Friday, March 31, 2006

Lofty Ambitions.

Fiji Indigenous Business Council President is literally placing his foot in his mouth; in degrading the national report on affirmative action, published by Fiji Human Rights Commission (F.H.R.C). It is difficult to fathom Messr Jo Taoi's comment, about the lack of objectivity taken by F.H.R.C during the draft stage. Their objective was to identify flaws in the Fiji Government's national policies; which have been skewed, maligned to camouflage voter-buying methods.

Party targets right body
Fiji Times Saturday,
April 01, 2006

The Fiji Human Rights Commission's independence can be compromised by the election hopes of a political party, the Citizen Constitutional Forum says. Forum executive director Reverend Akuila Yabaki made the comment yesterday after the Prime Minister's Office criticised the commission for trying to bulldoze its agenda by pressing for the Government's reply to the Affirmative Action Programs investigations.

PM's Office chief executive officer Jioji Kotobalavu had accused the commission of trying to push a political agenda when it insisted that Government make its reply on the report available by March 25. Mr Yabaki said the commission did not need permission from Mr Kotobalavu to release its report to the public. He said the SDL Government was trying to delay the report because it was aware the report would damn its Affirmative Action programs for having flouted the law.

Mr Taoi, an ambitous individual, is well-schooled in commerce and misleadership by echoing the talking-points of S.D.L party. Messr Jo Taoi, is also guilty of instigating unsubstantiated rumours about the effects of the Army Commander's Truth Campaign.

S.I.F.M believes it is unfortunate that, this pillar of the Indigenous Fijian Commerce Association has defiled the cardinal rule about business, which is non-political commentary. Neglecting their fiduiciary role of giving free financial advice to native Fijians as well as, their uphill task of spreading the knowledge of wealth building and distribution in Fiji's poverty stricken areas.

Club Em Designs

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rivers of Mud.

Corruption is a stain on the S.D.L election campaign which they just can't diminish. Despite unqualified statements from the P.M that, minimizes his Government's corrupt track record.
Fiji media should be more alert for politicians who use the fracturous issue of race as a campaign talking point, particularly inrural areas. It is certainely not rocket science to conclude that, Fiji P.M Laisenia Qarase is guilty of the offence. So the Fiji Police is predicted to drag their heels on the investigation; whilst reminding everyone to abide by the law.

S.I.F.M believes that Fiji Police should walk the talk in enforcing the law. The same street which their mandate of law enforcement is founded, is also the same street which the Fiji public demands an unbiased, accelerated and accurate performance.

That would be an accurate measure on Police performance, since it recently was equipped with new vehicles, new arms cache and a new website. Fiji Police Corporate plans. The following is an excerpt from their publication.





1.0 Preventing crime and enhancing feeling of community satisfaction and safety
1.1 Strengthen community partnership and safety through participation in crime prevention programmes
1.2 Encouraging & supporting initiatives in community & Police partnership projects
1.3 Deploying consistent & smart maritime, rural and urban patrols
1.1.1 Reviving the defunct the crime prevention committees.
1.1.2 Establishing new crime prevention committee.
1.1.3 Expanding Crime Stoppers Programmes in all divisions.
1.1.4 Conduct ongoing Crime Stoppers programmes
1.2.1 Complete ongoing community projects.
1.2.2 Identify potential new projects.
1.2.3 Complete O/2 project-community policing review
1.3.1 Establish & formalise maritime structures.
1.3.2 Strengthen manpower & equipment to facilitate consistent rural & urban patrols

2.0 Strengthening the investigation, intelligence and detection process.
2.1 Developing professional approach to investigation of complex and sophisticated crimes.
2.2 Strengthening human rights compliance during investigations and
2.3 Developing an effective intelligence capacity through establishment of a criminal intelligence bureau.
2.1.1 Ensure investigators are attached or undergo specialist courses overseas
2.1.2 Strengthen and up
skill existing major fraud & transactional crime unit
2.1.3 Conduct
crime task force to address complex crimes
2.1.4 Complete all projects under ACP/C portfolio
2.2.1 Familiarise frontline investigators with policies and procedures.
2.2.2 Enforce human rights awareness to frontline investigators
2.3.1 Establish criminal intelligence unit
2.3.2 Ensure training for officers in the unit
2.3.3 Complete C/5 project – Corporate intelligent Management database
2.4 Pursuing consistent successful detection.
2.5 Developing evidence based approach to investigations through use of scientific analysis systems.
2.6 Ensuring efficient processing of cases for prosecution.
2.7 Strengthening and supporting National Juvenile Bureau
2.4.1 Strengthen investigation resources to result in swift detection of cases Mission critical for 2000 coup investigations
2.4.2 Up skilling CID Personnel

2.4.3 Complete C/1 project – CID investigative practices review and implementation
2.5.1 Provide adequate Laboratory space
2.5 2 Strengthen and up skill the forensic personnel
2.5.2 Complete project C/3 – NAFIS & C/4 forensic upgrade
2.6.1 Improving docket management system
2.6.2 Providing proper analysis of evidence.
2.6.3 Conducting proper training on evidence gathering.
2.7.1 Review the role of Juvenile Bureau and deployed to the appropriate division.

S.I.F.M acknowledges the well defined mile-stones in Fiji Police Force corporate plan. However, it is disturbing to note that the investigation of the 2000 coup will probably be at the bottom of the to-do-list; when compared with all the new developments in the Police cadre.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Back to Square 1.

Fiji Prime Ministers' office C.E.O's belligerent response to the report by published by Fiji Human Rights Commission that condemned the Affirmative Action program, sums up the crooked path for honest reform. It is unquestionable that the S.D.L party and their members in Government, have been actively pursuing vote-buying schemes for their own political advancements; which is far removed from voter's needs or practical applications of nation building.

Fiji's divisive issue of race continues to be manipulated by malice laced politicians who will ride the band wagon of racial splinterism. Fiji voters are more aware of this trend of politicians approaching with them, with the proverbial "cap in hand".

The financial health of the nation of Fiji is in dire straits. Unfortunately the issue of fiscal policy will not be developed into political leverage because there are not many differing perspectives. The stagnant state owned companies get another report highlighting their gross inefficiencies which only adds to the bottom line of Fiji's purse.

Fijian politics laced with old rivalry

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rivalry among Fijians has been an underlying issue since the 1800s and has continued in Fijian party politics. University of the South Pacific lecturer in History and Politics Doctor Alumita Durutalo made the comment at a lecture on Fijian
party politics on Monday. She said since the early 1960s, politics was a means to express Fijian cultural diversity, liberation from dominant chiefs and the vanua within the matanitu i taukei.

[Durutalo] said a study of Fijian party politics revealed that parties served more than the modern concept of democracy and continued ancient rivalry and dissent.
Many Fijian parties in the 1960s were formed to maintain Fijian hierarchy.
"Politics was most dominant in the eastern and north eastern parts of Fiji. "There was ongoing rivalry between political parties brought about by outside forces such as colonialisation."

Ms Durutalo said in the 1960s, many Fijian parties were more concerned with their chiefly status than upholding the rights of indigenous Fijians. "Then came the Seventies, bringing the electoral system where Fijians had 12 communal and 10 national seats, Indians 12 communal and 10 national seats and general electors three communal and five national seats."
During her research Ms Durutalo met many pioneer politicians including Villiame Savu. "Mr Savu said many Fijians felt their needs and demands would not be met by the Constitution. The seed of Fijian discontent was sown before Fiji became an independent nation." She said during her interviews it was revealed that people believed Sitiveni Rabuka failed because he diverted from a nationalist to a multi-racial politician.

