#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2012-01-01

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Public Order Act will play same role as PER and will be in place indefinitely

The Public Emergency Regulations has been lifted from today but restrictions to people's freedoms remain in place.

The Media Decree and Crimes Decree are still active and the regime has not released the new Public Order Act(Amendment Decree, 2012) for people to see.

Frank Bainimarama said yesterday in his second address on lifting the emergency regulations that the new decree would be a modern version of the 1969 Public Order Act.

It comes as no surprise that the restrictions and punitive measures allowed under the PER are now embodied in the new amended Public Order Act decree. 

While the PER was supposedly 'temporary', the new Public Order Act will be permanent.

The international community who welcomed the removal of martial law have been fooled.

Here's what the Fiji Village has printed about the Public Order Amendment Decree 2012 Under the Public Order Amendment Decree 2012 any person who commits an act of terrorism shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for life.

Any person who harbours or conceals, prevents, hinders or interferes with the apprehension of any other person knowing or having reason to believe that the other person has committed, is planning or likely to commit an act of terrorism, or is a member of the group involved in the act of terrorism commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for life.

Any person who knowingly provides or offers to provide a weapon to a person, group or organisation involved in the act of terrorism, a member of any such group or organisation involved in the act of terrorism , any other person for use by or for benefit of a group or organisation involved in the act of terrorism or a member of any such group or organisation commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for life.

Any person who knowingly participates in a group involved in the act of terrorism knowing that it is a terrorist group commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to life imprisonment.

If any police officer has reasonable suspicion that a person has acted or is about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the preservation of the peace or is about to commit an offence against public order or an offence against this Act or upon being by a police officer, fails to satisfy the police officer as to his or her identity, address or place of employment or as to the purpose for which he or she is in the place in which he or she is found, then such police officer may arrest without warrant him or her and detain him or her pending inquiries.

No person shall be detained under the powers conferred by subsection (1) for a period exceeding 48 hours except with the authority of the Minister on whose directions such a person may be detained for a further period of 14 days if the Minister is satisfied that the necessary enquiries cannot be completed within 48 hours.

In Section 17 C (1) of the Decree, it shall be lawful for any member of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces when so directed by his or her commanding officer at the request of or with the concurrence of the Commissioner of Prisons and Corrections Service or the Commissioner of Police as the case maybe to perform all or any of the duties and functions of a prisons officer or police officer.

In and to the extend necessary for the performance by him or her of any of the duties or functions of a prisons officer under the provisions of this section any member of the RFMF shall have all the powers, privileges of a prisons officer and police officer.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bainimarama: There is nothing I want more than a truly democratic govt

(Friday 6th January, 2012 No:13/MOI)

Ladies and gentlemen: As I announced in my New Year’s address, the Public Emergency Regulations will be lifted from tomorrow. This marks an important step toward the public consultations for the formation of a new constitution under which truly democratic elections can be held. I shall give further details in due course of the shape and form of the consultations which will commence in February.

No modern state wishes anarchy upon itself. The acts of terrorism, racial riots, religious and ethnic vilification and other disturbances have given rise to legal safeguards in even the metropolitan countries such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India—to name a few.

In Fiji, we too have experienced terrorism such as the events of 2000, during which government members were held captive by terrorists for close to two months. They held the country to ransom while being aided and abetted by political elites, religious groupings and self interested individuals. Suva and other centres including Muaniweni was systematically ransacked, looted and terrorised.

We must never allow this to happen again. Nor must we allow those who will create such a situation to act with impunity.

Many countries have placed limitations on rights where warranted and deemed necessary to safeguard society, to ensure stability and indeed to ensure continued liberties.

For example, in UK, a person can be detained on the grounds of suspicion of terrorism for 14 days and the period of detention can be extended with the consent of the court. In Singapore, a person can be detained for up to 2 years without trial if national security is concerned. 

In Australia, a person's movement can be restricted for preventative measures or tracking devices can be installed on the person to monitor his or her movements. 

In USA, the President and Attorney General can authorise the detention of persons for undefined periods for suspicion of terrorism.
In Australia and other countries, racial and religious vilification in public gatherings and even on the internet has been criminalised.

We in Fiji have not had such safeguards in law and enforceable in a transparent manner. However, now the Public Order Act, which has been in force in Fiji since independence, has been modernised through the Public Order (Amendment) Decree 2012. This modernization is necessary to effectively address terrorism, offenses against public order and safety, racial and religious vilification, hate speech, and economic sabotage.

We in Fiji will not go to such extreme as some of the countries I have mentioned. For example, for any breach of the offences under the Public Order Act, a person can only be detained for a maximum of 48 hours and if need be for a further 14 days but only if the Commissioner of Police deems it necessary and with the consent of the Minister. No person can be detained for more than 14 days without being brought before the court. In Fiji, we will also not allow tracking devices being installed on individuals.

Over the past few years, my Government has brought about a number of structural and institutional changes to break from the past and to position Fiji for the future.

We have sought to empower Fijians, modernize our country, and strengthen our economy. We have sought to rid our society and institutions of behaviour and practices that discriminate, that spread prejudice and misinformation.

It has resulted in an overall decrease in the crime rate, the creation of a stable society—one that is safe for everyone including individuals, communities and businesses to succeed.

Under our past governments, corruption prevailed, our economy was mismanaged, and society was rife with political uncertainty—which fostered racial, ethnic and religious bigotry.

Although these governments were condoned either directly or implicitly by many, including our neighbours Australia and New Zealand, they were not just, not fair and not truly democratic. They led to intolerance, uncertainty and potential upheaval.
No society, no country—and indeed not Fiji—can ever be free if we do not remove or at the very least address directly these societal and political ills.

Over the past few years, this is what my Government has done.

