#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-01-23

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypt continues Day of Rage: Fiji should be watching and learning

CLASHES: Demonstrators hold their ground.

"Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak." .... "This protest is not going to stop. They won't and can't trick the people again and give us some lame concessions. Hosni has to go."  ..... "I am 70 years old, I am going to die, but these people have to fight to live."-VOICES FROM THE PROTESTS

Demonstrations have continued in Egypt despite rising casualty numbers, with protesters saying they want an end to the 30-year dictatorship government of Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak has sent troops and armoured cars onto the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez in the fourth day of Egypt's Day of Rage, a campaign for liberation, sparked originally by the Tunisian fight for democracy.

The death toll is rising with media reports saying today that more than a thousand have been hurt from clashes with security forces using rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds and running battles over the past few days.

Protests today have been the strongest yet with hundreds of thousands of people fighting police, troops and burning  buildings associated with Mubarak.

At least 26 people have been killed in the fourth day of protests, putting the number of dead since the protests began earlier this week at 33.

Mubarak's officials are threatening more violence but protesters say they're fed up with the lack of freedom, the unemployment, the poverty and corruption.

And in a clear sign of being under pressure, Mubarak himself has a short time ago broken his silence to address the nation, close to midnight local time. Predictably, he has tried to save his 30 year reign by pledging to sack his cabinet and bring in a new and more democratic government.

Many of the protesters are young men and women, who correspond and network on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, or people who've had an English education. Very few are the older generation.

Prominent activist Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Laureate, has returned to Egypt to march with supporters.

Two thirds of Egypt's 80 million people are below the age of 30 and many have no jobs. About 40 percent of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day.

Egypt has been under emergency rule throughout Mubarak's term in office. The government says it is used to combat terrorism. Critics say it is used to stifle dissent.

Elections were due to be held in September but it was feared Mubarak would remain in control or bring in a successor - his 47-year-old son, Gamal. The demonstrations in Tunisia and Yemen tipped the discontent over.

The uprising across the three countries has put the United States in a sticky position. It professes to want democracy to spread across the Middle East yet Mubarak has been a close Washington ally for many years and the recipient of huge amounts of military aid.

Observers believe Mubarak will be forced out, just as as Tunisia's Ben Ali was ousted to weeks ago. But it's feared the Egyptian security apparatus, which over the years has developed a vested interest in the survival of Mubarak's regime, will try to crush political dissent.

The other obstacle for demonstrators is the challenge to turn the popular outcry into a coherent political opposition.  (Original source BBC)

In the ongoing debate about where to for Fiji, Coupfourpointfive asks:

1. Would the people of Fiji ever have the strength to rally as the people in Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt have done?

2. Is the size of the population an issue?

3. Are there people on the ground to lead the movement and make it worth the risk?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vasu promoted and Leweni recycled

Another changing of the guard for the illegal regime as it struggles to get the best fit for key jobs.

The role of Commissioner of Prisons has finally been filled by Lieutenant Colonel Iferemi Vasu who has been elevated from Commissioner Eastern.

But to replace him, the illegal regime has had to recycle Colonel Neumi Leweni, who is stepping in as Commissioner Eastern.

Vasu, of course, has been brought in to take the load off  Brigadier General Naivalurua, who had been running both prisons and police .... giving Frank the jitters in case he got too much power.

Now, if they can only find some muggins to take over the sugar industry portfolio.

Editor's Note: Thanks to the person who tipped us off about the Vasu appointment yesterday, which is now out for all to see, of course. The same person also told us that Major Ana Rokomokoti is back in Fiji from Sydney, posing the question how did she get a visa. According to this source, Rokomokoti has been babbling about releasing the coup papers.


Suva lawyer Renee Lal was arrested this morning (Friday) at Nausori Airport while trying to fly out to New Zealand to avoid being entangled in a scam involving prominent players in the military regime.

Lal, who is married to former Republic of Fiji Military Forces lawyer Amani Bale, is currently in custody at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua. It is not clear whether the military or police arrested her.

But military Sources have confirmed that Lal allegedly swindled $300,000 belonging to a businessman named as Freeman, from Ghana. Freeman is the brother of former University of the South Pacific academic, Nii Plange, and is doing oil and gas exploration in Bau waters.