S.I.F.M is quite interested to know the conclusions of the learned professor, Ms. Savu and her recommendations on rectifying the political quagmire in Fiji.

Club Em Designs

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cauldron of Disunity.

Fijian Affairs Board should be taken to task, for this disintegration of village protocol. Mixing politics and cultural platforms are the root causes of confusion in Fiji democracy. Whilst social mobility, constitutional rights are mere issues of convenience for Fijian politicians. Promising infrastructure development and ignoring knowledge empowerment. Those are the chains of political illiteracy which bind Fiji citizens in perpetual socio-cultural ignorance, handicapping them from the advancing.

Letters to the Fiji Times Editor
Sunday, March 26, 2006

Indian PM

IN the past few weeks we've been entertained by SDL's promises of unity, peace, more jobs and much higher wages. They have even claimed to have support from members of a Christian church.

Yet the bold headline, "SDL says no to Indian PM" (ST 19/3) shows just what hypocrites a vast majority of so-called Christians are in this country, government included.

The Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, once stated publicly that he was not a racist.

Then what does the SDL statement mean?

It is an outright rejection of people of a different race who have made Fiji their home?What is wrong with being an Indian? Are they not created by God and equal as others in the eyes of the Almighty?

The first commandment of God is being brushed aside for man's own selfishness. Jesus Christ himself assured his Apostles that the greatest commandment was to love ones neighbor, be they black, brown or white, Indian, Fijian or Chinese, Hindu, Buddhist or Christian.

It's time the Indian community put their support behind those who really care for them.

Edward Andrews

Club Em Designs

Friday, March 24, 2006

Flawed Reasoning in Power.

Fiji Prime Minister dangling more promises to lure voter who are employed as civil servants.

Fiji Minister for Home Affairs whose vitriolic remarks attempt to misinform Fiji citizens on the legal comments outlawing restrictions to the freedom of movement in rural villages. The Fijian Affairs Board adds more confusion and is perceived as increasingly dabbling in political matters and neglecting the development and social mobility in rural villages.
Particularly in the un-audited accounts of the various provincial councils.

Fiji Times Editorial of Sat. March 25th 2006, furiously defends their article and in the same stroke condeming the Minster.

Vosanibola erred
Saturday, March 25, 2006

Home Affairs Minister Josefa Vosanibola misses the point.

By condemning The Fiji Times front-page article yesterday in which lawyer Richard Naidu gave an opinion on the legal right of people to enter villages as "grossly inflammatory and irresponsible", he obviously fails to grasp the point of the article.

The Fiji Times had invited Mr Naidu, a senior partner with the law firm Munro Leys which by the way handle this newspaper's legal cases, to express a legal opinion on the right of people to move around in public places.

As Mr Vosanibola will note in the first paragraph of the article, Mr Naidu refers to the "legal right" of the provincial councils and traditional leaders rather than any other rights like, say, as owners of the land.

Mr Naidu interprets the law as simply as possible so that the ordinary reader understands there is nothing to stop them from moving about in public places such as roads, parks and rivers as they see fit. In other words to totally ban someone or some group from entering a province is illegal

Mr Naidu gives a legal opinion on what we think is an important issue and we published that opinion. And the publishing of that opinion is very much part of our duty to disseminate information, educating people on what they can or cannot do.

Mr Vosanibola knows that any sensible and responsible person knows that there are certain protocols to observe when entering villages or traditional settlements. And they will certainly observe those protocols.

Nowhere in the story does Mr Naidu say that people should enter these areas and ignore whatever protocols are there to be observed.

The point is about freedom of movement rather then ignoring protocols.

As for the army's Truth and Justice campaign, Mr Vosanibola should know that this newspaper has expressed on it and does not support it. The purpose of the article is not to encourage the soldiers to enter villages forcefully and conduct their campaigns without following the accepted procedures.

There is no intention to, as he puts it, "inflame the situation''. We are a responsible media organisation and will strongly oppose any actions to incite violence and law-breaking.

The military has its own legal advisers to give opinions to those in command on such matters.

One would have thought that as a former Minister for Information and after a reasonably long association with the media, Mr Vosanibola would have better understood its role.

Fiji Broadcaster defends sacking of talkback host

Fiji Government's claim of freedom of the Press and Fiji Broadcasting Commission Ltd is a farcical application of ideals.

Fiji's state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation is strongly denying claims by the opposition Labour Party that it sacked a popular talkback radio host due to government pressure. Sitiveni Raturala was sacked after he interviewed the commander of Fiji's military, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, on his show. Mr Raturala claims his sacking was due to FBCL being afraid of the government, which has been locked in a war of words with the military commander for several months.

HILL: The dispute centres on the way Sitiveni Raturala changed the format of his talkback show when Commodore Bainimarama appeared, taking no calls, and allowing the commander to name names of people allegedly involved in coup activity.

FBCL is sensitive about being seen to be politically partisan, and removed the popular talkback host for breaking rules about balance. Sitiveni Raturala himself is unrepentant.

RATURALA: They made a big mistake, well put it this way, if I were to do it again, that program, I'd do it all over again just the same way I did it.

HILL: Could there have been a danger though that in doing that, you might give the impression that the army was somehow using Radio Fiji for its own purposes?

No I didn't see it that way. As I said I've always wanted the Commander, I've been after him for the past three years. No I don't see it that way. I've been overwhelmed, inundated with calls since I was fired, and now, three weeks down the line I'm still having calls from my colleagues, in the papers and TV people I know. And the question they're asking is this, if it happened to you, this is what they told me, could it happen to us as well?

HILL: Why do you think that Radio Fiji did this? Was there, as some have been suggesting, that they were sort of ordered to by the government or do you think it was just off their own bat? Were they perhaps scared of the government and didn't want to upset them?

RATURALA: You hit the nail right on the head.

HILL: Opposition leader Mahendra Chaudhry, of the Fiji Labour Party, believes the government is much more directly responsible for Sitivenui Raturala's sacking.

CHAUDHRY: It's highly likely that the orders must have come from the government. I don't think Radio Fiji would have done it on its own volition because the reporter is a well-known figure, and I'm sure that he would have obtained clearance for doing this interview.

The government has also not given any reason as to why this dismissal has taken place, nor has Radio Fiji given any reasons why. They've done that with TV also to some extent. They're controlling TV1, now that's the only news channel that we have here. But I can clearly see a bias in their reporting, and the Daily Post, of course, the other newspaper, which is a substantially government-owned newspaper, that's also throwing out government propaganda quite unashamedly and in violation of journalistic ethics.

HILL: But this has been vehemently rejected by FBCL's CEO Francis Herman.

He says they must be seen to be as fair and balanced as possible.

Francis Herman says Mr Raturala broke the normal format of his show in a way that endangered the station's reputation for impartiality.

HERMAN: In this case, all talk, the telephone calls were all stopped, the guest was allowed to speak as he wanted to without any interruption or questions from the listeners. Bruce, I'm no politician, and neither am I interested in getting involved in the political mud slinging. All I'm interested in making sure that our radio company continues to exercise a good sense of judgement in ensuring that we are balanced, we are accurate, we give all sides of the story in the same program if possible, and so we don't take sides. So our radio station is not used like it was in 1987 and the year 2000.

HILL: The leader of the opposition Mahendra Chaudhry more or less accuses you of taking orders to get rid of Sitiveni Raturala from the government?

