#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-01-09

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Officers gobsmacked at new energy drink venture of the wife of illegal police commissioner

Rank and file police officers are spewing at the latest business venture of the wife of the illegal police commissioner, Ioane Naivalurua.

Mrs Naivalurua last week launched an energising drink to the Police Force Command Group, at the Fiji Police Academy in Nasova - a drink aimed at improving the performance of officers!
According to the police website "Mrs Naivalurua and company presented the fruit juice recipe with the demonstration of mixing the juice, providing officers with healthier alternative on their daily calorie intakes.

"Moreover, the presentation's main purpose was to enlighten the group with health tips on how to maintain their body to cope or facilitate the ongoing physical training and obviously upcoming Required Fitness Level (RFL) test.

"The RFL test ensures that all police officers are physically, mentally and spiritually fit so that challenges can be countered.”

Officers can't believe the importance being given to the Healthy Fruit Juice Campaign and the fact it's the second business Mrs Naivalurua is running in the prisons and police force, thanks to her husband being in charge of both. The other is the pot plants, which was revealed in an earlier C4.5 story.

According to some officers, the nepotism and corrupt behaviour is outrageous: "Imagine a glass costing one dollar for 4000 officers – two times a day or on every Wednesday, their sports day! Easy MONEY! And we thought Coke was good at coming up with a brilliant marketing campaign!"

Pictures: Mrs Naivalurua serving up her energy drink, (top), the presentation (top right), her husband blessing the drinks, (left) and rank and file officers grimly looking on (bottom).

Friday, January 14, 2011

FLP bleating over Coupfourpointfive story re Chaudhry march

The Fiji Labour Party is trying to dismiss our story about leader Mahendra Chaudhry and Felix Anthony of the Fiji Trades Union Congress looking to drum up support for a protest march next month.

On its website, in an item posted yesterday afternoon, the party's assistant secretary general, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi, accuses Coupfourpointfive of 'mischievious lies.'

Vayehnoi says "It is pure fabrication" and suggested we had been put up to it.  Quote: "I want to ask Coup 4.5 and their collaborators who are the political detractors of the Fiji Labour Party (whose identities we are clearly aware of) and when they are going to desist from malicious propaganda against the FLP leadership?"

He goes on to criticise us for referring to Chaudhry's controversial visit to Rakiraki farmers last year which led to him being accused of breaking the PER, claiming the details are sub-judice because it is before the courts. He also maintains Chaudhry has "overwhelming support at the grassroots level" and continues "to do his duty by his people."

We have no problem standing by our story. Apart from our original source, we have had emails from people saying they already knew about the march, and that Chaudhry should be supported, and we were wrong to reveal them because he is the only leader with 'balls.'

Coupfourpointfive has no regrets running the story, as is our practice regarding important information we receive. Regarding Vayeshnoi's claim of 'subjudice', we say "Get over yourself.'' Chaudhry's goat curry visit to Rakiraki is public information and there is nothing to stop us from referring to it.

Land reforms 'the end of Fijian dominance over their homeland'

Opinion piece by democracy advocate 
SULIASI DAUNITUTU on the illegal regime's tinkering of the National Land Trust Board.

Now, this is where this issue becomes very dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that there is no proper or legal government to oversee this huge change. It is the biggest issue that Fijian landowners should wake up to inform themselves on. 

This illegal government is not focusing on anything but land at the start of 2011 and I can see why.  As Fiji is in financial ruin and aid is not forthcoming, Voreqe Bainimara and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum have had to look for funds to keep their illegal government afloat. 

FNPF will not sustain them, and there is also a lot of talk on how the management has been changed by VB, with economists writing articles venting their concern about how the superannuation fund is being carelessly managed by VB and his gang. 

So, now they are going to focus on land to rake in the much needed funds they so desperately require.

A lady emailed me this morning about the danger of leasing money from the land bank, an exercise that will only see the landowner left behind socially, economically, emotionally and financially.  She suggested something an academic here in Canberra voiced to me on one of my radio interviews. 

And that was to help the landowner get maximum yield from his land by developing, or maybe investing, in commercialised farming.  If the illegal government did that, not only will the landowner get to keep his land, but his income will not be reliant on the half yearly payout but the maximum yield of his crop or development. 

