#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2013-01-06

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fiji union leads campaign to boycott Constituent Assembly

  “No right thinking individual can support it. And it is also time for everyone to reconsider participation in the Constituent Assembly which will now do no more than to rubber stamp the regime's constitution.”

The Fiji Island Council of Trade Unions is urging people to reconsider participating in the Constituent Assembly process after the regime dumped Professor Yash Ghai’s draft constitution yesterday.

General Secretary Attar Singh says FICTU had reservations about the constitutional development process but reluctantly decided to participate in the hope of helping find a way out of the current hopeless situation.

SINGH: Regime cannot point the finger.
“This was necessary given the state of the economy, loss of jobs, falling incomes, erosion of working conditions, increasing poverty and ongoing violations of human rights including worker and trade union rights. We therefore made detailed submissions to the Commission after wide consultations,” says Singh.

He says the Ghai draft did not fully reflect their views, just as it did not fully reflect the views of others. In particular, it would have granted immunity to the coup makers and their supporters without providing for any process of reconciliation and healing.

But despite that he says FICTU registered its interest to participate in the Constituent Assembly to be appointed under decree 58 - to debate the Ghai draft. 

“We did so knowing that the regime could stack the Assembly to drive a particular outcome. But we believed that most appointees to the Assembly will eventually do the right thing irrespective of their particular interests.

“After all, how could one vote against a draft that took account of and balanced everyone's interest, including its proposal to restore a representative parliamentary democracy under a fair and inclusive electoral system, provided for respect for human rights and for key independent institutions, including judiciary for good governance and transparency amongst others?”

Singh says the Banimarama regime's unilateral decision to reject the Ghai Draft is blatantly dictatorial and deserves universal condemnation. 

“No right thinking individual can support it. And it is also time for everyone to reconsider participation in the Constituent Assembly which will now do no more than to rubber stamp the regime's constitution.”

The regime has decided to dump the draft prepared by a commission it appointed without any public consultation. 

It claims the Ghai draft is backward looking, ignored fundamental principles of democracy presented in the Peoples Charter prepared by the regime and will not be enduring.

Singh says the unelected military government has overlookedits own failings.
"The regime seems to have forgotten that by throwing out the 1997 constitution, a key principle of the Charter, the regime was itself the first to discard its Charter. It cannot now point fingers at others."

He also asks: "Why didn't the regime did not make its own submissions to the Ghai Commission - it was free to do so if it wished just as anyone else. That would have given the Commission the opportunity to consider the regime's views and take them into account in preparing their draft. The country would also have had the benefit of prior knowledge of the wishes of the regime.

"It is clear the regime has now realised that it was constrained from achieving certain outcomes under the rules it first made. It would have been practically difficult for it to achieve a 2/3 majority required under its own decree to amend the Ghai draft without making it very obvious. So it has decided to make the amendments it wants and then require the Assembly it appoints to amend its draft by 2/3 if it can!

"Given the regime's dilemma it should have simply effected its version of a constitution as has happened in the past. It didn't have to appoint a Commission to travel throughout the country and take people’s views.

"We shouldn't have had to undergo such expense, time and energy. It has all been such a waste of time."

Singh says now that the regime has chosen to change the rules yet again and act outside what it initially announced, it cannot expect peoples support for the process any more.

He says FICTU has never endorsed an imposition of any kind in the past it will not do that now.

Pictures: The ordinary folk of Fiji who made submissions to the five member commission.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fiji regime dumps Ghai constitution for its own draft

The real motives behind the discrediting of Kenyan constitutional law expert, Yash Ghai, have been revealed.

The regime has tonight announced it is amending the Ghai Constitution in favour of its own.

Admitting the Ghai document would not go through intact, the country's unelected prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said a short time ago the draft presented to the illegal president before Christmas was not right for Fiji.

In a national address he said: "The Constituent Assembly will deliberate a new draft."

The draft, prepared by Ghai and four other commissioners, was supposed to go to the Constituent Assembly for deliberation but Bainimarama tonight revealed he had a different plan.

"The Government's legal team will amend the Ghai draft to ensure that the draft Constitution presented to the Constituent Assembly is one that is positive, addresses fundamental issues of good governance and will result in an enduring Constitution and guarantees true democracy."

In a similar timetable to what had already been mapped out, he said the regime's new draft should be available for deliberation by the yet to be announced Constituent Assembly at the end of this month.

He said: "Prior to that and upon my return from my G77 meeting I shall send out invitations to various individuals and organisations to particiapte in the Constituent Assembly."

The first sitting is expected to be next month and the new 'regime' Constitution in place by March.

Bainimarama said political parties would be invited to be on the Assembly and he urged them to participate, claiming it was not time for 'point scoring.'

He also said new a registration of political parties decree comes into force next week on Tuesday.

