#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-06-19

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mara: I can assure the people of Fiji the military will not shoot



Roko Ului's speech from second meeting in Melbourne

Good Evening, Bula Vinaka Namaste
Before I start, as the outgoing Chairman of the Lau Provincial Council, I would like to thank Bainimarama for his commitment to spend $30m dollars in the province in the next 12 months. It is much needed and we will be able to accelerate the development of Lau. However, please don’t believe our support can be bought cheaply or in this case expensively. I would also be happier if it was real money and not borrowed money that the people of Fiji will have to repay in the future.

First of all I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your invitation to this meeting and for your solidarity in the course of freedom, human rights and dignity for the people of Fiji. In that course and in that commitment, I am delighted to be with you here today and to share in your desires for Fiji’s future and its well-being. From the outset I would like to thank you and your families for your faith, resilience and hard work in the course of freedom for Fiji.

There has been a lot of talk about my Damascene conversion. How one day the scales were lifted from mine eyes and I could see the light. Some people say this is just a ruse to save my own skin. But I and many senior officers in the military have been pushing for a return to democracy before 2014.

Well let’s ask the following questions
1) Why was I charged with a frivolous and trumped up accusation in May
2)  Why was I discharged from the military in March
3)  Why was I sent on leave in September of last year
4)  Why was the Military council been sidelined as a decision making body from early 2008

The answer is simple the military council objected to the new direction being taken by Bainimarama. We did not carry out the coup in 2006 to have Bainimarama lead this country for 8 years until 2014 and beyond. Brigadier Driti and I were the members of the council who spoke out most against this new and unplanned direction.

The question is should I and could I have done more to stop the increasing power of the puppet and his master. The answer to both questions is yes. But NOW I am doing more. NOW I am taking action. And NOW with your help we will put an end to this dictatorship.

A few people say I should come back to Fiji and face the charge of sedition. They know as well as I do that under the stewardship of Khaiyum there is no independent judiciary, the courts are not free to make their own decisions. I will not have a fair trial in Fiji under this regime.

In April of this year 3 Sri Lankan magistrates resigned on the same day including the acting Chief Magistrate Mrs Pamila Ratnayake. They all left Fiji on the same day within a week of resigning. The reason given by Khaiyum was they had resigned for “personal reasons”.  So 3 unrelated Magistrates all resigned on the same day for “personal reasons”. That does not sound like a true story, Khaiyum!

The real reason was that they were fed up having interference in their cases. It was not just from the Chief Justice but also from the Executive branch of Government. Christopher Pryde the Solicitor General and also on Occasion Khaiyum himself would actively advise on the way these magistrates should progress individual cases. As one of the Magistrates said to a local colleague “We are leaving before the Sh** hits the fan!”

I have a number of specific examples but I cannot talk about them in public as the whistleblowers are all still in Fiji and some still in judiciary. It does not stop with the judiciary. The police are also under total control of the Puppet master and his puppet.

Let me give you a recent example. Also in April Assistant Police Commissioner, Henry Brown, ordered one of his officers to investigate the salaries of Bainimarama and Khaiyum. The officer went to the accountancy firm run by Dr Nur Bano Ali, Khaiyum’s Aunt. This firm as we all know is responsible for paying Bainimarama’s $700,000+ salary, so it is kept hidden from the Fijian people. The aunt made a call to her nephew and the poor officer was taken to the barracks for some questioning. Brown went to China after ordering the investigation. But as soon as he returned to Fiji on Good Friday, he too was captured, held and questioned for the whole Easter Weekend. Ioane Naivalarua, The Police Commissioner, was standing right beside him at the time and did nothing to stop his own deputy being taken in by the military.

Khaiyum openly boasts to the business community. “If you want to go against me, bring it on. I have hundreds of men who will destroy you” He can say that because he controls the police, he controls FICAC, he controls the Courts. Khaiyum I say to you if you want to extradite me you need:
To Stop interfering with the police
To Stop interfering with the Magistrates
To Stop interfering with the judges

Yesterday the following announcement was made in Tonga. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Tonga regrets that the Laws of the Kingdom of Tonga do not permit His Majesty’s Government to comply with the aforementioned Extradition Request.”

I am obviously very pleased I cannot be extradited back to Fiji. It clearly demonstrates the difference between a democratic country operating under the rule of law compared to a dictatorship operating under the whim of Bainimarama and Khaiyum, the puppet and the puppet master.

I believe that no country in the free world will send me back to a totalitarian state where it is a crime to criticize the Government. It shows what Fiji has become under Bainimarama; its laws have more in common with North Korea, Burma, Syria and Libya and less like the other Pacific Islands such as PNG, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

I would like to take this moment to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Australia for its understanding and goodwill for allowing me to come to this beautiful country to share my views about the dictatorship and situation in Fiji. To Australia, I say, THANK YOU so very much.

On New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, I also seek their understanding. I thank NZ, Tonga and Samoa for having opened their doors to receive me and discuss the situation in Fiji. In advance I express hope to those other Pacific islands countries, who in their own goodwill and care for the people of Fiji and the region will be able to receive me as well. I look forward to my forthcoming visit to New Zealand and Samoa. I thank their leaders for their concern and leadership. I look forward to meetings with the Fiji communities in New Zealand and in the Pacific Islands. The oppressed peoples of Fiji attach a lot of importance to my visits and hope in the goodwill of these countries.

The military regime ignores principles of good governance and decency. It has no ethical backbone. Rather it focuses on processes and activities. Why? Because its leader and his cronies do not have principles. They jump straight to and immerse themselves in processes and activities for one sole reason – to hide their bad faith. A reason their shifty arguments cannot stand in the face of international due diligence and scrutiny. This is not surprising because they rejected the Pacific Islands Forum requirements which previous governments and leaders have been instrumental in their formulation and implementation. Also, they cannot abide by the requirements of the EU, IMF and World Bank. We see through their fudging by their using of democracy narratives and languages to hide their real motives.