Renee Lal is a partner in the law firm of Jamnadas & Associates is Freeman's lawyer.

According to military sources, Lal's arrest is just the tip of the iceberg of a major scam involving the senior players of the regime.  The illegal activities surfaced when Freeman was arrested by police late last week and he opened his mouth and implicated Renee Lal and others.

In a case of No Honour Amongst Thieves, all perpetrators of the scam tried to dob each other in. Freeman has been trying to contact military dictator Frank Bainimarama to clarify his role in certain matters but has been unsuccessful - he's apparently being blocked by Brigadier Mohammed Aziz. 

Aziz, who is on leave and who resigned from boards recently, is now believed to based in the Office of the illegal regime's Prime Minister. 

Freeman has been trying to contact Bainimarama because Renee Lal has been using his name and that of regime's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum to divert attention from her. 

It has also been revealed that Renee Lal has an intense, intimate relationship with Aiyaz Khaiyum and has free licence to use his name to make unscrupulous deals.  

Also in immigration custody is Ben Padarath, who set up the deal between Lal and Freeman. Padarath is known to be close to Pita Driti.

We will reveal further details in due course.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How long can Frank escape the long arm of the law?

WAITING: Qarase and supporters in last hours on fateful day.
A possible reason why Frank turned on Qarase post 2000. By a political boffin from that time.

PREAMBLE: The following statement intends to shed some light on the souring of relations between the Commander Fiji Military Forces Frank Bainimarama and the Prime Minister of Fiji, Laisenia Qarase, shortly after the elections in 2001.

BACKGROUND: Following the overthrow of the Labor Coalition government of Mahendra Chaudhry in the year 2000 by the George Speight Group the military then proceeded to install an interim civilian government to prepare Fiji for elections.  This interim government was led by Laisenia Qarase, a nominee of the military at the time.  To his credit Mr Qarase took Fiji to the polls within 18 months of assuming office in the interim government and along the way formed the SDL party which won 31 seat in the house of representatives.  The Fiji Labour party and Mahendra Chaudhry won 27 seats and the new Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party won 6 seats.  The Matanitu Vanua party formed a Coalition with the SDL party, which enabled Mr Qarase to become an elected Prime Minister for the first time in September of 2001.

Throughout the term of the interim government and going into the 2001 elections proper Bainimarama & Qarase enjoying a cordial working relationship so the question is what went wrong.

Bainimarama is on record of accusing Mr Qarase of being soft on those who were involved in the 2000 uprising.  However, there is an issue which will be exposed here as to why Bainimarama began to agitate against Laisenia Qarase.

During the course of the 2000 coup various events had occurred and for which those who had broken the law were being held to account.  The actions of the military and its commander were also implicated in a series of unconstitutional and unlawful acts for eg, the abrogation of the 1997 constitution which was overruled by the Chandrika case, the removal of the President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and the deaths of soldiers at the military barracks in November of 2000.  For these and any other unlawful acts by the Commander and his soldiers a immunity Bill was being prepared by the interim cabinet of Mr Qarase in the year 2000 – 2001.

This same Bill was then proposed to be tabled in the Fiji Parliament for ratification in 2004.  Fortunately for Bainimarama the SDL party at the time did not have the majority in Parliament to pass the Bill outright and during the course of highly confidential meetings of a committee made up of members of parliament from the SDL and the Matanitu Vanua parties the Bill was set aside on the advice of the Matanitu Vanua party members who opposed it.  This opened the way for Frank Bainimarama and any other military personnel to be subject to the due process of law and prosecution for any crime or unlawful acts committed in the year 2000.

The failure of Qarase to ratify Frank’s immunity in the Parliament led to Frank turning against him.

It is common knowledge that the Fiji Police Force had been pursuing Frank for interrogation concerning various issues relating to the year 2000 and they were closing in on him in 2006 which led him to go over the line and stage  the coup in December of 2006.  The draft immunity Bill is attached as evidence. 

Following the rejection of the Immunity Bill Prime Minister Qarase then proceeded towards a more holistic piece of legislation which came in the form of the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill which was rejected by the Fiji Labor Party and Frank Bainimarama.  Referring to the Reconciliation Bill, Bainimarama had stated that justice must be served first and Reconciliation later. These comments have certainly come home to roost in his case.

