high - in the top 10 countries in the world. Australia was ranked 18th, down two from last year but ahead of Papua New Guinea at 42nd, Tonga at 87th and Samoa at 111th.

In the wider Asia-Pacific region, the watchdog group praised Taiwan and South Korea for noteworthy gains, but cautioned that the region as a whole had received a low ranking for yet another year. It noted the prevalence of violence from non-governmental groups and censorship under totalitarian regimes. Thailand, India and the Philippines all dropped more than 10 places after journalists were killed or wounded while covering unrest and conflicts.

Ranked first-equal overall were northern European countries Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, which all received perfect scores.

The secretary-general for Reporters Without Borders, Jean-Francois Julliard, says the rankings reveal some grim realities. "The defence of media freedom continues to be a battle, a battle of vigilance in the democracies of old Europe and a battle against oppression and injustice in the totalitarian regimes still scattered across the globe."

Picture: Malcolm Evans cartoon via Pacific Media Centre

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Natapei to be commended for having guts to say 'No' to Dictator Bainimarama

The prime minister of Vanuatu is right to be worried about the damage the Fiji dictator, Voreqe Bainimarama, will cause the Melanesian Spearhead Group if he gets his hands on the chairmanship.

Natapei has the wisdom to see that gifting the leadership to the junta leader will annihilate the integrity and the democratic principles of the MSG, something the naive enthusiast Danny Phillips doesn't want to acknowledge for his own reasons.

New to the job, Phillips has been too quick to put his hand up to support Bainimarama, disregarding the reasons for Natapei and other regional and the international leaders being suspicious of the self-appointed Fiji military leader.

Phillips should heed the warnings of the Fiji Democracy Movement, because it accurately reflects the concerns the people of Fiji have about Bainimarama. As the Movement has said this week, to hand the chairmanship of the MSG to Bainimarama would be a crime. It endorses the illegal regime, and undermines the concept of democracy and the rights of the people of Fiji.

The Movement also alerts the MSG to Bainimarama's self-styled leadership style of brutality and violence; his track record for manipulation, destruction and corruption. The Movement is right; the MSG does not need the brutal Bainimarama to taint it and taint it he will.

Natapei is to be commended for showing guts regarding the ill-conceived plan to install Bainimarama as chair of the MSG. The MSG will live to regret allowing the Fiji Dictator to have the power, friends and recognition he so desperately craves since he was shunned by the Pacific Forum and the Commonwealth. Let him remain in purgatory until he is punished for his crimes against the people of Fiji.

Picture: Vanuatu leader, Edward Natapei (left) and Danny Phillips (top right).

What happens when a country loses its 'birth certificate?'

BBC:Fiji has admitted to losing the legal document confirming its independence from the United Kingdom. But does that threaten its existence as a state?

About a million people visit Washington DC's National Archives Experience each year, many wanting a glimpse of its prized exhibit - the American Declaration of Independence. Dating from 1776, the parchment document is stored behind bullet-proof glass, in a guarded, humidity-controlled cabinet, to ensure its preservation for future generations.

However, as Fiji celebrated the 40th anniversary of winning independence from the UK, its government admitted it had lost the legal Independence Order presented to ministers by Prince Charles in 1970.

And after five years of scouring files in government departments, it was forced to take the embarrassing step of asking its former colonial masters for a photocopy. 

But when a country loses such a document, does the right to independence go with it? Almost certainly not, according to Catherine Redgwell, professor of international law at University College London.

"If it's recognised as a state and fully participates in the international community, the loss of documents isn't going to affect its existence [as an independent state]."
The UK Parliament's Fiji Independence Act 1970 granted that to the Pacific nation, made up of 800-plus volcanic and coral islands.

"On and after 10 October 1970 Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom shall have no responsibility for the government of Fiji," it read, before spelling out the nation's free powers to make laws.

Independence papers, meanwhile, are largely symbolic items. In the same way that losing your birth certificate does not mean you cease to exist, the legitimacy of a state does not rest on a piece of paper, agrees Prof Roda Mushkat.

Neither should its loss affect a state's constitution, says the international law expert from Brunel University, west London.

"I cannot foresee any case where somebody would argue on the basis of constitutional law that Fiji is not an independent state," she says.

Thankfully for Fiji - and any other states which mislay a vital document - copies of many can, in any case, be found at the UK's National Archives at Kew.

