Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rivers of Mud from Qoroniasi's mouth.

The Fiji Military is ignoring the pressure to stop their public relations campaign in Fiji's rural areas. Great Council of Chiefs doesn't know whether it is coming or going.

Fiji needs creative minds like this to infuse into its ranks, the ability to think outside the box.

Unfortunately Fiji's horizons look bleak when one takes into account, how Laws
are made and enforced
in Fiji. Qoroniasi Bale is definately peeved at Fiji Military Commander, Bainimarama for thumbing his nose at Qarase's Government.

Another behemoth is created when Fiji Inland Revenue and Customs Authority takes over the reigns of Immigration Department.

S.D.L party spokesman is defending the Bill by offering scapegoats as usual. Predictable billigerance from S.D.L.

Fiji Times the nation's oldest newspaper has it's credibity tarnished by High-school pranks. Two offences of plagarism is embarrassing for the 'First newspaper published in the world today'.

Fijian Landowners are not settling for trinkets by N.L.T.B anymore. As it should be.

What is going in Parliamentry chambers. Mary Chapman needs to go. The thievery within the complex
is a sad reflection of her incompetance. First the over budget, then this.

The Native Lands Trust Board are dangling a lousy carrot, just in time for the 2006 elections.
Things look very suspect when Qoroniasi is around. I consider this another Vote-buying Government programs to improve their standing which according to Tebbutt Polls, Qarase is in the dumps.

Turtle Island owner voices his opinion on the proposed Fisheries Bill. This Bill will sure unravel
more drama as individuals and mataqali members jockey for position. The idea to have N.L.T.B involved is in an indication of their intent to control Fiji's maritime assets as well.

Fiji Sports is finally getting onside with international training regimes, by establishing
a new academy in Nadi for Olympic athletes.

Letters to the Editor in F.T Friday's July 1st 2005.

Allowance in Iraq

BEFORE we left for the mission on May 15 2005, there was an assurance by the Minister for Home Affairs that the allowance for soldiers in Iraq would be increased from $65 to $150 a day.

Your article (FT 12/5) was based on a press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The outgoing commander, Colonel Meli Saubulinayau, had made it clear in an interview in your newspaper the kind of life and the dangers soldiers face in Iraq.

He commented on the allowance and we believe it is all the evidence the Government needs to increase the allowance. It is now three months and nothing has happened. I beg the minister to be careful in dealing with sensitive issues such as that.

Soldiers have suffered much while serving with UNIFIL from 1978 to 2002 in terms of allowance and pay. We should no longer be regarded as the sotia ni vanua (soldiers of the land). We have sacrificed much since World War I.

Enough is enough. We are humans like everyone else. The Bible says: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's." The election is around the corner and our tick will count.

Maikeli Tuibeqa

Free chicken

I AGREE with Rajend Naidu (FT 28/6) that the culture of doing business in Fiji has long been one done by donation of chicken and ducks to officials.

I remember in the mid-80s it took a bottle of whiskey to have a prisoner released from jail the day after he was sent in for nine months for a charge of larceny by a servant.

As a kid growing up in downtown Suva in the late 50s and 60s, I've seen many Customs officers sipping whiskey in the backrooms of shops. Now, I hear a kilo of kava is enough to get a favour done.

Bharat Jamnadas

Nobel prize

I AM surprised Adi Asenaca Caucau or Mere Samisoni were not nominated for the Nobel Prize. I suppose their names are being held back for the Woman of the Year.
Winning both titles would smack of favouritism. But let's admit it, these women deserve both titles.

Mahen Prasad

Good reading

I refer to Losana Tunabuna's comments (FT 21/6). The article certainly makes good reading and was timely.

However, I differ with her comments regarding the army commander.
There is nothing wrong with the Commander's language in both print and visual media.
He is a man of dignity with the nation's security and well-being at heart.

It is the Commander's moral obligation to comment on issues of national security, if and when the need arises. He is in charge of the armed forces and it is imperative he voices his concern in a manner he chooses to so that the message gets through to all stakeholders.

It was he and the military who steered the security situation back to normal after the mayhem in 2000. Surely, he and all right-thinking citizens do not want to go through the same despicable events of 2000 again?

I say to Ms Tunabuna that we all love our beloved Fiji and would like to live here freely. So does the army commander. That's why, as chief of the security forces, he has to uphold the rule of law and avert any dubious legislation that just might make us a terrorist's paradise.

James Pillay

Indian takeover

The argument that Indians will take over Fijian land has often been used and abused by politicians and columnists.

We will hear more of it before the next election.

Can someone give us statistics on how much Fijian land has been illegally taken over by Indians and how much was taken by the white settlers?
While at it, could they provide figures on how many Fijian homes have been broken into and burgled by Indians?

How many Fijians have been murdered by Indians in their homes (robbery gone wrong)?

How many Fijian women and men have been robbed by Indians in daylight on our streets?

How many Fijian families have been evicted by Indians from their homes?

Maybe Caz Tebutt and John Fraenkel, with the help of police, the Bureau of Statistics and the Native Land Trust Board could provide us answers.

Vijay Madhavan

Trains of thoughts

THE letter from Mere Samisoni that appeared in FT June 25 edition, warrants a reply.

Mere Samisoni's harangue on how Fiji needs civil societies is a wonderful example of misguided trains of thoughts; which is far removed from the best interests of Fiji and her people.

Secondly, I would like to also point out the role of the Fijian mataqali members have been usurped by colonial era institutions. These organisations have perpetually adopted this primogeniture benefiting only, themselves. I would like to share these inspirational words with your readers that may apply to the junction of democracy, which the nation of Fiji approaches.

Written by Thomas Paine, English-born American in the article called The Crisis published in December 23rd 1776. "...These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated..."

Reginald M. Lutu

Fiji Water

OUT of curiosity, I am inquisitive to know the following:

What's the volume of Fiji Water that's exported?

How much foreign exchange does it earn?

How much of it comes back into the nation?

How much is retained in the offshore accounts?

It is a fact that no tax is paid on water exported. Have we left our taps leaking while we seek donations from China and Japan?

David C. NAIDU

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mud-slinging in Fiji Politics.

The deflection and denial by G.C.C in asking the President to resign is an indication of the simmering tensions beneath the surface in Fiji. G.C.C Council Chairman should appreciate the role of the press. Individuals like himself relish operating without scrutiny. It doesn't work that way in democracies buddy! Transparency and oversight are the order of the day. If G.C.C can't handle that, then hit the road, Jack!

Immigration officer is cleared of any wrong doing, highlighting the level of interference by the P.M's office in Fiji. After all the noise in Fiji media, that the officer acted outside his authority was in fact hogwash and disinformation.

It takes the sleeping Giant nation of China to suggest a way forward for Pacific islanders. What are they doing in these decision making and planning departments in these island nations?

The 4 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is grandstanding. With all due respect to the four women. However, none of these women ever placed their life on the line in pursuit of Peace. I would believe that the humble Fiji Soldier has been sidelined as usual by these NGO's.

U.N official declares that Fiji's development is in a doldrums.

The reason being is the issue of land. Another case of land disputes in Fiji anchors the fact that the Native Land Trust Board
needs to go.

Qoroniasi Bale-Fiji's crooked Attorney General still doesn't get it. Nevertheless Villagers in Fiji are not agreeing with the Amnesty clause of the R.T.U Bill.

The restructure of Fijian Administrators should have been done 30 years ago. Better late than never, huh?
Secretary to Parliament should just resign for requesting more money for Parliament House repair. She has shown her incapability of projecting accurate capital budgets and operating within those limits. I believe it s time to for Fiji, to find someone who can.

More Letters to the Editor of the Fiji Times of Thursday June 30th, 2005.

Anatomy of delusion

I refer to the recent protest march staged by members of the Methodist Church of Rewa where Reverend Kalivati Ravoka is quoted as saying legalisation of gay mariage will bring other ungodly acts being performed in Fiji — father's raping and impregnating their daughters, men molesting little children, Hindu temples being descrated, violent robberies and murders of innocent, hardworking people and not forgetting the number of people in high places commiting adultery and having several "vale ni kuros" apart from their legal one!

His comment regarding gays therefore is just as delusion as the deluded government ministers driving around in expensive Pajeros whilst so many of our citizens struggle to survive, the Immigration Department trying to justify the expusion of Peter Ridgeway, further exacerbated by the front page of one of our dailies depicting Jioji Kotobalavu crudely and classly telling him to "bugger off" and probably the biggest delusion of them all — the Minister for Lands and brother of George Speight recently announcing in the media that George doesn't want to be used as a pawn in the unity Bill, but that he wants to reconcile with all those who suffered during the events of 2000.