Frank had evaded the law back then and he continues to evade the long arm of the law at present but for how long?

IRB to see for itself what's happening in Fiji rugby

International Rugby Board representatives are to travel to Fiji next month to investigate issues surrounding the management and governance of the Fiji Rugby Union amid fears the country could be banned from participating in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The IRB said in a statement today that chief executive Mike Miller (pictured right in above photo) and regional general manager for Oceania William Glenwright would meet with senior FRU representatives early next month to discuss its concerns.

"The IRB does have concerns that the current situation could create instability and have a negative impact on the management of the union and key IRB-funded development and high performance programmes and also Rugby World Cup 2011 preparations. These concerns have been communicated to the union, who have fully assisted with our ongoing enquiries," the statement said.

The FRU and the government have been at loggerheads since the country's Commerce Commission conducted an investigation into a lottery held to raise funds for the World Cup.

The government said earlier this month it would give F$3 million ($NZ2.11m) to help prepare the team for the September 9-October 23 tournament, but only if the FRU board resigned.

The board and FRU chief executive Keni Dakuidreketi all resigned and a special board meeting was due to be held next week to elect new board members.

The Fiji Sun, however, said on their website the interim board had rejected Dakuidreketi's resignation and cancelled the meeting following a letter from the IRB.

Fiji have been drawn in Pool D with South Africa, Wales, Samoa and Namibia for the World Cup. (NZPA)

Anti-government rallies spread - hope for the oppressed?

The discontent flowing on from Tunisia has spread to Egypt where anti-government rallies have taken place today in several cities.

The rallies were biggest in Cairo where thousands joined the protests and police used tear gas. Three people are believed to have died.

Correspondents say the demonstrations took police by surprise. Protests in Egypt, where Hosni Bukarak has been president since 1981, are rare.
This report was filed by the BBC's correspondent Jon Leyne:
The demonstrations were clearly inspired by what happened in Tunisia. They were bigger than anything seen here for a number of years. What was also most striking was the boldness and anger of the protesters. Even when the police moved in with water cannon and tear gas, they stood their ground.

The police, by contrast, appeared wrong-footed. They are unused to confronting crowds as big and determined as this. 

On its own, this is not going to threaten President Mubarak's hold on power. But it must be a huge shock to him. And the protesters might just begin to think that anything is possible. 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her administration supported "the fundamental right of expression and assembly" and urged all parties "to exercise restraint".

She added that Washington believed the Egyptian government was "stable" and "looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people".

The events in Cairo were co-ordinated on a Facebook page - tens of thousands of supporters clicked on the page to say they would take part.
The microblogging website, Twitter, has confirmed its website has been blocked in Egypt. 

Twitter said it believed the open exchange of information and views was a benefit to societies and helped government better connect with their people.

The Swedish-based website Bambuser, which streams video from mobile phones, said it had been blocked in Egypt. On its blog, it accused Egyptian officials of trying to control the news agenda.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo said rallies had been held in several parts of the capital, and the turnout had been more than the organisers could have hoped.

Police were taken aback by the anger of the crowd and let protesters make their way to the parliament building, he says.

There police regrouped in full riot gear with tear gas and water cannon and temporarily drove the crowd back. However, protesters threw stones and stood their ground, pushing the police back until they were on the run.

Protests also broke out in other areas, including the eastern city of Ismailiya and the northern port city of Alexandria.

In Alexandria, witnesses said thousands joined the protests, some chanting: "Revolution, revolution, like a volcano, against Mubarak the coward." (BBC Homepage)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Opinion - Rugby council loses trust in board

by Amit Raj - Fiji Times
The Council of the Fiji Rugby Union, among other things, is responsible for the appointment and replacement of the directors of the union.

The media release of the current FRU board misrepresents locally and abroad the true situation at Rugby House in Fiji.

A majority of that council (18 affiliated unions), due to what they consider a failed and mismanaged FRU lottery saga, as well as many other issues, have lost trust and confidence in the ability of the current directors at Rugby House to meet the expectations of all member unions and the public in promoting first and foremost the interests of rugby.