All are stored in repositories with controlled temperature and humidity, while some are stored in a safe room. One recent beneficiary of this was research student Julia Gaffield, from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. In April, she came across Haiti's declaration of independence from France within the National Archives' colonial correspondence relating to Jamaica.

The second-oldest such document in the world, it was attached to a letter sent on 25 January 1804 by Edward Corbet, HM Agent for British Affairs, to Sir George Nugent, Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica. While several reprints had been made, researchers had spent years trying to find the original.

Given that Haiti has existed as an independent state for more than 200 years, that tale might give the residents of Fiji a little peace of mind.

Picture: Haiti's declaration of independence was found by a student in the National Archives at Kew.

Australian official: Fiji unrest behind the delays in migration cases

AAP-A spike in the number Fijians seeking asylum in Australia has been blamed for significant delays in processing thousands of migration review cases.

A principal member of both the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT), Denis O'Brien, has revealed thousands of migration cases are more than 12 months old due to the workload created by refugees.

Mr O'Brien told a Senate hearing in Canberra on Tuesday that the major factor in the delays to migration cases was a significant increase in refugee cases from Fiji.

The development follows reports from refugee advocates of increasing numbers of Fijians seeking asylum in Australia to escape persecution at the hands of the Fijian military government of interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama .

"We've had a large number of review applications in relation to Fiji applicants. I think that's probably the most significant factor that's impacted on the increase in our numbers," Mr O'Brien said. 

"We've now got I think over 2000 of our (MRT) cases that are now more than 12 months old and that's a concern to me because of course that means that applicants have had to put their lives on hold for 12 months and we just haven't been able to get to their cases."

The MRT reviews decisions made in respect of general visas such as visitor, student, partner, family, business, skilled visas and the RRT deals with decisions made in respect of refugee visas.

It was also revealed in the hearing that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has improved its performance in terms of RRT cases being decided within the 90 day target period, from 69 per cent in 2009/10 to 77 per cent in the first quarter of 2010/11.

The average days taken last year was 99 days.

Call for another look at the Pacer Plus agreement

By Jemima Garrett, Radio Australia

A meeting of Pacific Island trade officials, non-government organisations and business has called for comprehensive consultation over the PACER Plus trade agreement.

After years of lobbying, officials from 13 Pacific Island nations, Australia and New Zealand met with NGOs and private sector representatives in Honiara, in an historic consultation on PACER Plus.

The Chair of the event, Fiji's former foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, said the meeting would recommend to the region's trade ministers that consultation continues throughout the preparatory phase for PACER plus, during the formal negotiations and right up until a final agreement is signed.

Despite criticism of the lack of funding for delegates to attend, Mr Tavola said the tone of the meeting was very positive.

He said the meeting recommended resources be put aside at national and regional levels to ensure all stakeholders are able to participate. 

Australia and New Zealand will be asked to contribute.

The Defence White Paper – Part Four. Prime Minister Qarase should lead National Security Policy

Editors Note: As debate on the role of the Fiji military in the affairs of our nation intensifies, we have decided to reproduce excerpts of the highly controversial and secretive Defence White Paper whose contents Victor Lal had exposed shortly before the 2006 coup. Coupfourpointfive argues the Report was one of many factors which prompted the dictator to seize power and to plunder the nation, and oppress his opponents.

The Defence White Paper recommended that the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase lead coordination of national security policy making and implementation. In particular, it recommended the following:
(a) Responsibility for the direction and coordination of national security policy making and implementation be elevated to the PM’s office;
(b) A departmental CEO’s committee on national security (CEOC-NS) be formed to review all policy submissions to the National Security Council (NSC) and that it subsume the functions of the Fiji Intelligence Committee (FIC), and other national security related committees;
(c) A Directorate-General of National Security (DGNS) be formed within the PM’s Office to provide a focal point for the coordination of national security policy and implementation, to provide the secretariat to the NSC and CEOC-NS, and be responsible for policy and intelligence assessment;
(d) The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration (MHA&I) be restructured on functional lines.

On the other hand, if the status quo was to be maintained, the DWP recommended that, (a) the capacity of the MHA&I be strengthened; and (b) the secretariat of the NSC be separated from the intelligence staff wither by forming a separate office or transferring responsibility to the PM’s office.