That is a simple way of showing the landowner that you care for him and his inheritance; at the same time, he the landowner is not imposing on anyone with pleas for handouts.  

The landowners will now be left further behind in running their own businesses, standing on their own two feet and most importantly, without a say in the use of their land. 

People like Qetaki, Bainimarama and Khaiyum will be forever on record for dismantling an institution that was put together by a brain that was far too superior in its thinking capabilities, one that saw ahead of its time and kept a race secure. 

We are now staring at the end of Fijian dominance over their homeland.       

Kiwi take on Fiji rugby crisis

FLYING FIJIANS: History of turmoil.

By Dylan Moran, TV3 New Zealand
Fijian politics is full of conflict and turmoil, so it is no surprise the country's rugby union falls victim to the same infighting and controversy.

The latest of which is the interim government's calls for the entire board of the Fijian Rugby Union to resign by the end of February - or the national team will not receive $3 million worth of funding for the Rugby World Cup.

The FRU board has met this request, and the interim regime says that it will hand over the funding once a new board is established.

This is the latest step in a union which has struggled to retain its leaders since it entered the professional era in 2001. The FRU has had an almost endless stream of coaches, chief executives, presidents and chairmen over the past decade.

There have been numerous allegations of the misappropriation of funds, and the union itself has been in and out of financial trouble several times.

Yet in that time the national side has made a Rugby World Cup quarter-final, almost beating the eventual competition winners, and won a World Sevens title. Here's a brief history of their turmoil.

December 2002: Fijian Rugby Union (FRU) chief executive Pio Bosco Tokoisuva gives evidence in the trial of two of the 2000 Fijian coup accomplices.

March 2003: NZ Coach of the Year Wayne Pivac denies reports he is going to coach the Fijian national side.

December 2003: The Fijian Government declines a proposal to raise funds for the union by installing gaming machines in resorts.

October 2004: Fijian national team coach Wayne Pivac fails to appear in court on drink-driving charges.

December 2004: Vodafone withdraws as the main sponsor of the Fijian side.

May 2005: The Fijian government invests $720, 000 in the FRU after acting chief executive Derek Samson resigns because of impending financial crisis, while Pivac also threatens to resign because he does not have enough resources to prepare the team.

January 2007: Fijian national coach Wayne Pivac resigns after struggling with being away from his family in New Zealand.

April 2007: FRU announces operating surplus of $349, 000 thanks to a 92 percent increase in sponsorship and International Rugby Board grants.

July 2007: Waisale Serevi leaves his position as coach of the Fijian Sevens side, amid rumours he was told to either resign or be fired.  

*FRU team manager Pio Bosco Tikoisuva denies that officials smoked marijuana before a match against the Wallabies in Perth the month before. The officials are later cleared.  

*Fijian interim government allocates an extra US$72,000 to the FRU's 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign. FRU chief executive Timoci Tavana-vanua thanks the government.

November 2007: FRU is allocated a US$388, 000 grant from the IRB to expland their development programme and as a reflection of their good performance at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. FRU chief executive Timoci Tavana-vanua is elated.

February 2008: Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia resigns as president of the FRU to "protect and uphold the dignity of the position of president of the FRU" after 22 charges of abuse of office were laid against him in his previous position as the CEO of Airports Fiji Limited.

August 2008: FRU considers 'drastic' cost-cutting measures after announcing a US$460, 000 loss due to the cost of sending a national team to the Rugby World Cup in France a year earlier. FRU chief executive is Ratu Timoci Tavanavanua.

September 2008: Waisale Serevi is reinstated as coach of the Fijian sevens team ahead of the 2008/2009 season.

October 2008: Fiji Warriors sevens side denied access into New Zealand due to sanctions placed against Fijian sporting sides.

January 2009: Waisale Serevi is fired as coach of the Fijian sevens team after frequently criticising the FRU. Iliesa Tanivula is announced as his replacement.

August 2009: Fijian 15 coach Ilivasa Tabua is sacked following an 'incident involving alcohol' during the Pacific Nations Cup by FRU chairman Bill Gavoka.