The current actions of the board to unilaterally cancel a scheduled special general meeting mandated under the current FRU constitution is regrettable, and further reinforces the views of a majority of the council that the board is acting in its own interests and not in accordance with the wishes of its appointing council, which had not been given the opportunity to discuss such a drastic measure by the board.

The board has used the International Rugby Board (IRB) as an excuse for itself contravening the provisions of the FRU constitution.

The council members that make up a majority of the votes for the Fiji Rugby Union, welcome the scheduled visit of representatives of the IRB, and invite the IRB to meet with and discuss the future management and control of rugby in Fiji with the elected members and delegates of the FRU council, not solely the current FRU board of directors or CEO.

To get a fairer and balanced view of the situation here in Fiji.

At the end of the day, the board is answerable to the FRU council, not the IRB.

These internal democratic mechanisms within the FRU are completely independent of the Fiji government and whether or not it decides to financially assist the board of the FRU that has failed to procure adequate funding for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, despite its best efforts.

It is unfortunate that the board has attempted to use the media to resolve internal issues at Rugby House, further eroding the reputation and credibility of Fiji rugby locally and abroad.

The rugby public in Fiji are behind the FRU council that constitute the Fiji Rugby Union. It is they, the Fiji public that support a majority of the council's voting members and affiliated unions that are dissatisfied with the overall performance of the board and its chosen CEO.

A rough ride but with hope

As Fiji looks to a general election, the other big player in the democracy stakes, Tonga, has finally held its first so-called general election. The first elected government, though, has already had casualties. As Tongan publisher, Kalafi Moala, writes here the ride to true democracy is a somewhat bumpy one.

Tonga’s people and Parliament have chosen to base their hope for the country on a promise made over a period of two decades, backed by popular support, and by Western countries like Australia and New Zealand. 

This is a promise that democracy will bring solutions that would help Tonga align itself with the same values that drive the West, and hoping that the outcome of peace, happiness, wealth, health, and social cohesion will now be shared by Tonga.

Never mind that none of these values are actually effectively at work in the West, and are perhaps even more elusive in the so-called third world cultures that have embraced this offer of a solution by becoming a democracy.

When it became clear that ‘Akilisi Pohiva and his political party, Democratic Friendly Islands Party (DFIP), won most seats for the people’s representation, there was muted celebration in Tonga – but the Australian and New Zealand media, together with their respective governments, hailed the victory as Tonga’s final crossing from feudalism into a new era of where we now join the herd of democratic island states in the Pacific region.

Any thinking islander could detect that there could be a hint of neo-colonialism here. Apparently “democracy” is the new tool of Western powers to bring all the rest of the non-Western world into alignment with a Western agenda. In other words, it is easier for the powerful to control the weak within a democratic framework.

This is not being anti-West. We are all under the spell of Westernisation, whether we like it or not. There is much in the West to be admired and maybe adopted. But, we need to look deeper at the core of Westernisation so we can at least come to grips with the nature of the social wave that is sweeping over us in most aspects of our lives.

Dealing with dictators, despots, or feudal-like systems of governance can be uncomfortable and rather politically inconvenient for the West, although there have been many cases when Western powers would back dictatorship and tyranny when it suited their interest. But there is a paradox here that is not so hard to comprehend. Those who push a democratic form of governance on others always seem to dictate life for smaller nations through their powerful economic might.

It’s interesting, and ironic, that this is a practice that is itself undemocratic – that the nation states with the larger economic strength should try to set the agenda for those with less. It’s like the “golden rule” – he who has the gold, rules! The feeling among leaders of the West is that democracy is fine and needs to be promoted elsewhere, as long as it does not interfere with business.

Other nations, not only in our region but also throughout the world, have proven that an inappropriate application of democracy has played havoc in their social, economic, and political life. Often, weaker nations which are trying to determine their own destinies can no longer use the “no interference” foul cry as an excuse to stop the infringement. The actions of the powerful seem to be saying: “We are here to change you so it would be easier for you to understand us, and makes it easier for us to deal with you. You see, we have our education system, our powerful media, our economic power based on consumerism, our innovative technology . . . all of these to aid you to become like us.”