The imposition of the PER provided stability during this time of reform and change.
These reforms and changes—which have been for the clear betterment of society—include, among others:

• Implementation of a common and equal citizenry
• Outlaw of institutionalized racism and other discriminatory practices
• Codifying equal rights for women
• Creation of FICAC
• Creation of the Independent Legal Services Commission
• Instituting a Child Welfare Decree
• Putting in place a new Crimes Decree
• Creating a transparent and sustainable provident fund
• Equal distribution of land lease monies
• And Restructured Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Sugar industry
• Getting better returns for landowners and providing security for tenants

All of this has made for a better society—one that is more fair, just and transparent meeting international standards. And in the last few years, Fiji has been able to do great things, some of which include:

• We have been able to make unprecedented investments in education, healthcare, technology and communications.
• We have invested greatly in rural, remote and maritime areas—including electrification, roads and bridges and internet access.
• We have provided free text books, subsidized bus fares, food vouchers for the poor and those who live on the margins of society.
• We have seen record-high numbers of visitors enjoying our country.
• We have expanded our diplomatic ties to more nations than ever before.
• We have brokered many successful partnerships to create jobs and diversify our economy.
• we have given the impetus for private sector, both local and international, growth and investment
• And we have even been able to cut taxes for 99 percent of taxpayers.

But none of this could have been done successfully if politicians, religious organizations, and self-interested individuals had been allowed to fan the flames of prejudice and intolerance.

We would not have been able to move forward, if they kept us in the past. As we have seen of late and even through the so called freedom blogs there are still some who are clinging on to the past, some who seek to advance themselves even though it is through racial or religous vilification, defamation, encouraging terror and violence or simply lying about Fiji.

Negativity would have been further exacerbated by the media bias in particular of the Fiji Times and Fiji TV. Media is undoubtedly powerful and critical for a well informed public. However, personal, political and racial agendas cannot be allowed to take precedence and continue behind the fa├žade of a free press.

Like with all societies, the safeguard and well-being of the nation must come first. Without stability, without the right to exercise our own sovereignty, no nation can progress, no nation can prosper.

I urge all Fijians not to be influenced by those self-interested individuals, politicians, religious organizations, and others who may seek to disrupt the stability we have enjoyed in the past three years.

There is nothing more I want than a Fiji with a truly democratic government, one representative of all Fijians. For the first time in our history, we are on the path to making this a reality. We must get there.

But know that elections cannot be held in an environment devoid of social cohesion and economic stability.

Know that those who seek to destabilize society only do so to serve their own interests. They do not serve you.

Also know that we will not tolerate an iota of disruption to the peace, safety, stability and common and equal citizenry we now enjoy.

We cannot claim to be truly free and maintain a liberal society if we are beholden to self-interest and prejudice and seek to advance ourselves at the expense of our fellow citizens and the well being of our country.

We are all Fijians. Let us continue on our path to a new constitution and elections—for all of Fiji and for a better Fiji.

Fiji increasing military spending as gobal powers reduce their budgets

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, has announced the military will become smaller as the Pentagon tries to reduce spending by nearly half a trillion dollars after a decade of war.
A new Defence strategy unveiled today also calls for the U.S. military to "rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region" even as it continues to actively counter the threat of violent extremism.

"Even as our troops continue to fight in Afghanistan, the tide of war is receding," Obama said.

Obama and Congress agreed in August to reduce projected national security spending by more than $450 billion in the next decade.

They also agreed on automatic spending cuts that could slash another $600 billion from the Pentagon budget unless Congress agrees on an alternative.

In contrast, the Fiji military will have increased revenue from the government this year.

According to Fiji's 2012 Budget, the RFMF's income will be increased by $5.2m excluding an Infrastructure upgrade of $550,000.

The Central Intelligence Agency says that out of 172 countries, Fiji is ranked 76th in terms of its defence spending and GDP.

Therefore in comparison with its GDP, Fiji's military budget is bigger than 96 countries including New Zealand, Italy, Thailand, Germany and Canada.

A Gift from the Commander:a coup leader attempts to show a softer sider

STAND DOWN FRANK: Some way still has to be found to ease Bainimarama out of power and to rein in Fiji’s too-powerful army. pic The Economist

FIJI’S military commander and prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, promises that martial law will be lifted on January 7th, and that consultations on a new constitution will begin in February. The announcement from the troubled islands was welcomed by the Commonwealth, of which Fiji is a wayward member, and by Australia, its biggest neighbour. The Commonwealth secretary-general, Kamalesh Sharma, said that lifting public-emergency regulations was “long overdue”, and called for a fresh election. 

Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, said it was a “first step”, but that democracy had to be restored. Both are right to be cautious.

Martial law was first introduced after Mr Bainimarama seized power in December 2006. It was lifted the following May, but then reimposed in September 2007 to head off protests by public-sector unions, traditional chiefs and leaders of the Methodist church. 

Since April 2009, when the country’s constitution was abrogated, martial law has been a permanent fixture. Mr Bainimarama has ruled by decree, putting in place draconian media and other laws that will permit continued censorship and harassment of the government’s opponents even after martial law is lifted.
So far, there is little indication that the government intends to go easier on its opponents. Over the new-year weekend, several prominent politicians were arrested for “urging political violence”—rumoured to be for helping to foment protest against a new mining development in the interior of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu.

Ending martial law is consistent with Mr Bainimarama’s promise in July 2009 to hold a new election by September 2014. He also promised that consultations towards a new constitution would begin next year. For those to take place, he acknowledges, controls on press freedoms and public meetings need to be removed.

Yet this would not be the first such exercise. In 2008 a National Council for Building a Better Fiji involved mainly cherry-picked regime supporters. In 2009 a Political Dialogue Forum was at first intended to include the political parties, but it ended up excluding even those that had once sympathised with the Commander’s coup. So the Commonwealth’s Mr Sharma has good reason for insisting that February’s consultations need to be “fully inclusive”, aimed at “a genuine national consensus on the constitution, clearing the way for credible elections”.

Mr Bainimarama’s latest announcement comes after a relatively quiet year in Fiji. The main dark cloud has been the harassment of trade unions, in the form of arbitrary arrests and restrictions on workers’ rights in “essential industries”. Gone, however, are the rifts between 2007 and 2010, when a succession of high-profile politicians and army officers broke away to join the opposition. 

Acquiescence, submission and simple coup-weariness seem to have set in among Mr Bainimarama’s opponents.