HERMAN: That's not true, that's totally untrue and I'm surprised that Mr Chaudhry has made those comments. I think I'd like to refresh their memories of what happened when they were in government, and the directives that they gave the FBC to remove a particular talk show host simply because they didn't like the content of his programs.

Presenter/Interviewer: Bruce Hill
Speakers: Sitiveni Raturala. sacked talkback host, Mahendra Chaudhry, Fiji's opposition leader

Fiji Media Council seems to out of touch with the whole episode. Probably an indication that the Council only protects the Media Companies more than their employees.

Posted below are Fiji Media Council's procedure for lodging a complaint.
S.I.F.M will email a bonafide complaint to the council to ascertain their effectiveness.


Any complaints?

While the Media council exists to preserve the freedom of the press and broadcast media within the Country, it also functions as a forum to which anyone may put a complaint against the media. Its authority rests in the willingness of publishers, editors arid broadcasters to respect the Council's views, accept its rulings and publicly admit mistakes.

The Complaints Committee is totally independent and consists of three Media Council members who represent the interests of the public. They are Chairman Mr Daryl Tarte, Mr Thomas Raju arid Mr Paula Sotutu.

The Committee will hear complaints concerning any media organisatioll in the Fiji Islands whether a member of the Media Council or not.

Here's how the Media Council's complaint procedures work:

Step 1. If you have a complaint against a media organisation you should notify that organisation's senior executive by letter, fax or email and forward a copy of the complaint to the Secretary, Media Council (Fiji) Ltd. at the address shown below. Complaints must be lodged within one month of the date of publication or broadcast.

Step 2. If after two weeks no satisfactory response to your complaint has been received and the Secretary has been unable to resolve the matter the complaint will be referred to the Chairman of the Complaints Committee

Step 3. The Chairman will decide whether or not the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Complaint Committee. If it does and he considers an immediate settlement possible, he may take the matter up with the media organisation concerned. Alternatively, he will ask you to sign a document waiving any legal rights before proceeding further.

Step 4. If your complaint is accepted and you have signed a legal waiver, the Chairman will refer the complaint to the Complaint Committee for adjudication.

Step 5. The adjudication procedure is at the Chairman's discretion. He may a) invite the parties to appear before the Committee, or b) consider the complaint on the basis of written submissions. If the parties are to appear before the Committee, the names and official positions of the nominated persons should be stated. Legal council may not represent either party. The hearing will take the form of a discussion not a trial. The Committee may uphold or dismiss a complaint, or simply express an opinion on the matter. It has no power to penalise or issue orders of compliance with its findings.

Step 6. A copy of the Committee's adjudication will be sent to both parties. The organisation against which the complaint was made is expected to publish the adjudication. If it does not do so within one week, copies of the adjudication may be released to other media organisations for publication. The Committee reserves the right to restrict publication in special circumstances.

For more information about complaint procedures, or if you wish to lodge a complaint, please contact:

Bob Pratt
Executive Secretary,
Media Council (Fiji) ltd.
P. O. Box 11852,
Phone/Fax 3317055

© Fiji Media Council 2002

Club Em Designs

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ulitimate Breaking Point.

Fijian Affairs Board is in damage control regarding the logger heads erupting from the Rewa Provincial Council's endorsement of a election candidate.

This legal issue is a product of the cultural hedgemony and unethical political endorsements by the Fijian Affairs Board. Their role of developing all Fijian provinces has taken a back seat to their self appointed role of politician selection, which basically dis-enfranchises the voting rights of Fiji citizens, who dwell in these same native boundaries. It is as if the individual is not capable of choosing their own representatives in Parliament.

Further to contenscious issue, of the legal boundaries for Politicians and their conflict with the existing framework of provincial councils. The legality of stopping the movement of outsiders into rural Fijian villages is impinging on the constitutional rights of Fiji citizens. Adding more confusion of the marriage of convenience between Fiji cultural system and the western democracy; which the entire state of Fiji straddles. Creating a unsustainable situation, for the aspirations of Fiji as a multiracial nation.

Fiji Times editorial adds more verbatim on the issue.

A right to choose

Friday, March 24, 2006

CHIEFS wield a lot of influence and command respect in their traditional communities.

The people look up to their traditional leaders for guidance, support and especially advice on matters concerning their welfare and safety. The people in turn commit themselves to obeying legal directives and instructions from their leaders.

This traditional loyalty to authority however is often taken advantage of.

An example is the use of traditional leaders by politicians to garner support and thus votes.

As the general election campaign gathers momentum, a strategy by political parties we will see more of is the use of these traditional leaders to woo voters.

The hope is that the chiefs by using their influence will win the support and confidence of the people in supporting that particular party. Out of loyalty to their chiefs, the people support whatever political party the chiefs join.

It has been a trend since Independence and is a sad reflection on the kind of leadership some people had to face, and are still facing, in their various communities.

It will continue unless these people are made aware of their rights to make their own decision on such matters without having to accept what the chiefs accept.

In previous general elections some traditional leaders disallow certain parties from entering their districts or villages to speak to the voters. This is unfair because then the people are not given the opportunity to listen to all the political parties before making informed decisions on how to vote.

While everyone should enjoy the right to move freely around the country, some political parties out of respect for traditional protocol avoid going into areas they know they will not be welcomed in. Thus the electorate is denied the opportunity to listen to alternative political viewpoints before making their decision at the polling booth.

Not only political parties but also some religious groups have been banned from entering villages and rural settlements where their members reside because the chiefs hate new denominations entering their domain.

Politics or religion, it is important and just that one is given the opportunity to make one's own decision, after listening to all the alternatives available, without any hint of coercion.

Freedom of movement, speech, assembly, expression and association are rights enshrined in the supreme law of the land. Those who deny them to others are breaking the law and should be prepared to face the consequences.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dual Burners of Dis-information.

The conflict emerging from the Rewa Provincial Seat only highlights the legal quandry which the Paramount chief and the
Provincial Council find themselves. In addition to the dichotomy between democracy and Turaganism.

Fiji Prime Minister is in criminal hotwater for giving a racial barrier for the job as a political talking point, that exposes his hollow multiracial platform.

Fiji Election Office now reverses their posture on the timing and demonstrates the flawed justifications that accompany the original decision.

The water policies discussed in Fiji must be take into account the water rights of the native landowners.

Pay to advertise

Of course the Prime Minister considers it is perfectly legitimate to use taxpayers' money to advertise or promote his party and the few good things they have achieved.

After all he has spent more of the taxpayers money on advertising spin doctors/ media consultants/ professional speechwriters than any previous political leader in Fiji and has gotten away with it.

No one has questioned the total cost to the taxpayer. And what does it matter since the SDL has proven itself incapable of operating within their annual budget anyway.

Does anyone suggest how much better these advertising funds could have been spent on scholarships or leadership training?

Has anyone pointed out to the Prime Minister that a good leader or a good government's achievements speak for themselves and they have no need for costly media consultants and advertising?

Obviously not.

Rick Rickman

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rising Concerns.

The hammer has fallen on the Government Agencies responsible for Fiji elections.

The legal question should be pursued by Fiji Human Rights Commission, regarding the barred election right for Fiji citizens overseas who carry the passport. Overseas observers have been organizing their aresa of operations.The S.D.L Line-up for Kadavu, Tailevu and Lomaiviti provincial seat is also receiving a lot of scrutiny from grass root council.

