|Tony and Barbara Smith of Perth.|
Oh, dear. This poor Australian couple have been unwittingly roped in to help prove the illegal regime claim that Fiji is a safe and attractive place to visit.
Tony and Barbara Smith are part of what we feel is a rather desperate effort to get tourists and visitors to rave about a country that has been under military rule now for nearly five years.
The Smith's are Fiji Village's star tourist couple in a story headlined "Fiji very peaceful and calm -Tourists." While, obviously, not directly organised by the regime, the article clearly seeks to endorse its effort to defend itself from international criticism.
Temm also said the Fiji Law Society had been taken over by the regime and that its headquarters had been destroyed in an unsolved arson. And he noted the military had removed staff critical of the regime from USP, referring to economist Professor Wadan Narsey who has been fired, a story Coupfourpointfive broke last month along with the tourist deaths the regime had tried to play down.
A miffed Khaiyum says Temm and members of the New Zealand Law Society have been repeatedly invited to Fiji to meet the legal profession, including the country's Chief Justice, so they can decide for themselves "the true situation with regard to the rule of law in Fiji and the introduction of modern and just laws."
"Instead, Temm prefers to rely on hearsay and exaggerated opinions, not to mention untruthful reporting by sections of the New Zealand media. Freedom of religion continues to be respected in Fiji. At no time has anybody been prevented from attending or entering or praying, including in churches.
“Temm suggests that the four foreigners including two New Zealanders who died recently were victims of lawlessness claiming that they died in unexplained circumstances. This is a lie. Temm needs to verify his facts simply by checking with the Police.
“The hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Fiji on a daily basis will be able to tell Temm that Fiji is a safe, attractive and peaceful holiday destination for everybody, including New Zealanders. The increased growth in tourism numbers in particular from Australia and New Zealand is a testimony to this."
Khaiyum, who has been proven by this blog and others as a liar, claimed Temm's information was unreliable.
“If Temm had bothered to investigate some of these outrageous claims for himself instead of relying on untruths from sections of the New Zealand media or politically motivated individuals from Fiji, he would know, inter alia, that the Fiji Law Society has not closed, there was no arson attack on its premises, no professors were removed by the Fijian Government, and all people, including New Zealanders, have equal access to the law in Fiji."
Khaiyum can keep extolling the virtues of the regime but the international community are increasingly speaking up about the realities in Fiji.
Just two days ago, the ILO head, Juan Somavia, denounced the regime's latest decree, the one marginalising workers and trade unions.
The following comments from the Fiji Village story on the Smiths:
We have found Fiji very peaceful and calm.
A couple from Perth Australia, 79 year old Tony and Barbara Smith have plans to visit Fiji next year as they are amongst hundreds of tourists who flocked in the Suva City for a day visit in a tourist vessel this morning.
Another tourist Ben Dubael was enjoying the sunny weather in Suva saying he found no nasty people around.
He also did some shopping for himself and his family.
Many tourists were seen buying handicraft from retail outlets, having lunch with their loved ones in restaurants and sightseeing around the capital city.