What is more, after a severe slump between 2007 and 2009 the economy has fared better, helped by an inflow of Australian tourists to Fiji’s sun-soaked resorts. Soft loans from Beijing have financed key infrastructure projects, helping to position Chinese companies for expansion into other sectors, including bauxite mining. Concerned about a loss of regional influence, Australia has just relaxed its tough stance towards the island-state, announcing that it would double bilateral aid, to A$36m ($37m) in 2013-14. Most of the money will go towards health, education and helping to alleviate poverty.

So Mr Bainimarama has good reason to feel more secure, and to grab the opportunity to obtain greater acceptance for his coup-spawned government both at home and abroad. Yet there are grounds for thinking that, with luck, things may not all go his way. In Fiji, constitutional-reform processes following its all-too-frequent coups have a habit of developing a momentum of their own as they seek to obtain a broad degree of legitimacy.

That is what happened in Fiji a decade after a coup in 1987. Contrary to expectations, a new constitution that emerged from the long consultation process dealt with many of the grievances of the minority Indian population in Fiji. So even if the early stages look heavily compromised this time round, as they did the last time, the final result might prove broadly acceptable. But for that to happen, some way still has to be found to ease Mr Bainimarama out of power and to rein in Fiji’s too-powerful army.
Lifting martial law in Fiji

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A hint of things to come for the media after the PER is removed

How will the media operate and what news and information will it actually deliver after Saturday, when the Public Emergency Regulations are removed? The Media Industry Development Authority has confirmed censors will no longer be in the newsroom dictating what can and can't be run, but it's warning reporters they will still have to abide by the code of ethics and avoid what is says is 'preconcieved ideas.'

Media Authority will monitor media outlets
January 5, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: Fiji Sun

The Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) has welcomed the removal of the Public Emergency Regulations (PER), but at the same time, has cautioned journalists to exercise responsibility.

Authority deputy chairman Matai Akauola yesterday said with the removal of censors from newsrooms, MIDA will be the body monitoring news items in print, broadcast and television media.

Mr Akauola said journalists needed to let go of their pre-conceived notions when doing news articles. “We should be glad that censors are being removed but in saying that, we are not out of the woods yet. It is just that according to the goodwill of the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama  the PER has been removed.

“In removing the PER, the democratic process hasn’t kicked in yet. This is to allow for consultations in regards to having the new Constitution. The democratic process will only be up and running when we have general elections in 2014. From now until then, whilst the PM has announced the removal of PER, for the media, it is a matter of adhering to the code of ethics,” he said.

With the lifting of the PER scheduled to take place from this Saturday, the Authority’s work as the monitoring agency also starts at the same time.

“The censors will be taken out of the newsroom so that journalists can freely do their work. Even the Government would want a very responsible media while moving forward. Even at the media authority, we want people to do their work diligently and it is a matter of playing by the rules,."

The Authority came into existence when the Media Decree of 2010 was implemented. They will be the agency looking into complaints against media organisations, amongst other things.

“We will be working closely with the media organisations, talking and we think that is what is needed, the solutions are in the newsrooms.

“We had been meeting with media organisations and they have been asking as to when the PER would be lifted and now that it is being done, we call for responsibility."

Talks are also taking place to form a Fijian Media Association, to look at the welfare of media personnel and issues that affect them such as the safety of journalists.

Media freedom is one of the issues picked up by the Fiji Labour Party in its response to the plan to lift the PER. Under the heading,  "Cautious welcome to lifting of PER", the FLP says the judiciary is the other sector that needs to return to independence asap:

The Fiji Labour Party cautiously welcomes the decision to lift the PER later this week to allow for political consultations on the new constitution.

As an obnoxious and repressive set of measures, the Public Emergency Regulations should never have happened.

However, the Party believes that simply lifting the PER is not enough. To be fully effective, it should be accompanied by the following:

• the restoration of full media freedom

• restoration of the Judiciary’s independence and
the restrictions on its jurisprudence lifted

• Government accounts together with Auditor General’s
reports must be published

• There must be absolute accountability and transparency
in the affairs of the nation

• Ministerial salaries must be made public

• All abuses under the PER must be investigated and
those found guilty, punished

FLP statement re the PER

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hapkido cop 'murdered after falling foul of senior RFMF officer'

Exclusive information has emerged about the suspicious death of a police officer at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks swimming pool in Suva almost three weeks ago.

Well-placed police contacts say thorough investigations into the death of PC 3410 Opetaia Ratuvono, have revealed that he was murdered at QEB then dumped in the pool three days before his graduation from the military hapkido course.  

Sources say PC 3410 Opetaia Ratuvono was staying with his brother (who is a private) at QEB, during the last six months of his hapkido training. But he fell foul of a senior officer and was dealt with.
They say the day before he was killed, PC 3410 Opetaia Ratuvono was last seen attending swimming classes with his group at QEB. After he got out of the pool to go to his quarters, some officers approached him and took him to the military police cells where he was beaten to death. He was then given a substance to disguise the beating, and chucked in the pool.

Contacts say most police officers know that a body only becomes stiff when someone has been dead for a certain number of hours: sources say it is most likely PC 3410's body was dumped into the pool some time after he had been killed, which is why it was upright when it was spotted. 

Coupfourpointfive has been told there is a picture in circulation which shows the body was upright when found - not floating as it should've been if he had drowned. The picture also clearly shows marks, scratces and bruises to the face and neck.

Sources say after the body was taken from the pool, it was the army doctor who pronounced PC 3410 Opetaia Ratuvono dead and who concluded he had drowned after taking a certain substance. 

It's said the police commissioner, Ioane Naivalurua, then gave orders no other post mortem be held and no investigation be conducted. 

Sources note, too, that while the army said Ratuvono had drowned while in swimming practice, he didn't have his bag and change of clothes with him.

They also say that before any questions of foul play were even raised, the police spokesman was already on the news stating there was nothing suspicious in the death of the officer. 

Ratuvono's death was revealed by the Torture Watch Fiji blog after QEB sources contacted the former 3FIR leader, Roko Ului Mara forcing the regime to respond with a statement.

Samisoni and fellow SDL members released on bail

Williams and Samisoni. pic Fiji Village
Semise Lasike yesterday. pic Fiji Sun
The deposed member for Lami and three other SDL members have been released on bail and the case adjourned for another three weeks.

