#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-10-16

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Death of Dictator Gaddafi Conjures Similar Images for Dictator Bainimarama

Gaddafi burns as Libyans celebrate
 
Very early today, as I watched the various TV coverage of the capture and killing of hated Libyan dictator, Moammar Gaddafi, excitement surged through my body thinking how the people of my beloved country, Fiji, would feel when their equally hated Dictator, Bainimarama, gets to be toppled or meets a similar fate.

One thing I know for sure, there will be rapturous celebration and relief in Fiji because Bainimarama and his illegal regime have brought nothing but hardship and misery to the people of Fiji.
By Sai Lealea
 

Beautiful Fiji tainted by the illegal Bainimarama regime
For a country once touted as the premier South Pacific destination given its strategic location on the crossroad of trade and aviation routes, it has become the pariah state of the Pacific and pushed to the periphery by its neighbours. The illegal government that is currently in power has lost all moral credibility and limps along at the behest of a hated military, once a revered institution by Fijians and others abroad. 

I thought to myself, surely life and prospects in Fiji must be bad enough now to cause people there to actively push for the removal of the current illegal regime. Yet various attempts to organise marches have only fizzled out, lacking support, as people either fear retaliation or just didn't bother, preferring instead to just put up with life under the current regime.

Defiance against Dictator Bainimarama
But lately the Viti Revolution Force (VRF) began a campaign of defiance writing graffiti on walls and bus stops against key regime figures. These acts have proved very encouraging for those of us wanting to see constant pressure and defiance directed at the regime. Symbolically it shows there really are opposition groups willing to stand up to the regime and thereby providing hope to those unable to for whatever reasons and justification.


All these scenarios and emotions over Fiji's situation were whirling away inside of me while glued to the TV as Gadaffi's bloody corpse was hauled over the bonnet of a pickup truck after being dragged from a concrete culvert. Imagining a similar fate for the Dictator Bainimarama in Fiji, I sent celebratory text messages to friends and colleagues making the comparison.

However, I was then brought back to reality when I received a reply from a fellow pro-democracy advocate saying that for a similar result in Libya to happen in Fiji, people there must march and show defiance against the illegal regime that has been terrorising them since 05 December 2006. Libyans have suffered for 42 years and they have finally decided they can't tolerate things any more. 

The question for Fiji is "Do we wait till then? But if life under the illegal regime in just 5 years is to go by, surely we can't afford to wait even a year longer. The fact is; 42 years for Libya cannot and is not the same for Fiji. The tolerance level of Libyans for repression has been shaped over thousands of years spanning various era of civilization. On the other hand, Fiji, with its size and population, cannot be expected to stomach the repeated bouts of repression brought by the numerous coups it has suffered in a quarter of a century. So what will it take to unleash the internalised feelings of hatred and disdain felt by Fijians towards the illegal regime of Bainimarama?

Death or Alive Reward for Gaddafi - One for Bainimarama Soon
For Fijians to stand up against the brutal and repressive regime of Bainimarama, the following need to be in place:
  • a climate of chaos and crisis;
  • opposition forces given access to arms;
  • allied nations need to provide support as soon as requested;
  • short, sharp, quick and surgical strike against the regime executed from within;
  • price placed on the heads of the leaders of the illegal regime plus
  • a "dead or alive" order placed on other key regime figures.

Fijians on the ground in Fiji need to make the first move to oust Bainimarama. But before they do, they need to know allies in the Pacific Islands Forum, Commonwealth and UN will be there to support their efforts. 

Fijian military action to topple Bainimarama
Military action is now an option to topple the embedded regime of Bainimarama because he has now placed a total stranglehold on the military, police and the bureaucracy. The full apparatus of the State are now arrayed against any attempt to topple the regime in Fiji. Fiji is now a Police State, no different to the days of the Communist East Germany, thanks a great deal to the influence of the Chinese in propping up the regime through soft loans, IT surveillance advice and, no doubt, military assistance undetected by outsiders.