Yet in the next breath, he then goes on to say that time would tell whether George would give the names of those behind the coup. Now you couldn't get more delusive than that could you?

Talei Burnes

Silent treatment

WE can no longer afford to let our religious selves or spiritual selves be stunned by the abuse of religion or our resentment of it. Without question, gay people everywhere have been betrayed by their faith communities and damaged by religion.

They have suffered directly as members of congregations and families that accepted unquestioniningly the selective and tortured interpretations of scriptures spewed from pulpits.

The church was my home, its tradition of service, peace, justice and compassion were and are mine, but I could not and cannot accept its hyprocrises — among them its discrimination. Tolerance will never be the word accepted but violence and hate that is unquestionably the theme of church worshippers that is indirectly sermonise to the members.

However we must recognise that it is the gay untouchables who often stand alone in their churches and traditions against the false teachings and religious violence that hurt us all.

I personally believe that gay marriage is not a subject that a large proportion of gay people are embracing. In fact there are too many people who say they don't want to copy the straight world.

EttaT Tuitoga

NBF names

I read with interest Adi Kula's letter (FT 14/06/05).

The people of Fiji lost $220 million when the National Bank of Fiji collapsed. It collapsed because debtors borrowed from it and did not repay.

One of the borrowers was QB Bale and Associates which borrowed more than half a million dollars.

We have been hearing this name more often than the Prime Minister's or George Speight's in Fiji lately. Do the poor people of Fiji have something big to worry about again?

Ranjit Singh

Passing blame

The Government is at it again. They've now decided to blame the President Ratu Iloilo for the impasse between the military commander and government.

They're being arogant, they don't have any respect for the President's Office, by insulting his Excellency's advisers.

Realising that their mission of ousting the Commander from his secure position was not achieved, they've now shifted their trash to the highest office.

It seems to my view that the government is the one stirring emotions, instead they need to relax and stop their unnecessary nagging.

Kinisimere Vakaloloma

Labour explains

LET me explain why Fiji Labour Party walked out of the Parliament during the second reading of Promotion for Tolerance and Unity Bill and is staying away from JLO Sector Committee. There were no prior consultations on the Bill as has been the precedence on national issues such as Land, Constitution and Sugar.

A similar approach could have been adopted. The matter could have been discussed first at a Talanoa Forum. But the Government decided to surprise and shock the nation.

FLP's intention is to draw attention of Fiji and the Internatioal community to the constitutional provisions in the Bill.

Labour's action has put Fiji back in focus, by its own people and by the world. The Bill is a national issue. The FLP as the victim of the 2000 event as such, it just could not sit and listen to the Prime Minister forcing reconciliation down our throat.

Furthermore, our presence would have given legitimacy to something we believe is a deception.

Experience has shown that the recommendation by the Sector Standing Committee (which operates on a bi-partisan basis ) is hardly taken on board by the SDL Government when brought to the House.

On such an important issue, it would be futile to sit through a charade when the Prime Minister is constantly saying that the Government will see the Bill through.

The FLP also decided to boycott the Land, Consti-tution and Sugar Committee for the simple reason that the PRTU Bill cuts at the basics of human rights, takes away the independence of the DPP and the Courts System.

When freedon, stability and security is threatened, Land, Constitution and Sugar take on a secondary importance. What will one do by acquiring Land Leases or with Sugar when these rights are not there?

These Select Committees were established in good faith which have been breached by the action on the Prime Minister.

For information of Mr Kumar, NLTB is renewing leases for 30 years under ALTA for land they intend to lease.

As for hoodwinking the electorate, that will be decided by the people in the 2006 General Elections. Dalip Kumar can begin his campaign. FLP has been commended by the large majority for the action they have taken. FLP will continue to respond to the needs and aspirations of the people.

Dalip and I hope I have clarified Labour's principle position and understand that we have no time for political grandstanding on such a critical issue.

Amjad Ali

Resign, Qarase

LAISENIA Qarase must resign after the serious allegations made by the Fiji Council of Churches that he deliberately misled them on the amnesty provision in the Unity Bill.

It is disgraceful that the prime minister should have deceived church leaders into winning their support for the Bill. He had the audacity to mislead the nation by claiming that the Bill had the support of Christians.

This is simply another instance of how he has been lying and deceiving the nation regarding this highly objectionable piece of legislation and its sinister intention to provide amnesty for those convicted of coup-related offences.

Similar duplicity was exercised when Mr Qarase introduced the Bill in the House of Representatives and the Opposition was forced to accuse him of lying and distorting aspects of the proposed Bill.

The allegations of deliberately-exercised duplicity are serious and the nation must take them as such. A prime minister cannot deceive the nation on important national issues. I suggest Mr Qarase do the honourable thing and resign as prime minister.

He cannot command the respect and confidence of the nation. The Government must stop all the charade about consulting with various groups, take the advice of church leaders and withdraw the controversial and highly divisive Bill.

Mahendra Chaudhry
Opposition Leader

Poverty and wages

THERE was an urgent vacancy (FT 11/6) for sewing machinists for Southtex Fiji Ltd, the leading Nike garment manufacturer.

The advertisement stated that attracting rate @ $1.43 hour will be offered to starters and experienced. Directors of the above company who must be aware of the Ministry of Labour laws, had no hesitation in disclosing their meagre rate.

More than 50 per cent of Fiji's population is under the poverty line. Thousands of employees are underpaid while education, health needs, proper housing and groceries for their families remain unaffordable.

In many cases, employers fail to deduct or submit FNPF contribution for their workers. People have worked for years and decades but are left with nothing to enjoy the benefit of their hard work.

Directors of big companies enjoy luxurious living, ignoring the fact that this is all derived from the seat of their employees. The authorities concerned send their representatives to companies for inspection where bosses offer bowls of grog, lunch and even cash to them.

Without inspection, the representatives' work is completed for the day. Whichever race our future prime minister and his colleagues belong to, will not matter. Our underprivileged requires good leaders to consider their plight.

David Lal

Unity Bill

SOLUTIONS quite often bring some problems as well. But in the case of the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill it seems that the majority of the people are too concerned and talking about it especially in regards to the amnesty clause.

Because of its implications it is causing a lot of unnecesarry mental stress and strain to many. Also a lot of time, money, efforts and resources are utilised by the Government for seemingly o futile exercise.

In any situation reconciliation and unity is possible if the wrong-sincerely acknowledge his/her wrong-doing to his/her victim and apologises and where necessary compensates the victim first. Basically this is what that was required in Fiji's situation.

If there was a thorough discussion among the parties to the tabling of the Bill in Parliament then I think we would not have faced the disagreement.

First, we should know about the people behind the 2000 coup (and the mutiny at the Army Barracks) then we should have a list of people/families that were directly affected like the hostages at the Parliament, those whose cars were burnt or damaged and the communities that were terrorised and looted at various parts of the country.

Further, there should be another list of people who were indirectly affected such as hotel and garment workers, those in taxi and bus industries, students, office workers and sick. In fact the list can be longer.

We should not forget that we are part of the global society, and others are watching at us. Politics is another game that can be won if played properly, that is, if acts of transparency, accountability and justice are common as people look forward to these aspects than any thing else. It is the principle that matters not who is the principal.

Ishwari Prasad

Right to speak

I AM pleased Ravuama Vere is questioning the issue of whose mandate some of us have to be speaking out against the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

We need citizens who can exercise their right to speak out about issues that are of concern tot hem.

Just as Mr Vere is exercising his right to speak out, I am also exercising my individual constitutional right to speak out against a Bill that I have carefully studied and have detected the possible negative impact it could have on my life and lives of my family and the children we wish to educate to respect the rule of law and to live in harmony with one another in this country.

I do not have to be a MP as Mr Vere knows too well. If there was nothing wrong with the Bill, we would not be speaking out against it. I have often said that this is not about against government of the political party. Concerns are raised after an objective analysis of the Bill.

Had another government or political party tried to pass this Bill, I would still be against it. For good governance to prevail, there is no need to play the numbers game. Not all the people of Fiji had read and have had the time to reflect on the possible implications of the Bill.

The major issue here is that some citizens who have read it have articulated their grave concerns. This should be reason enough for the Government to re-look at the issue.

Just as the present government in its wisdom had withdrawn the Media Bill after strong objections from the public, it should similarly withdrawn this Bill.

In its place it should direct its attention at re-looking at strengthening and resourcing the current mechanisms we already have in place to effectively bring about what this Bill is aiming to do is reconciliation, unity, justice, compensation and pardon.

This would be in terms of utilising and helping our educational system, our Ministry of National Reconciliation and Unity, our judiciary, DPP Office, Police, Fiji Human Rights Commission, the Prerogative of Mercy Commission and NGOs and religious bodies' community outreach programs for peace education, reconciliation and poverty alleviation etc.