Unfortunately for the people in Fiji, time is not on their side. The economy is crumbling at a faster rate than the people are led to know. The economy has shrunk before our eyes since Bainimarama took control. The sugar industry has shrunk by two thirds since 2006. There is no investment in Fiji. In 2010 there were investment projects worth $591m in the pipeline only $17m was implemented. That is truly disastrous. Now we learn of the rape of the FNPF by this regime.

In May the FNPF announced it was going to have “Symposium on The Future of FNPF”. That sounds nice and friendly, very reasonable and good of the FNPF to inform the country about where it is going and what it is doing with OUR money. And it is OUR money every working person in Fiji has given to the FNPF. It is OUR money for them to safeguard for when we retire.

Let’s look at this regimes approach to Pensioners.

First they make sure there are more pensioners by forcing anyone over 55 to retire from the PSC. There are exceptions of course. There is no retirement age for puppets like Bainimarama, not even in 2014.

Secondly they have made life tougher for pensioners by destroying the economy, devaluing the dollar and increasing inflation. All of which means pensioners are already struggling to put food on the table.

And now they want to cut the pension by as much as 64% for some but at least by 40% for all. Let’s take 50% which is about halfway between the 2. That means that if in June you were getting $100 a week pension. In July you will only get $50 a week.

You can’t complain in the media. And when the decree is gazetted in July you won’t be able to go to court to get justice. Because we are living in a dictatorship we just have to accept it FOR NOW!

Why is the regime rushing this through now? All previous reports on the FNPF changes have said they should be done gradually over a number of years so pensioners have got time to make changes and to plan for their future in other ways.

But not Bainimarama he needs this done now. He needs to do it now because he needs to borrow money cheaply. He has learnt the hard way borrowing internationally is expensive at 9%. The only source of cheap borrowings for the Government is the FNPF. The FNPF can only give him cheap money if it halves the pensions.

Bainimarama stealing the money of the pensioners of Fiji. Bainimarama and Khaiyum are stealing the money of all the workers in Fiji
And where is that money going.

*       It is going to pay Bainimarama and Khaiyum’s  $700,000+ salaries
*        It is going to pay for their jet set life style
*       It is being used to line their pockets in kickbacks on their Asian infrastructure deals.
*     It is being used to bribe the people of Fiji

The only way we can stop the biggest robbery in Fiji’s history is to change the regime. We need to remove Bainimarama and Khaiyum.
We will isolate the regime internationally, regionally, and in Fiji. Piece by piece we will remove all their support.

I will meet leaders globally and plan on meeting senior officials here in Australia, New Zealand, The USA, The UK and the EU. I will meet with the UN, the Commonwealth, and the ACP. I will unveil the truth about Bainimarama and Khaiyum to the world.

We will embark on meetings around the region and tell the leaders of the regional countries the truth about Fiji. I have already met with the PM of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who was outspoken in his support for the return of democracy to Fiji. He has also said “a promise by Fiji’s leader to hold elections in 2014 is not taken seriously by Pacific Islands Forum leaders.

This is because Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been consistently dishonest in his dealings with the leaders and therefore cannot be trusted.” It makes me weep. Bainimarama has sunk so low in the eyes of the other Pacific leaders they openly say he cannot be trusted.

We have already started spreading the message in Fiji. We can see we are having an effect. But we need your assistance. We need you to talk about the true situation every time you are in touch with Fiji.
·         Tell the truth by phone,
·         Tell the truth by text,
·         Tell the truth by email,
·         Tell the truth by letter.
·         Tell the people of Fiji to prepare for passive resistance and civil disobedience
·         Send our DVD’s to Fiji

Above all let the people of Fiji know what is really going on in their own country because Smith Johns will never do that.

We need to build the confidence of the people back home, so tell everybody you know to do the THUMBS UP FOR DEMOCRACY! It is a small first step but one that will give the people the strength to take bigger steps in the future. We are working on a roadmap towards democracy. It will be published soon but first we need to coordinate the plans and actions of the pro-democracy movement worldwide and within Fiji.

I want to make it clear we need to make this change by peaceful means. We will use passive resistance and civil disobedience. There will be no violence. I can assure the people of Fiji the military will not shoot. There have been many discussions informally at the camp and the soldiers know that shooting is not an option. Even if Khaiyum orders his puppet to order the soldiers to open fire, THEY WILL NOT FIRE ON CIVILIANS. They know it is wrong.

We will have democracy, we will have a new government and we will have them soon. Remember Fiji belongs to all of us and not just to two people.

Thumbs up for Democracy 

GAME PLAN: Jone Baledrokadroka. Second speaker.

NUMBERS GAME: Bigger turnout.

SUPPORTERS: Dallas Swinstead (left), the former publisher of the Fiji Times.

Khaiyum in the hot seat and citing Hitler

ELECTIONS IN 2014? Absolutely says Khaiyum
Fiji's illegal attorney general Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum has told a New Zealand current affairs programme elections will definitely be held in 2014 but was unable to name a specific date for those elections despite being asked several times.

Khaiyum used the word 'absolutely' to reply to several of the questions by the presenter of the TV3 programme, The Nation, including the question of whether Fiji will definitely hold elections and will anyone who wants to stand be able to do so.

He also used the term 'restructuring' quite often defending the junta's track record with Frank Bainimarama at the helm saying the regime had reiterated several times free elections will take place in three years time, as it has always promised.

“We have said that now for three years in a row running, the 1 July strategic framework that was announced by the Prime Minister in 2009 clearly sets out the steps leading up to the 2014 elections," he told presenter Sean Plunket.

Khaiyum said critics, including New Zealand and Australia, haven’t even bothered to read the Roadmap.

“I think what the New Zealand media and New Zealand Government and anybody interested in knowing what Fiji is planning to do should look at the 1 July strategic framework and I bet you many of the people in the New Zealand Government including perhaps your foreign minister has not even read it."

He said Fiji was not interested in pleasing New Zealand saying the regime's priority was building a Fiji that would in the longterm serve Fijians.