As the TV coverage of Gadaffi's capture and death dies down, my initial surge of excitement and euphoria in hoping the same for Fiji, tittered on the brink. Deep inside of me, I felt a voice urging me on the quest to secure the same outcome for Fiji. Yet the feeling of subdue tickles as I reflected on failed attempts at defiance. But this micro pause moment was rudely interrupted when the TV again played and replayed images of Libyans pouring on to the streets in jubilant celebration as if a monumental burden has been cast aside. You can see and feel it in their eyes as they cry out as if for the first time in 42 years, a demonic curse has been extracted from their being. 

Suva - ready to party when Dictator Bainimarama falls
I pictured the streets of Suva similarly packed with Fijians in celebration from the Bus Stand right up to Albert Park. I then can see the limp and bloody corpse of Bainimarama and Khaiyum laid forth on a stage in Albert Park where people came past and uttered words reflecting their innermost feelings of disdain towards the two. My eyes closed, I can't help uttering my share of explicit sentiments at the two as if it was really happening! Then and then, I know I must persevere in the cause. 

The feeling of satisfaction, relief and accomplishment that I felt a few moments ago surely must be the same or very much nearly the same, as that felt by Libyans celebrating the death of their hated Dictator. If it takes the death of a dictator to enjoy such a moment in history, I most certainly would like to be part of it in my beloved country of Fiji.
 

One of the biggest dictator falls

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's body being dragged by Libyans

Libya's dictator of 42 years, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has been captured and killed in his own home town after seven months of uprising by the Libyan people.

Leaders worldwide are hailing the end of Gaddafi's tyranny as Libyans celebrate what is being described as their first real sense of freedom and the birth of a new Libya.

One of Gaddafi's son's Mutassim Gaddafi, is also reported to have been killed in Sirte, along with his father. Sirte is where Gaddafi was born.

The international community has confirmed and welcomed the death of Gaddafi with the British Prime Minister David Cameron saying: "I think today is a day to remember all of Colonel Gaddafi's victims, from those who died in connection with the Pan-Am flight over Lockerbie to Yvonne Fletcher in a London street and obviously all the victims of IRA terrorism who died through their use of Libyan Semtex."

Mobile phone footage of Gaddafi's demise is being circulated as celebrations continue across Libya and worldwide.
The uprisings in the Middle East this year have sent a message out to the world's tyrants: all dictators and their regimes come to an end eventually.
 
The uprising of the Arab people started in Tunisia, then Egypt, Libya and Syria. There have also been civil uprisings in Bahrain, Israel and Algeria. The battle is still on in Syria but President Bassar Al-Assad must know his time too is nearing.

Mobile phone footage of Gaddafi's death

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kean brothers both stepping up

Just as Coupfourpointfive had predicted earlier, the murdering bro-in-law of the illegal PM has been named the PS Transport, Utilities and Works. The current word is convicted killer Francis Kean's brother, Percy, will soon replace the PS of Missinformation Sharon Smith-Johns.

(Tuesday 18th October 2011, No:1929/PSC) PSC ANNOUNCES NEW APPOINTMENT
The Public Service Commission has confirmed the appointment of Commander Francis Kean as the permanent secretary for the Ministry of  Transport, Public Utilities and Works.

In announcing the appointment, the commission chairman, Mr Josefa Serulagilagi said the position was critical to the Public Service, which not only demanded outstanding leadership skills and qualities but a person who was prepared to make a difference in government’s quest for reforming state institutions and bringing about improved efficiencies in their operations and deliverables.

Mr Serulagilagi said Commander Kean had leadership qualities and a wide experience in the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces and the Civil Service.

In 1990 he was the first Fijian to pass the International Sub Lieutenant Course at the Britannia Royal Naval College; was awarded an Advanced Diploma in Applied Nautical Science from the Australian Maritime College in 1999; has a Certificate in Maritime Studies from the University of Wollongong, Australia in 2002 and awarded a Graduate Diploma in Management in Defence Studies the same year.

He also attended various short courses and in 2010 was awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and a Post Graduate Diploma for General Managers from the University of the South Pacific.

He is a Board Director for the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji, is  the acting chairman to the Board of Directors for Fiji Ports Corporation and an Auditor for Government Shipping Services.
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Insiders tip changing of the guard to shake off the ambitious Khaiyum

Khaiyum: Clearly loving the limelight (above) but having to take a back seat (below). pics MINFO



Strong rumours and talk at RFMF that major changes will be made after Frank Bainimarama returns from China.