Non-government organisations, trade unions, professional bodies and informed citizens who have had the opportunity to read the Bill and exercise their right by voicing their opinions about their concerns — even though they are from different political persuasions, are always good indicators to go by.

That they and individuals can still exercise their right to contribute positively to public debate is a healthy sign for Fiji.

Susana Tuisawau

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rivers of Mud.

Crunch time for Qarase, as cracks appear in the S.D.L/C.A.M.V coalition.

Senator Atu Emberson-Bain is out for justice at the Senator privileges committee.

The prime reason why there is no Air cargo from Fiji, is due to the fact that companies are feeling the pinch in their monthly phone bill. There can be no exports for Fiji if the cost of calling internationally is sky-high or with this Recon Bull dangling.

Fiji's answer to Hollywood must admit it's failure. The Yaqara project is problem-ridden venture due to the land negotiations. In adddition to this top-driven policy in Fiji Audio Visual Commission. Neglecting to put in place the creative core functions of film-making in Fiji. That is actors or the artistic talent in screenwriters, cinematographers, digital graphic artists, make up artists, costumers and directors etc.
The businees plan of F.A.V.C and Yaqara was argurably too naive, banking solely on Fiji's pristine environment to lure international Film Studios to produce movies in Fiji. Realistically Fiji is not the only place on the planet with a beach.

Native Land is the crucial key to all development in Fiji. Nothing will be forthcoming until the negotiations are reverted from N.L.T.B back to the individual mataqalis.(Taukei land owning unit).
Cases like V.J's golf course is a good example of when things go wrong.

More discussions on the Bill.
This comment by Alliance Party of Fiji" could not be further from the truth.

The loss of human skill in Fiji due to migration is uncalculatable. The style of Fiji politics and lack of social mobility is a major incentive for their departure.

The need to fill chiefly seats is a pack of nonsense. His comments are extremely biased since he is a one of them. I don't see any reason to continue prop up this out-dated structure in Fiji which is another barrier to the progress and development of the Fijian race.
Why not educate the masses so that they can use their own intiative. The masses will have to learn to operate independently of authority figures.
They are the makers of their own destiny. Not dependant on anyone person for their existence. Clinging to these symbols of culture is not in the best interest of the Taukei commoner. Instead Education should be their only objective. Not bloodlines.

The head of Fiji' Public Service Commission is shaking the bureaucracy.

What doesn't kill you, will only make you stronger!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Seas of muddy transparency in Fiji Politics.

This Kadavu Provincial Council Chairman should just keep himself out of the limelight and concentrate of the domestic affairs of his council.

The Fiji Nursing association has a genuine issue that has fallen on Government's deaf ears for too long. Ignore them at your own peril, Mssr. Qarase!

Consulting family and not others, is a call of ignorance by Finau Tabukaucoro and is totally unfair as well as unprecedented. This position of "Vunivalu" (Root of War)is a paramount seat that requires the consultation of the stakeholders in the community.

Personally , I think the office should be abolished because it was originally established for a native styled General in the tribal wars of old Fiji and therfore is outdated. The original incumbent was Bau Chief Seru Cakabau who engineered Fiji's deed of cession to Britain.
His favourite war club was given to Queen Victoria symbolising the end of the rule of war superseeded by the Crown Law. That whole affair is untennable under present international law and also a debatable issue.

Unfortunately these Fijian cultural ceremonies are also the Achilles tendon for Taukei financial independence and social mobility. Fijians need to understand that there are cheaper alternatives.

In the interest of 'fair and balanced' perpsectives on Fiji politics. A copy of S.D.L party's National Director -Jale Baba, comments on the Reconciliation Bull, which is posted.

Queensland's Bar Association president voices his dissenting opinion, on the Bill in question. It is rather unfortunate that SDL's Jale Baba clearly is talking out of his depths and often regurgitates Qoroniasi Bale's twisted legal reasoning.

A great opinion article-regarding the Recon Bull titled 'Deconstructing the Myth' to the Fiji Times. Written by a free-lance contributor named, Emma Tagicakibau. She is employed by Pacific Concerns Resource Centre and her views are personal one and not of her employer.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Mud surfing on Fiji's Cronyism.

Fiji citizens, use your democracy and stand up for your rights.

Fiji Military commander is enjoying betting ratings than the Prime Minister. I seriously doubt if Qarase et all. can recover from this on the eve of 2006 elections.

Sadly the SDL party spokeman is denying any wrong doing.

However the ball is the court of overseas unions, pending their decision to disrupt Fiji's trade.

Fiji Times Sunday's Editorial article calls it, like it is.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Mudslide hits Fiji democracy.

Here is the Fiji Government acting as a gate keeper of information to the villagers of Fiji.
More scams being investigated by Fiji Police.
SVT spokesperson Ema Duavesi outlines the track record of abuse in the SDL/CAMV coalition.
Fiji Times editorial is advocating a cohesive entity to unite all citizens of Fiji. Unfortunately, language is not one of them. Never has been a divisive commodity in Fiji.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mud, Mud everywhere in Qarase's circle.

Attorney General managed to get Kadavu's support for the Recon Bull simply because of his maternal connections to the island.

Foreign Affairs Minister should not speak on behalf of the Australian Government on the matter of the expulsion of the Deputy D.P.P Peter Ridgeway from Fiji. Let the Aussies speak to the media directly, not through a default mouth-piece who is on the same side of the Bill supporters. Apparently Mssr. Ridgeway 'spilt the beans' in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Commission radio.

It is abundantly clear that the international community will not tolerate this Bill.
The tide is turning for SDL/CAMV coalition and opposition against the Bill is gaining momentum.
Even the Fiji President is calling for Qarase
to drop the idea of the Bill.

Qarase appears to be treading on everyones toes in Fiji for his own twisted agenda.

Last attempts by Fiji Labour Party to lobby sanctions against the Fiji Government has been ridiculed by Foreign Affairs Mininster Tavola who appears to be far divorced from reality; like his boss- Qarase.

The call to make Fijian the national language is another nationalistic rhetoric that lacks credibility. There are more effective avenues of strenthening Fijian culture than passing another law. It is the lack of creativity in the media and in Fiji Government that compounds the language problem.
Having Government official blaming drugs for the decline in cultural and traditional values is the most convenient scape goat.

The real Fijian landowners are not happy campers, especially with N.L.T.B's trend of playing hookey.
Or the fact that in crucial negotiation for mineral resources, the Fiji Government are sidelining the input of landowners by not acknowledging them as a stakeholder.
Their seat on the negotiation table has ben taken up by the oligarchy called N.L.T.B.

That is precisely the reason why landowners are not thinking twice about taking legal action against the ancient organization.

Letters to the Editor-Fiji Times that appeared in Sat June 25th issue.

DPP hype

THE latest hype regarding the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions was anticipated.

Last year in the Senate a senator questioned the motives of the prosecutor's work and labelled him as having a foreign influence on the DPP's office. This was when many prominent figures were awaiting trial on coup-related charges.

It can be easily assumed that the senator was not happy with the way the prosecutor was bringing coup perpetrators to justice. The senator went on to ask where were the Fijian lawyers sent to study overseas, supposedly to return to man such positions.

The same senator is now on a compulsory supervision order somewhere in the country. Does this possibly relate to anything?

Neelesh Gounder

Cheap cards

I REFER to the letter by Iliana Ranadi (FT 21/6) regarding call charges. I am astounded because I can't believe ATH could have a card that is so cheap and yet we are being charged so much for international calls.

If ATH can offer these cards at such a cheap rate, Telecom doesn't need to decrease its international rate.

Let's keep everything the same, cancel the determination, keep our line rental as it is, keep our call charges as it is and just use the ATH cards for international calls.

What do you reckon Commerce Commission, Telecom, ATH and people of Fiji?
For the people of Fiji, I think it is a fantastic offer for us because finally we get an opportunity to save money.

Elizabeth Dyer

View of churches

IF the churches were misled (FT 23/6), then they have themselves to be blamed for being gullible.

Why push the blame on others?Reading the article, shows that most church leaders if not all, are still in the dark about the content of the Bill and I hope they will make the effort to understand the Bill of their own accord and not jump the fence and believe those on the other side.

Those who have presented their views about the Bill have done so from their own professional point of view. What we want to hear is the view of various churches, individually or collectively.
It would make interesting reading.

A Naigulevu

Cause of distrust

THE mobilisation of bias by the TV and print media must be debated in the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill.

I note with some disquiet the emergence of hand-picked actors being pushed by non-government organisations to oppose the Bill.

