Independent sources have confirmed to Coupfourpointfive that Fiji Village journalist, Vijay Narayan, and Australian journalist, Graham Davis, jumped the gun regarding the so-called SDL submission.
Sources say Narayan confused what was the submission of SDL supporters for that of the party. Coup apologist Davis was only too happy to use it to stir anti-feeling against the party and build support for the unelected government of Frank Bainimarama.
Narayan wasn't the only one at the hearing where the submission was made. Fiji TV was there as well and its newsroom has confirmed the person making the submission said he was a member of SDL, not a party official.
"The person making the submission said he was a member of the SDL. This didn't mean it was a SDL submission. Several other people have since appeared at other hearings to say the same thing."
This is in line with what Solomone Naivalu said in a media statement released yesterday. The full statement is published below but we include a relevant extract here:
"The views expressed and quoted by Vijay last Friday August 3 are those of SDL supporters.
"Party President Mr. Solomone Naivalu was at the opening of the public submissions to view and observe how the Commission received submissions. To link his name with the submissions made and assume that the submissions were those of the SDL Party is erroneous and mischievous.
"The SDL Party further declares that its representatives have not appeared before Professor Yash Ghai and the Constitution Commission and therefore made no submission whatsoever."
We think the question that needs to be asked is why has the inaccurate reporting been allowed to continue? And where and how did Graham Davis get the copy of the submission? And does the submission show the SDL logo and letter-head? According to the one he re-produced (see copies attached) and has been hawking around so proudly, it does not.
Coupfourpointfive also thinks Solomone Naivalu should consider reporting Vijay Narayan to the Fiji Media Authority to set the record straight and seek an apology.
Whether the Authority considers the complaint is another matter but it should be done to stop the obvious misinformation from being repeated and used by the regime as it was over the weekend and again today.
Fiji Village has repeated its story with reaction from Bainimarama, under the headline: "PM says SDL submission is racist and will not be accommodated."
It fosters hatred between i-taukei and Indo Fijians and plays into the hands of the regime who has relished the chance to undermine its greatest political rival, SDL, after sentencing its leader, Laisenia Qarase, to a year in jail.
We also ask what the Yash Ghai Commission is doing about the misinformation and why it hasn't stopped the misconception. It must've known the submission was made by SDL supporters not the party hiearchy and it should've stepped in to make this clear, especially when the submission started to be used as a political football.
Ghai and co are again showing the naivety that bloggers have accused them of. It will be interesting to see if the Commission does the right thing or if it continues to bury its head in the sand as it has preferred to do.
The Vijay Narayan penned article in the Fiji Village Website, alleging elements of a submission made by the Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party to the Constitutional Commission is unfounded, false and mischievous.
It is a clear figment of his imagination written perhaps with the clear intent of painting an evil image and portrait of the SDL to ferment racial discord.
The SDL wishes to state categorically that it has not as yet finished preparing its submission to the Constitutional Commission. The views expressed and quoted by Vijay last Friday August 3 are those of SDL supporters. Party President Mr. Solomone Naivalu was at the opening of the public submissions to view and observe how the Commission received submissions.To link his name with the submissions made and assume that the submissions were those of the SDL Party is erroneous and mischievous.
The SDL Party further declares that its representatives have not appeared before Professor Yash Ghai and the Constitution Commission and therefore made no submission whatsoever.
Further the SDL is still consulting with its allies the Fiji Labour Party, the National Federation Party and the United Peoples Party before finalizing its submission to the Constitution Commission.
The SDL categorically denies that it has decided on any of the policies cited by Mr. Narayan in his article. Discussions within the SDL Executives are still ongoing with Branch Heads consultations, before a final submission is made.
The SDL has said time and time again, and it is a matter of public record, that it wants the retention of the 1997 Constitution, which was the subject of nationwide consultations with all communities in Fiji. Furthermore , it was debated by an elected Parliament representing all the people of Fiji and was approved unanimously by members of both Houses of Parliament.
The 1997 Constitution, in Chapter Two, contains a Compact which provided inter alia that the “rights of all individuals, communities and groups are fully respected.” The SDL espouses a policy of PEACE national unity, multiracialism, national economic and social development and a better life for all the people of Fiji, regardless of race, colour or religion.
Solomone Naivalu, National President, SDL Party