Insiders say the shake-up will come as a real shock to some.

Information at hand suggests that Fiji's illegal leader is bringing back his former Navy deputy and most trusted man, Commodre Esala Teleni, as confirmed Minister for Defence.

Information further suggests that Neumi Leweni, who is also in China at the moment, will be posted as Fiji's new ambassador there.
But insiders say there will be a catch: Esala Teleni will also act as deputy prime minister in his new appointment and that the illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, is to lose the privilege that he has so clearly been enjoying.

Insiders say Khaiyum was only ever allowed to fill in as acting prime minister, a role he has obviously relished, because of a clever army strategy: "to give him all the rope so he can hang himself.' 

They say that Khaiyum's deep and burning ambition to take over from Number One has been well and truly exposed (sources say Khaiyum never even told Bainimarama a plaque was being made for him by Fiji National University) and he is about to be shut down.

Insiders claim that combined with his and police commissioner Ioane Naivalurua's earlier conspiring to get rid of Esala Teleni, Khaiyum's falling for the army trap will lead to the wanna-be PM "getting booted out of the system with whatever he has piled up, and the army taking the country to early elections".

The latest Wikileaks cable has New Zealand-based academic, Sitiveni Halapua, revealing to charge d'Affaires, Richard K. Pruett, that Khaiyum was the one who rallied the Military Council to oppose the political forum dialogue.

John Samy had convinced Bainimarama to convene a "Presidential  Political Dialogue Forum" to facilitate the conducting of a general election "as soon as practically possible" but Khaiyum persuaded the Council to go against it.

The cable says Khaiyum rejected the talks as 'ill-conceived' and uneccessary.  Halapua says "Khaiyum seemed to think that the October 9 high court ruling dismissing the main legal challenge to the 2006 coup had given the regime carte blanche that obviated the need for any conciliatory measures for the present."

Bonus payments for 'superior performance' while kids starve

Face of Poverty. pic Fiji Times

The illegal government's politicking has become blatantly obvious with employees in state owned enterprises receiving bonuses while close to 50% of Fiji's population live below the poverty line.
Bainimarama on the campaign trail
The poverty data is a reality and a fact, and was given to the media by PS for Social Welfare, Govind Sami, who also stated that many workers are earning wages far less than what they should be paid.
The illegal PM has been on the campaign trail giving water tanks and making promises of fixing roads and providing electricity to rural areas while the illegal AG has turned his attention to city dwellers and employees of state-owned enterprises.
The illegal government should wake up from its slumber and take itself out to rural areas and low-income areas to see the reality on the ground; people are struggling to put food on the table and parents are finding it increasingly difficult to shop for basic necessities.
(Tuesday 18th October 2011, No:1930/AG) BONUSES FOR STRONG COMMERCIAL PERFORMERS

More than $1.6 million in bonus payments have been approved by the Fijian Government to employees of six state-owned enterprises that outperformed during the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years - rewarding staff for superior performance.

Four organizations and all employees received bonuses.

The enterprises include: Airports Fiji, Ltd, Public Rental Board, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd, Fiji Electricity Authority, Fiji Meat Industry Board, Fiji Ports Corporation, Ltd, and its subsidiary Fiji Ships & Heavy Industries, Ltd.

"The Government recognizes productivity, and rewards based on performance and merit," said Minister of Public Enterprise Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

"We are proud of their successes and expect they will remain inspired to keep up the good work because the strong performance of state-owned enterprises creates jobs and helps to build a strong nation."

The bonus approval comes after a thorough review of the financial performance of the organizations, which are upheld to exacting standards under the government's mandate for the creation of a Performance Management System.

In some cases, auditors such as Price Waterhouse Coopers independently verified financial statements.

Fijian commercial entities that qualified for bonuses based on financial performance include:

- Airports Fiji, Ltd: Net profit exceeded expectations by 60 per cent, triggering a bonus to all 447 staff.

- Public Rental Board: Net profit exceeded expectations by 44 per cent, triggering bonuses to 19 members of the total 42 staff.  Management and CEO are excluded from bonuses.

- Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd: Net profit grew 244 per cent year over year, exceeding expectations by 103 percent, triggering bonuses to all 120 staff.

- Fiji Electricity Authority: Bonus applies to all 663 staff.