The choice of Suliana Siwatibau and her group of concerned mothers to speak for the Fiji Law Society, accountants' association, unions and so on, appeared to reflect this on Close Up on Fiji One last Sunday.

While I respect Ms Siwatibau's intelligence and ability and her group's right to express their concern, I do not believe she is a typical representative of the kind of rabble rousing coalition opposing parliamentary revisions to the Bill and question the choice of her as spokeswoman.

This sort of disrespect for the parliamentary process will hamper the growth of a viable civil society with genuine local roots, beyond our 200 years history since colonisation.

Fiji needs civil societies that represent 3500 years of history to solve our coup problems rather than having to constantly face the situation of media "squatting" and domination by urban-based elite NGOs, shrilly singing for the donor "supper".

If you include 3500 years of history and context, Fijians are also victims of a system that tried to defraud them of their rights when Mahendra Chaudhry tried to usurp presidential power over the return to the Fijian mataqali, reserve land held in trust and place that power in the hands of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet by virtue of an attempted constitutional amendment - Bill 1 of 2000, section 10.

This was the key cause of the uprising in 2000 and the issue at hand.

In this regard, by accepting Fijians as the victims in such cases, the design of amnesty or promotion at source, to prevent the coup culture is a strategic provision under statutory powers.

Unless you address the cause, through the Bill, the problem of distrust of the Fijian people will continue into the future.

Mere Samisoni

Apt quotes

I WONDER how many politicians read The Fiji Times comic and service pages on Monday, June 20.

There were two classic quotations on the pages which apply to the country's situation.

The first quote is from the Ginger Meggs cartoon.

It read: "The meek shall inherit the earth after the politicians are through with it."

The second, which was the Thought of the Day, stated: "The farsighted tend to get blindsided by the nearsighted."

The quotes were spot on.

I believe it is not too late for our politicians to lead us to a better and brighter future if they are not blinded by the short-term gains of their actions.

Wainikiti Bogidrau

Ridgway's departure

I REFER to the controversy surrounding the sudden forced departure of Peter Ridgway.

It is interesting to hear the immigration department's pathetic excuse of a junior officer writing up the 24-hour order for Mr Ridgway to leave the country without the knowledge of the management.

The news of him being ordered to leave the country was aired on almost all major radio stations and television.

Immigration had more than enough time to offer an apology to Mr Ridgway or take other appropriate action such as cancelling the order while Mr Ridgway was in the country.

The department's reaction seems to be a well rehearsed damage control strategy but all right-thinking people of Fiji are wondering if Mr Ridgway's case has something to do with the coup-related case being heard in the High Court and the ones yet to be brought to court.

Mr Ridgway deserves better.

Rosie Brown

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Qarase needs a mud-pie on his face.

The cycle of corruption within Fiji civil service continues.
The undeniable Truth seeker in Fiji's congress is Madam Senator Atu-Bain who questions the short time for consultation given by the Justice, Law & Order Committee.
Meanwhile Fiji P.M is denying he misled the Fiji Council of Churches. Actions speak louder than words, Qarase. You are the poster boy for arrogance and predictable billegerance. Being the party leader and head of the Government, also a whipping post for Government flaws. Take it or leave it.
These double standards are definately what Military Commander is against and laid down the chain of command for soldiers, if peril is unavoidable in Fiji.
Tracking down the Coup financiers is a tall order for Fiji Police Commissioner, in the absence of paper trails. Motive will be a huge asset in determining the culprits. Who was to benefit the most in the removing a duly elected Government?

A report on instititionalized racism in Fiji has been released. Undoubtedly, a good read in the crooked policies by consecutive Governments.

It doesn't take Rocket Scientist to understand why Doctors are leaving Fiji.
The call to extend shopping hours in Fiji is long overdue. Fiji needs the revenue in taxes and to deny this public more time for shopping is just archaic.
This proposed Bill for the protection of Traditional knowledge & Cultural expressions in Fiji is a welcomed legislation; however late it may be. However it needs an agency watch-dog to enforce thse laws.

Passing a law is easy in Fiji, enforcing it is the hard part because without enforcing these laws, we might as well do without them. Fiji Government has a very difficult time understanding that basic concept. I just dread the idea of having the Great Council of Chiefs, the Fijian Affairs Board or Native Land Trust Board to be awarded the oversight authority.

The longer Fiji contemplates the need for more Engineers, Scientists- the longer Fiji will be scrapping the bottom of the economic barrel. Fiji and her people will be sentenced for a lifetime under the shallow intellect of Lawyers who will be leading the charge for more financial aid instead using Fiji's mental capacity to create her own intellectual property. As opposed to giving an arm and a leg to purchase someone elses.
That is the difference between Engineering people and people who have read Law. No disrespect but that is where the rubber meets the road in a Capitalistic society.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Muddy waters overfloweth.

Several Fiji Immigration department officers are under investigation for ordering the Deputy Director Public Prosections out of Fiji when they didn't have the authority. This incident just blew in Qarase's face and demonstrates that this SDL/CAMV coalition, will go to great lengths to ensure they will cover up crucial matters related to the coup investigation.
Deputy D.P.P Rigdeway explains himself and describes the atmosphere during his tenure at D.P.P's office, in a Fiji Sun article.
Even their Editorial article of Thursday June 23rd has more to say on the issue.

More examples of the backwardness of the operations within the entire Fiji Government.

Fiji Women Lawyers Association made their submission to this Justice, Law & Order committee, adding more detractors to the Bill opposition camp. Even the churches were hoodwinked by Qarase to harness their support towards this controversial Recon Bull.
The Fiji Times Editorial of Thursday June 23rd lambasts the SDL/CAMV coalition in selectively ommiting facts to the church which appears to be the standard operating procedure for his Government.

Frankly dear Prime Minister, the people of Fiji-DO give a damn!

Here's excerpts form Fiji Times Letters to the Editor which appeared on Thurs June 22nd edition.

Labour attack

Deo Raj (FT 18/6) simply cannot understand how the parliamentary system works.

His defence of the Fiji Labour Party's decision to boycott the Justice, Law and Order sector committee hearing receiving public submissions on the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill is full of holes. The Labour walkout and sector committee boycott is nothing but political grandstanding because the Bill is still in the consultative stages.

Labour MPs on the Justice, Law and Order sector committee would have had the chance to scrutinise public submissions and try to moderate the positions of those supporting this controversial Bill.

They would have had the opportunity to change the view of the government members on the committee by reasoning with them to view all submissions dispassionately. Labour's decision to also stay out of the ad hoc select committee on Land and the Sugar select committee will mean cane farmers and the predominantly Fiji-Indian tenant community will have their misery prolonged.

The people must be reminded that it was Labour and the Opposition leader who claimed credit for the establishment of the committees and even seconded the Prime Minister's motion in Parliament for their establishment.

As it stands, the restructure of the sugar industry has been delayed and will not start until the first reduction in the price of sugar in 2006. Some 500 land leases will expire on Vanua Levu this year and their fate has probably been sealed to the squatter settlements by the Labour boycott of the Lands committee.

If Deo Raj thinks the Labour Party cannot function in this process, then it is wasting its time in Parliament. They must lead by example and not hoodwink their electorate.

If they continue with their cowardly behaviour, history will judge them as having given the Government open territory to impose the Bill on the people.

Dalip Kumar

Voting age

I am writing with reference to an article published in The Fiji Times titled "Give young a voice". As a young person, I strongly believe the voting age should be reduced to 18 years.

Fiji has a youthful population with 62.7 per cent below the age of 29 and young people between the ages of 15 and 29 making 27.4 per cent of Fiji's population.

Research conducted by the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy showed their views and concern make very little impact at local and national level and on the churches. Sadly, UNICEF's video entitled Basoga ni sala - Crossroads, discloses that in 2000, 73 per cent of Fiji's prison population was under 28 years.

"Primary among the traditions and values in Fijian and Indian society is strong emphasis upon unquestioning respect for authority. This deference to authority pervades the Fijian and Indian social structure and is reproduced throughout the socialisation process, beginning in infancy.

From the time they learn to apeak, Fijian and Indian children learn that to ask question of adults is to incite verbal rebuke, while to challenge or actively disobey the dictates of an adult is to invite corporal punishment (Adinkrah, 1995:168)

"Youths in Fiji are a social group without a voice" (Adinkrah, 1995: 27-29).

Among all of the major ethic and racial groups, the status of young people is one of being seen and not heard. The dependency syndrome characteristic of young people in Fiji is expressed politically as well as socially.

Young people are not allowed to vote until they are 21. This political disenfranchisement, with all that it entails, ensures the opinions and perspectives of young people on political issues are disregarded.

I think we should be given the right to vote. If our leaders allow us to vote it will give us, young people, a sense of ownership of our country.