Khaiyum also chose to use Germany's Nazi leader, Hitler, to defend the regime's continued efforts to bring equity to Fiji and the need to keep public emergency regulations in place. (Readers: remember his thesis?)

“Hitler came to power through elections. What a Government does after it’s elected also matters. Just because it’s been elected doesn’t mean you’ve crossed the path and are suddenly democratic. Is it more important to simply please you and the New Zealand Government or is it more important to ensure that we put in place structures that is for the long-term benefit of Fiji."

Listen to the TV3 interview between Sean Plunket and Aiyaz Sayed Khayium by going to the following link:


Military advisors following Chaudhry overthrow named in Roko Ului and Baledrokadroka videos

Roko Ului Mara and Jone Baledrokadroka's first 'tell all' videos have been released revealing key information around the overthrow of the Mahendra Chaudhry government and how Laisenia Qarase came to be chosen by Frank Bainimarama to be prime minister.

Also revealed are the names of people who apparently acted as advisors to the Military Council after the overthrow of Chaudhry's government. The military advisors at the time were named as Laisenia Qarase, Alipate Qeitaki, Anare Jale, Savenaca Siwatibau and Savenaca Narube.

Re what role the above named played to the Military Council, Suliasi Daunitutu, who made the videos, says: "According to what JB said in this video, all those named were picked by the military to be in the notorious Military Council. They were nowhere near the Speight mob. As he said, they disabled the Speight movement at Kalabu."

Baledrokadroka details, too, the Blueprint for Affirmative Action that was put together by Qarase and the military Council.

And as Daunitutu says, he also talks about his role in the storming of the school in Kalabu during the 2000 coup. He says that after the Muanikau Accord was signed between Frank Bainimarama and George Speight, Speight's supporters left Parliament and moved into Kalabu school. 

The Muanikau Accord guaranteed the release of hostages in return for immunity for George Speight and his supporters.

Baledrokadroka says when three buses of Speights supporters left Parliament, they robbed the market at Laqera and all the surrounding shops. When the soldiers stormed the school, they found classrooms full of groceries and full freezers with food and beer.

Bainimarama's former land force commander outlines, too, the involvement of President Josefa Iloilo and how Bainimarama navigated himself around each thorny issue and how he and Mara  were involved.

The next videos are expected to be about the mutiny against Frank Bainimarama at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks. 

Here is a quick summary in English of what was said in the videos according to a translation by Sireli from Matavuvale:

a) Roko Ului and JB suggested that Fiji needs go back to 2000 and clear the air as to who was involved. Only through an investigation can Fiji be clear of why the 2006 coup happened and who was behind it. 

b) The army is suspected to have been involved in the 2000 coup, and Bainimarama was the leader. Direction of gun distribution can only be authorised by the leader. 
c) Laisenia Qarase, Alipate Qeitaki, Anare Jale, Savenaca Siwatibau and Savenaca Narube were appointed into the military council as advisors.
d) Affirmative action was military owned. Qarase was appointed as PM and endorsed  by none other then Bainimarama because of his business experience instead of Rt Epeli who was a preferred PM then.
e) Rt Inoke was a broker appointed by Speight and agreed by Bainimarama.
f) George Speight moved to Kalabu because he wanted to make his own government to fight the new government. Speight was removed from Kalabu because they were stealing and ransacking the surrounding shop, houses and markets in the area.
g) JB and Roko Ului were involved in Speights arrest.

h) A decision to overthrow Mahendra Chaudhry's government was made by 1 person only.

Meanwhile, Fiji's extradition order to Tonga has been dismissed by the government there. Ratu Tevita Mara says he is obviously pleased and Tonga's decision demonstrates "the difference between a democratic country operating under the rule of law compared to a dictatorship operating under the whim of Bainimarama and Khaiyum, the puppet and the puppet master". Click to Read Roko Ului's Full Statement

Friday, June 24, 2011

More 'tell all' vids on the way and 200 tipped for second meeting

THUMBS UP: Mara, Suliasi and supporters.
Roko Ului Mara supporters say the most devastating video about Frank Bainimarama’s coup and the people around it are about to be revealed in a new batch of videos.

According to Suliasi Daunitutu, of the Australian Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement (FDFM),  Mara has decided that "the best way to expose the lies is to start from the beginning and work our way towards 2006".

The videos will be distributed worldwide and people will be encouraged to copy and "send to relatives in Fiji, in the urban and rural areas, islands and to the four corners of Fiji."

Daunitutu says the new Mara videos will "answer all your questions and this is the truth behind the whole smoke and mirror that Fijians had been hoodwinked with for the past 4 and half years."

Mara's second meeting in Australia is meanwhile expected to pull in between 150 to 200 people. The meeting is tomorrow night in Melbourne.

FDFM says it has been advised three bus loads are coming to Chadstone from Robinvale and other rural areas where Fijians are working on farms. That's on top of the Lau community in Melbourne.

The first forum in Canberra had a small turnout but the group forwarded to us letters of support it says it got from the GCC and the president of ACTU (you can read these at the end of the story).

The FDFM Victoria chapter secretary, Bale Sigabalavu, says despite the poor turnout two major resolutions were passed: the adoption of the FDFM Strategic Development Plan 2011-2014 and the adoption of the Transitional Plan for Democracy in Fiji: 10 Point Plan.

She says the meeting, with Mara as keynote speaker, was also a chance for the different FDFM chapters inter-state, guest speakers, academics, pro-democracy fighters and friends of Fiji to meet, deliberate and adopt new resolutions to take the movement forward in the fight to "restore democracy in our beautiful Land".

The movement also elected Raju Singh as the vice- president of FDFM Australia in an effort to encourage non-Fijian members, especially Indo Fijians, to be part of the movement.

FDFM plan to consolidate its work with interstate branches and prepare for the Pacific Island Forum in Auckland in September and the CHOGM meeting in Perth in October, followed by its AGM in November in Melbourne.

Sigabalavu says a lot more work has been done on the ground for this meeting with news of Mara's second meeting being pushed via radio announcements SBS, email circulations to various networks including church, social network, Facebook, pro-democracy groups interstate and via the coconut wireless.