- Fiji Meat Industry Board: Net profit after tax exceeded budgeted loss by 136 per cent, triggering a bonus to 72 of 84 staff. Twelve individuals' performance did not qualify for a bonus.

- Fiji Ports Corporation, Ltd.: Net profit exceeded expectations by 89 per cent, triggering bonuses to all 163 staff.

- Fiji Ships &Heavy Industries, Ltd.: Net profit exceeded year over year earnings by 76 per cent and beat expectations by 103 per cent, triggering bonuses to all 45 staff.

Of those who applied for the bonus payment, certain payments were not yet approved pending further review, including to Ports Terminal, Ltd.

National carrier takes a skid

Air Pacific's big day ended with a thump yesterday.

The airline was congratulating itself with the arrival of its new Boeing 737-800 but later in the day its LA flight was delayed, and it was forced to put up passengers overnight.

The blog Intelligentsiya says tourism operators were sent in to a spin but were happy to benefit from the 'growing inefficiencies of Air Treason.'

Air Pacific's decree-manipulating CEO, David Pflieger, says the new Boeing will almost double the number of flights a week to Sydney. 

The carrier plans to use its 747-400 to fly three times a week to Sydney and the new 737-800 10 times a week. 

Insiders say though that the airline's operating costs will be higher with the plane flying twice to Australia, daily. There will also be two sets of landing costs daily as opposed to one by the 747, two sets of crew (more costs) and a whole range of logistical issues to contend.

Editor's Note: Exporters are also worried about the new Air Pacific timetable, which affects cargo capacity. Papaya exporters in particular say they'll be losing 50 per cent of their exports. And there are fears as many as one thousand people could be affected. See story below

http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=87649 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wikileaks Cable: Who stopped the Political Dialogue Forum?

Cables say Khaiyum was responsible for killing the talks that could've resulted in elections
Academic says illegal attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum convinced Military Council to pull out of the political dialogue despite John Samy's efforts.

Sitiveni Halapua
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Richard K. Pruett; 
Reasons 1,4 (B), (D).  
1.  (C) Summary.  The move by Fiji's interim Prime Minister 
Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to convene a "Presidential 
Political Dialogue Forum" (PPDF) to facilitate the conducting 
of a general election "as soon as practically possible" has 
opened a schism within the inner circles of the interim 
government (IG) between those in favor and those opposed to 
the forum.  The rift could cause the departure of 
Bainimarama's close advisor John Samy as early as October 27. 
It also throws into further doubt the IG's commitment to the 
PPDF process.  End summary. 
 
SAMY'S CHOICE 
2.  (C) Dr. Sitiveni "Steven" Halapua, an eminent Tongan 
professor at the East-West Center in Honolulu who is also the 
"People's Representative" to Tonga's Constitutional and 
Electoral Commission, discussed with Embassy officers on 
October 23 his understanding of events leading to his 
selection by the IG as a "co-interlocutor" of the PPDF. 
(Retired Australian Foreign Service officer Robin Nair, an 
ethnic Indo-Fijian, is the other co-interlocutor.)  Halapua 
revealed that John Samy, a key advisor to Bainimarama, had 
persuaded Bainimarama to proceed with the PPDF despite 
collective opposition to the dialogue within the IG. 
According to Halapua, intramural criticism of the PPDF 
initiative so affected Samy that he is now drafting a 
memorandum of understanding governing his future relations 
with the IG, and if the IG does not accept his terms by the 
date of the PPDF's opening on October 27, then he is prepared 
to resign immediately from the government. 
 
3.  (C) Halapua disclosed that interim Attorney General Aiyaz 
Sayed-Khaiyum had rallied the entire Military Council of the 
Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) in opposition to the 
PPDF initiative.  According to Halapua, he had to terminate a 
meeting with Samy on October 21 when Bainimarama suddenly 
called Samy away to a meeting with Sayed-Khaiyum and the 
Military Council.  Halapua shared with us Samy's later 
account of the meeting.  Sayed-Khaiyum reportedly excoriated 
the PPDF as an ill-conceived idea coming at the wrong time. 
Asked in which way Sayed-Khayum thought the PPDF 
ill-conceived, Halapua replied that the interim attorney 
general seemed to think that the October 9 high court ruling 
dismissing the main legal challenge to the 2006 coup had 
given the IG a sort of carte blanche that obviated the need 
for any conciliatory measures for the present.  Sayed-Khaiyum 
also reportedly criticized Halapua and Nair as representing 
the interests of the international community -- by 
implication, in opposition to Fiji's national interests. 
 