Our leaders refer to us as leaders of tomorrow, but I feel we are not leaders of tomorrow but leaders of today. How can our leaders know how good we are if we are not given a chance to show our leadership qualities.

Kaajal Kumar

Complex process

Reconciliation between victims and offenders is a complex process that requires much more than what is what contained in the Promotion of Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill.

It is reported (FT 20/6) that the Prime Minister said that the Bill had the support of the majority of Christians.

I am a Christian who is requesting the withdrawal of the Bill on the grounds that it does not adequately promote true reconciliation nor does it meet the needs of either the victims of those responsible for the events in 2000. There needs to be truth, and justice, and forgiveness, before reconciliation can be achieved.

As Attorney-General Qoriniasi Bale has said, "amnesty is not forgiveness. Amnesty means to forget, but forgetting cannot precede forgiveness. First there needs to be truth that is, the acknowledgement of harm done. The consequences of their actions have to be accepted, and requests made for forgiveness. None of this is easy for either wrongdoers or victims. It is a process that cannot be hurried, nor can it be imposed".

I am alarmed by the shallow understanding of forgiveness among some Christians in Fiji. Forgiveness is not cheap or easy, nor can it be offered by a third party on behalf of the victim.

The Bible makes this clear. Jesus Christ taught that God's forgiveness is dependent upon us first being reconciled with those we have offended (Matthew 5:23-234). Christians are called to be compassionate and caring. I am sure I am not the only Christian who is greatly concerned for the victims who still feel hurt because of what was done to them at the time of political upheaval in this country, and who now fear that they will never see justice done.

Those who were responsible for the events of 2000 need sympathy too. It takes great courage to admit to having caused hurt and pain, and to have to face the consequences of one's actions. There is a need for compassion and understanding for all involved.

Teresa MacKenzie

Snorkelling trip

I am a tourist visiting Fiji for the first time. As I had heard from my friends that snorkelling was really great in Fiji, I really wanted to go and experience it. I borrowed a little boat from a local man whom I had met earlier in Suva (and we had became friends since then). This nice gentlemen had lent me his boat and gave me a map that showed the passage in and out of Suva Harbour.

My wife, my 18-year-old daughter and I set out for snorkelling. We were having the best time just outside Suva when a boat full of Fijian men arrived and threatened us. They yelled and shouted at us, telling us that the sea belonged to them and told us to leave at once. They spoke in a very abusive language.

They told us that if we did not leave straight away then they would cut off the propeller and throw it in the sea and drag the boat back to their village and then we could swim back to Suva. I told them that we were only swimming and snorkelling and not dumping rubbish or fishing.

They became more angry and came close to our boat and appeared very threatening. We had no choice but to pack up and leave. The next day I brought some of my local friends to the same spot as they wanted to find out the name of the place of this incident. They told me it's called "Nabukavesi" near Suva. My wife and my daughter were very frightened by this incident.

I do not intend to recommend anyone to visit Fiji anymore. I wonder what the Government can do to stop this type of ill behaviour. Now I really feel sorry for the evicted farmers in Fiji. First they got rid of the hard-working Indians who ploughed their land for decades, and now they chase tourists who bring in a lot of money and give them employment.

It's a real shame!!

David Palt

Respect values

Throughout history courageous men and women have taken a stand contrary to the popular perspective of their times and who endured political, religious and racial tyranny, often giving their lives for their cause.

With regards to moral values parents must teach their children to keep separate from conduct, practices or even attitudes, that although common in the world, can bring harm to themselves or to others.

So they should inform their children about the dangers of drugs and other practices such as smoking and the abuse of alcohol. Children must believe in the importance of honesty and industriousness.

Parents must teach children to avoid foul language. They should teach them to live by the teachings the principles espoused in Holy Books on sexual morality and to have respect for authority, the person and property of others. Whatever country we live in we must show respect by obedience to the nation's laws. Children must never engage in anti-government activities. We sincerely believe that living by these principles is in the best interest of all the children of Fiji.

Ganga Singh

Careful Savua

Of all people, Isikia Savua ought to be very careful before opening his mouth to criticise the military and its commander for what he termed "unmatched arrogance" when Frank spoke out criticising the Government in his opposition to the Unity Bill.

Savua should take a good look at himself first and re-examine his track record over the years.

He will find that it is far from attractive and he should be thankful the commander has continued to uphold the rule of law in the country, something Savua failed to do as commissioner of police and was indeed under heavy suspicion from day one of the May 2000 coup for his lack of action and omissions.

His press statement has a political connotation to it and I'm tempted to ask if he has been offered a ticket for the upcoming general elections to join his brother Joseva Savua in the CAMV camp.

I don't know, but to go to the press and attack the commander for his legitimate concern on security is only adding fuel to the fire under the difficult situation we are in. Savua should know Fiji is not going through normal times and for that reason those who are concerned with security and the rule of law like the commander, will in their attempt to be understood, speak out publicly and are likely to ruffle a few feathers in the process.

Before the May 2000 coup, neither the commander nor his predecessors had anything to say publicly.

However, times have changed and as one who lived through this period himself and was largely responsible for steering the country into better times despite the few failed attempts on his life, we have faith in him. I believe he has unfinished business regarding national security and he is still trying to be heard; not that he wants to but because he does not want to see Fiji return to the May 2000 anarchy.

In Savua's case he was commissioner of police before and in the times of the upheaval and was continuously criticised and rightly suspected for his activities. Police vehicles were reportedly used to carry rebels to and from Muainaweni with their loot.

One of his senior officers was reported to have escorted a vehicle full of arms through the Muanikau checkpoint. Many other suspicious incidents occurred during his commissionership for which he is still under investigation. He left a police force riddled with corrupt indiscipline and it's taking Andrew Hughes time to straighten things out and get on with the task of maintaining law and order.

I think Mr Hughes and the commander are doing a great job but it won't be easy bringing the country back on an even keel because of the extent of damage inflicted on society.

Savua contributed to this damage but he is now sitting comfortably in New York bidding his time and maybe a ticket to Parliament. While many of us know the reason for his early departure from the police force, not many of us know how and why he left the army. Perhaps he could tell us.

F Qio

Muddy tracks down the Garden Path of Fiji politics.

The height of tampering of the judiciary by SDL stalwarts.

A Tebbutt-Times poll has revealed the wide chasm of differences in individuals view of the Bill; that may reflect the wide gulf in the eve of 2006 Fiji General elections.

This rookie C.E.O for the anachronic instituion of Fijian Affairs Board should just concentrate on reforming the most inefficient department in the entire civil service of Fiji. Her comments on the dual roles is now a public debate which should be decided in the courts of law. Not by proxy, lip service by civil servants who just don't have the authority to make comments of pending matters of the Parliament proceedings. Shame on the Fiji media, to keep publishing articles that contain contradictory statements.

Meanwhile, Fiji civil service unions are on strike forcing Lautoka Hospital administrators to undertake damage control. This strike is another indication of the growing frustration in the working class of Fiji.

Deputy Prison Commissioner is another SDL stooge, obviously trying to defend their decision to release prisoners who were convicted of the 2000 coup charges. Nothing more than, hot air by these old farts who are puppets of the Qarase Government.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Muddy tracks off the cliff of transparency.

Fijian Affairs Board is using its capacity to carry out the SDL/CAMV's dirty work.
This has not gone un-noticed by the Fiji Labour party.
The people of the common cloth are realizing the extent of lip service provided by Qarase's Government.

Qarase's CEO is critisizing the Fiji Human Rights Commission in filing a complaint against the Bill designers.

This arrogance compounded by stupidity by individuals far divorced from the reality on the ground. Rhetoric from their ivory towers which will crumble under their own incompetance.

Victor Hugo (Author of Les Misrables) once said ..."There is something more powerful than all the armies in the world; and that is the power of an idea whose time has come!"

The die is cast for SDL/CAMV coalition.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Muddy seas of chained development in Fiji.

Qarase is trying to imply that New Zealand is supporting the Reconciliation Bill by funding for South African experts to assist Fiji.
This is just grand standing because there is so much opposition to this Bill.
Fiji Sun's political Editor Maika Bolatiki is getting onto the bigger picture of the 2000 coup. The question he poses, who are this shadowy group of people who are the financiers of the coup. My theory is that it is a C.I.A black op using CRW cutouts.

The growing migration trend in Fiji is alarming. This is the global market of a mobile labor force.
What is Fiji turning into? The lack of respect for private property is one of society's ills in Fiji, another indication of the decaying morality level in Fiji. What's the end game?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Muddy rivers of Billigerant Nepotism in Fiji.

State Tax incentives fall on deaf ears.
Tentacles of nepotism is everywhere in Fiji civil service.