"The Fijians are coming in from Robinvale/Griffith/Mildura to listen to RUM. I am getting worried that the venue we have booked might not fit them if we get 300 people. Our president has been inundated with phone calls with offers to host RUM here. We didn’t expect that especially when some kai-vitis don’t even support our group."

Sigabalavu says there have been some Fijians who are against Mara but have come around.

"We have been having lots of discussions with them informally about his stand to update them since most don’t read the blogs etc. 

"They are now open minded about it and are willing to attend and ask questions. Some are scared that their photos will be circulated here and in Fiji and they will be taken up to the army camp for torture. Some think their families will be tortured if they are seen to support RUM. So we are at a cross-road, but if they willing to come and listen then we have done our part."

Editor's Note: Bale Sigabalavu says there has been a change in executive positions. Peter Waqaitairewa resigned in April and Suliasi Daunitutu is now interim president and will be officially made president in November at its AGM. Jone Baledrokadroka is explaining the 10 point plan since he was part of the think tank and has been invited to Melbourne as the second keynote speaker.

Read the letter from the GCC

Read the letter from ACTU 

That letter has been reproduced here for those having problems opening the link:

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is gravely concerned about the deteriorating social and political situation in Fiji. In the first half of this year we have seen the call for democratic reform sweep across northern Africa and the Middle East like a wildfire, toppling or bringing to the brink repressive regimes in a number of countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya. Oppressed peoples across the world have again shown their preparedness to sacrifice all for genuine democracy.
Free trade unions – those that are independent of the governing regime, and consequently usually the victims of persecution – have again been at the forefront of the movement for democratic reforms. Closer to home and plain for all to see, there is no democracy in today’s Fiji.

A series of decisions introduced by the ‘interim’ regime of Commodore Frank Bainimarama have curtailed human rights and suppressed dissenting views. Fiji’s Constitution has been abrogated. The independence and integrity of the judiciary has been compromised and media freedoms curtailed. The Bainimarama military dictatorship which seized power in 2006 has abandoned any pretext of commitment to the principles of equality, non-discrimination, and human, trade union, social and economic rights. The regime has adopted intimidation tactics to harass and instill fear in workers and trade unions. Twice this year, the President of the Fiji Trade Union Congress was detained by officers of the Fiji military; on one of those occasions he was physically assaulted. His family and colleagues  did not know his whereabouts while he was detained, nor when he would be released. Other unionists have similarly been detained and harassed. The International Trade Union Confederation annual global survey on Violation of Trade Union Rights released yesterday (Friday 10 June) documents the continuing harassment of unionists on Fiji under the military dictatorship. Today, I am at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva attending the International Labour Conference along with Felix Anthony and I can inform you, that we have raised these issues before the international forum.

The role of trade unions as the voice of workers has never been more important in Fiji. Since the latest coup the economic situation in Fiji has deteriorated sharply. Economic growth has stalled. Unemployment, underemployment and poverty are rising. Today it is estimated that 40 percent of Fijians are living on or below the poverty line - on less than $1.25 a day. On such meagre incomes it is a struggle to meet basic needs and the task is becoming increasingly difficult as the cost of food, electricity, water and fuel prices escalate. There are now over 200 squatter settlements around the major towns. Approximately 60 percent of those living below the poverty line are in work. But it is not decent work. Decent work provides stable, predictable and adequate income to families. Decent work is a quality job under conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. Decent work is one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, but many Fijians do not have it.

Trade unions play an important role in the promotion of decent work. As the voice for workers, trade unions also hold an important voice in civil society, an integral aspect of any democracy.  In Bainimarama’s Fiji the capacity of trade unions to represent workers has been sharply and significantly curtailed. Trade unions have no right to challenge any decision of Government or Government-owned enterprises in Fiji regarding redundancy or change to any terms or conditions of employment. This violates Fiji’s own labour laws and the obligations it has as a member of the International Labour Organisation. A new proposed decree, the Critical Industries in Financial Distress Decree, would effectively abolish unions in specified major corporations in Fiji. Despite the political context, Fijian trade unions are committed to represent Fijian workers and their families. Australian unions will stand shoulder to shoulder with Fijian workers, their families and trade unions in the struggle for human rights, sustainable peace and democracy.

Long-standing social tensions dating back to the British colonial period have led some to question whether democracy is viable in Fiji. In my view Fiji is not viable without democracy. Fiji urgently needs democratic institutions to ensure norms of restraint, tolerance, inclusiveness, egalitarianism, acceptance and co-existence are widely accepted. Fiji must hold immediate elections, return to democracy and recommit to a rights-based approach. Universal human rights and the economic and social situation demand it. In pursuit of those goals, I wish the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement every success. The Australian Council of Trade Unions strongly supports you in pursuit of your goals.

Yours sincerely,
Ged Kearney


The meeting is tomorrow (June 25), in Melbourne, 7pm at the St Marks Uniting Church Hall, 7 Edward Street, Chadstone. 

C4.5 Question: Who are the leaders we want for a new and free Fiji? Send us your nominations

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FNPF: worker's last stand?

THE ENABLERS: FNPF board members from top left: Taito Waqa, Ajith Kodagoda (chairman), Tom Ricketts, Tevita Kuruvakadua and Sashi Singh.

July 1 might as well as be April 1 or April Fool's Day: because that's the day Fiji workers officially get cheated out of their hard work by the new FNPF board, which plans to reduce pension rates from between 25% and 15% to just 9%.

In recent weeks, the ordinary worker and a range of groups have stood up for their rights and their savings, challenging the so-called reforms. Surprisingly, the Fiji media have been allowed to report the story, even the criticism.

Some good arguments have been made although the submissions are a total charade considering the "reforms" are scheduled to start next Friday. Only in Fiji, eh.