Dr Mere Samisoni, Mataiasi Ragigia, Apete Vereti and Semisi Lasike were all ordered today to pay $FJ5,000 bond and provide two sureties. 

All four, who are aged in their fifties to 74, have been told to surrender passports, remain at their residential address and not interfere with state witnesses or contact each other. 

They have also been told to report daily to police and not leave their homes between seven at night and six in the morning.

The Suva Magistrates Court has also put them on the watch list.

Prosecutors allege that between the months of September and December last year, the former politicians intentionally conspired to overthrow by force of violence the Government of Fiji.

by Coup Fourpointfive on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 1:13pm

Solid questions being asked about life after PER

The illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayaz Khaiyum, says the Methodist Church will now be able to hold its AGM following the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations on Saturday. He also says the media will be able to produce  what he called 'balanced reports' without censors. Khaiyum added people will be allowed to meet in groups but those wanting to meet in public places will still need permits. His answers give some idea of how things will work after the PER is lifted on Saturday but a lot questions still need to be answered on how it will work in reality.   

FemLINKPACIFIC raises a valid concern - how much participation will Fiji citizens actually have in the upcoming consultation process?

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls
Executive Director – FemLINKPACIFIC

The announcement on January 1, 2012 of the state’s intention to lift the Public Emergency Regulation and Media Censorship in Fiji on Saturday 7 January 2011 comes two thousand, two hundred and seventeen days since the announcement of the military takeover in 2006.

This is indeed an important and welcome indication of the sequence of events in the commitment by the state to return Fiji to parliamentary democracy.

The process of Constitution-making, we understand, must be part of a broader political dialogue process so we hope that we can look forward to a follow up announcement to invite political parties and civil society (including human rights and peace activists) to the table for a broader dialogue.

In midst of thinking about the January 1 announcement, there are also a lot of questions that also need answering about the legal processes and what the role of the Fiji Media Authority will be? Maybe this will happen on Saturday (the 7th).

For example, when it comes to the proposed process:

Who is to decide—including who is to be able to have input into the discussion, even if not to make the final decisions?

• Funding—how much will it cost, where is the money to come from, and who will be accountable?

• Timing—is there to be a timetable, and if so is it to be rigid or open to change? Is it to be tight or to allow a lot of time?

• Adoption—how is the new constitution to be passed into law—by the body that discusses and decides, by the President, or by the approval of the people through a referendum? Are there to be any other prerequisites?

• Technical quality—how is the technical quality of the document to be assured?

• Openness—how will the public be involved, what parts of the official proceedings are to be open to the public, and what will be the role of the media – including community media

These questions are not unusual. In fact as we review the range of literature available on Constitution-making processes (such as the September 2011 Interpeace publication “Constitution-making and Reform: Options for the Process” authored by Michele Brandt, Jill Cottrell, Yash Ghai, Anthony Regan) we note that there is no single formula for Constitution making and in fact this list serves as a recommended checklist by the authors in developing a road map in Constitution making, who also add:

“It may, for example:

• have only a final date by which the new constitution must be adopted, giving no other indications of time periods or order of events (this is unusual, because if tasks are specified some intended sequence will usually be stated or implied, even if in general terms);

• specify tasks in some detail and the order in which they are to be carried out, but without any time periods being fixed at all, or with only an ending date being specified;

• specify tasks in very general terms, without a clear indication of when they are to be done (for example, a requirement might be “to consult the public” without an indication of whether this is to occur before any other work is done, only when a draft is prepared, or both);

• spell out the entire sequence of events with precise time periods attached;

• involve a mixture of these approaches; or

• schedule events by reference not to time but to the occurrence of other events, such as other elements of agreement in a peace process”

So we have been thinking about what this process means for the women and young women and the communities we work with in the greater Suva area, Labasa, Nadi, Ba and Nausori.

Here’s just the beginning of our Women, Peace and Human Security Checklist:

The constitution-making process needs to be participatory, inclusive, and responsive to ALL women’s needs and rights. It is what many women refer to as “safe spaces”. Not just physically safe, but being informed enough about the process to contribute an opinion. To feel safe enough to safe an alternative viewpoint.

We hope, for example, that the consultations planned will take into the rural women and youth who continue to be marginalized from decision making forums (because) to be in line with the International human rights principles and standards, it is essential that the constitution making process reflects Articles in CEDAW as well as commitments in the (1995) Beijing Platform of Action and Program.

This means enabling human rights organisations to undertake preparatory work within our networks without fear of intimidation

To be inclusive, also means ensuring a participatory process which will be conducive to ensuring greater scope for the expression of public views. To enable all citizens to reclaim their voice through this process. It must represent the transition to engaging in more democratic processes.

After all, after 2217 days, of not having the space to speak out, we need an important and clear and empowering preparatory and consultation process to strengthen the efforts to advance gender equality rights and the empowerment of women and to simply “reclaim” what many of us felt we had lost 2216 days ago and to understand what the new post January 7 2012 political reality will be like.

CCF CEO Rev Aquila Yabaki
CCF: Blogs no longer needed after PER is lifted

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum has been calling for the Public Emergency Regulation to be lifted since April 2009 and welcomes the announcement by Bainimarama that it will cease from January 7th, 2012

“The lifting of the PER is a good sign by government as it represents a credible step in the right direction. But it is the first, belated as it is, and we may need to focus on this as an opportunity for the many more steps,” says Rev. Yabaki.

“The media Decree will now be allowed to be tested as the Duplication in Section 16 of the PER is covered by the Section 80 of the Media Decree which prohibits publication and broadcast of material which would give rise to public disorder. The PER , however, restricted assembly and this is the fundamental difference meaning that groups, political, social, church can now freely exercise their fundamental right to sit and discuss issues.”

“This freedom means that potential spoilers will also be allowed the same freedoms. They must be allowed to express their views so the debate and discussion on key national issues and the way forward represents the view of all citizens of Fiji, a country of diverse people stresses Rev. Yabaki.

“In a way the blogs will no longer dominate political discussion. The other concern area is if the media entities will quickly refrain from Self Censorship and adjust to practicing a freedom and responsibility that is fundamental to all.”