Qarase denies outrightly, yet actions speak louder than words when rumours are circulating of him appointing his cousin, former Newspaperman Mesake Koroi to take up the late Dr. Ahmed Ali's senate post. Wait there's more. P.M's errand boy CEO is defending the decision to interfere with Deputy Director Public Prosecutor, Mssr Peter Ridgeway's contract. Isn't that an admission of
interference and tampering of Fiji's judiciary system by the Executive branch of Government.

The Fiji Sun's Editorial article is putting more heat in the tone. It is sure about time these media organizations make a stronger statement in political issues.

Analysts continue to view the Bill with suspicious motives.

The is an alternative creative solutions to all this racial conflict in Fiji.
The Fiji's Senate Privileges Committtee is investigating new allegations of bias in Parliament proceedings.

Native Land Trust Board has undergone a organization review of its operations by a New Zealand firm. I wonder if that report will ever see the light of day.
The other dinasaur, Great Council of Chiefs is going deliberate on the Bill.
The call to lower the voting age by Senator Atu Emberson Bain is a breath of fresh air.

Its funny how the Sports organizaton ( Fiji Rugby Union) are also justifying their incompetance, just like the politicians in Fiji.

Fiji born academic and writer is coming back to his roots. Fiji needs more of this influx of skill, but the political conditions must be right.
This new CEO of Fijian Affairs Board is already acknowledging the perception of a "bottle neck" in the Fiji public's view of the organization.

More Fiji Times Letters to the Editor of Sunday June 19th, 2005.

Labour's position

I thank Jyotishma Rajan Naicker for her letter (FT 15/06). While I respect her views, allow me to share the Fiji Labour Party's position.

Jyotishma, it must interest you to know that FLP has done the right thing when something wrong has been done by the Government by pushing through the Amnesty Bill in the House. We are the principal victims of the Bill and will not sit as mere spectators to give the process legitimacy to something we believe is a fraud.

The FLP's dramatic action galvanised the entire opposition of this country to the Bill and instantly brought the international community into the debate.

No amount of discussion in the Sector Committee could have done this effectively.

Jyotishma, if you examine the Sector Committee reports in the past four years, you will note that this government has a tendency not to accept any recommendation made by the committee.

Our opposition in the Sector Committee will have been of no avail.

Parliament is not the only forum of opposition.

We have used the radio, television and the newspapers in different languages to continue to inform the public of the reasons for our boycott.

When the time is appropriate, we will voice our opposition even louder.

In the meantime, our members are holding pocket meetings throughout the country, explaining the Bill and why we oppose it.

We are actively helping many NGOs who are opposing the Bill as well.

People should rest assured that we are indeed making genuine attempts to represent the concerns of our people and let me assure everyone FLP will not rest until we have conveyed the concerns to the places where a difference will be made to the Bill.

Jyotishma, thank you for opposing the Bill.

Keep opposing it and we will do our job.

Lavinia Padarath

PM's belief

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, on television, (June 12) dismissed as a vocal minority the Concerned Citizen's network of NGOs and Civil Society Organisations including the Fiji Military Forces, the Police, Professional Associations and the news media opposed to the Reconciliation Tolerance and Unity Bill.

This means by implication that the Qarase government claims to represent the majority view in support of the Bill. He provides no evidence to support his belief that the Bill is supported by the majority of citizens of Fiji.

The 2001 General Elections results show that his SDL Party won 169,227 of the first preference votes which is 26.57 per cent of the votes. The CAMV won 64,414 of first preference votes, which is 10.12 per cent. Together, the SDL and CAMV won only 36.67 per cent of the votes cast in 2001. The Fiji Labour Party on its own won almost as many first preference votes as the SDL and CAMV together, that is 218,728 or 34.35 per cent. In other words the majority of voters (63.33 per cent) voted for other political parties and independent candidates.

This majority did not support the SDL/CAMV as a minority government, which cannot claim the mandate of the majority, to govern this country or to introduce this divisive Bill.

The Bill should be withdrawn so that the nation can follow a more genuine consultative and concenses based reconciliation process.

National reconciliation can be achieved without legislation if Fiji's political leaders genuinely follow the reconciliation principles of Christianity and Fijian traditional customs together with upholding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and the DPP's office.

Jone Dakuvula
CCF Suva

Born lucky

HOW can a once-barred lawyer who had a substantial amount of debt with the then NBF that eventually led to its demise, all of a sudden come up with a brilliant idea of introducing a discrepant Bill to create peace progress and prosperity in the nation?

This situation itself is highly controversial, leave aside the Bill.

It's natural to see law practitioners end up as magistrates and judges over the years through sheer hard work and dedication to their profession. As for others, some are just born lucky or so to speak have the right connections.

Ravind Naidu

Army's stand

I commend the leader of the RFMF Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and his team for their boldness in taking the bull by the horns.

The commander has been denounced by the Minister for Home Affairs as arrogant and the only leader in the South Pacific interfering in the politics of its country.

That be as it may, the commander's team went to the parliament to show their dissent from the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Looking at his actions from a genuine perspective, he did the right thing in opposing the Bill now and seeing it doesn't get through, than to be compelled to take much harsher action later.

The commander has the right to be concerned.

What happens if the Bill goes through and all the political prisoners are granted amnesty and set free?

Why shouldn't the commander be concerned when his institution deployed huge resources in getting the situation to normality in the last upheaval.

Apart from massive suffering, loss of lives and money, damage to properties and suffering by people, the military also lost some valuable people.

I am sure the wounds of those who lost their loved ones in the military hasn't healed and no one would like to see a repeat of May 2000.

How far down the gutters are we expected to go after the DPP's office, judiciary, RFMF, police and other institutions deployed enormous resources to solve the crisis of 2000?

Are all those in support of the Bill implying that the Government should set up a coup culture where political criminals are able to walk away with impunity until the country goes bankrupt?

Deo Raj

Power play

I am fascinated with the controversy surrounding Sila Kotobalavu as CEO of Fiji Inland Revenue.

Here is a man who became unpopular for doing the right thing by hunting down tax dodgers.

What intrigues me the most is the revelation by Meli Kalia from Lami explaining the politics at FIRCA and the connection between Nelson Delailomaloma, Ratu Jone Kubuabola, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and Ratu Epeli Ganilau against Ratu Naiqama and Laisenia Qarase.

The Fijian political power play displayed in this latest saga is nothing short of a professional puppet play.

We the audience, the taxpapers, should applaud Sila for his fine performance and demand more of his fine act.

But we should get rid of those puppeteeers to guarantee us a better show next time round and not the same old political plot.

For Sila's next show, I suggest Mr Qarase be the gatekeeper and ticket collector while Ratu Naiqama become the guest of honour to be seated at the royal box.

After all, Ratu Naiqama is a true chief who surrendered himself and served his time on behalf of his people.

The others are opportunists who have benefited from Ratu Naiqama's blood, sweat and tears.

Tom Fong

Friday, June 17, 2005

Muddy creeks of Fiji filth, that you don't see on Tourism Ads.

More allegations of corruption leveled at C.E.O for Ministry of Fisheries, Mitieli Baleivanualala. Another one, bites the dust.

The SDL/CAMV coalition have together a motley crew spearheaded by an Adi Litia Cakobau.
The reason for this Bill as Labour Parliamentarian noted was to amend the 1997 Fiji constitution under a veil of deception.

Fiji Human Rights Commission chief says inconsistencies between Bill and constitution is serious. Which in other countries
is called the 'credibility gap.'
Cabinet broke its own cardinal rules when this Bill was formulated.

Atmopshere between the Fiji military and the chairman of the Justice, Law & Order commitee, Manasa Tugia is tense.
Another SDL puppet was installed as CEO for this pathetic Fijian Affairs Board.

Prime Minister's office may have had it's hand in, ordering deputy director DPP (Peter Ridgeway)out of Fiji.
Even P.M Qarase is trying to paint a brighter picture for his SDL/CAMV Government.
This is due Qarase's diving poll numbers and the perpetual corruption in Fiji.

Corruption is slowly seeping into Sports in Fiji.
Fiji still has the money to burn on more consultants.

At least some people are doing the right things for Energy conservation.

However in light of all the slow progress in Fiji, many Fiji residents have had it and are moving to greener pastures.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Muddy tracks around the bush.

Qoroniasi Bale is at it again, trying to muscle out other legal minds oppossing the despotic Reconciliation Bill.
The Law Council of Australia has expressed it's reservations on this same Bill, joining the chorus of other legal experts in decrying the framework of amnesty in this Bill.

The S.D.L party spokesman is crying for support in the wilderness.