The Macuata Paramount Chief get a stern reminder where his traditional jurisdictions lay. Interesting free-speech advances underlying the social mile-stone in democracy in Fiji. No longer will the village community take voting rights for granted.

The party formely known as C.A.M.V is attemping to revive it's principle under different banner. Which only leads to further confusion among voters in Fiji and adding to the frustrations of Fiji Election Office.

The use of official assets is being defended by the Prime Minister must also be straightened by legal review, in view of the recent complaints of the Army's Truth campaign.

Fiji Reserve Bank warnings of dire financial horizons is a reflection of the current policies and mentality within the Government departments.

Provocative letter to Fiji Times Editor on the role of chiefs in Fiji.

Elected chiefs

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY support the call by Senator Dr Ratu Epeli Nailatikau that chiefs should now be democratically elected.

The qualities of modern chiefs should necessarily be in line, and continue to be in the future, with the progress of civilisation in modern day activities.

In decision making, modern day chiefs must be familiar and consciously understand the current trends in world economic and social shifts and changes. Our beautiful earth is a dynamic world and changes are taking place all the time, everywhere and to everything.

Forward we march together with our spearhead formation and sharpness, sorting out and solving our problems, as we face dynamic times ahead.

Senator Dr Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is a very good example of a dynamic gentleman and a good leader. He observes and sees the role of traditional chiefs as gradually becoming obsolete.

Jake Tulele

Club Em Designs

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Political Spin in Fiji.

Methodist Church of Fiji must rectify the massive log in their own eye, before telling the military about the speck in their eyes.

New S.D.L's only Academic hopeful, Dr. Tupeni Baba is a knowledgeble, yet opportunistic individual whose judgement is severely clouded by lofty ambitions. It apprehensive of Messr Baba to air the dirty laundary that, borders on character assasination of his former acquaintances; especially on his public address debut. Politics does make strange bed-fellows, even in Fiji. Dr Baba may be related to S.D.L spokesman Messr Jale Baba and that family relationship faciltated the selection.

S.D.L's announcement of their political candidates and their flawed racial criteria for the job of Fiji Prime Minister, began on an embarrassing note on Tailevu Chief (George Cakabau's) part, a descendant of Seru Cakabau who engineered the ceeding of Fiji to England in 1870. This situation
only describes the sorry state of affairs which most chiefs find themselves. By straddling both side of the socio-poltical thresshold whilst their electorate remain in the doldrums of social mobility and progress.

At the other end of national dialogue of native land, this case of dis-enfranchised landowners; will breed nationalistic resentment.

Fiji Sun's opinion article by Academic Vijay Naidu outlines Fiji Voter's Manifesto of Demands and the responsibility they have, at the ballot box.

Common issues that face us


This paper seeks to draw the attention of voters to those common issues that face them as citizens of Fiji. Besides national level concerns there are issues that face particular sections of the community. At the national level political leaders must address five pivotal issues that affect the country’s prospects in the next 5-10 years.

These are: 1. Nation Building:

Since 1987 Fiji has become a very divided country. Politicians have been primarily responsible for this state of affairs. Voters need to examine if candidates and parties have a vision for Fiji. Is this vision based on moving Fiji away from its obsessions with the race of its citizens or is it seeking to further entrenched race and racism in the country. What nation building measures are being suggested? How a strong national identity can be build? Can our enthusiastic support for our sports teams, especially our national rugby 7’s team be translated to strengthening the sense of belonging for every Fiji citizen?
Government’s affirmative action policies, supposedly for the benefit of all indigenous Fijians and Rotumans, appear to have produced an elite group of beneficiaries. Working class and rural Fijians have little to show after 5 years of such programmes. How can the benefits and opportunities be more widely shared? How can the disadvantaged people of all ‘races’ access resources and opportunities?

2. Responding to Globalisation:

As our trade partners comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules-both the sugar and garment industries are on the verge of collapsing altogether. Thousands of farmers and workers will lose their livelihoods. What contingency plans do our politicians have? Is there a willingness among politicians to work together in the national interest to save livelihoods and jobs?

What are the opportunities and risks for Fiji in this globalising world? Besides short term labour migration and remittance dependence, what else can the people of Fiji do to better their lot? What is the reform agenda for the country? How will the public sector be made more efficient and accountable? Will there be redundancies and job cuts? Will the system of taxation change?
Are there measures to deal with the rising cost of fossil fuel? Bus and taxi fares and general transportation costs have gone up and will continue to rise. What ideas do our politicians have to lower fuel costs and to promote alternative energy use.

3. Law and order is another major issue for political leaders, as it not only relates to personal security but to business confidence.

At the national level the on-going impasse over the 1997 Constitution between SVT and FLP continues to send negative signals to potential local and foreign investors. The fact that a number of those obviously implicated in the 2000 turmoil have been rewarded with government positions does not augur well for improved governance. The role of the military in pursuing those involved in the mutiny is admirable but the strained relations with government has caused jitters amongst ordinary citizens and gives Fiji an unfavourable image abroad.

Corruption and open abuse of public office appears to be rampant as seen from the Auditor General’s reports. What are the ways in which candidates and their parties envisage tackling these deeply rooted problems? Crimes against decent hard working citizens including seriously violent offences have been a feature of Fiji in recent times. The current police commissioner appears to have stopped the rot in the police force but there remain strong negative perceptions about police competence in the wider community. How policing can be made more effective has to be a central concern. In this regard vulnerable young males who are inclined to turn to breaking the law as a way of life must be identified and given the assistance they need to eschew anti-social behaviour.

4. Employment and Livelihoods -and just returns for labour:

Recent experience has shown that Fiji citizens are desperate for jobs that earn them a decent income. They have taken high risk employment in Iraq. A large number have joined the British army. Still others are working overseas or have migrated in droves. Besides the economic prospects, the main reason for emigration is the sense of insecurity that Indo-Fijians have felt ever since the 1987 military coups. The shortage of freehold land and the insecurity of tenure compound these feelings of insecurity. With only 2000 formal sector jobs each year, between 14000 to 16000 school leavers have no prospects for jobs and meaningful livelihoods. What new ideas do our politicians have to create more jobs and livelihoods? What ideas do they have about ensuring decent wages for workers? More than 60 percent of those who work earn below the national poverty line or around $160 a week. How will the politicians ensure that the hardships faced by our people because Fiji is mainly a low wage economy are addressed?

5. Land tenure and natural resource use:

There are many people, probably more than 65 percent of the population who are landless (most non-indigenous Fiji citizens and indigenous Fijians no longer resident in their province of origin) who would like to have access to land on a more secure basis. The impasse over the ALTA-NLTA debate has severely undermined commercial agriculture. Agriculture is not an attractive livelihood in this day and age and the rural to urban migration has already become a flood. What new ideas have candidates for the coming general election on how best to deal with the chronic land problem? How will they encourage the productive use by landowners of land that was previously under sugar cane? In the national interest what ideas do politicians and political parties have about the better use of our land and natural resources so that the resource rich and cash poor syndrome of such resource owning groups can be addressed?

There are many problems that rural people face besides access to land and other resources and security of tenure. These include transport and communication, market access and improved services. Many rural people in inland areas and outer islands do not have roads and or shipping and flights that connect them with the rest of the country. Elsewhere transport services are irregular and difficult. In many places the public works department has failed to maintain roads and jetties. Bus companies have refused to send their buses in rural routes because of the deteriorated conditions of roads. Market access is critical for them as they tend to be cash poor. There is an urgent need to stop the decline in the quality of rural services and for improvements in school facilities, dispensaries, water supply, electricity and telephone connections, and agricultural extension and banking services.