“Opinion makers offshore must also acknowledge that the lifting of the PER has a lot to do with the work by CSO’s over the last 3 years. The series of dialogues at the different levels allowing space for reasoning out the call for the removal of PER. CCF has rather been unrelenting in its call for the removal of PER and yet at the same time we have had to apply for Permits. Last year alone we had to apply for about 70 Permit Applications for each event and activity, 2010 about 80 permits applications” says Rev. Yabaki.

“The process is the first step and the real test if the current regime can shoulder the diverse opinion some of which will be negative and critical and allow the groups to assemble and talk freely without having to resort to the imposition of PER again. The fact is if this freedom is not practiced with responsibility we may find ourselves back to restrictions and this may delay the processes that promise to return us back to sustainable democracy” stresses Rev. Yabaki.

“Lifting of the PER must be understood in the concept that it allows us our fundamental freedom of expression. The work for Sustainable Democracy is in the Constitutional Work, the Electoral Reform, A legitimate Consultation Process, the preparation of the people for the polls and looking at the truth and reconciliation issues together with the exit strategy for the current regime” stated Rev. Yabaki. 

The Young Peoples Concerned Network:  Wonders if the regime will allow positive criticism.

The Young Peoples Concerned Network (YPCN) welcomes the comments by the Military backed PM Frank Bainimarama that he's Regime were looking to end the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) this coming Saturday, January 7, 2012.

The Public Emergency Regulations have been an impediment to the full exercise of human rights and access to information in Fiji. "As Fiji prepares to move towards constructing a new Constitution and defining its electorial reform process, it is significant that all barriers to our Human Freedoms are removed and the State is fully aware of its social and legally binding role in respecting the voice and needs of its Citizens" says youth activist and YPCN leader, Peter Waqavonovono.

The PER came into force when the late President Ratu Josefa Iloilo purportedly abrogated the 1997 Constitution on the 10 April 2009 and instead limited our rights to freedom of assembly, opinion, expression and movement, the right to a fair trial, and freedom from arbitrary detention.

"What we must encourage is a free media that can openly help Citizens understand the Electoral and Constitution reform processes and sufficient courage of Fiji's political and community leaders to speak out and engage. In order to set up a democratic system of governance as the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has declared in he's new years speech, I wonder if they will encourage free and fair contributions to the processes by ALL citizens and allow positive criticism from experts and not deny our leaders from joining any national frameworks or processes that will define our future" says Waqavonovono, who is also a member of the Fiji National Youth Council, "we also need to now discuss human rights violations and how the detainment and abuse of citizens in Fiji has created a spirit of fear and insecurity over publicly speaking up and engaging with the current regime. 

The regime should consider the set up of a Reconciliation and Truth Commission type of body that can look into claims of Human Rights Violations and Torture. Cases of Human Rights Violations and Torture carried out by the State should be open to Litigation and I encourage the State to now cease arbitrary detentions and all human rights abuse of Citizens. I say this in light of the arbitrary arrest of Mrs Mere Samisoni a vocal Pro-Democracy Advocate who has been in Police Custody for four days now with no access to legal assistance and family support. Under the PER, ordinary citizens can held in custody for 7 days without charge" adds Waqavonovono.

The Young Peoples Concerned Network is willing to accept offers by government officials to join National Dialogue process that will feed into the return of Democracy in Fiji.

"We are happy about this suggestion because young people, women and children are usually forgotten when if comes to nation building. However we will only engage if we are confident that our contributions will be taken seriously and there will be no impediment to human freedoms in these discussions. No one wants to participate in a process where the outcome has already been decided."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More SDL members questioned over destabilisation claims

Coupfourpointfive sources say another two SDL members have been arrested this afternoon. Contacts say the arrest are linked to claims guns have been flown into Fiji. They say the destabilisation claims are false, and the names of those arrested are not yet known.

Editor's Note: Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili will decide on the bail application tomorrow for the four people charged with urging political  violence - former SDL politicians, Dr Mere Samisoni, Mataiasi Ragigia, Apete Vereti and Semisi Lasike.
The case was adjourned today to give New Zealand lawyer, Peter Williams, QC, who represents Samisoni, time to apply for admission to the Fiji bar. 

Update on reported arrest: The two SDL members taken in today were held briefly and then released. Their names have not been made available yet.

International reaction to plan to lift PER:

Commonwealth calls for Fiji elections 


Australia urges Fiji to restore democracy 


Fiji conspiracy accused to front today

CID HQ in Suva where Mere Samisoni, Mataiasi Ragigia, Apete Vereti and Semisi Lasike are being held.

Big story of the day: the fate of the deposed SDL Lami member Dr Mere Samisoni. 

The 74-year old and three others - Mataiasi Ragigia, Apete Vereti and Semisi Lasike - are appearing in court this afternoon. 

A campaign is underway to help free Samisoni who was been detained since December the 30th, two days before Frank Bainimarama announced the PER will be lifted.

Those speaking out against the latest detainments, include the national secretary of FTUC, Felix Anthony, who says such arbitrary arrest without citizens being given the right to legal counsel and unnecessary prolonged detention must be condemned. 

"This detention itself is persecution. Those detained are respected citizens of Fiji and former elected Parliamentarians of Fiji. The regimes tactics to treat anyone who appears to be offside with them as criminals is a clear demonstration of abuse of human rights. 

"We call on the regime to immediately release Mrs. Samisoni and others. This case is a clear indication of how the regime wishes to deal with anyone who does not support it, using the Crimes Decree. We call for the immediate repeal of the Crimes Decree and the Media Decree to ensure peoples rights are fully protected and promoted. Without the repeal of these two decrees the withdrawal of the PER will have little effect if any as the rule of law only applies to ordinary citizens in Fiji today."

Sources: jostling behind the scene over illegal PM decision to lift PER

Khaiyum: Likes to be in the driving seat
As expected, not everyone in the regime supports the decision to lift the Public Emergency Regulations. Information has come in that Frank Bainimarama's New Year's Day announcement to remove the PER this Saturday is not going down well with the illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the police commissioner Ioane Naivalurura, and chief of staff, Mohammed Aziz.