The Parliamentry committee formed to hear public submission on the R.T.U(Reconciliation, Tolerance & Unity) Bill, is creating more
stumbling blocks against the Fiji Military's 4 page submission.

A humble plee by Fiji Law Society's President to the members of the Justice Law and Order Commitee.
He lay out the fundamentals of deception entailed in the wording of this R.T.U Bill.

At least the controversial chairman (Tugia) of the Justice, Law & Order Commitee has said the Fiji Police Force and the Director of Public Prosecutions-Fiji are extremely wary of the Bill.
Another court case for the Simione Kaitani, the Cabinet Minister of Information for who took an illegal oath, contravening the Public Order Act.

Poverty Alleviation Minister Asenaca Caucau, is defending the drop out rates, as a result of poverty. It is also an good indication that her proud and billigerent SDL/CAMV coalition's policies don't even come close to working. All the P.R of prosperity was in fact, sensationalism.

When the Government has annouced it's lack of liquidity, the idea to establish another C.E.O position within the Fijian Affairs Board (one of these ancient institutions sapping the Public resources.)joins the litany of other acts of incompetance in Fiji Government by these same closed circle of 'old farts'.

The decay in all faucets of Fiji civil service is slowly beginning to show the indirect consequences of their decision making and lack of enforcement in Fiji laws.

Fiji Economist Dr.Wadan Narsey has pointed fingers at Fiji's cadre of Accountants for negligence in their profession and breach of fiduciary duites. Pointing out the lack of scrunity in their affairs in Fiji when numerous financial scandals have plagued Fiji. I agree whole heartedly with his concerns. It it time to evaluate their roles of every institution in Fiji claiming to be an authority in a certain profession. Fiji's organization of Accountant's main concern is organizing theoratical sympossiums like this in Fiji resorts and conveniently glossing over their own deficiencies in the trade.

It's scams like this, that fail to appear on the radar screens of Accountants and Auditors which is a cause for concern. A thorough inward review of the Accounting charter and other trade organizations is sorely needed.
Native Lands Trust Board continue it's trend of falsehood in dealing with Fiji landowner's matters.

More Letters to The Editor, appearing in Fri June 17th issue.

Public holiday.

WHEN one looks at some of the countries in the Pacific region, one understands what the phrase "time warp" means.

Having become a republic in its own right and even ejected unceremoniously from Common-wealth membership thereafter, it is bizarre to see Fiji celebrate the Queen's Birthday and even declare a public holiday at that.

Even England doesn't. Fiji must wake up and get out of this servile attitude if it wants to get anywhere. But if the nation is happy with an unambitious existence, making no impact in the the commercial world, go ahead and party.

Camilla Parker Bowles' birthday comes next on July 17 and Prince Charles' on November 14. And in between if Fiji finds some time, don't forget to make a noise about the garment factories closing down and the unviability of your sugar industry.

Dave Angsell
Jalan Semangat
Petaling Jaya

Agriculture projects.

THE Government should take note of the recent comment by the Agriculture Ministry CEO Luke Ratuvuki (FT 15/6) as to where the ministry has gone wrong in numerous failed projects such as ginger, cocoa, maize, coconut, pineapple, rice, sorghum, kava, yams, potato, sunflower and dairy.

Add to the list the Siga-toka Valley Project, Commodity Development Framework, Yalavou Pro-ject, Uluisavou Project, Navua Development Project, Batiri Citrus Project, Lomaivuna Banana Project, Yaqara Project and Vitcorp.

Is there a record of any successful agriculture project? And where have all the millions of dollars of foreign aid and taxpayers' money gone to? It was extremely interesting to note the statement from the Reserve Bank of Fiji chief manager (Economics) Filimoni Waqabaca (FT 30/5) that agriculture was one sector which was performing well below potential. Why?

It will be good to know from Ratuvuki what the ministry has achieved, with him being a very senior official for more than 30 years. The minister, Iliatia Tuisese, will need strict policies to revitalise the whole agriculture sector with efficient administration of the programs.

Amand Chand

Broken budgets.

IT was extremely disturbing to read how the Government has systematically, since 2001, broken its national budgets.

I can only hope that the figures highlighted by Dr. Bain were, as claimed by the Finance Deputy Secretary, "a political statement far from the truth". I anticipated the Ministry of Women to be the constant culprit responsible for the Government's annual over expenditure since there would not be enough money in its annual budget allocations to effectively address the various socio-economic problems of women.

Surprisingly it wasn't.

The Government chose to overspend in other areas despite facts and figures that continue to highlight the increasing feminisation of poverty in this country.
Of approximately 16,000 recipients of the social welfare monthly payments of $15 to $80, most are women - widows, deserted wives, single mothers and women with disabilities.

Only 16,000 people receive these social welfare payments despite the fact that more than 25 per cent of our national population lives below the poverty line. Most are women and children. So when the Govern-ment decides to allocate $1.2million to salvage the FRU, what message is it sending to our poor women and children?

I'll leave that for you to decide.

Laisa Lagilevu

Amnesty Bill.

IF what the Prime Minister is stating (FT 15/6) is really the way that the amnesty provision of the Bill will function, then what really are we talking about here?

Are the issues related to CRW soldiers who entered Parliament? These soldiers have forever maintained their innocence and have always maintained that while in Parliament they had the full support of the army.

If such is the case, we can fully understand the childish rhetoric by the army commander. Who is scared of who?

Why doesn't the commander "open his mouth" instead of hurling threats?

What does the Government and the commander got to hide?

This is a scary scenario when tyranny slowly rears its ugly head.

Tevita Waqaliva

Equality and democracy.

FIJI is a democratic country. We all know that democracy can be interpreted in different ways, but the basis of democracy is equality.

Equality under the law is the recognition that all individuals are equal, regardless of their material, social or other status. Most of Fiji's citizens agree that the overthrow of two democratically-elected governments was illegal and morally wrong and the SDL government has done nothing perceptible to alleviate the consequent problems.

Those problems include an escalation of displaced persons, job losses and an ever-increasing brain drain. The costs of goods and services increase and the quality of our living standards, education and health services decreases daily, leading to increased unemployment and poverty.

Meanwhile, the administration continues to ignore its inability to collect taxes and VAT. And our infrastructure is disintegrating - the potholed and crumbling roads, blocked drains, water and power cuts and filthy streets.

Land issues, housing for squatters and rural development desperately need to be addressed. We need more professional people - teachers and professors, doctors, specialists and nurses, magistrates and judges. Only our police force seems to be winning against all odds.
We, the ordinary citizens of Fiji know all this. We see it, read about it, hear about it, talk about it and are affected by it every day of our lives. But what does the SDL government do about it?

The best it can come up with is this deceptive, iniquitous and dangerous Unity Bill.

A Bill by which the SDL thumbs its collective nose at Fiji's most respected bodies - the Law Society, the NGOs, the military, the police force and an increasing number of angry citizens of all races.

The SDL government is undermining Fiji's democracy. We have an elected democratic government which is turning on itself by invalidating our democratic rules and principles - the very means by which it was elected.

Fiji's democracy is being eaten away by a 'cancer from within'.

Sue Cauty

Little doubt.

There is little doubt that the "face" of the now highly controversial Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill is PM Laisenia Qarase.

Given this fact, it becomes imperative that the public keeps him under close scrutiny as the RTU Bill saga unfolds. He had said when the Bill was first revealed that he had the unanimous support of the chairmen of the 14 provincial councils.

But the Macuata Provincial Council is yet to discuss the Bill. It is scheduled to meet on June 22. One wonders where the PM got his "unanimous" support from one month ago.

When asked who had been consulted in the drafting of the Bill, he had said he did not need to consult anyone. On the same day the chairman of the Bose Levu Vakaturaga revealed that the body was in the dark about the whole issue.

What it did show was that the PM and some in his government feel that provincial councils and the BLV could be overlooked whenever it suited the government's convenience.

It shows an un-Fijian attitude. And it was this same attitude that led to the political madness of 2000. The PM and his high command might want to reconsider this side of their public profile as it does little to strengthen public confidence.

Viliame Rovabokola

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Muddy streams of corruption in Fiji.

Fiji Labour Party's stalwart, Mahendra Chaudary calls Qarase's description of the Recon Bill's legal framework- An insult to the intelligence of Fiji public. I echo his sentiments, so does the Editorial article of Fiji Sun's Thursday June 16th, 2005 edition.

Even Q.B has admitted that S.D.L could fall from it's pedestal of power, due to this proposed Bill of Reconciliation and Unity.