There is also the issue of the security of farmers in rural areas who are exposed to livestock and produce thefts and threats to their person; a number of farming families have lost their loved ones as a result of robberies leading to homicide. Among urban issues are deteriorating full of pot-hole roads, water and power cuts, garbage and sewerage disposal. Poor urban planning and the huge jump in housing rental and property values are concerns for town and city dwellers. Each urban centre has specific issues relating to services (including safe drinking water) and the environment. Law and order is a problem all over the country but in towns and cities crimes such as mugging, home invasion, violent robberies and burglaries as well as sexual offences are particularly widespread.

Dealing with youth unemployment in urban areas must be a central concern. There are many areas of concern for women which women voters should look out for when voting in the general election.
The extremely small number of women in decision making positions need to be tackled by giving the voters the opportunity to vote for many more women candidates. Are political parties fielding acceptable number of women candidates? Another issue for women relate to educational opportunities. What do politicians say about making more educational opportunities for women? What do they have to say about more employment for women especially at higher levels?

Do they accept the principle of equal pay for equal work? Women’s human rights mean amongst other things their right to own property. How is this right being translated into reality? Have the politicians thought about this? Do domestic violence and sexual abuse feature in the party platform of the parties? What about women’s rights? Are our streets and bush tracks safe for our mothers, sisters, daughters and wives? How can we make these safer?

In Fiji the government provides very little support for families that have children who are between 13-24 who are not in school and are unemployed. Fiji’s prisons are filled largely by those between 18-30 years. In post coup Fiji the number of street children has increased in leaps and bounds. What plans do the political parties have to deal with massive unemployment amongst young people? Are there sufficient places in vocational and post-school institutions to train them so that they can fit into the labour market better or have the skills to engage in self-employment? Do we need to rethink our training programmes for young people -in and out of school? What plans do politicians have to improve the quality of schools for those children and youth in schools? Better facilities from safe drinking water to computer access are issues in most schools. What about school libraries? The quality of teachers and their balanced allocation to rural and urban schools remain issues to be tackled.

For the poor there are many issues around having the resources and opportunities to meet their modest needs. Most of Fiji’s poor are working people who earn less than $160 a week (for a family of 4). Meeting the cost of housing, food, clothing, health care and medicines, education, transport and fulfilling social obligations is very difficult and even impossible. There is absolute poverty in squatter settlements and considerable hardship in rural localities.

A majority of Fiji citizens are in poverty or vulnerable to poverty with incomes below the national poverty line. However it is their votes that will determine which political party or coalition of parties that will rule the country for the next 5 years. There are minorities such as landless mixed race and the Solomoni communities who suffer the highest level of unemployment and are in poverty. Will they be ignored because they do not have the numbers? What plans do politicians have for disable and blind people? What about sexual minorities? Will their human rights be respected and upheld? Fiji is an extremely unequal country. In recent years the rich have got richer and the situation of the poor has worsened. What policies do the political parties have to redistribute wealth and give everyone a fair go?

What are the ideas, if any that politicians and political parties have for improving the quality of life of the majority of Fiji’s people - from the desperately poor to those who are barely coping? The general election is about electing your representatives and deciding who will govern Fiji for the next 5 years. The quality of the representatives and political parties that will win the election will have great significance for the voters’ lives, as they will influence the quality of life that each citizen has. Voting along racial lines may not give you the best leaders.

Vijay Naidu was born and educated in Fiji and the United Kingdom. He obtained his undergraduate and masters qualifications at the University of the South Pacific (USP). He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton (Falmer), England. He is currently Professor and Director of Development Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He is on leave from University of the South Pacific where he has served as Professor and Director of the Centre for Development Studies, Associate Professor/Reader in Sociology, Head of School of Social and Economic Development (SSED), Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Acting Vice Chancellor.

Another provocative and insightful Fiji Sun article by Ponipate Ravula (member of a local NGO) juxtaposes a hypothetical situation, of having a popular elected Government with the right leaders, with the right agendas and policies to empower all citizens of Fiji.

Club Em Designs

Friday, March 17, 2006


Fiji Law Society Chairman and Electoral Commision Chairman lists Fiji very close to a failed state.
The fall in Fiji exports is a product of failed imagination by decision makers and planners, particularly in industry diversification.

The proposal to revive the Lawyer duty scheme for Legal Aid Commission is a welcomed. More effort is required by the staff of Legal Aid on placing emphasis on seeking funds from private donors, to prevent lapses in service.

The idea to switch Fiji Foreign Mission's objectives to export orientated performance, reflects the slow realization of potential by various planners in Foreign Affairs Ministry. This model they propose, will be obsolete by the time those policies are fully implemented.

Tool of democracy

I would like to thank you for the two-part interview with Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama (FT 13/3 and FT 14/3).

It goes to show there are some media organisations that are really independent and doing the job they should be doing.

Thank you for giving us something worthy to read and for your effort in bringing the truth into the open.

The interview has really shed the light of truth onto the ongoing saga between the Government and the military.

All this while the Government leaders have been trying to cover up their deeds by blaming the military for all the tension.

Commodore Bainimarama is right in saying that these cronies who are now trying to use the principle of democracy to cover their evil deeds are opportunists.

They only prefer democracy if it suits their agenda.

One thing people like Jale Baba need to remember is that though truth takes time to come out, it will eventually come out.

When it does, those who were thriving on the lies will be made to eat their own words as is presently happening.

I thank the Commander for leading the way in showing the lies and deceit that are crippling our society and taking us to the path of destruction and racial intolerance.

May your good deed get the support it deserves.

Sarita Kumar

Club Em Designs

Culture Shock of Democracy in Fiji.

Chiefs of Cakaudrove who wish to advise the Army Commander on politics should think about the dual standards that they apply in Fiji's democracy. unfortunately the Chiefs are forgetting that they are not a democratically elected group and their ramblings of discontent is rooted in their out-flanked gate-keeping role for information. Others have optioned to shut out the Truth Campaign soldiers in their villages and threatened any fellow villager that entertained soldiers in their homes, with expulsion. If that isn't restriction of free association then Military might as well create Pirate Political radio stations to further their reach.

S.D.L announces the presentation ceremony of the manifesto and the candidates for the 2006 elections. Even though some rumor mongering among that Dr Tupeni Baba was invited to join the S.D.L line up.

If the proposal of Fijian Court system, as raised by some wishful thinking Senators is a step backward and is duplictory. Woe betides the common villager who crosses the path, of the village judge/chief/excutioner.

That is the crux of the chained socio-cultural mentality that is pervasive in all sectors of Provincial Councils.

The issue of election campaign funding laws is gaining popularity, even among nationalists in Fiji is a welcomed call.

Fiji Supervisor of Elections is receiving complaints from all quarters on the flawed registration process in Fiji Times Letters to the Editor.

To err is human

SUPERVISOR of Elections Semesa Karavaki says enumerators may have made mistakes when they filled voter-registration forms because they were only humans.

He did not indicate how many human errors a enumerator is allowed to make before he is declared incompetent or imbecile.

On the day of the general election, albeit too late, the number of errors made by enumerators on registration forms will determine whether the errors were really human or inhuman.

According to the law, all registered voters who do not vote in the general election will be charged and fined.

Because of human error in the Elections Office some registered voters who are prevented from voting because of the erroneous entry on voter rolls, may be charged and fined later for not going to vote. To err is human.