Coupfourpointfive contacts say Khaiyum supporters in the police force, ie Naivalurura, is currently meeting with "other senior military officers who have served in intelligence and now holding ministers postions, to plot against PM decison to pressure him not to lift PER because he knows that when the emergency regulations are lifted - Khaiyum will be sidelined."

Whether anything emerges as a result of the expected jostling behind the scenes remains to be seen. Obviously, Khaiyum has a lot to lose if any changes are made ... changes that could see him wielding less power or see him completely bumped from his position of authority. 

As VICTOR LAL writes below in his story on the Rakiraki bottled water facility, Khaiyum and his nearest and dearest like things the way they are.

Khaiyum’s uncle and aunty accountants behind Magic Mountain bottled water facility in Rakiraki with late Ratu Ovini Bokini family and Tavua businessman Rajen Kant Patel

Sought after: Fiji Water
The world renowned Fiji Water company and its executives were unbearably hounded by the illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz Khaiyum who accused the company of refusing to pay higher taxes on the water it extracts in Fiji. The company claimed it was being singled out by the military-led government for a massive tax increase. Khaiyum delegated the then illegal Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, himself a $2million tax evading thief, to pursue Fiji Water. 

Khaiyum’s snotty piglet and illegal Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama had been wheeled out of his hospital bed in China to make further noises against the water company.
Roth and Nur Bano at top

The treasonist dictator issued the deportation order from China against Fiji Water’s executive director David Roth saying it was based on reliable information verified and confirmed by relevant authorities. “It is unfortunate that David Roth saw it fit to engage in activities outside of his work permit conditions,” Bainimarama said in a statement at the time, without giving details. The dictator failed to declare that he himself had executed the coup outside of his duties as a servant of the SDL-FLP government.

The dictator read a statement prepared by Khaiyum that the company had paid minimal corporate taxes since it was set up. Fiji Water, the dictator claimed, had had a corporate tax holiday till two years ago (2008) and had paid just $500,000 in corporate taxes since. In turn, it received $2-2.6 million dollars in VAT (value added tax) refunds because it is an export business.

Fiji Water president John Cochran retorted that his company paid millions of dollars in duties, and income tax, as well as substantial royalties and trust fund payments to Fijian villages near the company's facility. The Khaiyum-Bainimarama government had imposed a new tax rate of 15 cents per liter on companies extracting more than 3.5 million liters (920,000 gallons) of water a month – up from the current one-third of one percent rate. Fiji Water was the only company extracting that much water.

What lay behind the imposition of the new water tax and the persecution of Fiji Water executives in late 2010? Well, it was a well-thought out and corrupt strategy of the Khaiyum clan who had long hoped to take control of the extraction and bottling of water near Rakiraki. Khaiyum’s aunty Nur Bano Ali became the illegal pay mistress to the regime after the 2006 coup while her husband Zarin Ali worked behind the scenes to fulfil his water company’s dream to not only compete but takeover from Fiji Water the rights to bottle Fiji’s world famous water. And the company to break Fiji Water’s monopoly was to be Magic Mountain Springs (Fiji) Ltd. We will look at its directors later on in the narrative.

Magic Mountain Springs Seeking Investors

Meanwhile, before the 2006 treasonous coup, Pacific Investment Programme had put out an advertisement seeking potential investors: “A Fiji company is looking for an investor to develop one of the world’s largest spring water source bases, located in Matalevu Ra on Fiji’s largest Island Viti Levu. The project comprises the extraction and bottling of water for sale to the international market, targeting the United States and Asian markets, where spring water from Fiji has already built a strong reputation. The robust water flow from Magic Mountain Springs (flowing at 5,000 litres/minute) is capable of supporting a water bottling plant with a production capacity of over 2.6 billion bottles a year. The water emanates from rainfall on the northern environs of the Ra region where the water accumulates through underground formations, 15 Kilometres from a Vatukoula volcanic crater filled with fragmented basalt rock. This creates a perfect natural filter. The volcanic sediments filter the water in the same way as a sand filter filters water in a water treatment plant. The actual spring has been left in its natural state. The land on which it is based is protected from use by its remote location as well as legal agreements between the government and the land owners.”

The investors were told of native lease arrangement and other perks: “It is located on approximately 38.89 hectares, which the company has acquired and has a title on a 99-year leasehold arrangement. To ensure the protection of the invaluable spring source the company has negotiated the acquisition of an additional 21.6 hectares of land adjacent to the water source. To capitalise on the business potential of the spring, various types of concessions and investment incentives in the form of tax and duty have been secured from the Government of Fiji. These include: exemption from corporate tax profits for a period of 13 years;

exemption from duty on the importation of plant and raw materials; exemption from withholding tax on interest, dividends and royalty payment; waiver on restrictions on repatriation of capital and profits; and an accelerated depreciation allowance claim. The level of investment required from a potential partner to bring the project into operation is US$17 million over a ten-year period. This investment would be in the form of a mix of debt and equity and would be allocated to: building equipment and installations; preliminary and establishment working capital and marketing; contingency and consultancy; and funding costs.”

It seems there were no takers. However, the 2006 treasonous coup and Aiyaz Khaiyum’s appointment as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Communications, Civil Aviation, Tourism, Industry and Trade gave the family clan a second chance to make a go for the control of Fiji’s bottled water.

In November 2011 the people of Fiji were told that an American company was expected to open a bottled water facility in Rakiraki soon. According to the illegal Bainimarama-Khaiyum regime, Fiji 480 Holdings Limited along with Magic Mountain has been granted a lease to set up the facility at Vunitogoloa - just kilometres away from the Fiji Water bottling plant.

Magic Mountain, we were told, is a locally owned company with various businesses having invested into the venture.  The source of water is at Nananu village. It is anticipated that the new facility will be bigger than the Fiji Water plant and will provide competition. The new plant - to be established within the next 12 months - is expected to provide employment to surrounding villages. So the reports ran in Fiji.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Former Ballu Khan lawyer heading back to Fiji to help Samisoni

TOP FLIGHT: Peter Williams QC has fought and won major cases.