October 2009: Fijian interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama calls for the resignation of FRU chief executive Keni Dakuidreketi after charges of abuse of office and fraud are brought against him. FRU chairman Bill Gavoka rejects the call for resignation. Dakuidreketi retains his position.

November 2009: The Fijian national side decide to stop performing their haka, or cibi, as it harked back to the country's 'pagan past'.

December 2009: Fiji reinstate the cibi.
April 2010: FRU announces a profit of F$900, 000 in 2009 after announcing a loss of F$750,000 in 2008. This is due to selling the rights for a test against England so the English could play Australia. England paid the FRU Fiji F$740, 000.

June 2010: FRU chairman Bill Gavoka is held in police custody after forwarding an email from a Nadi pastor predicting a major disaster in Fiji.

June 2010: Prop Alefoso Yalayalatabua and scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu are denied entry into Australia to play against the Wallabies after reports they were involved with the Fijian Navy.

January 2011: Fijian interim government calls for the FRU's board and executives to resign, following Commerce Commission findings that the union misused fundings from lottery ticket sales.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Chaudhry said to be organising a march and rallying for support

    The Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, appears to be trying to drum up publicity for himself again.
    According to sources, Chaudhry and his mate, Felix Anthony (right), from the Fiji Trades Union Congress, are trying to organise a protest march, for next month.  

    No-one's sure what the march is about but those who know about it say the opportunistic Chaudhry, who only pops his head out when he needs publicity, has approached several groups  including the Methodist Church.

    They say Chaudhry is canvassing support even though he knows the regime has banned all marches and that his one is unlikely to get a permit.  

    Coupfourpointfive has been told the organisations he  approached have all declined outright because they can see through him and his single-minded efforts for publicity.
    Under the Public Emergency Regulations, all large public gatherings and marches need to be approved by the illegal government. Two marches (the anti-violence one by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre and the one by the Coalition on Human Rights to coincide with World Human Rights Day)  had permits to march in December but were cancelled after an unidentified group, Save Fiji Movement, claimed they were organising thousands to march against Voreqe Bainimarama.

    The regime cancelled the permit at the last minute saying it was a 'precautionary measure.'

    Sources say Chaudhry knows he won't be able to get a permit to march but his aim is to get himself in the limelight again and to gain sympathy, just as he did he when he went to Rakiraki last year to meet with farmers.

    As he did then, he met with local farmers, despite apparently being told by police he wasn't allowed to.  Chaudhry was subsequently arrested and charged for breaking the PER, winning media coverage and international sympathy. 

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    A reader's view on the FRU issue: questions for Bole and Reddy

    The new twist now involves the illegal Minister of Sports Filipe Bole. But where were you Filipe when Aiyaz Kaiyum the illegal AG first came on the media to comment about the lottery ticket sales for the Fiji Rugby World Cup team to Wellington this year? Why have you now chosen to stand up from the back once the curtain is raised? Are you being used as a scapegoat?

    Filipe, can you remember when you made comments to the dailies against the Qarase government in 2006  about the controversial  Qoliqoli Bill?  While you were the President and founder of the Fiji Democratic Party you said “There is a need for a wider consultation where all the citizens of Fiji to participate.” The same is now posted to you Filipe: why don’t you allow the people to speak their minds out on this issue?
    Why have you, Filipe, chosen to be the prosecutor jury and judge on this case?

    Dr Reddy, the only academic from FNU compared to other smart academics around Fiji universities, chose to sing songs of praise on the catch he made as the illegal commissioner about raising this matter in court.
    The question we want Dr Reddy to answer is: "Why can’t your commission run a thorough background check on fly by night investors who have put together grand trade and commerce plan proposals to invest in Fiji?" Some of these fly by night investors wear black ties and carry black suitcases, host themselves in high class resorts and invite Ministers and PM to dinners and cocktails. What do they have behind them? A fancy glossy cut and paste proposal and an intention to have photos with PM or ministers to show his financiers overseas the game is on?

    Dr Reddy, you know that these fly-by-night investors are well-connected and have a well-oiled operation that includes the fabrication of commercial figures, shifting and changing of deposits and manipulation of resources to attract attention. These people are usually often from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Philipines, Thailand and Korea. And they are here causing damage.