1) The Fiji Island Council of Trade Unions pushed the fact that under the proposed 9%, a retiring member with a healthy standing balance of $50,000 at the end of their working life would merely receive $86.53 per week. It rightly asks: Why the big rush and how can a family live on such small income? The union highlights the fact that if a pensioner passes away after the first year in retirement, he loses all unless he took a joint pension in which case his pension would have been even lower at $80.76 per week. FICTU adds that the figures being used by FNPF to justify it's reduction of the pension reforms is flawed.

2) James Raman was a FNPF board member for 35 years and was on the board when the pension scheme was introduced. An 'oldie,' he says he's had sleepless nights since the pension cuts were announced: "In my case if the reduction is as proposed I will suffer a loss of 64 per cent of my present pension. This kind of drastic cut will no doubt have a traumatic effect on us oldies, both physically and psychologically."

3) Pramod Rae, National Secretary of Fiji's Bank and Finance Sector Employees Union: "We suspect that to a large extent these errors were committed by really an incompetent Board and management and there needs to be a full inquiry, full disclosure as to what went wrong, and to improve on its investment activities. The FNPF itself constitutes, or the funds there constitute, around 60% of Fiji's GDP. We say that that is too large a volume to be restricted to one institution. It is time to de-monopolise FNPF and allow other financial institutions to enter the superannuation market and creating competition will force creativity in investment and looking for higher returns and bring FNPF back to sustainability."

Who is to blame for the state FNPF (or the Fiji National Propaganda Fund as we're calling it) is in? Not the innocent members, who had no control in the $300,000,000 dollars write off for Momi Bay and Natadola, that's for sure. 
Coup after coup, diplomatic spats after diplomatic spats - from the father who goes down thousands of metres underground at the gold mine at Vatukoula to the mother who after sending her three kids off to school takes herself to work, it is the workers who have contributed every cent to their only form of retirement savings via the FNPF. It is the workers who have trusted government after government and FNPF boards to keep their money safe until they reach retirement age.

Since Frank Bainimarama's illegal takeover in 2006, Fiji has slid backwards - internationally, with the loss of aid and opportunities, the devaluation of the dollar, high inflation, loss in millions dollars of worker's superannuation and now these reforms. Could this be the last spade of dirt to finally put Fiji six feet under?

1) Read FICTU submission

2) Read James Raman's piece

3) Read Pramod Rae's interview with Pacific Beat.

4) Pension Sustainability Powerpoint Presentation

Mara: MSG should suspend Fiji because it breaches human rights

MSG MATES: Fiji and Vanuatu.
The former commander of Fiji's 3FIR, Roko Ului Mara, is calling for the Melanesian Spearhead Group to suspend Fiji.

Mara says Fiji breaches Article 6, Section 2, in particular of the agreement, which advocates that “Respect for Human Rights, democratic principles and the rule of law shall underpin the domestic and international policies of all parties and constitute the essential elements of the contractual nature of the relations between the parties to the Agreement."  He says the illegal, oppressive and tyrannical regime of Bainimarama is undemocratic, has no respect for human rights and has banished the rule of law in Fiji.

In a statement a short time ago, Mara says the Fiji Court of Appeal ruled in 2009 the military coup in 2006 which removed the legally elected SDL Government from office at gunpoint, is illegal, the regime set up by Bainimarama is illegal and all acts by it are also illegal.

"The Bainimarama regime is undemocratic since it is illegal, since it was not elected by the people, since laws are not decided on by a Parliament elected by the people but through Public Decrees at the whim and fancy of the despot and his puppet master, illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz Khaiyum.

"The Bill of Rights, protecting and guaranteeing the fundamental rights and freedoms of every citizen of Fiji, human rights, became null and void when the tyrant under the instructions of Khaiyum, illegally abrogated the country’s 1997 Constitution which contained the Bill of Rights. Human rights are denied the people of Fiji.

"Democratic principles have been trampled in Fiji. The democratic principle of Parliamentary Government was abolished since December 2006. There is no elected Government in Fiji but an oppressive and repressive junta.

"Laws are created by Bainimarama and his ruling junta and not by an elected Parliament. They are promulgated by Legal Decrees, all meant to increase the power of the corrupt junta, to enable them to raid the public treasury, the FNPF and ignore democratic principles. There is no consultation with the people.

The rule of law is what Bainimarama and Khaiyum say it is by command or by Legal Decree. The Public Emergency Regulations, now in force for over 2 years, subjugate and remove the fundamental rights of all citizens. Citizens, including women, who dissent are forcefully arrested without due process or warrant.

"They are taken to Military HQ where they are beaten, stomped on, tortured or treated inhumanely. At least two men were beaten so badly, they died. Freedom of Expression, including Freedom of the Press is denied. 

"The oppressive junta promulgated a Media Decree under which the mass communication media is censored. All news items and similar reports have to be viewed and edited by the regime before they can be broadcast or printed. Freedom of Assembly, and other Freedoms, are denied citizens."

Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS, are also being urged to wake up to Fiji's  infringements of the Agreement it has with the Melanesian countries.

"Fiji’s governance is oppressive, repressive and tyrannical, are alien to Melanesian cultures, traditions and values, and clearly in breach of this Preamble. There is no good governance in Fiji, only evil, oppressive and repressive governance buttressed with unlawful arrests, beatings, torture, inhuman treatment of citizens and corruption.

"The illegal and tyrannical junta of Bainimarama has clearly, unequivocally, unambiguously and undeniably breached, infringed and dishonoured Article 6, Section 2, and the Preamble and other provisions of the MSG Agreement, as as such, Fiji should be suspended from the MSG post haste until free, fair and transparent democratic elections are held and human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law restored.

"To ignore what has and is taking place, to allow it to continue without sanction and to permit Fiji to retain its membership of the MSG, would be in breach of the spirit and rules of the MSG Agreement and would be tantamount to condoning, aiding, abetting and supporting the illegal regime in Fiji and its unlawful and brutal acts."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Controversial Ernst and Young report surfaces as FNPF admits to frittering almost $2billion

KAROI: Reforms aimed at improving governance.

What's believed to be some of the Ernst and Young report on the controversial FNPF and Tappoos deal the illegal attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum didn't want the public to see has surfaced.