The least the Elections Office could do for the disenfranchised citizens of Fiji is issue to each voter on the day of election at the polling station, an official piece of paper or official proof that he/she went to vote but was not allowed to vote.

The Elections Office owes this to the voter for its own mistake.

If a small, poor person can be charged and fined for not being able to go and vote, the Elections Office with it's multi-million dollar budget and competent staff can surely give a small piece of official paper, in return for the mistake its employees made to the people whose right to vote was taken away from them.

Does the Elections Office have any money for this? Is there enough time to do it now? Last of all, does the Supervisor of Elections see any need for doing this? Your guess is as good as mine.

Kanti Patel

Electoral Act

According to Supervisor of Elections Semesa Karavaki, the Electoral Act is impractical and he will ignore it with Mahendra Chaudhry's complaint with regard to the timeline (FT 13/3).

In the next breath, the Electoral Act, according to him, empowers him to complain to the police about the military commander (FT 13/3).

So the Electoral Act is good when it suits him and bad when it doesn't. Must feel great to have power to freely juggle the Act.

Kanti Patel

Voter registration

Last year some officers came to our house to register our names.

Although I was put on the right constituency,I discovered later on when I went to check my name in the Provisional Roll that my house number was wrongly written.The error was rectified.

On the same day as my name was registered, my house lady's name was also registered.

Despite telling the witnessing officer the constituency she belonged to, she was put in the wrong constituency. On the day I checked in the Provisional Rolls for the appearance of my name, she also checked hers.

It was discovered her name did not appear at all.

She was registered again. However I feel there is no guarantee that despite the corrections and re-registration done, that our names will appear in the main roll or if it does appear, it will be free of errors.

This is just a couple of cases for mention but I feel that there could be hundreds, perhaps thousands whose names have been put in wrong constituencies or have other mistakes.

For these reasons I suggest that the General Elections be postponed until everybody's names are correctly registered.

The Supervisor of Elections should erect sheds in places where people frequent for the registration of voters and for the checking of their names in the provisional rolls so people don't have to fork out taxi fares or extra bus fares to reach DO's offices which is not convenient for them to go to.

Hassan Ali

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Moving Heaven and Earth.

The concern for the Fiji Military, on the arms transfer is indeed,
a grave development that does not bode well for the nation.
The response of Fiji Prime Minister, on the Army's Truth Campaign is simply a case of sour grapes. Messr Qarase and company easily cling to democratic rules, only when it serves their despicable purposes. Unfortunately due to their history of half truths and un-ethical behavior which, has resulted in a serious erosion of beliefs; of the people of Fiji.

Tebutt poll defines the crucial issues for the majority of Fiji voters, which are social concerns and services.

Queen's visit

The plans for the new GCC building to be opened by the Queen (FT10/3) should be thought over carefully. Our nation is in debt to the tune of more than $2billion, unemployment is high and thousands live below the poverty line. Recently the Government said it could not increase its funding towards poverty alleviation because it lacked the funds.

The Government spent $90,000 for Benny Hinn's security. We are now talking about the Queen. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be involved.

The public would love to see Her Majesty. Schools would be disrupted. Most probably the day would be announced a public holiday.

With all due respect to the GCC, the welfare of its people should be its top priority.

Savenaca Vaka

The current Chairman of Native Lands Trust Board, Messr Kalivati Bakani was fired, from his former position at Carpenters Fiji Group.
This dismissal speaks volumes on the character at the helm of the entrenched organization.
NLTB's board directors are selected from the Great Council of Chiefs. Most of whom, have an axe to grind or have conflicts of interests in one form or another. Here's re-look at an People's Coalition website article post 2000 coup highlighting the politicization of Native Lands Trust Board.

PCG Issue No: 667; 10 April 2001

The demand by the Native Lands Trust Board that tenants on native land can not belong to unions or political parties has been widely condemned.
The demand, which is contained in letters which the NLTB has been sending tenants, has been defended by the NLTB. A media report states that the NLTB claims that "[ethnic] Fijian land was used to hold the country to ransom despite the fact that the lease was issued for the sole purpose of agricultural development".

The NLTB also stated: "Political wannabes have continuously used indigenous land that are subject to agricultural leases to wreak havoc on the country's economy".
The demands have been condemned by the Fiji Labour Party, the Fiji Trades Union Congress, and the media.

Today the Fiji Times gave a biting rebuke to the demands by the NLTB. It stated:
"The latest demand by the Native Land Trust Board is ridiculous. In what is nothing short of holding farmers to ransom, the board wants an undertaking that they will not participate in political activities. For this promise the farmers will be allowed new leases and a secure future."

The paper said that the demand "places restrictions on the farmers' constitutional right to take part in protests or political activities. Because the demand is not specific it remains open to interpretation. And this is where the problem lies. A landowner can run crying to the board over trumped up allegations that the tenant is involved in destabilising activities.

Such activities could range from attending a political meeting or hosting discussions about the next harvest. This can not be allowed to happen. As a responsible tenant the farmer must ensure that his lease is paid on time and the land is properly maintained. That, really, us where his responsibility ends."

The paper also writes: "The [NLTB] does not appear to have demanded that the landowners refrain from disturbing the tenants. It has not compelled villagers to stay of leased land, refrain from inciting violence and tension that could cause ill-feelings and address all grievances to the board. The Native Land Trust Board has the responsibility of ensuring that the interests of the landowners are protected."

The Times echoed the views of most people in Fiji who believe that the NLTB has become politicised. The paper stated that the NLTB's role has "become increasingly politicised since May last year. This latest demand is evidence of that fact. The board must move away from politics. If it continues down the present track it is the landowners who will suffer."

The NLTB is led by ethnic Fijians who were active supporters of the terrorists last year.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Political Action Stations.

S.D.L party is firing out letters of protest left right and center, in retaliation for the Army's campaign of Truth.
S.I.F.M does not believe that this is inteference. The Army's action only levels the playing field and provides much needed counter-point to all the lip-service and unethically vote-buying tactics employed by S.D.L.

The S.D.L rebuttal that, insinuates inappropiate use of public funds does not hold water simply because the Military administers their own budget at their discretion and secondly the Cabinet Minister's routine visit to Fijian rural villages prior to the elections, makes them guilty of the same offence.

The concept of 'Free and Fair elections' is not threatened by the Army as touted by critics. Rather, the real threats in Fiji are: rushed voter registration and flawed provincial rolls.
Fiji Sun Editorial echoes the cynics and expnds on the issue of the 'Army factor' during 2006 election campaigning.

Tuesday 14th March, 2006

The military factor

Whether or not the military can use the public's money to join an election campaign is a question that will probably be decided - if ever - by the courts.
For it remains to be seen whether the Government will follow through on its threat to seek an injunction. To do so it would have to show reasonable grounds for believing that the army's action was in fact illegal. At the same time, the courts in Fiji have historically been unwilling to grant open ended injunctions. So it might be difficult for the Government to obtain an injunction restraining the army from campaigning until the matter is decided by the court at some date well into the future.
The more immediate question for the Government, however, might be the impact the army campaign is likely to have on people's voting intentions. For the military is campaigning without standing for election. It cannot ask people to vote for it. It can only suggest that people in some vague way do the right thing, hear the voice of truth and justice, denounce the liars and their lies.

It all sounds very grand, but as any experienced political campaigner will testify, voters look for parties and individuals, not institutions, to vote for (or against) at election time. It's difficult to see that the army's campaign - legal or otherwise - will have a significant effect, though the Government might argue that any effect at all could be significant given the volatility of the electorate. The Government's immediate problem is more political than legal.