    One good example is the $1 billion Waila Housing proposal. This is pie in the sky. Dr Reddy, do your work and  check this out. Please also check China Railway company. In fact, there are many overseas investors here who came under the dark cloud of false pretence but their motive is to use FDB, FNPF - our money and  yet they bring no equity of their own into the project.

    Dr Reddy, can your illegal organization write to the PM and the Minister concerned asking for a proper scientific and economical vetting guideline to be used to clamp down on overseas investors who come to our shores seeking opportunities using our resources? This would be much better than using your office to correct a wrong through miscommunication and misunderstanding on the lottery ticket sales of the Fiji Rugby Union. Let this one go.

    We would also like you to look at the recruitment of expats. FNPF,FHL,FEA, TFL, Air Pac etc. Again, these people are from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India and were the same lot of strategists who brought NBF to  its knees. The same combination of consultants with little or no soul for our Motherland. We look at Filipe as a father figure but for Fiji him playing politics on the rugby lottery ticket saga is a shot in the dark and suggests his credibility is gone. 

    Filipe, why use tax payers $3m to blackmail and bribe Fiji Rugby for the removal of its officers? You know better. FRU is run under union votes and calling for changes now is premature. We are running out of time.We believe that as the illegal sports Minister for Fiji your role is to better the standards of all sports in Fiji, therefore you should stand on a fair and neutral ground rather then be used to further the narrow, political agenda of people around you. (Looking to the Future)

    Editor's Note: Bole is expected to meet with the FRU’s interim chairman, Rafaele Kasibulu, and current chief executive Keni Dakuidreketi tomorrow (Thursday).

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Regime to cough up $3million for rugby if board quits

    The announcement by the Minister for Sports, Filipe Bole comes on the heel of the release of findings by the Commerce Commission into the Fiji Rugby Union’s controversial lottery.   
    Mr Bole says the provision of funding is conditional upon the change of FRU administration and the formation of a new FRU board.
    “I have informed the IRB and now I'm informing the public that the Fijian Government will give $3 million to assist the Flying Fijians team to prepare for the IRB World Cup but under a new FRU administration,” the minister said.

    “Accordingly, it is now up to districts, who appoint the administration team, to ensure that our Flying Fijians team gets adequate resources to prepare for the World Cup competition in which we expect and want them to do well.”

    “Of course those at the centre of this debacle and mismanagement can resign themselves to quickly put in place a new administration to ensure our boys have enough time prepare,” Bole added.

    The key findings of the commission covers three broad areas:

    ·        Breach of conditions of the Permit Application and Permit

    1). Selling of tickets below authorised priced on December 30, 2010
    2). Using funds collected for purposes other than that stated in the permit.
    3). Not including some sold tickets in the draw.

    ·        Breach of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010
    ·        Lottery tickets/Funds accountability
    1) Tickets sales and unaccounted tickets
    2) Tickets sold at unauthorised price
    3) Sales commission paid for ticket sales
    4) Misuse of lottery sales
    5) Missing funds
    6) Lottery money and prize payout

    Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy said the commission recommended the following:

    ·     All sold tickets must be included in a re-draw
    ·     Disparity in ticket prices:

    a) Exclude all tickets sold with unauthorised prices and redraw all $20 tickets; or,
    b) Provide opportunity for those with $15 and $10 tickets to pay the difference between their price and the unauthorised price and be included in the draw; or,
    c) Change authorised price to $10 and redraw all sold tickets as $10 tickets (with $20 tickets going in the draw as two tickets)
    ·     Unauthorised use of lottery money: those involved must be criminally prosecuted
    ·     Missing lottery money: All FRU financial transactions must be subjected to a fully substantive audit test of details, to be conducted by an independent auditor
    ·     Breach of Commerce Commission Decree 2010: Upon prosecution FRU is likely to face a fine of $25,000 for each of the breach.

    Dr Reddy said given that the FRU refused to act according to the commission directive and also did not show interest in a meeting, the Commission is left with little alternative but to prosecute.