4.  (C) Samy passionately argued in favor of allowing the 
PPDF to go forward.  Halapua did not elaborate much on Samy's 
arguments, except to say that Samy had warned Bainimarama 
that he would lose all credibility with respect to any future 
appeal for dialogue if he now aborted the PPDF process.  It 
had to have been a tour de force on Samy's part, because his 
argument carried the day against the articulate and 
persuasive attorney general. 
 
SAMY UNAPPEASED 
5.  (C) Sayed-Khaiyum's challenge before the Military Council 
reportedly still rankled Samy during a subsequent budget 
meeting he attended at which Sayed-Khaiyum was Chair. 
Afterward, Samy informed Bainimarama that he would no longer 
attend budget meetings if they are chaired by Sayed-Khaiyum. 
Bainimarama apparently told Sayed-Khaiyum of Samy's feelings, 
prompting the interim attorney general to ask Samy (perhaps 
patronizingly) "are you alright?"  Samy reportedly replied 
that by attacking Halapua and Nair, Sayed-Khaiyum had 
impugned Samy by association.  Halapua did not provide more 
details about Samy's spat with Sayed-Khaiyum, but he noted 
that Samy is an accomplished economist who had earlier turned 
down Bainimarama's offer to head Fiji's Ministry of Finance. 
Said Halapua, Samy's threat to boycott budget meetings is 
magnified by the fact that he possesses most of the financial 
credentials to be found in the committee. 
 
6.  (C) Samy's pique apparently did not end with 
Sayed-Khaiyum.  According to Halapua, Samy still feels so 
hurt for being mistrusted that he is now drafting a 
memorandum of understanding to govern his future relations 
with the IG and is prepared to resign from the interim 
government if the IG does not accept his terms by October 27. 
 In the course of advocating for the PPDF, Samy reportedly 
concluded that the IG had never been very serious about 
instituting a dialogue with the opposition.  Bainimarama had 
often blamed deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase for not 
being willing to hold genuine talks, but Samy now feels that 
Bainimarama was simply projecting onto the opposition his own 
reluctance.  Halapua claimed that Samy now feels appalled 
that despite his work with the IG for over a year, during 
which time he was the principal architect of the draft 
People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress, or blueprint 
for reforming Fiji's political culture, those in Fiji's 
ruling circle still don't have a vision for how to get there.  
 
7.  (C) Halapua mentioned his surprise in learning that John 
Samy is not as some portray him: a Rasputin-like eminence 
grise manipulating Bainimarama from behind the scenes.  He 
is, instead, as Nair has characterized him: the moderate in 
Bainimarama's inner circle.  (Comment:  Nair had earlier told 
embassy officers that Samy alone had been truly receptive to 
his proposals.  Nair is himself a moderate but does not share 
Samy's access to Bainimarama.  The only other moderate in 
Bainimarama's circle seems to be Permanent Secretary Parmesh 
Chand.  Chand does not seem as close to Bainimarama as Samy 
or Sayed-Khaiyum and appears seldom to take an advocacy role 
on policy issues.  End comment.) 
 
Robin Nair
FORUM MODALITIES  
8.  (SBU) Halapua and Nair are only now beginning to 
formulate their roles in the upcoming dialogue forum. 
Halapua had little idea yet of the modalities for the 
meeting, except that it would be held at the parliament 
complex in Suva and would include all 16 of Fiji's registered 
parties.  Each of the parties will be represented by 
principals plus one.  The IG will be represented by 
Sayed-Khaiyum as principal, accompanied by Samy.  Bainimarama 
will chair the meeting.  The meeting will be aimed at 
achieving an agenda and terms of reference for the PPDF 
sessions to follow. 
 