Fiji Development Bank's decision to give unsecured loans to a Government owned company, is another crafty scheme engineered by the one and only crooked Attorney General- Q.B.
Q.B really enforces the Banking Act's clause of client confidentiality. Someone should remind him, that his duty is to be report state affairs transparently and not act like the F.D.B's lawyer.
Maybe his over-reaction does confirm that his name is probably on the F.D.B's loan list, like it was on the National Bank of Fiji's published list of defaulting debtors.
More comments on Fiji Government overspending- F$271 million in 3 years.
Yet Finance Minister is adamant that 8% economic growth is not impossible for Fiji. He must have his sums wrong, again- like with the national budget overspending.

Here's several interesting Letters to the Editor, of Fiji Times's Thursday June 16th, 2005.

Eek, a mouse.

The Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill is like a tiny mouse introduced to a pack of elephants, causing uproar.

I wonder which elephant will accidentally crush the tiny mouse but if it escapes, I dread the one where the tiny mouse will seek shelter up its trunk.

Whether the tiny mouse is blind or not ... it doesn't matter.

Eliki Gaunavou

Commander Vs Vosanibola.

I have been following the criticism against the commander of the military by Josefa Vosanibola and I fail to see the sense of it.

Commodore Bainimarama should be accorded his constitutional right like any citizen to question transparency within the Government.

Secondly he is exercising his right to freedom of speech. This should be viewed positively by all concerned as it is a sign of a healthy government.

Mr Vosanibola should not be so arrogant to insult the intelligence of the people of Fiji by assuming they cannot see the injustice in the judicial system.

It seems to me that Mr Vosanibola is playing politics under the cover of his official banner to gain the people's confidence.

Let's not kid ourselves and let every free-thinking person enjoy the right to express himself as he sees fit.

Only goodness will come out of open discussion so the people can be better informed and served by the people they appointed to serve them.

Let freedom reign and let God bless our beloved Fiji.

Sesenieli Vasserman

Stop protectionism.

IN Christendom, restorative justice is an integral attribute of God's character and at the same time it is the most profound illustration of the inability of God, the Creator to save His Son by altering or amending the demands of His perfect and holy law.

Although Adam and Eve were forgiven, the restorative process demanded that humankind must live and suffer the consequences for the wrong choice made in the Garden of Eden.

In the wilderness after Baptism Satan offered Christ the option or "shortcut" to worship him rather than suffer the agony and cruel death on the cross.

A gospel song says "God could have sent ten thousand angels but He (Christ) died alone" for natural justice to take its course in the process of restoring the fallen human race to God's ideal.

While the Tolerance, Reconciliation and Unity Bill may be admirable in some respects, it has very little relationship with the genuine biblical restorative justice concept.

In as far as larger and well established democracies are concerned, the Bill is nothing short of a recipe for national economic and cultural disaster, yet we continue to argue our guts out in daring audacity.

The Bill is hardly restorative in the truest sense of the word and it is undemocratic.

It is doubly hard in a society where the indigenous population is pulled between paying allegiance to traditional obligations but at the same time expecting to reap the benefits of modernity.

The Fijian anthropologist, the late Dr Rusiate Nayacakalou, in his book, referring to that state of frustration exclaimed, "What a monstrous nonsense!"

I'd like to think that the Bill is the natural outcome of a long history of Colonial Indigenous Protectionism policy and the hand out "dependence mentality" encouraged by successive governments.

We need to expose indigenous population to the reality show as the FMF Flying Fijians encountered last Friday, when they were slaughtered by All Blacks 91-0.

Although we live on an island, we cannot live in isolation from international demands any longer.

It is only a matter of time before the typhoon of globalisation causes havoc in our economy if our population is unprepared for it.

We need to prepare our people for the "reality show" of a globalised economy and not finding excuses to shield or protect our population from political and economic realities.

Peni Dakua

Telecom Rental charges

IT is with great dismay that one sees the expenses a country faces in this new age of Information Tech-nology where IT is relatively cheap. This notion does not seem to ring true for Fiji. Why?

Is it because of the monopolistic contract the Rabuka Government signed with Vodafone Fiji Ltd, or the poor and inadequate services provided by Telecom Fiji and Vodafone Fiji in its effort to provide Internet and mobile telephone services respectively. Some say that broadband or 3G bands are long overdue in Fiji — for a small country of 800,000 (give or take a couple of thousands) this certainly rings true.

There is a need in rural areas for IT technology so as to improve standards of living through educational material available on the net; or producers (farmers) contacting their markets through mobile technology. If such services were available, governments could rest assured that their rural staff members were just fingertips away.

What we really need is competition in the IT industry, more companies should be given licenses and laws amended to make way for such development.

This creates a market of competition which results in cheaper prices and wider variety of services to choose from.

When we talk about rural areas many tend to forget that a third of the population of Fiji are rural dwellers. Therefore, to deny them the opportunity to improve their standard of living through cheaper means would be denying the development of a country's human resources.

Questions arose as to the legality of the monopolistic contracts signed. NLTB majority share IT company wanted a piece of the pie promising 3G band.

This created hope in the rural areas. What has become of this hope? Are we the people less important than monetary profit?

Will the government-of-the-day, Telecom Fiji and Vodafone Fiji deny a third of the populace opportunities to improve by not providing a 3G broadband network that would see the children in the Lau Group, Colo of Viti Levu, Cakau-drove, Bua and Macuata broadening their horizons; or producers getting better prices for their produce?

If so, the Government is creating a domino effect as this issue affects taxpayers paying more for government's Telecom bills. Does this mean more taxes or a greater budget deficit?

Our kids need an opportunity to grow and grasp whatever knowledge that is freely out there and agricultural sectors to grow, improving our standard of living. This government went in championing ''indigenous development'.

Well, three quarters of the rural population is indigenous and where is this development? Was this another political ruse? Let me tell you that you just shot yourself in the foot.

Tevita Waqaliva

Vinaka Te-Waqa!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Muddy Seas of Politics.

The idea to have a special unit to fight corruption in cabinet, presented by Fiji's crooked Attorney General is quite laugable.
It's the same as having the Fox guard the Hen house. The proposed chairman (Alipate Qetaki- Is currently the chairman of Fiji Legal Reform Commission)has already too much on his small plate. That same Legal Commission was reported by Fiji media recently, that they were out of funds. Explaining why several prisoners could not have a lawyer provided to them, by the state.
Probably exactly what Qorniasi Bale wanted- Someone so busy, to have their effectiveness handicapped.
The framework of having the unit report directly to cabinet instead of Parliament is another farce. Q.B wants this Corruption unit, meet in closed sessions away from prying eyes. This another rape of good governance. I'd rather have the S.D.L Goverment have a Corruption Bill tabled and a Freedom of Information Bill, as opposed to this Reconciliation Bill.
Fiji Sun's Editorial comments on this corruption unit, some of Fiji Sun's views I found difficult in accepting without further and thorough research. Editorial article of Weds June 15th, 2005, focussing on this proposed corruption unit.

How dare these Ministers try and isolate themselves from public scrutiny. It is just another attempt by S.D.L Government to revamp its dispicable public image that has been tainted with corruption.

The S.D.L Government is using every trick in the book, to win support for the 2006 elections. But will the state treasury have money to last for the elections or is there funds for the 2006 elections?
Qarase Government overspends its budget perpetually( like money grows on trees), then Fiji must be using the wrong accounting software or have the wrong type of accontants in the Finance Department or simply too many I.O.U's by the Government. That is a wonderful leadership trait, which closely resembles the operations of ENRON.
Even Emperor Gold Mine, is feeling the pinch of the Bear market economy in Fiji.

Qarase continues his tirade of justifying his attempts to bulldoze this Reconciliation 'Bull' forward. Even after numerous legal scholars have presented their views on the ambigous nature of the wording. Qoroniasi Bale has been giving Qarase legal education of twisted logic.
Qarase performance in the Fiji P.M's office recently, just exemplifies "Arrogance".
More on the antiquated mindset of fortress mentality that these 'old farts' in Fiji civil service continue to subscribe to, which is oppossing free-enterprisein commerce.
How on earth do we remove such trailer trash, whose policies have entrapped the Fiji population from progress. Let's just kick them out of public office .

The objectors against this insane Reconciliation & Unity Bill, are reaching out for more overseas support. With Government revenues down, due to the stagnant economy, Fiji will eventually face more trade barriers.
I totally agree with the unions in acquiring their overseas counterpart's timely support.
Trade embargos will bring the Government to their feet. In justification, the S.D.L Government cannot continue to ride rough shed over the rights of Fiji citizens.
In todays global village everybody plays by the rules. If the S.D.L Government believes it is above these pillars of integrity, then it should have no qualms about people disagreeing with their policies or taking action against them.
As they say it takes two, to Tango.
Precisely the reason why, European Union has threatened to suspend FINANCIAL AID to Fiji unless this corrupt S.D.L Government abandons this Bill.