    The detailed findings of the commission is available through their website  www.commcomm.gov.fj

    FRU officials ordered to quit

    Fiji's military-led government has ordered the board of the Fijian Rugby Union to be replaced before they will release F$3 million (£1.04m) to help prepare their national rugby team for the World Cup in New Zealand later this year.
    Sports Minister Filipe Bole said the funding was contingent on mass resignations of the FRU board after Commerce Commission officials raided the union office last week following an investigation into a fundraising lottery.

    The Commerce Commission said the FRU had sold lottery tickets for below the authorised price, had used funds for purposes other than the original purposes of holding the lottery and had not included some of the sold tickets in the lottery.

    "I have informed the IRB and now I'm informing the public that the Fijian Government will give $3 million to assist the Flying Fijians team to prepare for the IRB World Cup but under a new FRU administration," Bole said. "Accordingly, it is now up to districts, who appoint the administration team, to ensure that our... team gets adequate resources to prepare for the World Cup competition in which we expect and want them to do well.

    "Of course those at the centre of this debacle and mismanagement can resign themselves to quickly put in place a new administration to ensure our boys have enough time prepare," Bole added.

    The Commerce Commission said that about $350,000 worth of tickets had been sold and there was a discrepancy of about $156,000 in the Union's lottery account.

    The Commission also said that some of the money from the lottery had been used by officials for travel and tickets to rugby sevens tournaments in Britain and Hong Kong.

    The FRU denies any wrongdoing, however, and said in a statement its legal advice was that it was not against the law to discount tickets.

    "The most disturbing aspect of this whole saga is the Commission's unending appetite for publicity," Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer Keni Dakuidreketi said.

    "It has a legal responsibility to investigate any alleged offence in a fair and reasonable way, particularly when it is on notice that it may not even have legal powers to do so.

    "It should not be conducting a trial by media. FRU suggests the Commission do the sensible thing and have an open discussion with FRU - and its lawyers - about what it is doing."

    Fiji opens its World Cup campaign against Namibia in Rotorua on September 10. (Yahoo Sports)

    Bauxite mining to start by March

    The Ministry of Information (January 10): Bauxite mining at Nawailevu in Bua is expected to start by March according to the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources.

    Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama designated to the Land Bank the first parcel of native land earmarked for bauxite mining in the area.

    This has started a chain of processes that will allow the Director of Lands to issue a surface lease to mine investors Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited next week.

    A mining lease is expected to be issued in March. The director’s powers are stipulated in the Land Use Decree of 2010.

    Acting Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources Mr Filimone Kau said the surface lease will give Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Ltd access and exclusive possession to the land.

    “They cannot mine but they can start some preliminary work like building a campsite etc access, bridges, and infrastructure,” he said. “They can only mine after being issued with a mining lease which will be around March this year,” Mr Kau added.

    In addition, all these lands are also free from all encumbrances including Fiji Pine partially surrendering its lease and the reverting of legal rights over land to native landowners from the Mataqali Nalutu, Mataqali Noro and Mataqali Naicobo.

    The site proposed for mining was previously leased by Fiji Pine Limited and covered under pine trees. Aurum Exploration Fiji (Ltd) paid Fiji Pine $1m for the partial surrender of their lease and subsequent large scale harvest of pine trees to allow for mining works.

    “This is a good beginning for the Ministry in facilitating investment for the betterment of the nation as a whole,” Mr Kau said.

    Government’s land reform initiative was borne out of Pillar 6 of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress and is meant to address all critical issues pertaining to land which will provide the platform for the nation to progress economically and socially.

    Bainimarama designates first parcel of land

    BAUXITE BELIEVERS:  Promises of premium rent.
    “Landowners who willingly choose to have their lands leased through the Land Use Decree will now be in a position to reap fair and just returns."
    The Ministry of Information (January 10): In a momentous occasion, the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama today designated the first parcel of land to be deposited into the Land Bank. These are land earmarked for bauxite mining at Nawailevu and Natuvu in Bua.

    Commodore Bainimarama said landowners would gain a lot from depositing their land into the bank because Government identifies investors that can use their land. Additionally Government will ensure that landowners will receive the full quantum of the premium and land rent. “The deals that will be made will be in the best interests of the landowners and nothing will interfere with that,” he said.