Readers will remember the release of the report (commissioned under Mahendra Chaudhry as interim finance minister in 2007) was blocked by Khaiyum because it revealed the venture had been stitched together to benefit his mate, Tappoos, who had purchased his Berry Rd property at an inflated price.

The Ernst and Young audit investigated the outrageous deal between FNPF and Tappoos to develop the Harbour Terminal Land near Suva Harbour: Tappoos would get 49 per cent ownership in return for investing just 27.45 per cent in the one-sided dea

Board members at the time were Felix Anthony and Dan Urai, who were in charge of the Natadola project that ended up costing FNPF an astronomical amount.

The interim report by Ernst and Young surfaces as pensions are about to slashed severely and FNPF's chief investment officer, Jajoi Karoi, admits the fund has provided the Government with $1.97 billion so far.

Read our original story on the missing report from last September, and the Ernst and Young interim report which shows the finer details of the venture plus the auditor's reservations.

Driti's case moved to the High Court

FRONTED: Pita Driti and lawyer today in Suva. picture: FijiLive

The decommissioned land force commander, Pita Driti, appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court a short time ago after a mix-up in hearing times. Earlier reports from Fiji caused some confusion regarding his whereabouts but Driti fronted with lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo. 

The news was not good, though. His case has been moved to the High Court where he'll face the charges of inciting a mutiny and uttering seditious comments. Vosarogo has, however, received full disclosures and has been given two weeks to reply. (original source Fiji Live and Fiji Village)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why is Bainimarama emailing Mara? See the correspondence below

First it was Jone Baledrokadroka, now it's Roko Ului Mara.

The dictator, Frank Bainimarama, seems to be spending a lot of time reading blogs and collecting talking points to send to his former military officers.

Just before the Canberra forum, he dispatched to Baledrokadroka (his former land force commander) an email from his iPad. It was his speech on Mahogany, the one Aiyaz Sayed Khayium had written.

This time, the information he's sending to Mara (his former 3FIR commander) comes from MINFO mistress, Sharon Smith Johns, and concerns a story penned by coup apologist, Graham Davis.

Start with Mara's lead in to the emails:

On Sunday afternoon, the dictator Bainimarama forwarded me an email. I can only imagine that he had a bit too much to drink at lunch and thought he was being clever. It is an email exchange between Graham Davis, “reputable” journalist? Smith Johns, Miss Information, and Bainimarama, leader of Banana’s Republic.

There are a number of points of note in this email. As you will see it was all sent by iPhone and iPad from iDumb, iDumber and iDumbest.

1) Bainimarama, despite his protestations about the pro democracy movement being a waste of space, spends his Sundays worrying about us. I hope we give you indigestion
2) Smith Johns, the Australian, thinks it is funny to talk about attacking her own country, ha ha! Planning your next attack on your country of birth with a dictator who is unfriendly to Australia. Now that sounds like sedition to me
3) Smith Johns, the hypocrite, forced the Fiji media to listen to her tirade about the blog sites a few weeks ago. She ranted “I must stress to you all that reading these blog sites is not a source of credible information, these sites are run by politically motivated individuals who are mostly failed politicians and a smattering of disgruntled journalists.(Graham Davis?)”. Not only does she read them, not only does she believe them but she plagiarizes them because she can’t come up with an original thought herself
4) Graham Davis that “independent and respected journalist” is thanking Sharon for a favor. We now know he writes stories to her instructions to return the favour.
To quote Smith Johns again “They (blogs) propagate rumors and stir up emotions to destabilize this country. Suffice to say the local media have unfortunately fallen for this trap and have used false information to lend false credibility to these stories.”

For this to make the most sense please start at the bottom with the email from Davis to Smith Johns and work your way to the top. To confirm this email is forwarded as received but with my comments at the top.

Thumbs Up for Democracy
God Bless

Ratu Tevita Mara
June 21

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Frank Bainimarama
Date: Sun, Jun 19, 2011 at 1:33 AM
To: Otto Limmput

Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Sharon J
> Date: June 12, 2011 16:00:12 GMT+12:00
> To: Frank Bainimarama
> Seem he has done himself more harm than good, the comment below was posted on a blog site, and supported by a few others. I like the last sentence, i might use that in my next attack on Australia. ha ha
> I think Mara has had his time in the limelight. He is saying nothing new, same old crap as the SDL party, he is now the 'Puppet' to cronies such as Kaitani and Qarase. It is interesting to note that Australia and now New Zealand are supporting the very people who were involved in the 2000 coup, they are also supporting the extremists who want to return Fiji to the way it was, Fiji for Fijians and the rest sod off. And to top it all off the Australia government is paying the likes Frankel and Lal to stir up more hatred and race based politics. Something smell rotten here.
> Where is the voice of the Australian opposition, they need to be demanding answers on why under the nose of this government, they have allowed a fugitive to enter australia and proven coup supporters to all gather and pat themselves on the back whilst encouraging a violent return to democracy.
> Answers from the Australian Government please or is Rudd still sitting with the map of the world trying to find out where the hell FIJI is!
> On Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM, Frank Bainimarama wrote:
>     Exactly what I told Rokolui in my email to him last week.....that his complaints are those of the SDL and for which we removed Qarase and his party for.
>     Sent from my iPhone
>     On Jun 11, 2011, at 23:19, sharonsjohns@gmail.com wrote:
>>     This is well worth the read. Opens up a lot of questions that the Aussies can't answer! Link is below
>>     Sent from my iPhone
>>     Begin forwarded message:
>>>     From: Graham Davis
>>>     Date: June 11, 2011 9:48:00 PM GMT+12:00
>>>     To: PS Info , Sharon J
>>>     Subject: #28 UNHOLY ALLIANCE ON FIJI
>>>     Hi Sharon,
>>>     You'll be interested in my latest Grubsheet posting. And thanks again, for helping Wooley.
>>>     Cheers,
>>>     GD
>>>     http://www.grubsheet.com.au/?p=448
> --
> Sharon Smith Johns
> Permanent Secretary
> Ministry of Information, National Archives & Library Services of Fiji
> Ph (+679) 3301806 | Mob (+679) 9905558 | Fax (+679) 3305139 | Web: www.fiji.gov.fj |
> GPO Box 2225, Government Buildings
> Suva, Fiji Island

Editor's Note: Mara says his mother-in-law was dragged in for questioning this morning by Fiji police. She's alleged to have sworn about Bainimarama in a heated discussion with a former boxer who did not like the way the discussion had gone so went to the police to denounce her. Mara says a witness was able to report that Lewai had only said nice things about Bainimarama and has now been released. 