It is the pinnacle of colonialism: “We can only get along if you become like us! Never mind us becoming like you. We are better, and so we need to change you to become like us!”

Independence and self-determination become curse words to the neo-colonialists of the 21st century. Those values are only possible for the powerful. The weak have no right to independence and self-determination. At least that’s the attitude that comes through the ungodly and undemocratic relationships set up between the strong and the weak states.

The weak, in order to survive and be relevant in a new world order dictated to by those who have, end up being dominated from the outside, with outside values and practices. The notion that this is “progress” has become the rationale applied as comfort to those confused and socially afflicted by it.

This is the backdrop behind the stage where the drama of colonialism is being enacted in our Pacific, including our island kingdom called Tonga.

And so we are going to be in for a rough ride with this new government taking charge of Tonga. But, we can be comforted with the fact that the Prime Ministership has gone to Lord Tu’ivakano and not to ‘Akilisi Pohiva. If it were Pohiva at the helm, with the majority of his henchmen in Cabinet, we wouldn’t be riding anything. Tonga would have entered a new era, not only of inexperienced and possibly incompetent leadership, but also of a dangerous political agenda that would facilitate the first outright dictatorship in 200 years, sponsored by “the people” themselves.

But why is this? It is because Pohiva and his pro-democrats want Tonga to be dominated by outside values, a system from the outside, and an outside force. Over the past years of trying to bring about a reform to our system of government, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom have always been thrown up on the screen of public debate as the ideal model for us as a poor island state to at least try and imitate.

It is a sell-out and most Tongans wouldn’t have it, despite the fact they have been deceived over the past three decades on the benefits of reform.

Let’s look at what Pohiva said in an interview after he missed out on being selected as Prime Minister. He told the Tonga Chronicle that Australia and New Zealand are not happy with Parliament’s election of a noble as Prime Minister. He said: “Since the previous regime has not been accountable and transparent to Australia and New Zealand with the aid they’ve given, they don’t see any real change.”

“The core issue is accountability and transparency… they (Australia and New Zealand) hate it.”

“Australia and New Zealand are sick of dealing like that with Tonga.”

There are two significant things in these statements by Pohiva: 1) that Australia and New Zealand are disappointed at the outcome of the selection of a Prime Minister, meaning they had an expectation that was not met, and 2) that the previous government is alleged to have been less than accountable and transparent concerning aid money.

The New Zealand High Commissioner in Tonga has denied making such a statement, and further states that there is no dissatisfaction on the part of New Zealand regarding the Prime Minister’s selection. Attempts to verify or substantiate Pohiva’s claims about Australia have been unsuccessful as yet due to the holiday season. But, what Pohiva said does prove the allegations that he values very highly Australia and New Zealand’s position on what goes on in Tonga.

Australia and New Zealand are friends of Tonga, and they do have a right to their own opinions about anything, and in the same way Tonga has a right to her own opinion about her two regional friends. But the question here is why we should care about what Australia and New Zealand think about a sovereign and internal matter pertaining to the government of the Kingdom of Tonga? What right do they have in approving or disapproving our choice of Prime Minister or government?

But then, it is also mostly likely, as mentioned earlier, that Pohiva is mouthing off his own view and claiming Australia and New Zealand as “sponsors” of his policies and agenda. That is a possibility, of course, based on a number of statements made by the pro-democracy leader over the past few years. He often brought out the assertion that Australia and New Zealand have his political interests in mind.

In any case, what Pohiva’s pro-democrats offered Tonga was inexperience and a fragmented outlay of a political agenda that would have taken Tonga to depths of difficulties unknown before.

But they had something powerful going for them. They had 31 percent of those who voted believed and embraced their brand of democracy.

When asked what were his plans for the new government if he became Prime Minister, Pohiva replied that there were two key things they will do immediately: 1) To review the current reform legislation and amend that which needed to be amended. In other words: “We will reform the reform we have put in place!” 2) We need to find out what money, if any, is left in the government coffers. (They don’t need to “find out” . . . the records are there.)

There was no plan for the future from a government under his leadership. It would have been like giving a kid a hunting gun and telling him to enjoy it. He has no idea whatsoever what the gun is for. All he knows is that he has a gun and has the power to use it.