    Commodore Bainimarama signed the paperwork on the designation before members of the media this afternoon.
    “The significance of the activation of the Land Bank is that many of our idle lands could now be leased through the Land Use Decree 2010 and be made productive for the betterment of landowners, investors and the country as a whole.

    “Landowners who willingly choose to have their lands leased through the Land Use Decree will now be in a position to reap fair and just returns. They will also receive the full quantum of the premium and land rent. I know that this is one of the key issues that landowners have been calling for in the past decades.”

    Government will also ensure the investors security of tenure.
    The designation is the first, in a string of events that will kick start bauxite mining at Nawailevu in Bua. A surface lease is expected to be offered to mining investors Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited next week.

    “I wish to thank Aurum Explorations (Fiji) Limited for its confidence in Fiji. I also wish to thank the landowners and the people of Nawailevu and Natubu in Bua for their faith and trust in Government in supporting the Land Reform initiative and the Look North policy. I have no doubt that the land reform will usher in a new era of land management in Fiji that will secure maximum returns for the landowners, investors and the people of Fiji,” he said.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Naivalurua accused of using grog to 'buy' officers

    After signing his contract for three years last Wednesday, police commissioner Brigadier General Iowane Naivalurua celebrated by giving a grog party at Fiji Police Bands Bure in Nasese.

    The partying went on until 11pm that night and was a
    ploy to buy the support of officers ranking from DCP to special constables, who poured into the bands bure to drink grog. 

    What was amazing was that even officers who were supposed to be on duty from 6pm to 11pm, were sitting around the grog bowls enjoying the grog the COMPOL was throwing around. 

    But records show that five calls were received at Central Police Station that day seeking police assistance for robbery and mugging of residents in the Suva area.  

    People were told there was no transport to attend the crime scenes yet all of the officers were in the bands bure enjoying grog. 

    Seven calls were also received at Valelevu police station, with the police there giving the same excuse of no transport.

    The vehicles from stations were used by the station officers to transport police officers attending the celebrations of Naivalurua. 

    So as officers in uniforms and outings sat drinking grog, people were calling for help and were being met with excuses from officers. 
    Naivalurua had last year (2010) banned the consumption of grog from all prison complexes but that was before he took office in the police force where we now see the real him; a hypocrite who likes to give a grog party to about 100 plus officers to buy support, so that he can continue his corruption. So much for his polished statements of professionalism. (Intel Source)

    Pictures: PSC Josefa Serulagilagi (top) congratulates  Naivalurua on signing his contract and Naivulura at lunch during the controversial trip he took his wife on to the North recently, at the expense of taxpayers. top pic Fiji Tmes

    Trades down on Fiji's South Pacific Exchange

    One of the world's smallest bourses, Fiji's South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE), has had a disastrous year with its market capitalisation falling 13.68 percent. 

    SPSE has just 17 stocks including one, Fijian Holdings, that can only be traded by ethnic Fijians, and Fiji Sugar Corporation which has been suspended since October. 

    Exchange chief executive Jinita Prasad said in her review of the year that over all market capitalisation fell to F$778.2 million ($549.4 million), down 13.68 percent on the year previous. The number of trades were down 8.40 per cent. 

    "Buy to sell ratio was around 1:16 on average during 2010 signifying a bear market with a huge dominance of sellers applying a downward pressure on prices," Prasad said. 

    "We saw a year of mixed investor sentiments where some investors disposed their shares to fund their cash needs and the others concentrated on the fundamentals of listed companies and continued to hold. Existing listed companies continued to be tightly held which also dampened the level of trading." 

    She said this year "looks quite promising in terms of the number of potential companies" wanting to list. She attributed this to a decision taken by the military regime to keep the corporate tax rate of 20 per cent for listed companies that have more than 40 per cent local equity shareholding.(Michael Field, Stuff.co.nz)

    WikiLeaks: NZ holds its Commonwealth position on Fiji

    TESTY RELATIONS: McCully and Bainimarama.
    "Bainimarama has no interest under current conditions in moving toward democracy or in stepping down from his position of leadership in Fiji. He has "settled in for the long haul."-Murray McCully

    February 27, 2009 New Zealand Foreign Minister insists Commonwealth hold the line on Fiji
    E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2026 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, FJ, NZ SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND FOREIGN MINISTER INSISTS COMMONWEALTH HOLD THE LINE ON FIJI Classified By: Embassy Wellington CDA David J. Keegan. Reasons E.O. 129 58, 1.4 (b) and (d). 