9.  (C) In light of Bainimarama's recent unhelpful 
stipulations that none of the parties come to the forum with 
demands, including any insistence on holding the IG to its 
earlier promise of elections by March 2009, Embassy officers 
suggested to Halapua that he and Nair try to impress upon 
Bainimarama the value in his taking a light approach to 
chairing the session, presiding over, but not necessarily 
running, the meetings.  As interlocutors, Halapua and Nair 
would foreshadow the role Sir Paul Reeves or his substitute 
would play in facilitating any future sessions.  They could 
play an important role in shaping the context of discussions 
in order to promote genuine dialogue, so careful focus now on 
establishing ground rules and processes could pay big 
dividends for this and any future meetings.  Halapua seized 
on the word 'process' and began to think aloud about seating 
and other arrangements.  He toyed with the idea of flanking 
Bainimarama with himself and Nair.  He was especially pleased 
with the thought that Sayed-Khaiyum would not be able to pass 
notes directly to Bainimarama but would instead need to go 
through Samy.  (According to Halapua, Samy had originally 
sought to distance himself from the PPDF for fear his 
participation in it might somehow muddle his promotion of the 
draft Peoples Charter, but Samy later changed his mind 
because his participation might help to neutralize 
Sayed-Khaiyum's baleful influence.)  Halapua added that he 
and Nair are in the process of writing out some ground rules 
for the proceedings. 
 
Sir Paul Reeves
BACKGROUND - THE FORUM AND SIR PAUL REEVES
10.  (SBU) The idea of a presidentially-sanctioned political 
dialogue seems to have originated out of the April meeting of 
the National Council For Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF)  in 
which it called for a forum of all parties, convened by the 
president, to discuss electoral reform.  (The IG established 
the NCBBF to promote the adoption of the draft People's 
Charter.)  Subsequently, Fiji's major parties, including 
Qarase's Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party, agreed 
to participate on the condition that the forum discuss more 
than just electoral reform.  The idea for the Forum 
languished when Bainimarama made it clear he would not accept 
Fiji constitutional law expert Sir Paul Reeves of New Zealand 
as its chair, despite Reeves' endorsement for the position by 
the Commonwealth's secretary general.  The IG had suggested 
three other names, feeling that Reeves was already too wedded 
to Fiji's present political system, which he had helped to 
codify as the chair of the Fiji Constitution Review 
Commission from 1995 to 1997.  The Commonwealth's secretary 
general persisted in supporting Reeves for the role.  Reeves 
reportedly believed that elections could be held in March 
2009 as Bainimarama had originally promised the PIF 
leadership at its 2007 summit in Tonga.  Reeves also 
reportedly wanted the Forum broadened to include more than 
issues of electoral reform (e.g., a date certain for 
elections), whereas Bainimarama was adamant that its 
discussions be limited to electoral reform.  Bainimarama 
effectively sidelined Reeves by saying he would only accept 
him as an advisor or facilitator, and not as Chair, to which 
Reeves did not assent.  Later statements by Bainimarama and 
the NCBBF then seemed to delay the convening of the Forum 
indefinitely by making it contingent upon prior acceptance of 
the Peoples Charter. 
 
Mick Beddoes (back left) and Laisenia Qarase
BACKGROUND - ATTEMPTS AT RESUSCITATING DIALOGUE 
11.  (SBU) Halapua and East-West Center President Charles 
Morrison visited Fiji in September to push their idea of a 
"talanoa" consultative process to bring the IG together with 
Qarase and other major opposition figures.  They explained 
their ideas to Bainimarama, Qarase, Samy, Fiji Labour Party 
leader Mahendra Chaudhry, resident heads of diplomatic 
missions, and virtually every other major political figure in 
Fiji, with the exception of oppositionist Mick Beddoes of the 
United People's Party, who was unavailable.  They found most 
parties generally receptive to the idea but very distrustful 
of the other participants.  Subsequently, Robin Nair, in his 
capacity as a member of the so-called Independent Monitoring 
Group (IMG), which was ostensibly established by President 
Iloilo to provide independent oversight of the preparation 
process for the People's Charter, made his own attempt at 
promoting dialogue.  He attempted to persuade Bainimarama to 
de-link the PPDF from progress on the People's Charter.  He 
also tried to sell the IG on the idea of using a well-known 
conflict resolution group to lead the PPDF as a way to 
mediate an end to Fiji,s political impasse.  Nair was 
disappointed by Bainimarama's cool response to his proposals; 
the commodore promised only to take Nair's idea under 
advisement for later discussion with Republic of Fiji 
Military Forces' Military Council. 
 