But God has acted graciously to give Tonga an opportunity to think soberly, to dig deep into the values that have guided her during the past 180 years or so. We must not allow “outside forces” to determine how we govern and live our lives for the next decades. We need to determine our own destiny. We need to rise as Tongans whose ancestors navigated and sustained life in these coral reef islands for centuries and do something that will sustain us for the next century without becoming slaves of neo-colonialism in the process.

The new government under Lord Tu’ivakano’s leadership is in for a rough ride. But, at least we are at the helm of our ride, determining where we want to go. The challenges are looming but they can be overcome, not with the solutions of the West or the East, but with our own solutions. Tonga is not without its own solutions to its own problems. We need the support and the encouragement to find a way to fixing our problems ourselves, and to keep our integrity in place in the process.

We need to begin 2011 with a pledge of allegiance to our own values that are pinned to a spirituality based on Biblical truths. We need to set aside short-sighted and self-centred agendas so we can unite together to move our “vaka” forward. And we need to use our training, our God-given gifts, and the opportunities before us, to build a nation not only for our generation but also for generations to come.

There are some serious concerns, however, in regards to the kind of ride we may be getting in the next four years. We can deduce this from the hidden policies embedded in so many speeches, declarations, and campaign promises.

Whatever it is we need to do, we must be pro-Tonga. For doing so is to be proud of whom we are – our history, our future as determined by our present positive participation in bringing about the necessary reform

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fears frosty relations might hinder NZ search for Fiji killer

TV3 News has hinted frosty relations between New Zealand and Fiji might be an issue in the investigation into how a 28 year old woman from Fiji was burned alive.  

The police say Ranjeeta Sharma was burned alive on a rural road just outside of Huntly in the Waikato last Thursday night. Pathology reports suggest she was alive when set alight and that the cause of her death was the fire.

An international search is underway but Ranjeeta's husband is believed to have flown back to Fiji with their four year old son.

The reporter handling the story on TV3 said tonight the investigation has headed to Fiji where the couple came from but the frosty relationship between New Zealand and Fiji might be an issue.

Relations between the two countries have been openly strained due to New Zealand's decision to apply sanctions because of the 2006 coup.

Auckland police have released the above picture of Ranjeeta Sharma and have executed search warrants in South Auckland. They have also contacted Interpol. 

A TVOne reporter said Fiji police had told him they had been to the family home of Ranjeeta's home but there has been no sign of him or the child. He is believed to have a passport to Canada.
A police spokesperson says police are interested in sightings of Ranjeeta's  car - a silver Subaru stationwagon with the registration number FSD433.

It's been suggested the burning of Ranjeeta Sharma was an honour killing.

Qarase and Bakani charges consolidated and Lasaro pleads poor health

QARASE ON THE MAT: FICA forging ahead.

Developments in two major cases today. The bigger one is the decision by the High Court to allow the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption to consolidate the  charges against former prime minister Laisenia Qarase and former NLTB general manager, Kalivati Bakani. 

In agreeing to the request, Justice Daniel Gounder said the charges involve the same funds Native Land trust Board funds and it was his belief that both would still get a fair trial.

According to FICAC, Qarase as the Minister for Fijian Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Native Land Trust Board, did an arbitrary act by gazetting the Native Land (Trust Funds Investment) Regulations 2004 outside his powers to give the Board unfettered powers to invest trust funds.

He and Bakani are each charged with seven counts of fraudulently transferring the ownership and control of Extinct Mataqali Funds - to Vanua Development Corporation Limited and Pacific Connex Limited. 

In the case against the four Methodist Church Minsters, today's hearing was adjourned because of the medical condition of Manasa Lasaro and Tomaso Kanailagi.

A cardiologist has told the court Lasaro the long sessions are not good for his health. Kanailagi also missed court because of medical reasons.

Lasaro, Kanailagi and executives Reverend Ame Tugawe and Reverand Tuikilakila Waqairatu are jointly charged with organising and participating in a meeting despite the Public Emergency Regulation. (Original sources FBC and FijiVillage)

Bole: illegal regime only stepped in because of lottery

BOLE: Wide eyed loyalty.
The illegal regime's misguided Old Guy has fronted up again to defend his worthless hierarchy, today trying to plug the huge leaks in Fiji rugby by saying the regime did not interfere in the affairs of the rugby union.