    1. (C) Charge met with Foreign Minister Murray McCully February 26 at his request. McCully said that he is departing over the weekend for London to participate in the Commonwealth Meeting on Fiji. He explained that Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Samuel Abal and himself would be the two Pacific participants in the meeting. He added that the PNG FM would be a strong voice at the meeting and would be "less mercurial" than PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. 

    2. (C) Two years after the Commonwealth suspended Fiji in response to Commodore Frank Bainimarama's coup, McCully said, the Commonwealth meeting should move to take further steps on Fiji as its rules call for. When McCully spoke to Abal recently by phone, Abal said that his position on the matter was equally clear: "two years is two years is two years." The Commonwealth should also show that it is prepared to defer to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), which has spoken clearly on Fiji. McCully rejected claims that the PIF and its posture on Fiji are being directed by Australia and New Zealand. He noted that the outspoken comments earlier in the week by Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Aiono Sailele Malielegoai, subsequently endorsed by Tonga PM Feleti Sevele, provided clear evidence that the Pacific Island Countries themselves were strongly concerned about Fiji. The only exceptions, McCully suggested, might be Tuvalu and Kiribati. Otherwise he was confident that the PIF would hold solidly to its commitment to suspend Fiji in May. He added, however, that MFAT officials were less confident on this score than he was. 

    3. (C) McCully said that New Zealand remained committed to being helpful to Fiji, and the government will avoid any public confrontations, but he said he saw no evidence that Fiji interim leader Frank Bainimarama had any inclination to accept such help. Nor would he be influenced by any change in the sanctions against him. Bainimarama has no interest under current conditions in moving toward democracy or in steppingdown from his position of leadership in Fiji. He has "settled in for the long haul." If the Pacific Island Forum, the Commonwealth, or others reduce sanctions against the regime, Bainimarama will pocket the "victory." After the Commonwealth meeting, the next landmark would be the PIF meeting in May. Fiji needs to listen, McCully said, but he confessed he was not optimistic.
    KEEGAN (Scoop.co.nz)

    Tanzania clamps down on Chinese traders - lesson for Fiji?

    Traders in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    MARKET FORCES: Locals protected from Chinese traders.

    Chinese traders in Tanzania's main city of Dar es Salaam have been give 30 days to stop trading in a busy market.

    The deputy industry minister says Chinese businessmen are allowed into the country as investors, but not as "vendors or shoe-shiners". 

    Lazaro Nyalandu says these jobs could "be carried out by locals", Tanzania's Citizen paper quotes him as saying.

    A BBC reporter says there are many foreigners trading illegally in Tanzania, especially from China.

    They have opened up many small retail and wholesale shops, the BBC's Hassan Mhelela in Dar es Salaam says.

    But the Chinese traders are sometimes resented for their business acumen, he says. Mr Nyalandu made the comments at Kariakoo market, which the government wants to become an export centre for the East African nation.

    He also said Tanzania was about to do a deal with the Chinese government to ensure that goods imported from China meet international standards, Tanzania's Guardian newspaper reports. (The BBC homepage)

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    FLP: Where to in 2011?

    Yet another year has ended. It is a convention, as we stand on the threshold of a new year, to take stock of the past in order to prepare for the year ahead.

    Four years have lapsed since the regime change of 6 December 2006. Much was said then about why the military takeover was necessary: to rescue Fiji from the grips of an elected government that had grossly mismanaged the economy and State finances to near-bankruptcy; was actively pushing a policy to fragment the nation along racial lines; and was closely aligned to the terrorist and fundamentalist elements in our multicultural society, not to mention the high levels of corruption and high crime rates that prevailed.