The New Zealand lawyer who helped Ballu Khan escape the clutches of the military regime is heading to Fiji to help 74 year old deposed member of Lami, Dr Mere Samisoni.

Peter Williams QC has defended some of the biggest names in New Zealand court history and is reported to have left for Suva this afternoon.

Samisoni and three others - Mataiasi Ragigia, Apete Vereti and Semisi Lasike - are facing conspiracy charges. They are expected to appear in the Suva Magistrate Court tomorrow morning.

Samisoni was taken into custody on December the 30th, two days out from the New Years day announcement by military leader Frank Bainimarama the PER will be lifted next Saturday.

Bainimarama has stressed that public order will be maintained and there is wide belief the removal of the PER is aimed at a facilitating a legitimising of his rule as prime minister.

Peter Williams managed to secure the release of millionaire Ballu Khan in 2008 after he was severely beaten over claims and charged with plotting to kill Bainimarama.

The country's chief censor, Sharon Smith Johns revealed this afternoon Samisoni and the other three people with her would be charged “with the offence urging political violence,” contrary to a military decree passed in 2009.

“The four, between the months of September and December 2011, in Suva in the Central Division intentionally conspired to overthrow by force of violence the Government of Fiji."

Working paper maps out plan to lift PER and Bainimarama's 'road to political freedom'

We publish today information sent to us a few weeks ago about the plan to remove the Public Emergency Regulations and a strategy of 'where to here from here' for the powers-that-be. The working paper came straight off a RFMF computer.

Re-claiming our National Conscience through the removal of PER
The inside circle of the Strategic Head Quarters based at Berkeley Crescent of the Military council have been working day and night to position a National Security Working paper to be presented to the Commander and Commander in chief regarding the laying of a building frame work to promote a people-centered peace building pillar for the future and preparing Fiji to the national polls in 2014. The committee composed of four senior officers had mapped out the high priority exit strategy of the Commander and how to intelligently maneuver, using a  political road well-constructed to map out and formulate a new government under the people power voting processes , using a fair electoral system  that does not entertain fraud and vote rigging.

Removal of PER (Public Emergency Regulation) Timeline: January 2012 this must be allowed to enter the public arena as a dawn of the new era a New Year message for the PM.
· The budget 2012 has provided a platform to secure people confidence in them by increasing nurses, doctors, police pay and the working  general public free income tax thresh whole tax deduction of $15,600.
· This incentive will boost people support on the current government and many will quickly make their decision when they see what they take home is better than the past years.
· Bonus payout is another very lucrative people factor that can consolidate a total make over to further government support.
· Workers in the Public Enterprises Departments and statutory organizations headed by AG need to have a bonus payout.
· This departments and organizations include: TFL,AFL,Ports Fiji,Fiji Hardwood, Fiji Pine, FEA,Post Fiji,PAFCO, Food Processes Fiji, Rewa Dairy, Airpacific, FDB,NLTB,HA ,LTA etc.
·    FNPF pension payout, increasing social welfare net, free text books, free bus fare, free medical care and improving quality of life is a strong people centered product when used will mean more support for the government.

·    Our nation is built on the spirit, mind and soul of the people. They have feelings and desires. They are innocent listeners and very easy to sway when they are able to fulfill the three basic needs of their lives, food, water and shelter.
·    The government is now able to secure the people support by providing the best take home pay never happened in the last 10 years during SDL government.
·    The people are now experiencing the real government development in terms of road construction, telecommunication, electricity, water supply and opening of overseas markets for our local produce never happened during SDL and FLP time.
·    Landowners are getting royalties on mineral resources development with huge payout this never happened in the past 10 years of SDL and FLP leadership.
·    To prepare the people to go to the polls in 2014 you must portray the people as you leading your own family.
·    In the family, communication is a vital component where the members are given the freedom to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas and proposals.
·    It is a two way communication. No one dominates without following the family protocol.
·    For FIJI since the installation of PER from Dec 6th, 2006 till Dec 2011 the people were forced to distant themselves from being vocal.
·    Meetings were sanctioned and monitored.
·    We see PER as a deterrent by government to allow people to stop from commenting against government policies.
·    The government is moving in the right Direction if it removes PER next year.


·    PM poll rating must be the first initiative to be conducted where the entire media outlet must be given the freedom to roll out the lifting of the PER.
·    The people must be allowed speak freely to express their feelings their attitudes and their emotions on issues to be orchestrated by a selected media think tank group appointed by government and the private sector.
·    Building people’s confidence comes when the environment of trust and honesty is formulated under the climate of faith where the people are free to express themselves.
·    PER is a bad master but a good servant to the elite club members because it makes certain people rich over night.
·    PER is ruining the heart and soul of the current leadership  of the PM and his cabinet and if it continues to stay in the next two years the whole government roots will  decay and rot, meaning the good efforts of the government cannot be remembered because very less people are talking about and making positive comments about the progress.
·    PER is a killer of democracy when people speak you will be able to gauge the depth of support on your government policies.
·    PER removal must be allowed the full 2 years to develop where the government must put in place a proactive working strategy “A Media Strategic Taskforce” to monitor the running overflow of comments on all media, websites and blogs.


·    The MST task force must include: 10 members. This includes the following a lawyer, an economist, a businessman, a community leader, a politician, a women representative, a youth representative, a religious representative.
·    The taskforce must compile a full media campaign brochure, in video, in DVD, on website, and in audio that spells out in very simple vernacular language all government developments aimed at improving quality of life for the people.
·    Security issues ought to be tackled in an atmosphere of trust and goodwill.
·    The current Fiji Police CP is to be sidelined and be replaced by a strong leader who commands the respect of the force and the people.
·    The newly appointed CP must be visionary and politically active who can strategize for the upkeep of national security.
·    PM should not forget the men behind the 2006 coup planning and plot.
·    They are the brains behind the most talk about coup in the history of all coups in the world.
·    These are the selected honest and trusted officers who spent tireless nights planning the takeover despite opposition.
·    These people are Esala Teleni,Tevita Mara,Pita Driti,Lynman to name a few .
·    The PM must recall Teleni from his ambassador post in China to come to head the Defense Ministry/police where he is to be given the task to head national security work out a plan to plot and redraw the road map of Fiji’s Political Freedom and allow his working security strategy to place PM on a solid ground of winning the election.