Preceding Bainimarama's speech, the illegal president Epeli Nailatikau, dismissed the Ghai draft saying it reflected the interests of political parties, a claim the regime has used to try to discredit the work of Ghai and the Commissioners.

"It has, unfortunately, perhaps succumbed to whims of the few who have had an interest in perpetuating divisions within our society."

"It would appear that it was prepared to be seen an appeasement."

Listen to Bainimarama's Speech

Listen to extracts of Epeli Nailatikau's Speech 

Draft Constitution drama: was Ghai set up?

Critical information today on the chain of events leading up to Fiji police seizing 599 copies of the draft Constitution from  Bluebird Printery.

Information obtained by Coupfourpointfive confirms the Constitution Commission requested 600 copies be printed.

Ghai: Called by printers after police arrived.
But the same information shows it was authorised by the regime to make copies besides the one originally agreed to for the illegal president, Epeli Nailatikau.

The information comes as the country's unelected prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, prepares to make a major announcement regarding the Constitution process at 6 o'clock tonight on FBC News and radio stations.

It also comes as the regime continues its campaign to discredit Constitution chairman, Yash Ghai. 

Reliable information obtained by Coupfourpointfive shows the Commission had sent the draft by email to the printers on Thursday December 20 at 11am to be printed.

Printing had actually commenced given the Commission had sent Bluebird Printers a camera ready shot. 

Torching of Constitutional papers ‘despicable’, says Samoan PM

By Tupuola Terry Tavita

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi this week waded in with some straight talking on the ongoing constitution controversy in Fiji and the apparent silence from regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Tuilaepa was asked of his views on the recent turn of events in Fiji that involved shredding and torching of constitutional draft papers by Police in front of prominent Kenyan lawyer Professor Yash Ghai, who headed the five-member Constitutional Commission.

“It’s just a despicable act of intimidation," he says. " First they bring over this respected internationally-recognized man who has drafted numerous constitutions around the world to help them draft a constitution document. Then they do this to him? Where is their responsibility to New Zealand and Australian taxpayers who contributed to funding that constitutional draft? Just no respect.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gillard govt welcomes end of draft process and Ghai accused of being emotional

One of three photos sent to C4.5 yesterday.
No doubt there will be coverage for some time on the fallout over the Constitution process, even though the issue now is the Constituent Assembly and who will be on it and how much of the original draft survives.

Two developments worth noting today, one the Australian media report citing a Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman saying the Australian government welcomes the completion of the new draft constitution despite a bitter row between chair Yash Ghai and the military government and the other, a Fiji Sun column, attacking the Kenyan constitution expert.

Under the headline 'Canberra praises draft Constitution for Fiji',  the government spokeswoman is cited as saying: "The draft constitution is a substantial document and another step along the path towards Fiji's return to democracy.

Civil servants miss one week's pay to get '10k' increase

Civil servants are due to get salary hikes to $10,000 tomorrow but not all are welcoming the increase.

Some say the decision to put everyone on the same pay scale penalises those already on 10k. 

One worker told us: "To bring all civil servants to $10,000 with those who deserve it and been on that for years is unfair.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pictures of Fiji's draft Constitution being burnt

Information continues to conflict about just what happened but these are pictures from when police visited the Bluebird Printery and confiscated the copies the chairman, Yash Ghai, was printing for distribution.

They clearly show the distress of Ghai although the  second picture shows what sources say looks to be proofs set on fire as said by one of the other commissioners (Penny Moore) - not the drafts as said by Ghai.

A number of police were clearly on hand but there's no clear consensus on who sent them but knowing the way the regime works, the decision could've only come from the top, the illegal attorney, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, down to police commissioner, Ioane Naivalurua.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Fiji citizens fighting back on police monitoring

Ongoing police surveillance of citizens but is the worm turning?

Police visited the house of Rajendra Chaudhry, the Fiji lawyer and son of Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, on Sunday and today the intimidation practice was outed on the widely-read Facebook.

A week ago, youth advocate Pita Waqavonovono, also revealed police were harassing him saying he had them at his home at 4am in the morning after he posted on Facebook that 'living in a military dictaroship sucks'.

Controversy under surveillance: Mining in Namosi
Chaudhry says the police were sent to his Suva home last night at 8pm by a special branch officer named Jese Malewa.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How far will Fiji army go to avoid being sent back to the barracks?

Tikoitoga: Bloggers impression.
Seeking a true consensus or intimidation tactics?

With Mosese Tikoitoga saying "Let me tell you this, don't mess with the RFMF," one can only guess it's the second.

In an interview with the Fiji Sun published today, Fiji's land force commander makes it clear there will be no compromise and certainly no return to the barracks as recommended in the Yash Ghai draft Constitution.

Tikoitoga tells the Fiji Sun the RFMF will remain strong and 'no one will weaken it'.