    But after four years of military rule, where do we stand as a nation? Better or worse off? To gauge this, its best to view the regime’s performance in the past four years against the Mandate it received from His Excellency the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo in January 2007 when he appointed the interim administration:

    • Steady our economy through sustained growth and correct the economic mismanagement of the past 6 years:

    Our economic data tells the story: Fiji’s economy has contracted three years in a row: -0.9% in 2007, -0.1% in 2008 and -3% in 2009. Key exports have fallen sharply forcing Foreign Reserves to be artificially boosted in April 2009 by the 20% devaluation of the dollar. Moreover, Reserves are further boosted by withholding the repatriation of profits of foreign companies (mainly banks) as pointed out by the Asian Development Bank in its December 2010 report on the Fiji economy (Pacific Economic Monitor).

    State finances – Government’s debt level now stands at 57% of the GDP and rise to a staggering 73% if the State’s contingent liabilities to statutory bodies and corporations are included. In 2010 alone (this year) the State borrowed a staggering $740 million of which $242 million was raised overseas.

    Government’s irresponsible borrowings are placing an intolerable burden on the taxpayer. The provision for debt repayments in the 2011 Budget stands at $519 million. This means that the taxpayer is forking out an alarming $1.42 million per day to repay the State’s massive debts. It leaves little in the kitty for capital development projects.

    One of the saddest tragedies on the economic horizon has been virtual demise of the sugar industry in the past two years under the policies and decisions of the current regime.

    In two years sugar production fell to its lowest ever record of 168,000 tonnes in 2009 and an estimated 120-125,000 tonnes in 2010. Many thousands of tonnes of cane delivered to the mills have gone to waste because of milling problems and inefficiencies. In 2009 alone the industry lost close to $100m, of which loss to cane farmers stood at $70m. There is no redress to the cane farmer from such huge losses.

    • Lift up the living standards of the growing poor and underprivileged of our country

    Poverty levels have risen to 45% of the population according to the Household and Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES 2008/2009) – official figure released by the Poverty Eradication Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister at a workshop in Suva in April this year.

    Almost as many are struggling to keep their heads above poverty; the hike in VAT from 12.5% to 15% (20% increase) from January together with increases in Customs Duty on a wide range of food and consumer items will impact negatively on the standard of living of our poor and low income families.

    Government’s decision to charge increased fees for a range of medical services at its hospitals from January will place an additional burden on ordinary families.

    • Eradicate systemic corruption …. And set new standards of governmental and institutional transparency

    Transparency International in a survey about budget transparency in October this year gave Fiji zero out of 100 possible points, saying it is virtually impossible for Fiji citizens to hold the government accountable for its management of the public’s money.

    Ministerial pays have been removed from the ambit of the Treasury; Proper procedures are not being followed for the outsourcing of public works and procurement of goods and services. Despite the setting up of FICAC, corruption remains high

    • Improve our relations with our neighbours and the international community

    We remain suspended from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum; we are in a state of virtual hostility with the governments of Australia and New Zealand, having expelled their Heads of Mission; the European Union has suspended its development assistance funds.

    • Take our country to democratic elections after an advanced electoral office and systems are in place and the political and economic conditions are conducive to the holding of such elections

    With the imposition of the Public Emergency Regulations in April 2009, elections have been deferred to at least 2014. The Supervisor of Elections Office is hardly functional and all political dialogue has been put on hold until at least 2012. In other words, there is no move, apart from constant rhetoric about 2014, to move Fiji to democratic elections.

    • Immediately as practicable introduce a Code of Conduct and Freedom of Information
    There is no Code of Conduct. Freedom of Information remains even more of a dream considering the rigorous censorship imposed on the media and restrictions on any criticism of the regime as well as the curtailment of other human and civil rights under the Public Emergency Regulations.

    • To continue to uphold the Constitution

    This, fellow citizens, is the state of our nation today. There has been much rhetoric about “reforms” but little to show for it. In fact, our economy, financial status, infrastructure, standard of living have all slid notably in the past four years.

    As we stand on the threshold of another year, there is no indication of a ray of hope that things will get any better. Indeed, all pointers indicate that 2011 may be an even more difficult year.

    We can only advice courage, fortitude and extreme prudence in the face of increasing difficulties. Unless we take urgent steps to return speedily to democracy and constitutional rule, we will continue to have more of the same. That is the sad lesson we have learnt over the last 23 years since the first coup in 1987.

    Not withstanding the foregoing, our best wishes for the New Year to one and all. (FLP website, January 1, 2011)