By overreacting to the army's initiative, might it not lend credence to the military campaign? Could people begin to think that there may be something to hide? These are not easy questions to answer. The May election is critical for Fiji's future. It is all the more understandable, then, that the Government should resent what it sees as illegal interference by the army and its commander in the sense that it is using public funds for political ends. There's no doubt that the military's action represents a division of focus that the Government can well do without at the this stage of its campaign. But whether it will result in significantly altered voting intentions seems unlikely.

In fact the opposite may well be the case. There is widespread unease over the army's intervention in the election campaign. Even those who agree with what the commander has to say feel aggrieved that he has entered the political arena. So while he will no doubt attract a headline or two, his political impact may be much less than he would like. The Government might do better, then, to conduct its own campaign rather than worry about someone else's.

The failure of Government native ministry like the archaic Fijian Affairs Board is now being echoed in Fiji Senate.

The Lau Provincial seat which Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase intends to contest will surely be a cracker. Firstly he has serious competition to consider, as well as the wounds relating to the 2000 coup and the Paramount chief of Lau, the late Ratu Kamisese Mara's family of influence.

There is a ground swell of criticism, against the sacking of beloved Announcer; Sitiveni Ratulala for interviewing the Army Commander. Dismissal for violation of editorial content is excessive for such a reknown talent. This action reeks of political retalition and chained freedom of Radio Fiji.

Mr. Ratulala is well remembered for his morning show, when he would greet listeners literally using, the whole spectrum of Fijian dialects. There are 14 Provinces of Fiji. Province is actually a broad catergory and some provinces could have 2-3 different dialects.

Freedom of Media in Fiji is limited to those who own one.

Druavesi warns FBCL

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Francis Herman should come out publicly on who gave him the directive to sack popular Fijian talk back show host Sitiveni Raturala. Soqosoqo Ni Vakavulewa Ni Taukei Party secretary Ema Druavesi yesterday warned Mr Herman to be careful, as he had been used to fire a Fijian, who had a huge following in the Fijian community for many years. “The Fijian community is not happy with the actions of the FBCL,” she said. “Mr Raturala’s talkback show has a huge following throughout the country and now the Fijian people are not happy. There was nothing wrong in his interview with the army commander. Actually, it was well received by the Fijian community because they now have heard straight from the horse’s mouth.
“Mr Herman should be careful not to be caught in the web because the Fijian people will see him as a villain even though he is innocent since he is acting on higher orders to safeguard his job as well.” Ms Druavesi said the Government should appreciate the fact that it was through Mr Raturala’s popularity and ways of conducting his talkback shows that had helped the FBCL stay afloat.
Mr Herman said the FBCL’s editorial policies like all other independent and credible news organisations, reiterated their strong commitment to promoting and upholding the free flow of information, the principles of democracy and respect for human rights.
“It also demands objectivity, balance, impartiality and requires that we maintain a high degree of balance, fair play and justice in all our broadcasts,” he said. However, Ms Druavesi said Mr Herman may have his reasons but the Fijian community did not see that. “Mr Herman should come out publicly whether the directive came from the Prime Minister’s Office but if he refuses he should not blame anyone because now he has been used,” she said. Ms Druavesi said the FBCL for its survival should apologise to Mr Raturala and reinstate him before it lost its Fijian listeners.

Club Em Designs

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Passive Resistance.

Radio Fiji's position as an independent media platform has been stained with incidents of interference by the recent dismissal of a popular Fijian broadcasting icon.

Maybe the dismissal of the announcer was Fiji Prime Minister's reaction, to Fiji Army Commander's new campaign of Truth to stop mis-information of rural voters.

Fiji's state owned companies must be taken to task for political inteference prior to the elections and their track record of dubious business practices.
Fiji Elections Office officials demonstrate, how much out of touch with reality; they really are. These Election officials often are misconstrued, as the default mouth-piece for the corrupt few in power.
It seems that, the arrogance of the Fiji Elections Office, has risen to alarming new heights by minimizing discrepancies within Fiji's election processes.

In addition, the arrogance of minority civil servants; will be the beginning of the end, for the majority in Fiji. Sometimes these civil servants tend to be overly bureaucratic without any ounce of proactive intiatives, along with their inflated egos which might be perceived as a political wedge.

However, in light of the malice and corruption associated with national elections, whether held in Fiji or the overseas. The Elections office will have to shoulder the burden of proof and be seen as independent, by the public and international observers. Fiji Election Supervisor has not actively conducted his work without relative bias. Irrespective of whether the bias; was direct or implied.

The propsed Audit Bill is dressed down as inadequate, by the Senator and Kadavu representative Messr Jim Ah-Koy.

Fiji needs Politicians who are not embarrassed to vote outside party lines; if the Bill concerned does not meet their preferred level of integrity, as well as not undermining the rules for transparency with the public purse. Unfortunately, individuals with that caliber are in demand, universally.

Obviously these legal loop holes in the Bill is designed to protect the powerful in Fiji society. The same layers of elite who have been short-changing the rest of the population.

Club Em Designs

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Wake Up Call.

Fiji Sun's article on the U.S State Department 2005 report on Fiji's Human Rights is interesting but not comprehensive. The article could have been more objective, on the conclusions of the report.
The report also could not come at a better time just before the elections; as an independent review of the Fiji Government's un-implemented international obligations.

On the Election front, Fiji Labour Party issue legal warnings to the Fiji Election Office official in their bid to rush the registration process;
which political parties have raised and have been brushed aside, due to arrogance.

Fiji Army reveals a new Truth Campaign for the elections against the S.D.L party, particularly in the rural areas whom are susecptible to mis-information and racial innuendos by Politicians.

Club Em Designs

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ingenuity - Branching Out.

New Magazine on Fiji lifestyles is a testimony to entrepreneurial skills. S.I.F.M wishes the new entity well in their future.

On the eve of the elections in Fiji, current issues on the technicalities of Objection period.

U.S Ambassador to Fiji faces the protestors of pro-Kyoto Accords which the U.S, China, India and Australia refuses to sign on to the document.

The same protestors applaud the U.S report on Fiji.

The issue of repatriations of lost native lands may be a rising issue in the 2006 elections.

Club Em Designs

Thursday, March 09, 2006

UB40 in Fiji-The Beat Goes On.

Fiji's learned Vice-President voices his opinion on ethnicity in Fiji.

The issue of mega stars paying tax dues for the cash strapped Fiji Inland Revenue and Customs Authority also known as F.I.R.C.A is claiming their pound of flesh in a dramatic fashion. Taking into account, all of UB40's success albums, they can easily buy out the entire Fiji Government in cash.

Fiji Sun. Fri. March 10th, 2006.

Prepare for the party of your life, UB40 tells fans


Members of the UB40 yesterday called on their fans to have a good time and party like they have never done before. The renowned British reggae group arrived in the country yesterday afternoon on a chartered Air New Zealand flight from Tonga. Nadi International Airport workers and some fans got the opportunity to see the group members in person before they were whisked away to Pacific harbor where they spent the night.

Lead vocalist Ali Campbell, dreadlock vocalist Astro Oswald and other group members were cheered as they walked out of the arrival concourse.
Mr Campbell said he was happy to be in Fiji and assured fans he would sing UB40's old hits "You should have a good time and party like you have never partied before", he said. The group's first concert will be at the FMF Dome in Suva tonight and the second in Lautoka on Sunday. Tickets for the concerts are selling fast. Preparations for the open air concert in Lautoka are well under worganizerssers said.