Filipe Bole insists the board stepped down voluntarily telling FijiVillage the regime only offered the $3million because of the irregularities in the lottery to generate funds for the World Cup. 

He ducked for cover, though, when asked about the special meeting that was supposed to have been held to name a new board - a meeting the International Rugby Union has warned the Fiji Rugby Union not to hold.

But he is adamant the regime won't front up with the $3 million for the Flying Fijians if the old board stays on.

Bole has also today tried to mop up after criticism of parents having to pay for their kids bus fares to school this week. He insists the regime has set aside $12 million for free transport and that coupons will be distributed from next week. He also maintains electronic ticketing is on the way.

The 75 year old (who got a real roasting by the FDN blog recently - the above picture is from their  blog site) is today also trying to be the Good Guy as Education Minister urging  parents and guardians to tune in to the feelings of their children who failed to make it through the 2010 national examinations!

Editor's Note: The Ministry of Information is  trying to move things along on the Fiji rugby stoush with a release from Fiji Tourism hyping up the World Cup opportunities for Fiji. The industry will try to get tourists to visit Fiji on their way to New Zealand on their way home, a strategy all of the other Pacific nations are employing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

IRB letter helps to level playing field

BAINIMARAMA: Can't keep hands off  ball.
A more accurate picture is starting to emerge of what is happening with the Fiji Rugby Union, its board members, and the  illegal regime threat to starve Fiji rugby of much needed funds.

Intervention by the International Rugby Union has levelled the power play somewhat today with a letter urging the Fiji Rugby Union not to buy into the threat of the illegal regime for board members to quit otherwise it won't deliver on a promised $3 million for the Rugby World Cup.

The correspondence cited by the Fiji Sun and Michael Field for stuff.co.nz has the IRB telling the FRU to reject Keni Dakuidreketi's resignation and warning members not to hold a special meeting as planned to appoint a military favoured-board.

The IRB letter quoted today says: "In light of the prevailing circumstances, there should be no changes within the senior management structures of FRU."

It goes on to say that any contraventions could result in Fiji not being allowed to participate in the world cup in New Zealand later this year. 

Quote: "....any action in contravention of the Constitution of the FRU will result in the Union potentially not remaining in good standing as a member of the Union of the IRB which may result in the IRB having to take a determination on the continued membership of the IRB of the FRU".

The rugby mess started with a fundraising lottery the current FRU board has been running to generate funds for the international tournament and subsequent claims thousands of dollars are missing. Behind the scenes, though, the hand of Frank Bainimarama has been at play.

An official investigation has yet to be finished but the board has already been hung out to dry thanks to the trial by media. On Friday, media reports muddied things further by making an  insidious link to Dakuidreketi's sudden resignation and his travel plans to Canada amidst a fraud investigation into NLTB funds.

No free lunches or bus rides in Fiji

NO FREE RIDE: Children to pay.
On the same day the illegal education minister, Filipe Bole, tells the nation children need to be taught to handle money better, the own financial shortcomings of his ministry is wide open for all to see.

Parents, no doubt many of them struggling, have been told they have to pay for their kids bus fare next week when school starts.

Bole reckons coupons are on their way to schools but it will take some time and that electronic ticketing won't be ready until next term.

He told the launch of the Fiji Financial Education Development project in Suva this week that a $2.3million Australian Aid Programme funded project will give teachers the chane to teach students to be financiall savvy.

Bole talked of something called Going to the Shop Classes, which is apparently available in Classes one and two in social studies,  saying it will allow children to learn the 'concept of purchasing and exchange'.

Noble intentions as per. But all too shallow and somewhat typical of the false magnanimity of the regime. It, for example, just announced that no VAT would be charged on stationery, (yes, there were also free education packs but these came from Save the Children) but here just one week later it is asking parents to fork out for school fares.

The fares is an example of the regime's modus operandi of robbing Peter to pay Paul. To the gullible eye, everything appears to be running smoothly but a closer look shows holes and a government juggling too many balls and one that has traded off the best of Fiji to keep afloat and to present a false, victory front to the world.