Regardless of which option was adopted, the DWP recommended that (a) membership of the NSC be explained to include the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (MT&CA) and the ministers representing the provincial administration (currently Fijian Affairs and Rural Development), and the Minister for Women (MWSW&PA);
(b) the MHA&I give greater attention to personnel management, including education and training;
(c) the MHA&I define the national security and intelligence responsibilities of provincial administrators for inclusion in their character or contracts;
(d) the MHA&I be renamed the Ministry of National Security; and
(e) the University of South Pacific (USP) be encouraged to establish a centre for security studies or incorporate it in the Pacific Institute for Advanced Studies in Governance and Development;
(f) these recommendations take effect as soon as suitably qualified and experienced people can be found to coordinate the implementation of policy flowing from this review and ensure readiness of internationally mandated air and maritime transport security measures by mid-2004 and other deadlines.

Racial and Gender Composition

Some senior military officers expressed to the Committee a desire to redress the gross racial imbalance in the Fijian dominated military as a way of improving community acceptance. For a military with a role in internal security, the DWP noted that there was a strong desire for redressing the imbalance but it should be deferred until the policies that might flow from this review had been implemented.

Thereafter, the DWP recommended, that an affirmative action would be required to breach the cultural barriers obstructing other races and ethnic groups joining the RFMF.

The small size and nature of the RFMF did not leave a lot of scope to employ women but the DWP suggested the gender balance needed to be addressed on the same basis as that of racial composition.  


Question marks over Fiji's involvement in trade talks

By Sophie Foster, The Fiji Times
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
HONIARA, Solomon Islands - The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has refused to comment on whether Fiji will be included in talks over a Pacific free trade area that would include Australia and New Zealand.
The PIFS Director of Economic Governance, Chakriya Bowman, said that any involvement of Fiji in free trade talks would be a matter for Forum officials and governments to decide.

"I don't think it's appropriate for us to discuss that," she told a press conference in Honiara, on the eve of the first Non-State Actor Dialogue over PACER-Plus. 
This as Forum Secretariat facilitates the second meeting of PACER Plus trade officials which are set to open on Tuesday in Honiara and which is funded by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

The first meeting of senior Forum trade officials was held on April 14 to 15 this year, which considered common priority issues that a Special Forum Trade Ministers Meeting had agreed to in October last year.

No comment could be obtained from the Forum Secretariat of the impact on the regional free trade talks of the absence of Fiji.

The Defence White Paper – Part Three. RFMF Personnel should be drastically slashed in manpower

Editors Note: As debate on the role of the Fiji military in the affairs of our nation intensifies, we have decided to reproduce excerpts of the highly controversial and secretive Defence White Paper whose contents Victor Lal had exposed shortly before the 2006 coup. Coupfourpointfive argues the Report was one of many factors which prompted the dictator to seize power and to plunder the nation.

The Defence White Paper Committee members recommended that the RFMF personnel should be slashed from the current 3,300 (in 2003) to 1600 to 1700. The cuts, except for the engineer regiment, should be made at Force headquarters, in the Infantry Force etc. The package of recommendations was designed to ensure that they provide no excuse for the RFMF to involve itself in domestic politics.

It did however very strongly recommend that the Fiji Police Force (FPF) must be reconstituted to assume full responsibility for maintaining law and internal security in the country rather than the military, which should have a secondary role of providing support to the police in times of crisis.

The DWP recommended that peacekeeping be the primary role of the RFMF, with a secondary role, to assist the FPF contains large-scale social unrest, terrorist incidents, search and rescue and other tasks when so authorised by the Minister. The DWP also called on the RFMF to freeze recruitment immediately.

The DWP was mindful of the potential backlash on its recommendations; for example, it might incite a revolt by the RFMF or elements of it, but was confident that the risk could be minimised by informing the RFMF of what was intended and the provision of adequate demobilisation arrangements.

As the likelihood reaction from Fijian extremists who saw the RFMF as the last bastion of Fijian rights, this risk could be minimised by a combination of public information and rapid intervention if violence erupted.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Defence and Immigration ministry pushing National ID cards

POLICE STATE: Fiji junta aiming to oppress citizens even more.
The illegal government has started an outrageous campaign - to introduce national identification cards for the citizens of Fiji.
The Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration  begun consultations today regarding this horrendous idea with senior government officials of several departments and ministries putting their heads together to see how they can make it work.

The Permanent Secretary for Defence, National Security and Immigration, Jale Fotofili, is said to be driving the idea and has been quoted as saying the regime believes Fiji needs the card.