Empty containers have been put around the ground to prevent people from crashing their way into the venue. This happened during a Lucky Dube concert in Nadi where hundreds pushed down the fence and got into Prince Charles Park. Security for the concerts is expected to be tight.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Kiss of Death.

Great Council of Chiefs meeting to discuss the Qoliqoli Bill is another indication of their prior negligence. However, the Viti Tourism Resource Owners Association highlights their concern of the abuse of grass roots landowners by native institutions. Even though the V.T.R.O had erred in choosing their financial backers; their objective of creating a landowner's bank, is morally right. In addition, to creating a positive paradigm shift that empowers Fiji landowners.

It must be pointed out that G.C.C is only interested in the Aristocracy but the V.T.R.O are more inclined to voice the concerns of those who have been abused by the archaic cultural system in Fiji, in favor of the Nobles.

The following Fiji Live article examines the M.U.D that Fiji faces when the Great Council of Chiefs deecide to change a democratic document to facilitate patronage of un-elected and un-democratic entity.

Obviously the G.C.C are trying to butter both sides of the proverbial slice of bread. Or in other terms, living in the lap of luxury under the undemocratic and obsolete institution that, contravenes the existing Fiji constitution precepts of equal standing for all Fijians. There is two Fiji's. One for the Have's and the other for Not's.

Chiefs to discuss Constitution change
Thursday March 09, 2006

The Great Council of Chiefs will today discuss whether the Constitution should be amended to allow other chiefs in public office to join them in decision making.

The matter is part of a review of the Fijian administration that will be tabled in a report at the chief’s meeting in Lami, outside Suva.

Current law does not authorise public holders to hold a second public office as member of the GCC.

This means that high chiefs such as Transport Minister Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa and Assistant Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Suliano Matanitobua can only sit in the meetings as observers.

The President and Vice President, Speaker of the Lower House of Representatives, Senate President, Cabinet Minister and Members of Parliament are also not permitted to be GCC members.

Other issues on the GCC agenda are the election of five members to the boards of the Native Land Trust Board and Fijian Affairs Trust, the progress on the fishing rights, indigenous claims tribunal and the controversial Reconciliation Bill.

It will also discuss a recommendation to increase royalties on minerals instead of transferring Mineral Rights to indigenous Fijians as approved by a GCC meeting in November 2003.

The GCC yesterday re-elected President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi for five year terms.


Fiji Women also voicing their concerns on International Womens Day.

S.I.F.M is adamant that, all Women are a gift for God. Where would mankind be in their absence?

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Renouncing Mis-information in Fiji.

Fiji's internal jostle for power led by a Minister and Chief within the S.D.L party further undermines the rule of democracy. The denials by the Minister concerned; demonstrates the truth impairedment of the S.D.L party. It is about time that the office of Fiji President be selected from a democratic institution.

Yet the matter of mineral ownerships in Fiji, seems to be undergoing mis-information designed to further dis-enfranchise Fijian landowners. S.D.L Government's predictable billegerance on the matter, highlights their patronising trend of lip-service regarding indigneous concerns.

Bainimarama warns voters
Fiji Times Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Political slogans which promote Fijian unity during the general election period are false and do not do anything for indigenous Fijians to attain better economic livelihoods, says military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Commodore Bainimarama said these were the same messages that were preached by politicians since 2000 and yet Fijians had nothing to show for it.

"They (politicians) are really just playing on the emotions of the Fijians for their own political gains. It was used in 1987 and then in 2000 and we are still hearing these things now," he said.

Commodore Bainimarama said that the Government should publicise what its Affirmative Action programs had achieved for Fijians. He said Fijians did not show any progress that would have meant their unity had allowed them to prosper.

"The military is not against Fijian aspirations but these messages of unity only drive the Fijians to believe only a few politicians and end up breaking the law like the 2000 coup and still show nothing for it."

Club Em Designs

Monday, March 06, 2006

Slim Chances.

Fiji Methodist Church seems to be caught on up in politics and only underlines the fact that, they have forgotten their religous calling.

Fiji Elections Office is defending their archaic decision to dis-enfranchised Fiji citizens living overseas.
The Great Council of Chiefs impromptu role for the rotational selection of President has no legal basis along with their overall duty to choose on behalf of the population of Fiji and contravenes democratic principles of elections.

The rhetoric by S.D.L spokesman is laugable especially with his track record of dubious business practices in Fiji.
The issue of University of South Pacific Vice-Chancellor who was invited as a guest note speaker for the S.D.L part only creates more waves for the academic. The minimization of his appearance should not be glossed-over because it implies that the learned individual, actively supports the racial views of the political party.

Meanwhile the manifesto of the New Alliance party needs to be fact-checked for accuracies. The old adage used by most politicians of promising jobs for skilled trades has failed miserably again claims Training Authority in Fiji.
This issue will continue be debated by political parties because it only examines the whole framework of employment and educational institutions in Fiji.

Club Em Designs

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fake Actions and Empty Promises.

Qarase claims more empty promises and doesn't explain why those high wages were not implemented earlier. Then the actions by crafty Attorney General of Fiji, who files a Compulsory Supervision Order to release individuals convicted on coup charges.

Native Lands Trust Board now faces a legal case against it's founding laws. It is also an indication that Fiji Landowners are coming of age with their intellect. The acknowledgement by one chief that most chiefs in Fiji lack moral fiber and other leadership qualities. It also places a lot more pressure to Great Council of Chiefs and the upcoming conference.

Here are copies of letters to the Fiji Times Editor.

Academic advice

THE public lecture by USP Associate Professor, Doctor Biman Prasad, on resolving the agricultural land lease problem in Fiji was interesting.

It was interesting to hear so many comments and questions, especially by academics.

The comments and suggestions will be used by academics and students to write and do research on.

The media has also picked up the issue and soon the debate will close.

A chapter will be finished and we will wait for another academic to come up with a new proposal and they will agree and disagree with each other.

This trend of public lectures, debates and papers by academics on the subject has continued for some time.

Unfortunately, not much has been achieved by the academics in reality.

I have nothing against academics for they have a lot of knowledge as they do a lot of research and are experts in their own field.

After all, they have the right to deliver their work or research in whatever way pleases them.

However, I feel academics could do more than just proposals and writing a paper on the land problem in Fiji.

It is time the academics became more practical and engaged stakeholders in finding a way forward in resolving the delicate issue.

The academics usually blame politicians for not resolving the land issue.

Yes, politicians are to be blamed because they are politicians.

Academics should blame themselves for not engaging politicians and other stakeholders in finding a solution.

The academics should involve the Government, Opposition, NLTB, landowners and tenants to discuss their proposals.

Talks between the Government and the Opposition is an example of such co-operation, where a third party took the initiative to get the two opposing groups to come together and discuss important issues affecting the nation.

It will make sense to put their proposal before stakeholders rather than put it in a public forum where things only go around in a circle without much action.

No offence to academics but I think we have had too much academic advice and it is time for action.

Avinash Kumar

Post-coup prediction

I THANK Semiti Qalowasa for his insight and thought-provoking article (FT 28/2) and for articulating the late Simione Durutalo's socio-economic analysis and prediction of the post-coup years.

It is time the mainstream heartland Fijian's thinking accept the perpetrated ethnic consciousness and call the indigenous political unity as but a thin dancer to mask the stark reality of a volatile and growing class consciousness.

Peni Dakua

Club Em Designs