BACKGROUND - SUPPORT FOR DIALOGUE BUILDS 
 12.  (SBU) Further impetus to the idea of a political forum 
came with generally supportive statements by New Zealand and 
Australia.  Helpful, too, was the announcement by Opposition 
Leader Mick Beddoes that he had dropped his earlier 
insistence on first establishing terms of reference and was 
now willing to participate in a proposed Presidential 
Dialogue Forum even without an agenda.  According to Beddoes, 
the IG and the representatives of the various parties could 
establish rules of engagement and an agenda at their first 
meeting or two and just go on from there.  Beddoes' statement 
echoed earlier, more equivocal statements of support by both 
Qarase and Chaudhry.  The October 9 High Court ruling 
dismissing Qarase's legal challenge to the 2006 coup clearly 
threw the opposition off-balance.  These developments seem to 
have emboldened Samy to propose to Bainimarama a serious push 
with the PPDF. 
 
BEGIN COMMENT 
13.  (C) Sayed-Khaiyum's argument against holding the 
Presidential Political Dialogue Forum at this time was at 
least half-right -- it is indeed ill-conceived, in the sense 
that the IG has given little thought to its preparation. 
Sayed-Khaiyum and other elements of the IG clearly seem to 
see little personal value in dialogue.  They had surely 
weighed against the idea when Nair had first broached the 
idea of a PPDF de-linked from the Charter process. 
Bainimarama only seemed to have agreed to the PPDF on an 
impulse under Samy's suasion.  He apparently had even signed 
the invitation letters to the forum before consulting with 
Sayed-Khaiyum and the Military Council.  (On a conscious or 
unconscious level, this appears to have been deliberate, as 
though Bainimarama wanted to force the issue.)  He apparently 
caved in to their criticism of the dialogue initiative before 
calling Samy in to defend the proposal.  Bainimarama appears 
to have given little real thought to how a dialogue should be 
constructed or to what ends.  Even Halapua and Nair, both 
intelligent men and major proponents of dialogue, were caught 
somewhat flat-footed by Samy's success in persuading 
Bainimarama to let the forum to go forward. 
 
14.  (C) By inviting even new and obscure parties to the 
dialogue forum, Bainimarama is able to mitigate some of the 
influence of the real opposition heavy-weights arrayed 
against him -- viz., Qarase, Chaudhry, and to a lesser extent 
Beddoes.  He also ingratiates himself somewhat with the 
smaller parties.  After suffering the opposition's slings and 
arrows, Bainimarama--especially if he resists the temptation 
to resort to his usual blustering--might conceivably even 
emerge as a sort of compromise figure if Qarase and Chaudhry 
eventually turn their rhetorical firepower on each other. 
Another, more cynical possibility is that some or all of the 
new parties are bogus and created by the IG in order to pack 
the deck at the forum. 
 
15.  (C) The likelihood is that Bainimarama will not succeed 
in playing a statesman but will resort to form by attempting 
instead to bully the opposition to accept the draft Peoples 
Charter as Fiji's vision statement.  If the first session 
adjourns with a date for a second, it will be no small 
victory and would bode well for Fiji's ability to demonstrate 
progress at the December meeting of the PIF in Papua New 
Guinea.  If the dialogue fails, the recriminations likely 
will fly fast and furious.  The chances for the dialogue to 
survive the first meeting are probably less than even, but if 
the parties ever do settle down to a genuine give and take, 
they may find common areas for agreement on important issues 
related to election reform and confirmation of some form of 
amnesty for Bainimarama and his people.  Perhaps most 
optimistically, the parties represented in the 2006 
parliament could agree to a choreographed session by a 
reassembled parliament at which the draft People's Charter 
could be ratified or referred to a referendum or early 
consideration by a newly-elected parliament -- similar to the 
historic compromise between Federalists and Anti-Federalists 
that led to the adoption of our own Bill of Rights by the 
First U.S. Congress.  As Dr. Halapua put it to Embassy 
officers, dialogue may be painful, but in light of the 
alternatives, it still remains the preferred "soft option." 
End comment. 
PRUETT