“We made a presentation to Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama on the issue, he has accepted the idea despite other issues pertaining to its implementation. These ID cards, once in place, will expedite the elections within a day – and thus the reason to carry out the exercise."
A Fiji Village story says the proposal was put forward during a briefing at the Airports Fiji Limited board room, where Senior Defense Ministry official Joji Washington told Dictator Bainimarama the card would contain critical personal information of an individual and could be used for identification requirements.

Washington is reported as saying the ID card will strengthen the work of law enforcement, immigration, customs, bio security, border police, AFL security, airline and port security and outsourced security personnel.

He says the prototype national ID will contain a micro chip containing personal bio data, picture, fingerprint, passport system, ID number UID number machine, barcodes for TIN and LTA list verification.

It's believed the ID card will not replace passports
The ID cards are further signs of abuse of citizens by the junta, as it continues to try and control every facet of life in Fiji. It is time the people of Fiji realised the enormity of the dangers they live in because of this corrupt and evil self-appointed government. 

Democracy movement urges MSG not to buckle to Dictator's bullying over chairmanship

The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement is urging the the National Leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) not to give into to the demands of the illegal leader of Fiji that he be given the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
In a statement, the movement calls on the MSG leaders to wake up the devious behaviour of Dictator Bainimarama, saying he is trying to manipulate the MSG as he has othr situations.

The statement is a follows:

"His divide and rule technique should not be tolerated and allowed anymore. Not only is it vexatious, it is also damaging to long term multilateral relations in the Pacific Region and the time is right to put a stop to it.

Bainimarama had previously driven a wedge between Fijian leaders and chiefs by awarding some people prestige roles and jobs while denying others. He has offered rural development to certain provinces and tribes while denying others. He has fired many of his senior military officers while quickly elevating junior officers who would have had to wait in line for years before reaching senior officer rank.

In the Region he has attempted to drive a wedge between Pacific islands Forum leaders by trying to portray Australia and New Zealand as too far removed from Pacific Islands and not true Pacific nations.
He is now trying to drive a wedge between leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. The question that needs to be asked is how genuine is he in pushing for the interest of the MSG groups or is he only in there for political expediency.

MSG leaders must now take a common stand on the chairmanship issue. It is time, they as elected members address the issue of Bainimarama’s qualification as the next MSG Chairman taking it to consideration that they themselves became leaders via democratic processes.

MSG leaders must also not forget that Bainimarama’s records so far has included the abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs, the dismantling of power of the Fijian Affairs Board and the compromising of powers vested with the Native Land Trust Board to managed communally owned land.

He has removed all affirmative action programmes for indigenous Fijians. The question must be asked, is Bainimarama genuine about the Melanesian Fijians or is there someone else pulling his strings?
Based on Bainimarama’s records on how he treats his own Melanesian Fijian people, does he deserve to take on the august role of chairmanship of the paramount regional body of the Melanesian People?

Since Bainimarama has now removed all affirmative action programs for indigenous Fijians, what is he prepared to do to improve the participation of indigenous Melanesian Fijians in commerce and bring them on par with the descendents of immigrant Indian and Chinese Communities?

After all, he cannot force his so-called political reform on the people without also addressing the huge economic and commercial disparity between indigenous Fijians and the descendents of immigrant races that now dominate Fiji’s Commercial Sector.

MSG leaders must also address the issue of the MSG’s democratic ideals. The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement was born out of our desires of Fijians to restore democracy and freedom in Fiji and strongly appeal to the MSG leaders not to compromise on these ideals. These leaders must not allow a self styled illegal Prime Minister to take the chair.

When making this decision they must carefully decide what message they are trying to send to potential anti democratic opportunist awaiting on the wing for the opportunity to overthrow elected governments in their own country. The lessons from the suffering of the people of Fiji and those of the Solomon Islands to opportunist power grabbers must not be in vain.

MSG leader’s must not make a mockery of the honour and intellectuals of the countries and people they represent because the whole world is looking. They must dwell deep into their conscious and do what is morally and legally right. They should not allow a common thug who legitimised his leadership by cocking a gun on the heads of Fiji’s people to taint the respected and honoured role of MSG Chairmanship.

Bainimarama is trying to bully himself into the MSG Chairmanship role. It is time the leaders of the rest of the Melanesian Countries and the FLNK of New Caledonia have some spine and follow Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Natapei’s lead by standing up to Bainimarama’s bullying.
FDFM Secretariat.