·    The inside circle of advisers that includes Dixon Seeto,Mrs Seeto,Ganesh Chand,Dr Mahendra Reddy,Shista Shameem, Aslaam Khan,Iqbal Khan, Zarin Ali,BDO Alis to name a few are to be removed asap.
·    Their strategy is to manipulate the national budget, economic, social and indigenous policies by putting a corporate corrupt musk through a very high cost organized seminars, symposiums and workshops through Employer Federation body headed by BDO Ali and the Fiji Hotel Association headed by Seeto and AG chambers.
·    These advisers get overseas corrupt speakers fly by night consultants to give advice on topics where our local consultants are well versed about.
·    These speakers are billeted in high cost hotels and with very huge consultancy fees.
·    The voter registration and the composition of the constitution commission and electoral commission will follow the same road where expression of interest will be placed on our local papers this will be the order of the day.
·    This method will need to be stopped and the PM must be advised this people are digging his grave so he can be buried in it for his definite demise.


·    PM sits at the top post with the help of Fijians who put him there not Indians or his advisers.
·    As for now the PM with the help of Aiyaz Khaiyum AG and his advisers are removing all the vital strong hold of Fijians.
·    AG and all his Muslim advisers are taking away all the good well educated Fijians from posts of CEO and giving it to Shrlankans, Pakistanis, Indians, and Australians at high exorbitant pay.
·    Their land, their resources, their chiefs, their investment company FHL, their CEO positions, NLTB, their religion.
·    The Fijians are big in numbers they consist of 62% Indians 28% others 10% voters. Fijians will determine the next government not Indians or others.
·    The PM Bainimarama will come back to power on Fijian votes not on Indian votes or others that is the fact.


·    The team headed by Teleni must identify a roll back plan that is able to identify a provincial council working representation with a mix of well educated Fijians in various provinces as think tank.
·    They report & strategize, innovate and implement development plans on all available fronts,agriculture,business,education,health,marketing,leadership,housing,land etc
·    The current provincial set up must be reviewed and reformed where it is to used as a government promotion centre of development where the 14 pieces of economic pie is to be activated to get the full attention of the people in the province.
·    The government must concentrate in shaping up the provinces with developments.
·    Housing projects is a very important development government must use the rural housing scheme to spread housing like wild fire in 3 phases of building throughout the provinces.
·    This project can be a good source of employment for the people in the village.


·    All AG followers’ lawyers, consultants and ex-judges must not be allowed to come close to this make up.
·    Expression of Interest for membership must be terminated and stopped immediately by the PM.
·    This method is criminal conspiracy where corporate techniques are used to sabotage fair and just selection of unique qualified personnel’s.
·    The team to who we can rely on to secure the drafting of this important document must come through our request to the Commonwealth and the United Nations.
·    The draft must incorporate elements of  the 1997 constitution and the revised peoples charter action plan
·    Government Systems and solutions are all created and tailor made in 1997 constitution and the only change to come is by way of the peoples charter revised action plan.
·    The constitution can be completed in 12 months and endorsed by way of a Decree through the President’s office with the election processes to be tested through a referendum by the people.
·    The legality and its legitimacy can be tested once the new government comes into power under the new Peoples charter constitution using the international models of setting up a Truth and Reconciliation commission similar to South Africa.

·    The electronic voting machine is a ridiculous situation
·    We need a simple ballot voting system, one man one vote where the count is made easy and simple with proper voter reconciliation software designed by ITC.
·    To rely on electronic voting is unpredictable because the software can be manipulated.
·    Fiji population is small and other countries in the Pacific region are going through a simple clean system of ballot voting.
·    Fiji population is not 1 million yet and we cannot use a system of voting that will bring confusion and chaos.

·    The electoral boundary commission must include experienced statiscians, surveyors, and academic professionals, Geographers with assistance of the support ministries including Lands, NLTB and Mineral, FAB etc.
·    PM must relocate the function of these commissions to his new selected group headed by Teleni the group will match the plots and make significant reports on how to strategize the number based on distribution.
·    The plotting of boundary must reflect racial composition and the way it is now the number of Fijians are more and they are everywhere.


·    The PM must form a new party with a new party manifesto now with an intelligent working task force team who he is able to place his trust on.
·    Use the people charter pillars to draw up the manifestos for the future party.
·    Identify a national name that will blend well with the theme for the new Fiji.
·    The PM must start recruiting his election office bearers and his candidates who will start the ball rolling in building the corner stone for his election.
·    The PM must decide when to restructure the cabinet where he has to resign as a commander appoint a new replacement who he trusts and make way for 2014 election.
·    President’s term expires in January 2012 a good move is to appoint himself to the post and be commander in chief and appoints one of his loyalist in the army as interim PM.
·    The appointed PM will do all planning and running around making way for his election preparation in 2014.


·    According to our analysis 60% of civil servants do not support PM, 24% support and 16% sitting on the fence.
·    In the police 41% support 38% no support 21% on the fence.
·    Military 48% support, 35% no support 17% on the fence.
·    Province 42% support 38% no support 20% on the fence
·    Indians 56% support,37% no support 7 % on the fence
·    Fijians 45% support, 51% no support 4 % on the fence

·    PM must immediately recruit his high priority think tank team who will carve the way forward.
·    PM must review his inside circle advisers and make an effort to distant himself from any further business dealings.
·    PM must allow the lifting of the PER next year after he has placed all his loyalist  and supporters in key strategic areas.
·    All Board chairman’s and members must be monitored and replaced and new appointments made from people who will be his political drivers in the upcoming campaign.
·    PM must make new CEO appointments and PS asap in 2012 these must be his strategy to buy confidence they must be all his close associates who can tailor make the organization to absorb political pressure and maneuver strengths.
·    All female PS must be relieved of their duty they are not good political animal they can sink the ship when pressure mounts up suddenly.
·    Get all provincial council chiefs on a one week workshop where the key focuss is development and placing a selected working team to frequent the efforts government has placed.
·    Allow this dictum strategy to roll out in 2012 and let it grow for two years the people will fall in ultimately.