Khaiyum tells NZ programme: Elections on the way but PER needs to stay

SLIGHT OF HAND IN FIJI: Common knowledge.
The illegal attorney, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, has told a New Zealand media team elections will be held in 2014 but Fiji is not yet ready to remove the Public Emergency Regulations.

Khaiyum has been interviewed by the TV3 current affairs programme, The Nation; the programme's presenter Sean Plunket travelled to Fiji this week to interview Khaiyum.

Publicity material by the programme describes Khaiyum as 'controverisal' and says he repeatedly maintains elections will be held in three years time but the PER and decrees need to stay in place.

The Kiwi news team is zooming in on Khaiyum because of recent publicity over the illegal AG being the real power behind the scene; the one pulling Frank Bainimarama's strings.

The programme will screen this Saturday at half past ten and then repeated Sunday morning at 8 o'clock.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mara and Baledrokadroka reply to coup plotting claim

Michael Field is a journalist who likes to watch and report sensationally on situations and not solve them. But he is right in saying this: if the pro-democracy movement is successful, then we will have a change of Government in Fiji. If he wants to call that a coup, then so be it. My aim is to achieve regime change without violence. We will make it happen by isolating the regime Internationally, Regionally and within Fiji Itself. We have already made great strides and as the people of Fiji know, I am already talking to regional leaders. When I go to New Zealand I will be meeting with government officials. I am also currently talking to a number of Ambassadors and High Commissioners here in Canberra. Everywhere I have gone, I have been given a warm and understanding reception.

As I said at the Pro Democracy Forum, we must achieve this change without violence. I know we can put pressure on the regime by mass peaceful demonstrations and civil disobedience. The steps I am taking now are about giving confidence and hope to the people of Fiji so that when someone makes a stand against the regime, the people will stand alongside them. I have said many times and I will repeat. I will not take part in the Government that follows the fall of the Bainimarama regime. Before I can move forwards, I need to stand before the people of Fiji and answer for my part in 2006. If Michael Field thinks I am just another colonel trying to grab power, nothing I say now will change his opinion. But, Michael, when this is over and I am not part of the government and I have answered to the people of Fiji, I will expect an apology.

Thumbs up for Democracy
Ratu Tevita Mara

Michael Field‘s opinion piece ‘Just another coup being plotted in Fiji … again’ is full of unfounded statements of my real intentions as an advocate for the return of democracy in Fiji. It has to be challenged and I question how he arrived at such an  inaccurate conclusion. I speak for myself and shall leave Lt Colonel Tevita Mara to defend himself, which he has done amicably in the past month, despite his sceptics. 

I have been speaking out against Fiji’s tyrannical rulers ever since arriving in Australia on invitation as a fellow at ANU’s Society State Governance Melanesia on Saturday 11th April 2009 - the day after the abrogation of Fiji’s Constitution by the Bainimarama military regime. Three days after  arriving in  free and democratic Australia,  I was given the opportunity to write an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Brisbane Times titled ‘Those with loud voices must speak up to restore democracy in Fiji' (14th of April 2009). This, I am still doing in free and democratic Australia. 

As the chief organizer of the Fiji Democracy Freedom Movement (FDFM) forum in Canberra, I had invited Mara as a key note speaker. The decision to grant Mara a visa is the Australian government’s call. The FDMF had only exercised its right as a lobby group in free and democratic Australia and due process was followed. I have also published  opinion editorials in the Fiji Times and Fiji’s Daily Post against the regime in 2008 and 2009, prior to the clamping down on the freedom of the press through the draconian Media Decree. I am carrying on this advocacy through the blogs under my by-line unlike many writers who remain anonymous due to their fear of persecution. 

Mr Fields as a 'Pacific and Fiji Specialist' seems to have his own interpretation of politics. That I respect, but to call the FDFM initiatives an 'embryonic military coup' is mischievous to say the least.  How can any initiative to restore  democracy  in Fiji be attempted when the  Public Emergency Regulations enforced by the regime has curtailed public gatherings and dissenting opinions? The FDFM in its Strategic Development Plan 2011-2014, which was drafted in our Bankstown meeting last year and also adopted in the Queanbeyan forum last week, had articulated that the movement launch such international initiatives in a 'bottom up approach'.

Furthermore, I am not an ‘out -of- work Colonel’ as offhandedly categorized by Mr Field. I am in my third year of a full time PhD scholarship research at Australia’s top ranked and the world’s 16th ranked university, the Australian National University. I also have a busy schedule of lectures on military intervention in Fiji for undergraduates and lecture at the Australian Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies for which I am paid for. I am fully abreast of the literature on military intervention in politics and the damage it has done to coup-prone countries. To insinuate that I have sinister intentions of carrying out a remote controlled coup from Canberra is stretching the imagination. My career as a senior officer in the Fiji military came to an end on 13 January 2006, some eleven months before Bainimarama’s coup because of my professional stand that the military should be apolitical.  I was also imprisoned and granted a nolle prosequi by Justice Bruce in 2008 and therefore was fully exonerated and am still seeking damages through my legal counselors.

I have helped Mr Michael Fields in his queries of certain events within the Fiji Military during my tenure as Land Forces Commander and Chief of Staff and am shocked at his ‘gutter journalism’ insinuating Mara and I are in a plot to further destabilize our beloved country which I spent 25 years serving also as a peacekeeper. I have no intentions of carrying out a military coup and abhor any suggestions by Mr Field that I am implicitly planning one. I was  a serving officer in Lebanon during Rabuka's coup of 1987 and in Sinai during George Speight and Binimarama's Coup of 2000. I left the military in January 2006 because I did not want to be party to a planned coup in 2006. This coup happened in December 2006 when I was earning an honest day's living planting pawpaws in Sigatoka and running a landscaping business.