Pictures: Edward Natapei stands his ground from the bullying Fiji Dictator. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vanuatu Opposition leader accuses PM of dividing MSG

Rifts appear between Fiji and the Melanesian countries over cancelled Suva meeting in July

The Solomon Star: The leader of the Vanuatu opposition, Maxime Carlot Korman, has accused the Prime Minister Edward Natapei of causing division in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, and undermining the country’s reputation.

This comes amid reports that MSG meetings are to be held from Thursday next week in Solomon Islands to try and mend the rift with Fiji caused by Mr Natapei cancelling a summit in Nadi in July.

Mr Korman (pictured at top) claims Mr Natapei wants Fiji out of the MSG in the same way it’s been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum.

He says he’s taken a divisive approach that doesn’t reflect Melanesian values which emphasise dialogue.

Mr Korman says it’ll be a miracle if Mr Natapei can convince his Fiji counterpart to attend the Solomon Island’s summit.

Neither MSG secretariat, which is based in Port Vila, or Mr Natapei, could be reached for comment.

Fiji media reported earlier that the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting will not be held in the Solomon Islands next week according to Bainimarama.

This was despite confirmations by the Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Office on the holding of the meeting in the Solomon Islands.

Bainimarama was reported as remaining adamant that Fiji will be handed the chairmanship of the MSG as it is rightfully its turn to hold the position.

He said: “The handover is going to be made to the Fiji government on the chairmanship.”

Bainimarama was quoted as saying he is unsure of the date the handover will take place.

White Paper – Part Two: Defence Act and Home Affairs Ministry

Editors Note: As debate on the role of the Fiji military in the affairs of our nation intensifies, we have decided to reproduce excerpts of the highly controversial and secretive Defence White Paper whose contents Victor Lal had exposed shortly before the 2006 coup. Coupfourpointfive argues the Report was one of many factors which prompted the dictator to seize power and to plunder the nation.

The role of the RFMF is defined in the RFMF Act (Cap 81), which states as follows: “The Forces shall be charged with the defence of Fiji, with the maintenance of order and with such other duties as may arise from time to time be defined by the Minister’. Cap 81 does not specify the procedures for authorising military support to the civil power or military support to the civil community.” A replacement Defence Act was drafted in 1998.

In the three-member Committee’s opinion, the Draft Act needed extensive revision that should include: (a) separating the provisions relating to the establishment of military forces from the disciplinary code to form two separate bills; and (b) recasting the Defence Bill in a logical form putting the basics up front including, the authority of raising forces, the role of the forces, authority for directing their employment, and provisions for calling them out in support of the civil power or civil authority.

The Committee however felt that the size of the RFMF did not justify a separate Ministry nor did it justify the establishment of Defence Council as recommended in the 1997 Defence White Paper, which was chaired by Brigadier Ian Thorpe, a former NZ RFMF commander. It had more detail on the military but less strategic analysis of the need for the RFMF. The 2004 DWP felt that it would seem appropriate, however, to change the name of the Ministry to reflect its focus on national security issues.

The 1997 DWP recommended the establishment of formal Defence Council comprising the Home Affairs Minister, Commander, and CEO with supporting committees. This was not implemented and in the opinion of the 2004 DWP it seemed unnecessary for such a small Fijian force. However, the DWP recommended that the Minister for Home Affairs should issue a directive that defined control and how he intended to exercise it. The directive should require the CEO to advise and assist the Minister in exercising control. It should also advise the Commander that, while his responsibilities and relationship with the Minister for Home Affairs are undiminished, it is expected that he will furnish the CEO with the information necessary to formulate advice to the Minister on those matters relating to control of the RFMF.

The DWP recommends that the control measures include approval of
(a) defence legislation and regulations;
(b) defence instructions;
(c) defence policy;
(d) organisations and establishments; and
(e) major equipment proposals;
(f) personal policy matters, such as conditions and terms of enlistment and discharge;
(g) defence budget submissions;
(h) the selection and appointment of officers to the rank of lieutenant colonel and above;
(i) requests for foreign assistance; and
(j) defence cabinet submissions.

Furthermore, since there was virtually no structured parliamentary scrutiny of security and defence policy or the performance of the relevant agencies, the DWP recommended that Parliament redress this deficiency.