I do not want to engage in a running media battle with Mr Fields as I would rather channel my literary and intellectual  skills in the restoration of democracy, which I have done through articulating  a Ten Point Plan. In this plan I have ensured that some of the major stake holders in Fiji politics today such as the SDL party, FLP, the Methodist Church, the GCC and even the Australian Congress of Trade Unions have commented on and backed. Roko Ului Mara has also backed the Ten Point Plan and together we have been soliciting support from Prime Ministers on down, to any one willing to listen and who has the future of Fiji at heart. Those with loud voices must speak up to restore democracy in Fiji!

Jone Baledrokadroka

'Mara and Baledrokadroka plotting a coup': Opinion piece by Michael Field

LEST WE FORGET: George Speight just before he was arrested. Below: Baledrokadroka, Mara, Bainimarama, Qarase and Bavadra.

By Michael Field

When Voreqe Bainimarama staged his 2006 coup one of the laudable if hopelessly optimistic aims was that it was to end the cult of coups in Fiji.

It was never going to be and now we are witnessing the evolution of yet another slow coup in Fiji. It is an embryonic military coup, yet again, that is bound to end in a miscarriage.

Many seem to want to hail Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara as the new saviour of Fiji. In fact Mara and friend Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka are just the latest in a long line of plotters; Rabuka, Speight, Bainimarama et al.

They are using the right language as Bainimarama did in 2006; end coups, end corruption.
Every coup plotter talks like that (Rabuka and Speight spiced it up with indigenous supremacy as well). This latest one has the benefits of some slick PR with the carefully controlled media interviews and press releases, although of late it seems this part of the world has moved on and stopped taking notice.
Mara and Baledrokadroka are talking about democracy. Mara, portraying himself as some sinner who has seen redemption, even talks about facing the people who he so cruelly tormented, and receiving justice from them. He plainly has a biblical view of himself, although one senses he is not expecting a cell, but rather Government House. He wants to be the next Bainimarama.

Neither he nor Baledrokadroka are saying what it is that Fiji really needs to do for security, peace and democracy; close down the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. The military is and has been since 1987 a menace to the stability of Fiji.

Indeed, as the Mara-Minerva events show; they are worse than useless. The Tongan Navy simply sailed into Fiji waters and got Mara. What happened to all the millions of dollars lavished on the Fiji Navy? The same navy that gave us all Bainimarama.

And if Tonga is to be believed, when the Tongan Navy showed up at Minerva this month, the Fiji Navy ran away.

Minerva is not an argument for a bigger and better Fiji military; it’s a little side-show that can best be solved by long established international processes and the very thing the South Pacific does best - lots of talking.

Because the RFMF is essentially a standing army with little to do (the UN invitations are not coming), it is top heavy in the colonel class. Many of the colonels have little actual military experience. They are classroom officers in an army thick with them.

Promotions are limited; Bainimarama’s instance at staying as commander ensures there is a road block at the colonel class. The stable is full of dissatisfied colonels, many of whom want to be the next general, and thanks to Fiji’s coup culture, the prime minister too.

Mara and Baledrokadroka are plotting a military coup; and they are doing it because they (not the people) believe that they, as soldiers and as senior officers, are better at running Fiji than Bainimarama. So does Colonel Pita Driti.

This is 1960s Africa all over again; except there it was senior NCOs preparing the next coup, or two. Frankly, this is a road to ruin for Fiji.

Sadly, as events in 2000 showed, most people saw the next coup coming. The only surprise was that it was George Speight nominally leading it and not the others that we had thought it would be; another band of colonels. Mara is giving the impression that he is the next coup leader but that's highly unlikely from Nuku'alofa. It will be another colonel, some one little known. That was the way things were in 2000 - and recall, Rabuka was just a colonel and down the peaking scale, when he emerged bright eyed on the road to Saving Fiji.

Samoa’s Tuilaepa Sailele has given the men an audience. This is an unwise piece of egotism on his part; its none of his business and it links him into the plotting underway.

What difference can he make to the situation? The same can be said of Australia and New Zealand; hitching their wagons to a couple of out-of-work colonels is not a long term solution.

In a tactical sense, Mara and Baledrokadroka have a ruinous problem; a coup cannot be staged aboard without an uprising at home. The simple fact is that the Fiji population is timid, compliant, divided and weak. The Suva media and intellectuals quietly moan about how hard things are - "oh, woe is us, we suffer under censorship" - and then do nothing.

There will be no welcoming revolutionary masses at Nadi airport for the two colonels. They will come to New Zealand for a couple of days and brief foreign affairs officials and one or two politicians. Mara will go back to Tonga and might even tour Samoa and California. Then what?

The sad fate that befell Timoci Bavadra comes to mind. After Sitiveni Rabuka overthrew him, Bavadra trekked around the world with his message. For a while he had queues of reporters wanting to hear him. Then, as time passed, people like Richard Naidu - his advocate and press secretary - would have to ring up friendly journalists and get them to give a couple of hundred words to the lonely figure.

Bavadra’s cause was entirely just and right; but realpolitic meant he was doomed to become a lonely, lost figure. Somewhat like Laisenia Qarase.

Make no mistake, Mara and Baledrokadroka are plotting a coup and if it succeeds, it will be Coup V or Coup VI - depending on how you count Fiji coups. But it will not succeed; it has nothing of the grassroots about it, it has nothing about democracy in it.

They are simply unhappy, dysfunctional ex-employees of a military full of born-to-rule colonels. If Mara is the answer to Fiji’s question, then one really has to worry at what the question was. The question cannot be: Which colonel will now rule Fiji?


Editor's Note: Coming up ... Mara and Baledrokadroka reply to Field's coup allegations.